All you need to know about Syros island!
On the Northern side of the Cyclades floating just under the island of Andros lies the enchanting
island of Tinos. In addition to it’s golden bays, deep teal waters and charming rural villages, the island is also home to the famous Panagia Evangelistria that attracts thousands of visitors to this spiritual island each summer. Welcome to the very authentic and very vibrant island of Tinos!
Tinos, like most of the Cycladic islands, boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The majority of the popular beaches are found south of the island due to their protection from the Northern winds and more rugged coves and secluded bays are found in the north. All of Tino’s beaches are blessed with soft golden sands and deep blue waters on a backdrop of lush green foliage. Here are our top picks.
Agios Ioannis Porto: This natural looking beach is a popular resort for tourists and can be found 7km from Tinos town. This blonde bay provides a great space for beach games and sunbathing due to its large size and the calm warm waters are great for swimming. Beach bars and seaside tavernas line the beach and the picturesque chapel of Agios Ioannis sits nested on the left side of the beach. An idyllic beach for families.
Kolympithra: The stunning bay of Kolympithra actually consists of two beaches found 14km northwest of Chora. The vast blonde sands provide the perfect spot for both sunbathing and beach games and the deep turquoise waters are fantastic for deep sea swimming . Although protected from strong winds, sea conditions can sometimes be choppy making this a hotspot for bodyboarding. Make sure to check out the beach’s taverna, just a short walking distance from the bay, it offers some of the best local dishes found on the island.
Agios Markos Kionia: This secluded cove is found 3km northwest of Tinos town and boasts rugged landscapes surrounded by pretty vegetation. The beach provides both tourist facilities and shelter from the northern winds making this a very popular beach. It’s crystal clear waters and rocky terrain create great conditions for snorkeling.
Kionia: Fringed with lush green trees, this exotic beach is Live the Greek Life’s favourite spot for relaxing. Although this popular beach is situated just 3km of Chora, with its vast sandy beach and crystalline sea it still manages to create a very tranquil atmosphere. Kionia also possesses some archaeological sites, so be sure to explore the area fully.
Pachia Ammos: This idyllic beach is one of the most exotic and isolated beaches on the island. Engulfed by sand dunes dotted with lilac, yellow and green foliage on a backdrop of turquoise waters, this beach offers a calming tone for all the senses. There are no facilities in the area making this unspoiled beach the perfect location for peace and solitude.
Tinos is renowned as a religious destination and exhibits many magnificent churches, monasteries and spiritual sites to explore. Here are our must visits.
Panagia Evangelistria: Located on an hill overlooking Chora; the spectacular Panagia Evangelistria attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists each August to celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. It is the symbol and patron saint of Tinos island and is considered to be the protector of Greece. This extravagant church is one of the most sacred landmarks in the whole of Greece and is a definite must see.
Dovecotes: Tinos is famous for its intricately designed dovecotes that can be found across the whole island; the oldest ones dating back to the 18th century. As opposed to dovecotes found in other parts of the world, Tinos’s are specifically located in suitable areas to provide the birds with the best of conditions and rather than a simple box on a pole, the island’s dovecotes boast some stunning designs. The majority of these structures can be found in the eastern and central parts of Tinos and are said to accumulate more than 600 dovecotes throughout the whole island.
Sanctuary of Poseidon: Within walking distance from the beach of Kionia lies the remains of Poseidon’s temple. Consisting of the main temple, baths, an altar and fountains, the construction is believed to date back to around the 4th century AD and is the only temple ever built in dedication to the God of the sea.
The Archaeological Museum: This precious museum oozes personality with its 1960’s style and slightly rundown complex. It presents exhibits of the island’s excavations mostly from the ancient sites of Poseidon and Demeter. The rich history of Tinos is displayed through just three small rooms, however it is worth a visit due to the museum’s authenticity and endearing spirit.
Kechrovouni Monastery: Located on the mountain side of Kechrovouni 650 meters above sea level, stands the impressive Kechrovouni Monastery dating back to the 11th century. Dedicated to the Dormition of Virgin Mary, the complex consists of the main church, smaller churches, auxiliary buildings and nun quarters. This is the monastery were Aghia Pelaghia led an austere life and had visions of the Virgin Mary. Visitors can visit her cell and discover an abundance of relics from both the 18th and 19th century.
Food and drink
Tinos is an undiscovered gastronomical wonder and so rather than expressing our thoughts on
where to eat out in Tinos, we thought it was necessary to focus on what to eat. The island is full of
hillside villages that produce the freshest and finest ingredients and are where the island’s staple
dishes are created. Here are a few we recommend trying!
Agkinaroryzo (Artichokes on rice): One of the simplest yet tastiest dishes you can find on the
island is Agkinaroryzo. This no fuss dish consists only of rice, local creamy artichokes and a drizzle
of fresh lemon juice. Delicious!
Stiffado (Greek rabbit stew): This aromatic dish is full of plenty of onions, local tomatoes, tomatoe
paste, red wine and a lot of olive oil. The rabbit is slowly braised in these delicious juices until the
meat is so tender that it just falls off the bone. Garlic, bay leaves and cinnamon are what give this
stew its zingy taste and the fresh tomatoes add a tantalizing sweetness to the dish. You’ll be needing
some crusty bread to mop up all those mouthwatering juices and a good Greek red wine or a glass
of ouzo to wash it all down with!
Malavouni (small cheeses): Small cubed cheeses dried well in small wicker baskets.
Castellano (mastic cheese): Castellano cheese is made of sheep’s milks and has a fragrant mastic
Kopanisti (traditional cheese): This spreadable cheese has a pungent and very intense peppery
taste. It is usually a light tan or pale pink colour and is made from a mixture of cow, sheep and goat
milk. It is a great mezze dish for dunking fresh bread into or spread onto a crunchy rusk.
Liastes ntomatoes (sun dried tomatoes): The Mediterranean is famous for its sweet tomatoes and
Tinos is no exception. It’s sun dried tomatoes are so delicious that they are used extremely often in
staple island dishes and are even batter fried and served as a mezze dish.
Froutalia (traditional omelette): Froutalia is a Tinian speciality of a thick, slow cooked omelette
filled with potatoes and local fennel flavored sausages.
Kolokithopita (pumpkin pie/pita): This savory pie is filled with sweet pumpkin and tangy feta
cheese. Seasonings range in variety including; nutmeg, cinnamon, mint and honey.
Louza (Tinian prosciutto): Pork Louza from Tinos is cured in red or rose wine and seasoned with
allspice, fennel seed, clove, pepper and then smoked. It’s great as a mezze dish with a glass of ouzo
or as a sandwich filling.
Kritamos (sea fennel salad): Sea fennel from Tinos is harvested from the rocky coasts of the island
and then placed in pure vinegar and/or brine. It is described as the food of the future since it is rich
in vitamins, essential oils and minerals. To compliment its special spicy flavor pair it with ouzo or
Municipal Market of Tinos: Be sure to check out the Municipal Market situated at Pallada that
offers seasonal fruit and vegetables all year round. There you can find (depending on the season)
local and authentic foods like; thyme honey, capers, anis rusks, fennel flavored local sausages,
prickly pears, wild herbs, teas and cheeses fresh out of the local dairy.
The island of Tinos may not be on the touristic radar, however when August 14th and 15th arrives
the whole island comes alive to worship the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.
On August 14th, the eve of the celebration, visitors and pilgrims travel from every corner of the
world to crawl or walk their way up to the Panagia Evangelistria. Red carpets to protect the
worshipers knees lead from the port all the way up to the church and when nightfall hits, the people
sleep in line just to insure they are blessed with the Holy icon’s presence.
The sun rises on August 15th and liturgies are heard from loudspeakers outside the church. Visitors
wait on the church steps waiting to kiss the Holy icon and others pose for photos. After chants,
prayers and more liturgies, the Holy icon is finally carried out by naval officers. Worshipers drop to
their knees, bow their heads, weep and pray as the icon passes them by.
After the more spiritual worshipping has finished, the island is lit up with fireworks, music, dancing
and a feast of street food and drink. The atmosphere on the island on August 15th is quite frankly
electrifying and cannot be compared to any other island’s celebrations.
The humble island of Tinos has so much to offer to each visitor; tremendous cuisine, heavenly
beaches, enchanting villages and a wealth of mystery and wonder!