Tinos... the island of Aiolos, Poseidon & Amphitriti, religion, art & culture!

According to the Greek mythology, Aiolos, the keeper of the winds, had established his kingdom on the top of Mountian Tsiknias (726 meters altitude).
When the Argonauts docked Tinos to visit Aiolos, his twin winged sons, insulted Hercules and he vindictively killed both of them. Since then, Aiolos, in his mourning, unleashes the winds on the island. It is probably these winds, and the wild beauty they have created, that have inspired the numerous artists, sculptors, painters and intellectuals who have been born or lived in Tinos. Giannoulis Halepas, Lazaros Siotos, Nikolaos Gyzis, Dimitris Fillipotis, Nikiforos Lytras, Cornelius Castoriadis and Kostas Tsoklis, are some of them.

Tinos is an island full of magic. First and foremost, the Church of Megalochari, one of the most important shrines of pilgrimage in Greece, houses the Holy Icon of The Virgin Mary. What definitely casts a spell on most visitors is the unique landscape, made up of gigantic rounded boulders sculpted by the winds, spread across the inland of the island, the beaches with their crystal clear waters, the 50 charming traditional villages scattered on the mountainsides, the local recipes and the lunar landscapes. 750 tiny chapels strewn in the fields, hills “embroidered” by thousands of kilometres of stone terraces, 600 dovecotes, excellent wineries, amazing hiking trails, museums and galleries, all compose a collection of fascinating images, that will bewitch your mind for ever!

DOVECOTES – STONE TERRACES

One of the most characteristic elements of the folk architecture in Tinos are the dovecotes or pigeon houses. Almost 600 rural whitewashed buildings, built in the 18th and 19th century, mainly with slate, rock and asbestos are scattered around the island. Skilfully “embroidered” with stone, each one is unique. The Tinian dovecotes are a significant example of the innate creative talents of the Tinian people, the trademark of the island and one of the most impressive “works of art” in the Cyclades.

Another thing that beautifully stands out as you travel throughout Tinos, is the thousands of kilometres of terraced dry stone walls. These terraces cover about 80% of the island and have been created by generations of Tinian farmers to hold back the soil and grow their small crops, bequeathing us a fascinating landscape. No wonder why Tinos was described as “handcrafted  island” by Corenlius Castoriades.

GASTRONOMY

Food in Tinos could be described as a ritual that brings travelers closer to the island’s culinary tradition. The local produce (that includes seafood, meat, wines, fruits, vegetables & herbs) is a significant part of the Tinian culture. The family wineries, the local recipes, the scents of the herbs that you will enjoy while strolling in the countryside (mint, sage, dittany, thyme and chamomile), will introduce you to an exciting gastronomic journey in Tinos!

THE CHURCH OF EVAGGELISTRIA

One of the most important pilgrimage destinations for the Orthodox Christians in the word, is the magnificent Church of Evaggelistria (The Holy Virgin), which towers over the town of Tinos.

The remarkable church with the impressive bell tower (29 meters high), was built in 1823 and was the first architectural project undertaken by the newly established Greek State, after 400 years of Turkish rule.

According to the folk tale, Saint Pelagia, a nun at the Convent of Kechrovouni, had visions of the Holy Virgin showing her the exact location of the Holy Icon. After a year of excavations, it was finally uncovered on the 30th of January 1821. This fact was interpreted as a divine message to the Greek people to continue their rebellion against the Turkish rule.

The church is actually a complex of buildings including a museum, an art gallery, a bookshop, baptism chambers, confessionals and more. Exterior areas are “embellished” with wonderful mosaic floors with sea pebbles.

In the main church, hundreds of offerings (tama) dedicated to the Holy Virgin, reveal touching stories of faith and gratitude.

MONASTERY OF KECHROVOUNI

This monastery also known as the Convent of the Assumption, has been perched high on Mountian Kechrovouni on the 11th century. It is one of the most ancient and unique active convents in Greece. It is actually a complex of small whitewashed cells and churches. It combines the characteristics of Cycladic architecture with those of a venetian fortified settlement. Each year on the 23rd of July, a grand celebration takes place, commemorating Saint Pelagia.

FESTIVALS – “PANIGYRIA”

Tinos is an island that treasures old customs and traditions to this day. Particularly in the summer season, the villagers organise feasts with traditional music, local delicacies, fine wine, singing and dancing. These feasts either commemorate the patron saints or are dedicated to local products such as artichokes, honey, wine, raki and oregano. Authentic hospitality and fun are guaranteed to all, who are lucky enough to attend a “panigyri”.

VILLAGES

The 50 traditional Tinian villages, are considered open air museums of folk architecture. They are scattered on the mountains and the hillsides of the island, carefully hidden from the winds and the pirates, like precious jewels, blending harmonically with the wild landscape.

Stroll through each one, feel the island breeze, initiate into the art, the culture and the artistic inclination of the Tinian people which is exhibited in every corner and every whitewashed house. Relax in a traditional “kafenio”, enjoying Greek coffee, raki, and taste local recipes, cheese and cold cuts. Open your mind, leave all worries behind and live like a local.

Tinos is an island full of magic. First and foremost, the Church of Megalochari, one of the most important shrines of pilgrimage in Greece, houses the Holy Icon of The Virgin Mary. What definitely casts a spell on most visitors is the unique landscape, made up of gigantic rounded boulders sculpted by the winds, spread across the inland of the island, the beaches with their crystal clear waters, the 50 charming traditional villages scattered on the mountainsides, the local recipes and the lunar landscapes. 750 tiny chapels strewn in the fields, hills “embroidered” by thousands of kilometres of stone terraces, 600 dovecotes, excellent wineries, amazing hiking trails, museums and galleries, all compose a collection of fascinating images, that will bewitch your mind for ever!

PYRGOS

Start your day with Greek coffee and traditional custard pie (with syrup and filo), at the scenic Square of this village, under the shade of an old plane tree, next to the impressing marble fountain. Pyrgos is the largest village in Tinos, proclaimed not only as traditional but also as an “open air museum”. Every corner is a work of art. Wander round the cobbled alleys and admire the architecture of the whitewashed village and the art of marble in every aspect.

According to the legend, Feidias, the famous Greek sculptor, taught the art of sculpting to the Tinians.

Significant Greek artists like Dimitrios Filippotis, Fytalis brothers, Lazaros Sochos, Georgios Vitalis and Giannoulis Chalepas, have left their legacy at Pyrgos.

Marble workshops, galleries and the School of Fine Arts are functioning, continuing the tradition of marble sculpting.

Pyrgos museums are particularly noteworthy. The Institute of Tinian Culture, the Museum of Marble Craft and the Museum of Tinian Artists are hosting valuable modern Hellenic artworks.

The House of Giannoulis Halepas, one of the most significant Greek sculptors, has been kept intact, giving you the opportunity to come closer to his everyday life and admire the artworks, photographs and sketches of this outstanding artist.

VOLAX

A village that masterfully balances between illusion and reality.

The gigantic granite boulders, that mysteriously surround the village, create an unearthly scenery that will definitely stimulate your imagination. Theories about the origin of these enormous natural monoliths, vary. Could they be wreckage from a clash between the Olympian Gods and the Titans?  Fragments of a fallen meteorite or a volcanic eruption? Undersea rocks? Regardless of how the massive, rotund, often animal-shaped granite rocks were created, the truth is that they offer one of the most imposing sights you have ever encountered.  No wonder why Volax is one of the most remarkable meeting points of bouldering climbers in Europe.

The mystical lunar landscape is not the only thing that makes this tiny village special. Wandering around the narrow paths, you will come across song lyrics and poems written on walls, windows and doors.

We couldn’t omit to mention that Volax is also the village of basket weavers. This craft, rooted in history, still exists. Mr. Ludovikos, probably the last of these traditional artisans, is always ready to welcome all visitors and share “the secrets” of the special craft of basketry.

Useful contact details:

  • Health Center : +30 22833 60000
  • Port Authority : +30 2830 22348
  • Local Bus Station : +30 22830 22440
  • Tinos Τaxi : +30 22830 22470

KARDIANI

If you wish to unwind and enjoy magnificent sunsets full of purple colours and breathtaking views of the sparkling Aegean Sea, overlooking the surrounding islands, then you should definitely visit Kardiani.

Perched high on the side of mountain Patelis, a fairy tale village, full of trees, running waters, beautiful fountains and stunning architecture.

The village was inhabited by Orthodox and Catholics, who have been living together harmoniously over the centuries, sharing their customs.

DIO HORIA

At 450 meters altitude, this hospitable village is like a natural balcony overlooking the dazzling Aegean Sea.

Stroll on the walkways among multi-coloured flowers, with beautiful bougainvilleas draping over the whitewashed walls, bubbling springs, picturesque medieval arches and lounge under the ageless plane trees at the village’s square.

ART – CULTURE

In Tinos town you can visit the Art Gallery & the Archaeological Museum.

The Monument of “Ellie” is commemorating the Greek warship that was torpedoed by an Italian submarine, while docked in the port of Tinos, on the 15th of August 1940.

Next to the Monument of Elli (near the lighthouse of the old port), there is one of the canons of the ship. It has been restored and is used as a cannon, during national holidays.

If you feel like hiking, you can follow the trails up to mountain Exombougo where you will find the ruins of the Venetian castle, the ancient capital of Tinos.

A guided tour around the Convent of the Ursuline nuns, located at the village of Loutra, could be a very interesting activity. The Convent hosts cultural events during summer season.

The Museum of Modern Art “Kostas Tsoklis”,  located in the village of Kambos, could also be an inspiring suggestion.

BEACHES

With a coastline of 114 kilometres, you will surely find your favorite spot to unwind under the warm sun.

Unspoiled and isolated rocky inlets, cosmopolitan beaches with fine sand and carefree boho chic beach bars, exquisite pebbled coves or water sports & surfing beaches. Tinos offers a great variety of unlimited choices, so that you can free your senses and enjoy the dazzling Aegean Sea.

The closest beaches to the centre of Tinos are Agios Fokas (about 3 kilometers) and Agios Sostis (about 5.5 km from Chora). Kionia beach (3km west from Chora) is a nice and sandy beach just a few minutes walking distance from the ruins of the temple of Poseidon, the place where ancient pilgrims stopped to cleanse the bodies and souls before continuing on to the holy island of Delos.

AGIOS FOKAS

The longest and most popular beach in Tinos, is Agios Fokas.

Located very close to Tinos town and just 2.7 kilometres from Onar Hotel & Suites, it is an organised sandy beach with shallow crystal waters, beach bars, traditional taverns and acclaimed gourmet restaurants.

HIKING TRAILS

While travelling, the more you walk, the more you experience! Hiking is definitely the best way to discover the cultural and historical highlights of this fascinating island.

Tinos has one of the most intricate networks of hiking trails in the Cyclades. With 300 kilometres paths crisscrossing Tinos, 150 kilometres of which are restored and marked trails in areas of great cultural interest. Each trail follows the old footpaths that locals used, to walk from village to village or to their fields.

Some of the trails are circular and return back to the starting point, while others follow the coast line, leading the hikers to archaeological sites, lighthouses, chapels, folk museums, ruins of old castles, dovecotes, windmills and magical lunar landscapes with gigantic round boulders. If you stay a week in Tinos you can easily discover a completely different trail every day!

Tinos is a unique island overflowing with authenticity and endless hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. Our greatest joy is to share these secrets with our guests and so that they can experience the unknown and captivating side of Tinos, off the beaten track!

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