Explore Tinos. Enchanting yet still unknown to the majority of travellers, Tinos is one of the most interesting cycladic islands to visit. One can enjoy its unspoiled architecture, its picturesque 40 villages, its exquisite beaches and its traditional culture and mouthwatering gastronomy as well as the way of living that has been going on through the years.
According to the philosopher Kastoriadis, the “hand-made Tínos” is the homeland of renowned great artists of marble carving such as Gyzis, Lytras, Chalepas, Filippotis and Sochos, who have been the last famous names to have held the baton of the island’s marble-carving tradition.
The pan-hellenic festivities in honour of Virgin Mary on August 15 are accompanied by other festivals like those in Tsikniás and Exómbourgo and the gastronomic feasts involving artichoke and raki in Falatádos as well as the festival of honey in Kámpos. Tinos is the ideal place for nature lovers, architecture, art and tradition, and the perfect answer to the relative expectations!
According to the legend, the famous sculptor of the ancient times, Phidias, had taught the secrets of his art to the locals. Their admirable craft is displayed in chapels, fountains, arches and pigeon lofts.
The scenic villages of Tinos
Pyrgos, the village of the marble artists
Lying away from the seashore and where a Venetian castle used to stand (the word “pyrgos” in Greek means “castle”) Pýrgos is one of the largest villages of the island and, definitely, the centre of the marble art of Tinos.
The fountain dedicated to the Greek Revolution of 1821, the marble work on the churches, the houses and the two museums make obvious that sculpture enjoys a long tradition in Pyrgos. Since 1955 the Art School for Marble Sculpture has supported this long tradition.
The picturesque settlement lies in the shape of an amphitheatre on the edge of a valley that adjoins the plain of Komi. One of Tino’s most abundant brooks winds its way through the valley, which is dotted with well-preserved dovecotes. The arcades and the houses with the pretty lintels above their doors and windows play their part into making Agapi one of the most traditional villages of the island.
Tino’s highest village is on the south flank of the Kechrovouni Mountain, close to the Church museum where you can see old icons, books and other religious items. A breathtaking panorama is the backdrop to classical Tinos-style cooking with meat prepared with locally grown ingredients. Don’t leave the area before visiting the monastery of Kechrovouni (10th century) a big edifice looking like a fortified village. There you can see the cell of nun Pelagia, and a museum where several remarkable icons from the18th and 19th centuries, as well as other important heirlooms, are kept.
It is a tiny village, located in the interior of the island, almost hidden in the middle of rounded, giant granite blocks, with houses that are built onto the rocks. It is one of the most interesting villages to explore, as its architecture is unique on the island. Many of its houses are actually built on top of the boulders! Although tiny in size, the village has two tavernas, a gift shop, a folklore museum, a small stone open-air theater and a few remaining basket weavers still making their sturdy artifacts. You can also find local honey, herbs, dried figs and tomatoes, capers and wine.Also interesting to view is the tiny Catholic village church next door to the folklore museum. It is exactly what you would expect a village church to look like! A footpath winds down the valley to Agapi village.
A village adorned with olive groves and gardens filled with artichokes, citrus fruits and vegetables. Stroll over to Agios Zacharias church. From its large veranda decorated with a pebble mosaic, you can admire the view over the village to the beach at Kolimbithra.
The village marks the beginning of a fertile plain that stretches down to the sea. At each of the two entrances to the village, there is a church with a beautiful square.
This farmers’ village lies at the foot of Tsiknias, the highest mountain on Tinos. In the Agios Antonios church, there is a carved wooden iconostasis as well as icons from the 17th and 18th centuries.
On a steep slope high above Ysternia Bay there is the village called Ysternia, between Kardiani and Pyrgos. Apart from its spectacular views one can also admire plenty of marble adornments on houses, churches and in the pretty town square, as this village is yet another home to marble artists with a long tradition of carving.
It is a village whose history stretches back to the 14th Century, and where agriculture and cattle breeding still play a role. Visit the church of Agios Ioannis and admire its marbled decoration. During summer don’t miss contemporary art exhibited at the House of Exhibition.
In the picturesque passage next to the Church you can have a coffee and taste delicious homemade desserts. In the tavernas, you can taste delicious meat and offal specialties on a spit or on the grill, as well as a wide range of appetizers.
After visiting the gorgeous hinterland of the island, take off your clothes, put on your swimming suits and trunks and off to the superb beaches of Tinos! An when you have enough of swimming, sunbathing, and flirting on the beach, you can embark on sightseeing. Lucky you, the island is full of interesting, beautiful, and important sites.
Traditional products of Tinos
Tinos is a farmers’ island. Barley, oats, and wheat are cultivated, as well as olives and figs. The orchards are full of trees, particularly lemon and orange ones.
The local cheeses and other dairy products are well known. The island’s dairy producers have contributed to organise the mass production of milk without losing its purity and high quality standards. Notable products include Tinos graviera cheese, (yellow cheese), Tinos fresh milk, myzithra (unsalted cheese), known as petroma, that is used for the traditional Easter cheese pies (sweet).
The great king among local cheeses is Kopanisti, a PDO soft cheese with a peppery flavor, not heat-treated and set with natural yeast. The TinianTyraki (Volaki or Sklavotyri) is the most typical cheese of Tinos and you will find it, dry or fresh, in a round shape.
Animal husbandry involves sheep, cows, pigs, poultry and, of course, pigeons. Delicious cheese (the famous round or ball cheese, boiled cheese and an unsalted soft cheese called “myzithra”) and mouthwatering meat products (such as sausages, sissera or syglina, and louzes) prove the island’s farming tradition, as well as its special cuisine.
Τhe island is well reputed for its white wine varieties Askathari and Aspropotamisio.
Beaches of Tinos
Get ready for a swim at some of the most impressive beaches in the Aegean.
Tinos is an island dotted with beaches for all tastes; Cosmopolitan, solitary, family, alternative, with amenities or not, with thick or fine sand, pebbles, and many more. During summer, you are bound to spend some of your time swimming, diving or just laying under the sun in some of them. There is a great variety of choices, from desert beaches with absolute silence to cosmopolitan ones with beach bars and activities to have some fun.
Discover each and every one and you will be definitely rewarded.
Agios Ioannis, Porto, Agios Sostis, Agios Romanos, Agios Fokas and Kionia are just some of the beautiful and calm beaches the coastline of Tinos is dotted with. Clear-watered and soft-sanded, these beaches provide perfect places for relaxation. But when visitors have to choose just one, they tend to prefer Pachia Ammos, a wonderful thus very popular beach in the South.
Kolimbithra is a natural seawater basin with two sand-covered beaches. The smaller one has deckchairs and umbrellas, a volleyball net, freshwater showers and WCs.
Once used by the marble exporters, the harbour of Panormos is today a popular excursion destination. It is a picturesque spot with colorful fishing-boats and sandy beaches. Out in the bay, there is an impressive rock called “the planet”.
On the warm, south side of Tinos, directly under the spectacular village of Kardiani there is an elongated pebbled stretch of beach, called Ormos Yannaki, with sunshades and wonderful views of the neighbouring island of Syros.
Finally, Ormos Isternion is a small scenic port with adjacent pebble seashore and fishermen’s huts along the water’s edge. A two-minute walk will bring you to a sandy beach well protected from the wind.
Koumelas and Mali are two beaches in the North that, apart from being gorgeous, they are always well-protected, even when the winds are harsh. In any case, ask the locals which beach to swim at should the winds be strong.
The only thing that might spoil your plans to swim is the summer wind of the area, called meltemi (annual wind). If you notice that the wind is in a wild mood, before… charting your course, we suggest you consult the locals; they will love to advise you and to find the perfect shelter for you! When you have enough swimming and sunbathing, you can embark on sightseeing. Lucky you, the island is pregnant with interesting, beautiful, and important sites.
The Museum of Marble Crafts, in Pirgos village, on Tinos is a unique example presenting the technology of marble, a material that holds a particular place in the architecture and art of Greece and Tinos island, from antiquity through to the present.
Τhe permanent exhibition, which describes the intricate meshing of tools and techniques used in working marble in a detailed and live manner, puts an emphasis on the pre-and proto- industrial Tinos, the most important center of marble crafts in Modern Greece. In parallel, it highlights the social and economic context that the local workshops evolved in.
While visiting the museum, you could see firsthand an impressive number of authentic objects, such as secular, ecclesiastical, funerary, and everyday objects made of marble (door lintels, fountains, family crests, corbels, shrines, mortars, etc.), clay models and plaster of Paris copies, quarrying, cutting and carving tools, mechanical equipment, archival material, sketches of old marble carvings by master craftsmen (the richest collection in Greece).
The exhibits are flanked by interconnected representations of a quarry, of a marble-craft workshop and the assembly/positioning of a bishop’s throne. The exhibition’s audiovisual material brings to life the traditional work methods of the quarryman and the marble craftsman.
The exhibition extends into the museum’s outdoor areas where, together with completed and semi-wrought marble works, you can see historical mechanical equipment that reflects typical images of in-situ working environments.
The Museum of Marble Crafts at Pyrgos on Tinos, the first of its kind in Greece, is part of a Network of thematic
Museums of technology created by the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation (PIOP).
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