Compared to the tourist hotspots of Mykonos and Rhodes, the island of Tinos remains a largely undiscovered gem. Yet this little Cycladic jewel has so much to offer anyone looking for an authentic Greek holiday away from the crowds.
Despite being so close to Mykonos – around 10km (6mi) at its closest point – Tinos is a world away from the notorious party island. It’s far less developed than many of its neighbouring Greek islands, and herein lies its appeal. From scenic villages and quiet, pristine beaches to cultural events and mouthwatering delicacies, Tinos is sure to amaze you with its unassuming beauty and unique traditions. Here are Culture Trip’s top reasons why you should make Tinos your go-to sanctuary this year.
The rocky, barren soil of Tinos has provided inspiration to all kinds of artists, from painters to sculptors. Most of the exquisite sculptures that currently grace the island are made with Tinos’ world-famous white and green marble. Make sure to visit the home of Greek sculptor Yannoulis Chalepas, now turned into a museum, and marvel at his 1878 Sleeping Beauty sculpture – a young girl sleeping, symbolising death. This is a copy of the original which is in the First Cemetery of Athens.
Tinos is known for the very strong winds which are especially prevalent during the summer. Trying to sunbathe without getting covered in sand is certainly no easy feat, but you can at least make the most of big, spectacular waves. Beaches such as Kolymbithra or Livada are particularly popular among surfers, while others like Agios Fokas or Kionia are ideal for windsurfing. The island has a coastline of 114km (71mi), so you are bound to find your dream spot and catch that perfect wave.
Tinos hosts a range of festivals, mostly during the summer. Tinos Festival, which includes music concerts, theatrical performances and book fairs, is probably the most well-known, but the Revival of the Trawl has to be the most exciting. To honour the old fishermen in the village of Ktikados – one of the very first fish villages of Tinos – people gather at Kionia beach towards the end of August and fish. Afterwards, they feast on seafood and sip on wine, as folk groups dance and play traditional music.
No die-hard foodie will stay unimpressed by Tinos’ culinary delights. The island’s farmer’s markets sell some of the most succulent fresh produce – pass by the one at Pallada and you will find anything from luscious tomatoes to capers and artichokes. Meanwhile, the many quaint taverns on Tinos’ hillside villages serve delectable traditional dishes, some with a gourmet touch. One of the most idyllic is the elegant Exo Meria, guaranteeing unparalleled sea views from its lovely terrace. Don’t miss their oven-baked omelettes.