Tinos is something like a Lourdes of the Orthodox. Every year,
thousands of pilgrims from all over
the island and the church of the Virgin Mary, hoping that she will do
miracles for them. The island also has many Catholics.
With its relatively green, mountainous landscape, where tiny chapels and dovecotes are scattered everywhere, Tinos is a very beautiful island. There are many villages, and exploring the surroundings with a car is definitely worth it. It is quite a windy island, so the sea can get rough around Tinos. Perhaps that's why the ancient Greeks believed the God of Winds lived here.
The people traditionally live off agriculture, stock breeding and the green marble that has been important for the economy since antiquity. This marble was used when building the Louvre in Paris and Buckingham Palace in London, as well as Athens in the 19th century.
There is not much archaeological proof, but it is believed
Tinos was inhabited in the 2nd Millennium BC, perhaps with
people from Asia Minor. The Ionians settled here in the 10th
According to mythology the island was originally called "Snakeisland", Ofioussa, because of the many snakes. Poseidon chased them all away and was therefore a special god to the locals.
In the 5th century BC, Tinos fought with the Athenians against the Persians, and was to become a member of the Delian League. After this, the Macedonians invaded, only to be succeeded by the Romans in the 2nd century BC. Together with Delos, this was considered on of the holiest of islands, and the ancient Greek would come here to worship Poseidon, Amphitrite and Demeter, and drink from its holy, healing water.
Just like most of the islands in the Aegean sea, Tinos was constantly attacked by pirates, and as a consequence, the people moved up in the mountains for protection.
The island became part of the Venetian Duchy in the 13th century, with Naxos as the centre. The Turks conquered the island late, in 1715. People from the surrounding islands sought refuge here because Tinos stayed under Venetian rule for a long time, and even after the Turkish invasion, only few Turks actually settled there.
Since Tinos was relatively autonomous, the economy flourished in the 18th century, and was sometimes called "Little Paris" since it was a cosmopolitan place with people living here from all over Europe. Nevertheless, Tinos fought hard against the Turks when the war of Independence broke out in 1821. Many were killed and the island was flooded with refuges.
The worst time ever for Tinos was during the second World War, when the island was isolated and many starved to death. In 1940 the Greek warship Elli was torpedoed by an Italian submarine the "Delfino" that was based in the port of Lakki in Leros, one of the largest Italian naval bases in the Mediterranean during world war 2. Each year on 15th of August, Greece is honouring the dead sailors and officers of the cruiser Elli, with ceremonies and wreaths in the sea area where the ship was sank.
What to see
The most dominating
feature of Tinos is its basilica Panagia Evaggelistria (Virgin Mary
Evangelist). It was built after a nun had dreamt of an icon in 1823, and
after searching and digging in the area, it was found, as well as a well
of fresh water. The church is situated on a hill in Chora, with steps
leading up to it. In antiquity, there used to be a Dionysus temple here.
One of the most common reasons for pilgrimages here is childlessness. When a woman visits the island for this reason, she promises the Virgin that she will name the child after her if she becomes pregnant. When the child is old enough, it is taken to Tinos in order to be shown to the Virgin. Therefore, there are hundreds of Marias and Despinas and Panagiotas all over the country, not because their grandparent was named so, but because they have been promised to the Virgin Mary of Tinos.In Chora there is also an archaeological museum.
Pilgrimage is of course not the only reason for going to Tinos. It is a beautiful island, with many little villages well worth visiting. For example Moundatos, Ktikados, Hadzirados, Kardiani, Volaka, with its huge rocks, Isternia, Kambos, Steni and Pyrgos, which is the largest and perhaps prettiest village. In Pyrgos you can visit the workshop of the sculptor Giannoulis Halepa as well as the museum of artists from Tinos.
The cave of Gastrion outside Kionia is quite fascinating with inscriptions dating back to antiquity. Here, there are also ancient remains of a temple to Dionysus and Roman baths.
On Mt. Exobourgo used to be a Venetian citadel , until it was blow up by the Turks in 1715. The Jesuits used to live here, and there is a Catholic, as well as an Orthodox church here.
The nunnery Kechrovouni is definitely worth a visit. It dates back to the 11th century, and allegedly it was built after three sisters had dreamt about it. This is where lived the nun Pelagia, the one that dreamt of the Evaggelistria icon . There is also a small museum here.
What to do
:Tinos is the perfect island to explore on your own. The many villages, 750 churches and dramatic nature makes Tenos one of Greece's most interesting islands..
The most popular beaches of Tinos are probably Agios Fokas and around Porto. Around Kionia you'll also find some beaches, and there are many bays on the East coast.
: Just like anywhere else in Greece, the nightlife on Tinos has quite a few things to offer. The most places are in Chora, but don't expect any wild partying. Tinos is first and foremost an island for Greek holidaymakers, and they have a much more relaxed attitude towards alcohol.
The local specialty on Tinos island is a kind of omelette with sausages and cheese. There are also many kinds of sweets. There are a lot of taverns on the island. You'll find most of them in Chora, but there are also many places by the beaches and in the villages.
You can buy various religious objects such as icons, crucifixes, komboskinia (something like a rosary) and candles. For more secular shopping, in the village Volaka you can get handmade baskets and in Pyrgos you can get various souvenirs made from the local marble
There is a quite extensive local network of buses, but you can also rent cars and bikes, which is highly recommended if you really want to explore the island. There are also quite a few taxis.
The best way is to fly to Athens or maybe Mykonos, and take the ferry boat from there. From the port of Piraeus you can get ferries to Tinos as well from Rafina. From Rafina, during the summer, there are many ferries and fast catamarans that go to Andros, Tinos, and Mykonos. You can get the KTEL bus to Rafina from the area of Pedion Areos at Alexandras and Patission street in Athens.
Where to stay
Tinos is located in the Cyclades and is very near to Andros and Syros. Every year in August the island has many thousand of visitors mainly Greeks who are coming here for the celebration of the Assumption of Mary. The island of Tinos has developed its accommodation standards many years ago because of the massive tourism during the last weeks of August.
Tinos is not one of the main tourity islands of Greeks for many foreign tourists, but it is a quiet nice island where you can relax and enjoy your holidays especially in low season when you will find many cheap accommodations in Hotels, rooms and self catering apartments. Tinos is only a few hours journey from Piraeus or Rafina and half an hour from Syros and Mykonos.
Vincenzo Family Hotel Tinos.
This delightful family run hotel, with its slate floors and wooden beams, is full of character and charmingly decorated in sympathy with its beautiful rustic
surroundings. It is situated in the religious district of Tinos, within walking distance of the port and close to the famous Panagia Evangelistria (Our Lady of Trinity). The Hotel Vincenzo offers a wonderful holiday location that makes an ideal base for exploring the island. The hotel offers a mixture of well-appointed rooms and apartments, a delightful flower filled courtyard and outdoor breakfast terrace.
At the Hotel Vincenzo you can also take advantage of their relaxing spa facilities that include Jacuzzi, Turkish steam bath and soothing massages. The hotel also benefits from free wireless internet services.
Tinos Beach Hotel, Tinos
This spacious hotel has been a popular holiday destination for 35 years and many famous artists and politicians have enjoyed the facilities Tinos Beach Hotel has to offer. Its 180 spacious rooms and suites are all fully air-conditioned and include refrigerator and cable/satellite TV as well as room service and breakfast included in the price. The hotel’s lobby has a 24 hour reception and a safe deposit box where valuables can be securely kept. The comfortable lounge bar is an excellent place to relax after dining in our excellent restaurant. Leisure facilities include a swimming pool, tennis courts and playground. The hotel also boasts Conference Rooms and high-speed internet facilities. Pets are welcome at the hotel and there is ample free parking as well as a shuttle service to and from the airport.
Anemoessa Hotel, Tinos
This delightful newly built complex of apartments are beautifully designed in a traditional Aegean style and are located a mere 70 metres from the sea at Hysternion Bay. The serene location of sea and mountains will make your stay magical and unforgettable. All the rooms have air-conditioning, TV, bath/Hot Tub and kitchenette comprising refrigerator, and coffee and tea making facilities. The hotel also offers room service, a 24 hour reception, a business centre and free parking
Facts about Tinos
Size: 195 sq. km
International code: 0030
Local code: 22830
Population: about 8000 :
Health center: 22210
Cash machine ATM: Yes
Port Police: 23770
Price rate: Average