For years it was the “island of Panagia,” but only recently has the less obvious and charming aspect of the island has been revealed. This discovery came as such a surprise that the news traveled far and wide, and now there are many visitors who come to the island. Phrases such as “fifty villages’‘ and “haute gastronomy” come and go, and as visitors reach the third largest island in the Cyclades, they find that they’re accurate descriptions.
Of course, there are those who cannot stand its gusty winds – but there are just as many who view it as a refreshing antidote to the summer heatwave and feel like going one “step beyond” to encounter the unpredictable and exciting Tinos. The Tinos of marble and sculptures; of cliffs and xerolithies (dry stone walls); of rakizia (were the local raki is produced) and vineyards; of good food and award-winning restaurants; a place where Greek Catholics have been living alongside Greek Orthodox Christians for centuries; the island of valleys and mountains, and of strong winds and waves.
They also come across the new Tinos, which has welcomed multicolored cafes in the narrow streets of the old villages and seaside bars with exotic cocktails on remote beaches. This summer, Tinos is reaching a new touristic peak, and up there, with the whistling of the cool meltemi winds, the island is faced with a new challenge, somewhere between its rich traditions and folklore that dates back centuries, and its ambitious new face.
Lovely hangouts in beautiful villages
Tinos is filled with villages, some of them still unspoiled and traditional, others filled with a new pulse. The multicolored gastro-café “Klouki” has just opened in Falatados (Tel. (+30) 6986.021.824), the meze taverna “Svoura” (Tel. (+30) 22830.518.30) and the bistro “Komissa” (Tel. (+30) 22830.518.83) have made their appearance in the old village square at Komi, while in Triantaros you will find the gorgeous café-bar-restaurant called “Triantaraki” (Tel. (+30) 22830.413.71). Next to it you will find an old village taverna, where Mrs. Leni and her children offer a taste of the traditional Tinos, and further along is “Labo Bar” (Tel. (+30) 22830.421.34) with a design flair from Milan.
Duo Horia village boasts an exceptional taverna that goes by the same name (Tel. (+30) 22830.416.15), as well as the café-meze hangout called “Kapaki” in the old square. In Kampos, “Horeftra” (Tel. (+30) 22830.516.85) serves traditional cuisine, Ktikados village offers two classic taverna options – “Drosia” (Tel. (+30) 22830.210.87) and “Agnati” (Tel. (+30) 6979.675.109) – and Myrsini has a popular taverna-grocery store called “Tereza” (tel. 22830-41320).
One day in Pyrgos
In the wild Exo Meria, in northern Tinos, stands the central village of Pyrgos, home to great sculptors and the School of Fine Arts. This is where the impressive Museum of Marble Crafts and the Giannoulis Chalepas Museum are located, as well as the famous square with its traditional cafes and plane trees. The taste of new Tinos can be found at “Dough & Shaker” restaurant (Tel. (+30) 22830.311.19), where you must try the handmade pasta and pizza. At the seaport village of Panormos you can find traces of old Greece at “Marina” seafood taverna (Tel. (+30) 22830.313.14), while the multicolored, fresh aspect of the island reappears in Rohari, at the exotic, seaside beach bar/hangout called “Alohari” (Tel. (+30) 6972.326.036).
All the delicacies of Tinos
It would be remiss of us not to mention the fabulous cooking of chef Antonia Zarpa at “Thalassaki,” in the bay of Ysternia (Tel. (+30) 22830.313.66), the eclectic gastronomic experience at Marinos Sourani’s “Marathia” (Tel. (+30) 22830.232.49) in Aghios Fokas, under the management of Evripidis Apostolidis, the refined “Mikro Karavaki” (Tel. (+30) 22830.228.18) by the ground-breaking Antonis and Stamatoula Psalti at the old port, and the exceptional “San to Alati” (Tel. (+30) 22830.292.66) by Vasilis Plakias, on the coast of Aghios Fokas.
There are also the small tavernas one comes across everywhere, such as “Agira” (Tel. (+30) 22830.230.16) or the classic “Koutouki tis Elenis” (Tel. (+30) 22830.248.57) in Hora, and the myriads of places hidden in the narrow streets and village squares. Tinos really is a paradise for lovers of good food.
Beaches … and more beaches
Much like the tavernas and villages of Tinos, there are numerous beaches as well. Walk from Panormosto Aghia Thalassa and Kavalourko, next to the islet of Planitis, and along the footpath to the once unknown – and today rather popular – Apigania Beach. Pahia Ammos, with its sand dunes and the island of Mykonos just across the way, is always worth a visit (also accessible via small footpath), while the beach of Aghios Fokas, measuring 4 kilometers in length, always offers several lovely spots for those in search of something near the Hora. Aghios Fokas also features several beach bars – we recommend “Alemar” and “Pegu Mar” for coffee, food and drinks.
Discover the mainland through thematic hikes with Manthos Prelorentzos (Tel. (+30) 6946.730.291).
Admire the Aegean from above from the island’s medieval castle, at Exomvourgo, or from the “Throne of Aeolus” on the top of Tsiknias. Drive along the dirt road to visit the old, atmospheric quarries for a look at where the precious Tinian marble came from.
For a tour of Tinos via boat, contact Mirka Apergi and Apergis Group (Tel. (+30) 6946.580.623; 22830.261.00).
For drinks in the Hora we recommend “Three Donkeys”, the classic “Koursaros” and the new arrivals “Santiago” and “See you Soon” in the new hangout area around Aghios Georgios square.
For a taste of the authentic Tinos, visit the small farmer’s market in Palladas. During the summer you will find delicious local tomatoes, melons, figs and many more fine local produce here.