Guide to SKOPJE



Third largest in the Cyclades archipelago, Tinos really has room for everyone: beach-partying youths, romantic couples, folklore admirers, Mediterranean foodies, religious pilgrims, marine-sports types, nature-loving types, art lovers and families with children!


Tinos is located in the north Cyclades, close to Syros, Andros and Mykonos. From both harbors of Athens (Pireas, Rafina) ferry and high-speed boats depart daily for Tinos, giving a choice of approx. 2-5 hours of travel.


Local buses connect among Tinos main settlements but a road map is necessary to navigate yourself visiting (by car, motorbike, taxi or hitching) around the island’s numerous cultural sites and beaches.

Hora: Main town and harbortinos2 Over half of the 8,500 inhabitants of Tinos reside in Hora (= “main town”) and all major services are located here, including the post office, the coastguard, banks, car & motorbike rental, taxi agencies, convenience stores. Along the old harbor and nearby narrow alleys there are quality pastry shops offering fresh goodies such as the typical Cyclades orange-blossom flavored marzipan (“amygdalota”). 3tinos Tinos’ Hora is a modern-era town; historically, Aegean settlements were built far away from the shore for fear of pirates. Today, Hora is mostly known in Greece as a year-round destination for Christian Orthodox pilgrims to the major religious site for Virgin Mary. Early 19th century Evangelistria church was built to host St Mary’s precious icon found on the island. Peak (and very crowded) season is August 15th, St Mary’s Day and a Greek public holiday.


For quite a while in antiquity, Tinos was the only Aegean place of worship for Poseidon, god of the sea (and patron of health in this particular region). Pilgrims used to stop over in Tinos in wish for wellness before they continued to opposite (sacred) Delos island. Poseidon’s temple is located near Hora and findings of the site and others from all over Tinos can be seen at the Archaeological Museum in Hora.

Tinos is the birthplace of a significant number of painters and sculptors (19th and 20th c.) that keep on influencing Fine Arts development in the country. The best spots to admire Tinian and other Greek artists are the Art Gallery and the Tinian Artists Museum located in the greater area of the Evangelistria churchyard. Moreover, the worthy Tinian Culture Foundation is right on the seaside strip. Take a special notice in N. Lytras, N. Gizis, Y. Gaitis, K. Parthenis, M. Renieris, I. Altamouras, Y. Roilos, Y. Halepas, D. Filippotis, Y. Vitalis,  L. Sohou, I. Voulgaris, whose popular works also adorn the Athens National Gallery and the capital’s buildings, parks and cemeteries.


Nikolaos Gyzis (1842 – 1901)

Windmill with a view

Until 40 years ago, windmills were a functional part of the island’s life; today mostly their relics are visible and only 2 remain in operation.


On the main street leading uphill and away from Hora there’s the ultimate Cyclades bar situated on a bird’s eye view location by a refurbished traditional windmill. “Kaktos” bar owners and, obviously, its cactuses, gave the arid Mediterranean landscape a Mexican touch. Enjoy your tequila cocktail and join thematic party nights with an amazing view to the islands of Syros, Delos and Mykonos in the Aegean horizon.

Features of Tinos landscape

114 klm of coastline enclose hills where over 40 exceptionally pretty white-washed villages are built upon the slopes. The roads are well maintained and access is easy even to the villages built upon the coastal cliffs offering a spectacular view.


Ysternia village offers a celebrated view over to Syros island

Every single slope is engraved with “xerolithies” (limestone-built landings) which facilitate cultivation while conserving ecological balance. Vital to mountainous soil, they are a result of centuries-old collective and persistent labor and are protected by Greek and European legislation.


Typical Tinian dove cotes are often seen in the central and eastern areas, close to villages, farms and water resources. The Venetians conquered the island in 1207 and introduced systematic dove rearing, which secured the need for protein nutrition for a rising population and provided fertilizer for the fields. Over 600 dove cotes are surviving today (a few are still in usage), mostly originating from the 18th and 19th centuries and are preserved as monuments of cultural heritage.


Exomvourgo (“Citadel”) is the highest rock in the island (640 m) and its strategic panoramic view over the Cyclades archipelago is the reason why Tinos has been chosen as the administrative centre for the 500-year Venetian rule in the Cyclades.  Settlers on Exomvourgo date back to the times of Homer. Relics of the castle are visible today, itself destroyed after an Ottoman siege, which resulted in the relatively brief (70-year) Ottoman rule in the area (İstendil was the name the Ottomans gave to Tinos).


A dense network of stone-laid paths, left over from the (not-so-distant) times when transportation was done on foot or by mules, is being re-discovered today by dedicated trekkers and preserved by organized international volunteer work. Trekking is a good way to reach old chapels and windmills and experience the island’s flora and fauna.



Pyrgos: The art of marble sculptors

By far the most prominent centre for the art of marble sculpture all over Greece, the village of Pyrgos is itself an open work of art.  From the bus stop at the entrance (no cars allowed inside villages here) to the fountains along the alleys leading to the maple-tree shaded main square, works of marble decorate the entire village.

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Near the village entrance, the Museum of Panormos Artists hosts a collection of works by the many celebrated sculptors coming from the island. A major producer of both white and green marble, Tinos has been since antiquity a cradle of marble artists and craftsmen, their works ultimately reaching as far as Alexandria, Egypt to Istanbul, Turkey and significantly contributing to the revival of an ancient art in modern Greece. The local marble itself has been used both for the 19th century Athens University and Archeological Museum buildings, as well as the Louvre and Buckingham Palaces…

No wonder that a most important marble sculptor in modern Greece originated from here: the house of Yiannoulis Halepas (1851 – 1938) with some of his works on display are open for visitors.


Tradition is kept alive today at the Fine Arts School hosted in Pyrgos, a unique technical institution in Europe, emphasizing on the art of marble. A remarkable display on marble sculpting history is found at the Pyrgos Marble Crafts Museum, situated next to the Fine Arts School.

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Tinian houses are adorned with marble skylights above windows and doors, with folklore motifs of birds, caiques, dolphins, cypresses etc. This living craft keeps supplying houses with a practical ventilation element, protecting from the strong Aegean sunlight and fierce winds.

Volax: a multi-use geological phenomenon


These odd granite (volcanic) boulders are scattered about this particularly arid area of Tinos, giving it a lunar landscape impression. For a more eerie experience the locals propose a visit by the full-moon light!

Charming Volax village is one of the oldest medieval settlements of Tinos, its houses laid upon boulder foundations, visible also on the outside as organic architectural elements.


Population rises significantly springtime on, when the area gets flooded with paint-ball championship participants, rock-climbers in the novel sport of “bouldering”, trekkers on the centuries-old paths leading to this village and away.

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The Volax tavernas remain simple and traditional, offering some of the best Tinian meat-based delicacies: try “loutza” (spiced air-cured ham), “froutalia” (a hearty omelet with potatoes and Tinos sausage) and “Volakiotiko katsikaki” the local kid (goat), much prized for festive occasions. Tinos is not an island of fishermen and seamen, rather one of herders and farmers, delivering top-quality products to the Greek market.

 “loutza” ham, a Venetian-Aegean fusion







Incredible beaches


Tinos is home to lot of pretty and versatile beaches to suit every taste. Some are more remote than others, most of them are sandy and some lined with small white pebbles.


Livada beach is one of the prettiest

The presence of mild-tourism amenities near easy-access beaches located close to the main settlements attracts significant family tourism into the island’s littoral area. The sandy beaches of Agios Fokas, Kionia, Agios Ioannis and Panormos (near Pyrgos) are popular among families and youths alike.


Agios Ioannis

For an interactive map of the islands’ most well-known beaches check

Surf’s up!24tinos

What else to do on a north-facing coast, when the seasonal northern winds (Meltemia) invoke waves that inhibit swimmers? Surf’s the word, absolutely; lessons are delivered in the largest of the two Kolymbithra beaches. Here beach parties can be spontaneous or organized – but they happen every summer nonetheless.25tinos

Recently, the nearby (inland) village of Sklavohorio decided to strike back with their own parties.




“We are in 2012 A.D. All villages in Kato Meri prepare to turn off their lights and go to sleep: ALL? NO…” Sklavohorio resists!

The village of “Love”

This really is the name of the village (Aghapi, i.e. Love) but nowadays couples see it as a good omen to perform their weddings here or just pay a visit as a tribute to good old Eros (Cupid). Or rather to St Aghapitos (“Loved”), a pretty church that fits perfectly to the village’s romantic atmosphere, locked within a maze of white-washed alleys.





Komi: Scary fairies and tasty artichokes


The dry landscape changes into a green valley at Kato Meri location, the main village of Komi being its vivid centre for agricultural production. But be careful if crossing Kato Meri valley alone especially on a full-moon night: “Yeloudes” (the local banshees) might get your tongue! Don’t think that ancient beliefs have died away in our materialistic times: there’s even a Facebook page on Yeloudes, where people narrate their stories, some with awe and some with affection…

Yeloudes, the Official Site at :

28tinosIn the Komi central square local authorities organize a May harvest festival to promote the Tinos artichoke, the most precious vegetable of the island. Yearly, some 10,000 artichokes are offered in various home-made traditional and modern dishes, including the delicious lemon-pickled artichoke, prepared by the local women’s cooperative.


Roman-Catholic heritage in the Aegean

One third of the island’s population belongs to the Roman Catholic denomination. The very seat of the Tinos & Naxos archdiocese is in Xinara village and the “Cycladic-baroque” Cathedral of Our Mary of the Rosary (1860) is regularly open to visitors.


Yet, the biggest organized religious pilgrimage site for Roman Catholics from all over Greece is at the Jesuit Monastery of the Holy Heart (1724) at the feet of Exomvourgo rock. Visitors are welcome all through the summer months and every second Sunday of July the main celebration takes place.


In Loutra village, the monastic order of Ursuline nuns established a (secular) school that gained such reputation as to attract the offspring of Athenian and Mediterranean elite. Migration away from the island that followed WW II and forth was so dramatic that the school had to change its headquarters to Athens. The exceptionally beautiful 19th century buildings (with the nearby Jesuit church of St Joseph) offer a panoramic view over the evergreen Kato Meri valley and the sea beyond. The establishments host original cultural events during the summer months and are home to nostalgic exhibits of arts and crafts practiced during their years of operation.


 Art lecture on “Michelangelo in Tinos” inside St. Joseph’s church

The Ottoman connection

Although Ottoman traces are seriously absent from the Cyclades, Tinos has been the place of origin of a most extraordinary woman in the Ottoman Empire: Kösem Sultan (1589 –1651), originally Anastasia, daughter of a Tinos priest and sold off as a slave, managed to become the powerful wife of Sultan Ahmed I, mother of two other Sultans (Murat IV and Ibrahim I) and grandmother of one more! (Mehmet IV) A typical case of the 130-year era called the “Women’s Sultanate”, she played a central role to ruling affairs over the High Gate’s realm and was the only woman to become the Empire’s Regent twice.



Local fiestas

As Tinos has a lot of villages and two denominations, there are a lot of festive occasions! Join the Tinian people in their festive event in honor of a local saint (“Panigyri”) where food and wine are usually provided for by the community. Typically for Tinos, each feast has a seasonal delicacy featuring each time – furthermore, a feast dedicated entirely to the exceptional Tinian thyme-flower honey is organized by the island’s bee-keepers every September 15th in the village of Kampos.

Village feasts provide an opportunity to listen to live bands playing violin-based tunes of the Aegean and all and sundry gathering to dance until daybreak. Cyclades folk dances are not difficult to learn and no one is too fussy about it so…give it a try!



“Syrtos”-dancing at Kalloni Village:

Check out announcements on Hora posters for more events (but don’t expect punctuality in the backgammon championships: they start when they start!). A more standard, non-extensive list of villages and dates for the summertime feasts includes:

June: Aghia Triadha, Kardiani, Falatados, Hatzirados (4th), Arnados (5th), Smardakito (13th), Triantaros (29th)

July: Arnados, Marlas, Porto (1st), Vaketa, Hora, Tsiknias (20th), Tzados (25th), Ysternia (26th)

August: Priastro, Karya (6th), Panayia, Brysi (15th), Aghapi (18th), Pyrgos (23rd), Komi (29th)

September: Aghios Sostis (6th), Vourniotissa (8th), Ktikados (14th), Hora (15th)

Best way to say goodbye                                                                                                


Back to Hora and time to travel back home? The best way to remember Tinos by is through a passage from the Tinos Cooperatives shop, located on Evangelistria way. Apart from the fabulous artichokes and honey, the island’s best in cheeses, organic wines and sun-dried tomato preserves are truly a must-taste.


Greetings from Tinos! See you soon!!

Sophia Nikolaou