Located in the northern Cyclades above Mykonos, Tinos Island is often overlooked by visitors who seek out the more familiar scenery in the southern islands.
Home to over 8000 people Tinos is a medium-sized island – about the same in area as Paros, but is quite mountainous.
Tinos is most famous for its Church of Panagia Evengelistiria, believed to be the site of a visitation from the Virgin. It also has over 80 windmills and 1000 dovecotes which are unique to the island. On Tinos you will find good beaches, charming villages, lots of hiking trails and unique architecture. It is a very authentic destination and one that is very popular with outdoor enthusiasts.
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When to visit Tinos
July and August see the highest number of visitors. Outside of these months, visiting in the autumn or in springtime means lower prices for accommodation and still mild weather.
The famous Meltemi wind can really pick up between August and October, but it isn’t so bad that it will ruin your vacation. In fact the locals often welcome it as it cools the island down and can be a lot a more pleasant that other places. If it’s a windy day in the Cyclades we head to a protected beach, usually south facing. Every island has them!
Best beach and swimming weather: June to September
Best sightseeing weather: March to June and September/October
Where is Tinos Island?
The enchanting island of Tinos is, with the more famous Mykonos and Santorini, part of the archipelago of the Cyclades group of Islands.
Tinos is the third-largest Cycladic island, and it is situated in the north of the group, in the Aegean Sea.
On the island, there are more than 60 villages built in traditional architecture and more than 70 charming beaches.
How to get to Tinos
Tinos is located in the Northern Cyclades and is just north of Mykonos.
There is no airport so all visitors arrive by Ferry. There are ferries from the main port of Athens, Pireaus, but also from the seaside town of Rafina in Western Athens.
There are then connections to Andros, Mykonos and Syros and on to the other islands in the Cyclades and beyond.
There are several ways to get to Tinos. You can take a ferry from one of the ports of Athens (Piraeus or Rafina), which will take you to Tinos in around 4 hours.
If you happen to be on another Cycladic island, you can easily make your way to Tinos from Mykonos, Syros, Paros, and Naxos. The journey will take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the island you depart from.
There is no airport on the island of Tinos, so flying isn’t possible. The nearest airport to Tinos is located in Mykonos.
Getting around Tinos
Tinos is a big island and there is much to see. The best way to get around is to rent a car, so you will be free to explore all the villages and beaches. We recommend Vidalis Rent A Car who also rent scooters and motorbikes.
From May to September, there is a public bus service that is popular with visitors run by KTEL. You can use local buses to reach most of the seaside and mountainous destinations on the island. The central bus station is located in Chora.
There are a few Taxis on the island but they can be hard to get in Summer. They can usually be found at the Port for ferry arrivals but it can pay to book in advance by calling +30 2283 029000.
Further reading: Driving in Greece
Tinos Hotels and Houses
Located in the Northern Cyclades Tinos is a mountainous island that is not very developed. Most hotels are in the towns and villages in the south of the island such as Tinos Town and the beaches of Agios Romanos, Sostis and Ioannis Porto.
For couples and solo travellers: Lithos Luxury Suites are located near the Town Centre in Tinos Town and have stylish rooms, some with jacuzzis. Also check out Infinity View Hotel, a fairly new establishment on the outskirts of the harbour that offers very high quality and standards and Tinos Villages, a chic new hotel near beautiful Agios Ioannis Beach.
Byzantio Beach Suites and Wellness is a popular place for people seeking to get away from it all too.
For families and groups: Poseidonio Hotel is a great place for families and groups. Located right across from the small fishing harbour in Tinos Town it is surrounded by shops, cafes and tavernas and also Nama Boutique Hotel a few doors up.
image credit @tinosvillages
Tinos Restaurants and food
A must during your holiday in Tinos is to taste the incredible Greek cuisine in the many restaurants on the island.
Tinos is particularly famous for its wine and cheese. Among the delicious local cheeses, make sure to try Karik, the blue cheese, Kopanisti, a soft cheese with a peppery flavor, and Petroma, an unsalted cheese.
Cheese is used to make two dishes, Furtalia and Tsimpites. Furtalia is an omelet with cheese, milk, parsley, skordoloukanika (a smoked sausage with garlic), and fried in pork grease. Tsimbites is a dessert, a sort of pie stuffed with cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla, mastic, and cinnamon.
Breakfast and Coffee:
PEGU Mar in Agios Fokas is a great spot at the beach for coffee and a bite while watching the world go by. In Tinos Town head to Kiriakatiko and Triantarki, both local institutions. Great Loukamades too!
Sto Kapaki is a great place to have breakfast or a light lunch. It is located in Dyo Choria, at the village’s central square. On the menu, you will find salads, vegetarian dishes, pancakes, traditional sweets, and other delicacies.
Another fantastic option for breakfast or brunch is Krok Monsieur. Situated in Krokos, you can enjoy international dishes adapted to Greek-Tinian cuisine.
It worth a drive up into the mountains for the food alone let alone the views! Grab a table in the garden at Kastanas in Arnados, Κροκ Μεσιέ in Krokos or Tereza in Mirsini. This is a some of the best village food you will find in the Cyclades!
San to Alati is a traditional fish tavern very popular among the locals of Agios Fokas. Besides freshly caught fish, at San to Alati, you can taste many varieties of Tinos’ cheeses.
Also by the sea hang out at Luma All Day Bar in Agios Ioannis Porto or Kapari in Agios Sostis and Kochyli on Agios Romanos Beach.
Itan ena mikro karavi, named after a well-known Greek nursery rhyme, is a beautiful restaurant located in the courtyard of an old outdoor cinema. Right by the sea, the restaurant serves modern cuisine made exclusively from fresh and local products.
To Koutouki tis Elenis is a rustic tavern situated in the heart of Tinos Town. Its unique interior is decorated with historical mementos, musical instruments, fishing boat lights, and other traditional objects. The menu contains local flavors and traditional Greek dishes, and several vegetarian and vegan options.
Thama Tinos is a modern restaurant where the head chef Dimitris Katrivezis blends the diversity of Tinos’ ingredients with the cuisine he tasted during his travels to create an innovative menu.
Out at Fokas above the beach book a table at Olive in Vrekastro for amazing food and sunset views.
Tinos Cafes and Bars
Triantaraki is a kafenio, a traditional Greek cafè that serves coffee, breakfast, desserts, local drinks and wines, and mezedes (appetizers). The cafè is located in a charming alleyway of Triantaros village and has modern decor.
To Kentrikon is a coffee-pastry shop in Pyrgos. Among the delicious pastries and desserts served, make sure to try their famous galaktoboureko (a custard-filled pastry).
Antilalos is a café-bookstore located in one of the most popular alleys of Chora. Visit Antilalos for amazing vegan breakfasts and to admire the rich collection of old books.
Koursaros is the oldest bar in Tinos. Opened in 1987, the bar delights its guests with live music: if you like rock, jazz, funk, or reggae, make sure to spend an evening at Koursaros.
Kaktos Bar is ideal for your night out with your special one. The outdoor terrace and sea view create a romantic atmosphere that is perfect at sunset. Enjoy a cool cocktail, and when night falls, hit the dancefloor and dance to the sound of international rhythms.
Things to do on Tinos
A very popular activity to do in Tinos is hiking. You will find hiking trails starting from almost every town: the hiking trails network exceeds 150 kilometers, with 22 marked trails of varying length and difficulty.
Hiking is one of the best ways to explore the island’s mountainous villages, dovecotes, abandoned monasteries, and secluded beaches.
Download the app “Tinos Trails” to discover all about hiking trails on the island!
Tinos is a windy island, so it’s the perfect place to surf (and windsurf). Everyone’s favorite surfing spot is Kolymbithres beach, on the island’s northern side. The strong northern wind Meltemi, which blows in the summer months, creates the perfect waves.
If you want to rent surf equipment or learn how to surf, go to Tinos Surf Lessons, founded by local surfer John Vidalis.
In Tinos, you will find churches, chapels, and monasteries on every corner.
The Church of Panagia Megalochari is believed to be a miracle-working church, and it’s Tinos most iconic spot. The name megalochari means “with all graces”, and it is one of the names given to the Virgin Mary in Greece.
The church is located on a hill above Chora, Tinos’s capital city. Given its miraculous status, the church is visited by many pilgrims who cover the street from the port to the church on their knees. As the path is very rough, a long red carpet has been laid from the entrance of the church to the port to facilitate the pilgrims’ journey.
The Jesuit Catholic Monastery is one of the Catholic monasteries of Tinos, located in the village of Loutra. The monastery is housed in a 17th-century building with a library, kitchen, and reading room.
The Ursulines Monastery, in the town of Loutra, was founded in 1862, and it used to be one of the best institutions for girls from wealthy families. The monastery also worked as an orphanage, boardinghouse, French-speaking high school, university, and Greek school. Today, the Ursulines Monastery is a folklore museum.
The Monastery of Agia Triada is located near Gyria village. It was a secret school run by monks during the Turkish Empire. Today, in addition to the church, you will also find a library and mausoleum.
The Archaeological Museum displays excavations from all over the island, with the most interesting pieces coming from the ancient temples of Demeter and Poseidon. The museum is located on Megalocharis Ave, on the way to the church of the Virgin Mary.
Kostas Tsoklis’ Museum in Kambos village is dedicated to the work of the famous Greek artist Kostas Tsoklis. The museum is housed in the building of the former primary school of the town.
In the museum’s courtyard is the sculpture of Saint George slaying a dragon, which exemplifies Kostas Tsoklis’s combination of classical elements with modern tendencies. The museum frequently organizes art workshops for children and adults.
The Museum of Marble Crafts explains everything about the island’s history of marble crafting. The museum is the first of its kind in the country, and it is located outside the village of Pyrgos.
The Tinian Artists Museum is housed in the complex of the Church of Panagia Megalochari. The museum displays works of the island’s finest artists, and a small room is dedicated to an ecclesiastical collection and the famous Carta of Rigas Ferraios. The museum also has two cafes and a snack bar.
Chalepas Museum is entirely dedicated to Giannoulis Chalepas, one of Tinos’s most famous marble sculptors. The museum is located in the traditional house where Chalepas was born and spent his last years. The museum exhibits some of his works and several personal belongings.
In Tinos, there is one of the most important sanctuaries of ancient times. Dedicated to the god Poseidon, you will find the sanctuary within walking distance from the beach of Kionia.
Thanks to this temple, Tinos became an important religious center, and many people would come here to clean and purify themselves before going to the sacred island of Delos.
At the archaeological site, you can also visit the baths, an altar, a monumental stoa, and a fountain.
The island of Tinos is famous all around Greece for its dovecotes, fortress-like stone structures. These unique buildings are decorated with geometric patterns, like triangles and rhomboids, and non-geometric patterns, including cypress trees and variations of the sun.
It is said that these patterns are what attract pigeons and doves who then nestle inside the buildings.
One of the most impressive sights in Tinos is its famous marble quarries. Marble quarries are scattered all around the island, but the bigger ones are located in the north of Tinos.
Marble has had a major role in the local economy since antiquity, and marble artworks can still be visited in many museums and art galleries in Tinos.
A must-do activity while in Tinos is a wine-tasting tour in one of the many vineyards on the island.
One of the best vineyards to visit is T-Oinos, where the first wine from the volcanic soil of Tinos was produced 3000 years ago! The vineyard is cultivated according to the rules of organic farming, and T-Oinos offers a 2-hour-long wine-tasting experience.
The beaches on the south of the island are more popular, with calmer waters perfect for swimming, and are organized with hotels, taverns, and cafes.
Agios Sostis beach is located 6 km southeast of Tinos Town. It’s a very large beach with majestic mountains in the background. Agios Sostis is one of the most crowded beaches on the island, and you can rent deckchairs and umbrellas.
Kionia is one of the most cosmopolitan beaches on Tinos. This long, sandy beach offers nice beach facilities and various water sports for both children and adults.
Agios Romanos is 6 kilometers northwest of Tinos Town. From the beach, you can enjoy a clear view of the neighboring island of Syros.
Agios Ioannis Porto is a sandy beach with crystal clear waters, surrounded by a lush green area. On the left side of the beach, there is a gorgeous chapel.
The beaches on the north coast of Tinos are less touristy but are also affected by high winds and sometimes big waves. So, they are perfect for surfing and windsurfing, but less for swimming.
Kolympithra is the most famous beach on the island, a true paradise for surfers. The beach is located on a large bay, where you will also find a smaller beach more protected from the wind and waves.
Agia Thalassa is a secluded beach 2 km from Panormos. Most of the time, the beach has calm waters, even on windy days.
Kavaroulko beach is a few meters away from Agia Thalassa beach and is even more remote and secluded. At the beach’s end, you will find a carved head of Aelos, the god of winds.
Day Trips to Mykonos, Syros or Andros
The famous island of Mykonos is only 40 minutes away from Tinos by boat, which makes it a great idea for a day trip. Once in Mykonos, visit as many of its 600 churches as possible, its windmills, and the district of Little Venice.
Syros island is incredibly close to Tinos, reachable in just 30 minutes by ferry. Get lost in the alleys of the picturesque Ano Syros and Ermoupoli, and don’t forget to visit the splendid Apollon Theatre.
Andros is another island you can travel to from Tinos. The ferry route takes around 2 hours. Andros is still outside the mass tourism radar, and it’s a paradise for nature lovers, with its many hiking routes and uncrowded beaches.
Kochyli Taverna, Agios Romanos Beach
Events in Tinos Island
Greece is a very religious country and most people worship in the Greek Orthodox Church. Tinos is considered one of the most religious places in the country with more celebrations and rituals than most.
All over Greece the Virgin Mary is celebrated with numerous festival with August 15, the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, being the biggest.
On Tinos there are four different celebrations focusing on the icon of the Virgin. Two are dedicated to the Annunciation, or Evangelismos, as it is known in Greek, on March 25 and the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, on August 15, while the other two are on July 23 and January 30.
Discovery of the Icon
On January 30 is the discovery of the icon of the Virgin Mary in the Monastery of Agia Pelagia is celebrated. While holding a lantern, the locals accompany the icon from the monastery, all around the streets of Chora, and finally to the harbor, where fireworks are lit.
The event is known as Fanarakia, which means “lanterns” in Greek.
On March 25 is celebrated the Annunciation of the Holy Virgin in the town of Chora. The feast is organized by the Church of Panagia Megalochari, during which litanies and church services mix with the patriotic celebrations for the National Anniversary.
After the litany of the icon, the locals meet in the town’s center to enjoy traditional food together and dance to traditional music.
Easter is one of Greece’s most significant religious holidays, and Tinos is no exception. While the different towns have different local traditions, from Monday to Saturday, everywhere on the island, people go to mass, follow the religious processions, and meet to prepare the tsimbites, the traditional sweets.
Also called Bank Holiday, on May 1, the most interesting event is in the town of Sklavochorio, where the locals prepare a lunch together made from traditional dishes.
On July 23, Tinos celebrates the Agia Pelagia. During this festivity, the icon of the Virgin is paraded to the Monastery of Kehrovouniou, where nuns and visitors honor the icon before it is taken back to the church where it was found.
Tinos World Music Festival
Tinos World Music Festival, founded in 2013, is held every year during July, August, and September, in many villages around Tinos.
The festival is a fabulous occasion where musicians from the Balkans and the East Mediterranean meet to create music together.
The Dormition of the Virgin Mary is celebrated throughout Greece, but in Tinos, it is quite a unique event.
The Church of Panagia Megalochari hosts a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, and on August 15, thousands of pilgrims crawl up the hill to reach the church. A Holy Service is performed in the morning, followed by the procession of the icon around the town.
To complete the celebrations, the Hellenic Navy sends a ship to give more glory to the feast.
Tinos Jazz Festival
Tinos Jazz Festival is an outstanding showcase of contemporary jazz music. The first jazz festival was organized in 2009, becoming one of the most popular festivals in the Aegean area.
Tripotamos is a unique event happening on Christmas day. It’s tradition for estranged locals to sit at the same table and settle differences over a meal, which may include beef tongue, that symbolizes beating the habit of gossiping.
image credit@tinos world music festival