The island of Tinos (194 sq km, 8,600 inhabitants) is part of the archipelago of the Cyclades islands, is located in the northern part of the archipelago, south-east of the island of Andros and north-west of Mykonos. The capital of the island is the city of Tinos which is located along the southern coast, where ferries connect the island to Piraeus and the other Cyclades islands. The island is also famous for the production of a beautiful green marble renowned throughout Greece. Tourism is the main and most profitable economic activity on the island.
Like most of the Cyclades, the island of Tinos is mountainous and has a very jagged coast. Mount Tsiknias (729 meters), located in the south-eastern area, is the highest peak on the island. Characteristic, in the center of the island, is the mountain of Exobourgo on the top of which there is a Venetian fortress. The Venetian dominion over Tinos lasted for over 500 years, between 1207 and 1715. In 1715 the island was conquered by Ottoman troops, the Turks checked Tinos for over a hundred years, until Greek independence.
THE LOURDES OF GREECE
In Tinos, the capital and main center of the island, there is the important Marian sanctuary of Panagia Evangelistria where a miraculous icon of the Virgin is venerated, the icon of Megalochari. The church, which earned the Greek name of Lourdes in Tinos, is a pilgrimage destination from all over Greece. The church is a neoclassical building and also houses museums of sacred objects and icons. A small archaeological museum is located near the church. Along the coast just north of the port of Tinos, near the village of Kionia, there are the remains of the Sanctuary of Poseidon and Aphrodite built in the 4th century BC.
Scattered on the island there are numerous characteristic villages built on steep slopes. As evidence of the faith of the islanders in Tinos there are an immense quantity of churches, chapels and monasteries. Windmills are another typical feature of Tinos that unites it to the other islands of the Cyclades. While the typical architecture of the dovecotes in the shape of square towers with embroidery dates back to the Venetian era. Another legacy of the Venetian period is Catholicism practiced by a good portion of the population.
MARBLE AND VENETIAN FORTRESSES
Among the villages of the interior, Pyrgos, a town rich in marble, is worth a visit. In past centuries the main activity of the inhabitants of the town was sculpture. Nearby were the green marble quarries of Marlas, whose marble was transported, through the port of Panormos, throughout Europe. The spectacular mountain of Exobourgo (640 meters high), where a Venetian citadel-fortress stands dominates the center of the island. North of Exobourgo is the village of Volax located in the middle of a landscape made of rocks and boulders. The town of Kardiani is also very beautiful from where you can reach the coast which is high here with cliffs, escarpments and small bays.
Tinos boasts over 40 beaches. Most of the island’s beautiful beaches are located along the west coast. In particular, from south to north along the west coast we find the beaches of: Pahia Ammos, Porto, Agios Sostis, Agios Fokas, Kionia, Agios Romanos. Along the less accessible east coast are the beaches of: Kolymythra, Vathy and Panormos.
HOW TO GET TO TINOS
FERRIES: The port of Tinos which is located along the south-western coast of the island is connected by fast ships with the ports of Piraeus (4 hours) and Rafina (2 hours) in Attica and with the island of Mykonos (15 minutes). In addition to the fast ships there are slower ferry connections to the islands of Andros (1 hour and 30 minutes), Naxos (1 hour and 30 minutes), Paros (1 hour and 30 minutes) and Syros (2 hours).