Tinos is a stunning Greek island situated in the Aegean Sea, close to Andros, Delos, and Mykonos. This Cycladic island attracts people from all around the world throughout the year, but mostly on the 25th of March and Dekapendavgousto (15th of August) as many come to visit the Church of Panagia Megalochari (the Blessed Virgin Mary).
The Church of Panagia Megalochari is not only the patron saint of Tinos but is also considered the saint protector of Greece. It was built in 1823 on the site where the miraculous icon of Virgin was found, on a hill above Chora, the capital of Tinos. Many people crawled on their knees from the bottom part of the street (from the port) to the church.
I was blessed when I visited Tinos in 2017, as it happened to be on the 23rd of July, the Anniversary of Saint Pelagia, another special day for the island of Tinos. In June 1822, Pelagia (a nun from the convent of Kechrovounion) had visions of the Holy Virgin who told her how much she had suffered after being buried under the ground for many years. Panagia also instructed her to inform the elders of Tinos Village to begin digging up a piece of land, where they would find a sacred icon. Excavations began and an icon depicting the Virgin Mary praying was found, and today is located inside the Church of Panagia Megalochari.
Visiting Tinos is special on so many levels, and no matter if you are after a spiritual journey, a gastronomical getaway, or just to experience a Greek island full of grace, this is the place for you!
There are many places to stay in Tinos, and I highly recommend where I stayed-
These studio apartments are a 5-minute walk to the centre of Tinos town, a 9-minute walk to the beach, a 10-minute walk to all restaurants, cafes, shops and tavernas and a stroll down the street to the bakery or supermarket. The property is surrounded by a well-kept, lush garden with plants and flowers. All apartments come with WiFi, air-conditioning a dining area, a fully equipped kitchenette with a mini-fridge, cookware (and cupboards stocked with food), and an open out to a private furnished patio or balcony with a garden view. It is also located near a bus stop, only 1 minute walk, for the beaches or to visit the monastery. The host, Marika also gives plenty of information about Tinos- what to see, where to visit, how to get there, etc. which personally enhanced my stay on the island. My favourite thing about this place was that during my stay, Marika every day gave me fresh figs from her garden (the best figs I have ever tasted) and for breakfast, she also offered eggs laid from her chickens.
Poseidonio is located on the main road, facing the sea, in the centre of the town. It is only a few steps away from the busy Evagelistria Street with all the restaurants, shops and cafes and very close to the church of the Evangelismos Theotokou. The hotel offers rooms with views of the Aegean Sea or the scenic Old Town. All rooms have air-conditioning, a safe, wifi, a minibar and a bathroom with a hairdryer. A shared terrace is also located on every floor, and some rooms also open out to a private balcony. In the building, general facilities such as a lounge, cafe bar and a TV room are also found, with continental buffet-style breakfast served in the cafe bar.
There are so many great restaurants along the main road in Tinos Town, here are some of my faves-
Koutouki Tis Elenis
Near the port of Tinos, you find this postcard-perfect traditional taverna with hydrangeas and other flowers that decorate the narrow alley it is found in, a friendly atmosphere and super delicious local food waiting to be eaten. Objects like garlands of peppers and spices, wooden spoons and copper pots hang from the ceiling and musical instruments and fishing boat lights also decorate the room to create a nostalgic atmosphere. Eleni has been serving customers with a smile that never leaves her lips for the past 20 years in both summer and winter. Reasonably priced, it is worth a try tasting their stuffed cabbage leaves, artichoke pies, lamb with thyme and fennel fritters, just to name some great items on the menu, you won’t be disappointed.
Taverna Platanos (Douar)
This traditional, family-run taverna is found in a small alley of Steni village, behind an enormous plane tree. Known for specialising in meat, recommendations from the menu include perfectly cooked grilled steak, grilled pork, veal liver, lamb chops as well as salads, cheeses and vegetables all grown locally. It wouldn’t be authentic without it also being accompanied by the best homemade wine. With excellent and very friendly service, you shouldn’t miss eating here.
This little gem is found in a tiny, crooked side street in Tinos town. Run with love by a family, you can enjoy fresh Aegean fish, Spaghetti with shrimps, mussels, lobster pasta, homemade tyrokafteri, Tinos homemade sausage, and so much more! Most importantly, the staff and the environment make you feel like you are at home, so you better add this family-style home-cooked goodness to your list of places to eat at.
For dessert this place is in one of the most central locations, found in the middle of Tinos Town, Mesklies is the place to go for sweets! They have lots of delicious homemade pastries and a variety of sweets, but they are famous for their loukoumades (or donuts). I would recommend eating the loukoumades with merenta while you enjoy looking at the harbour. They also go very nice with a frappe or a greek coffee.
Tinian food tends to be fresh and creative, using local products. Beer lovers should look for Tinos’ own artisanal Nissos beer. Tinos also has quite a few vineyards to visit, with T-Oinis wines leading the way as one of the best local wineries, which you can try at most local taverns. Also try local sweets Xerotigana, which are simple pastry squares made of flour, raki, water, salt, and oil, deep-fried in olive oil and drizzled with honey and chopped almonds, are like Diples. Karydota are small sweet made of walnuts, flour, sugar, rosewater and mastiha, and Seskoulopitakia are little pies made with chard, rice, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, cloves, grape syrup and fall somewhere between the sweet and savoury category.
Agios Ioannis Porto beach is located 7 km southeast of Tinos town. Known for its beautiful natural features like the crystal clear waters which also contain a shimmering sparkle particle to it, the soft sand and the lush green area, make this beach one of the favourites in Tinos. Not for the beach but also, are beach bars and tavernas. The picturesque chapel that stands on the left side of the beach is one of the attractions of Agios Ioannis. To get here also, you can catch a bus from Tinos centre town.
Agios Markos beach is located 3 km northwest of Tinos Town. The beach consists of fine golden sand and crystal clear water, a popular hangout for tourists and locals. What is great about this beach, is that it is protected from the strong winds that Tinos is known for. Along the beach, you will also find plenty of sun beds and umbrellas, or you could use the trees for shade. To get here, you can catch a bus from Tino's centre of town.
How to get to Tinos:
-Ferry from the Port of Piraeus to Tinos, which occurs once daily, and takes 5 hours
-Ferry from the Port of Rafina to Tinos, which occurs a few times daily, and takes 3 hours
-Flight to Mykonos airport, then a ferry from Mykonos port to Tinos, which occurs daily, and only takes 1 hour.