Dubbed as the Aegean Muse, Tinos is an island of unparalleled beauty filled with history and culture. Tinos has always been a well-known destination but in the past few years, it lures more and more visitors from Greece and abroad. “Tinos. The Aegean Muse” self-guided audio tour takes you to the heart of the island narrating its customs and traditions.
Chora, the beating heart of the island
Hopping off the ferry, you’ll find yourself in Chora, the capital of the island and its administrative and commercial center. Inhabited permanently by the mid-18th century, the capital is now home to shops, restaurants and bars. Explore the old neighborhoods of Pallados and Malamatenia and see its top attractions. Here you’ll find the Church of Panagia of Tinos, one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Greece. Built where the icon of the Annunciation of Virgin was discovered, the monastery complex not only houses the miraculous icon of the Virgin but also permanent exhibitions of icons, relics and art pieces.
Extra tip: If you are an art lover, visit the Cultural Foundation of Tinos Island. Yannoulis Chalepas’ work and temporary exhibitions highlight the island’s history, the culture and the traditional art of the island.
Contemporary trends and tradition in Pyrgos
Tinos is famous for its picturesque villages that lie in its inner core. The largest and most famous village of the island is Pyrgos, which was founded in the 16th century and today is an outdoor museum of folk architecture and sculpture. Here, the marble craft tradition is still alive and thriving. If you visit Pyrgos, make a stop at the Tinos Museum of Marble Crafts and learn about the art of marble from antiquity to the present day. Pyrgos is also the birthplace of painters, sculptors and composers who renovated and changed the character of contemporary Greek art. Visit the Museum of Yannoulis Chalepas and the Panormos Artists Museum and marvel at art pieces of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Extra tip: Before or after you’ve explored the traditional houses, the sculpted fountains and the marble lintels, make a stop at the main square to savor a traditional Greek coffee and taste the local delicacies.
See Tinos’ famous dovecotes
The dovecotes, Tinos’ trademark are situated all over the island Tinos and are part of the scenery of the Tinian countryside. A former symbol of noble origin and wealth and later a way to make a living, the dovecotes constitute an emblem of traditional architecture. What makes them special is their decoration that varies from one dovecote to another. Tinos had more than 600 dovecotes. The oldest and most significant of these charming pigeon houses stands in Tarambados village, in the center of the island. “Tinos. The Aegean Muse” self-guided audio tour will introduce you to the history of these magnificent buildings.
Volax: The meeting point of Gods and Titans
The most authentic village is located in In the center of the island. The lunar landscape of Volax, which in Greek means circular rocks, is bound to amaze you. According to the myth, the rocks are what have left from the Titan battle (Titanomachy). Inhabitants, on the other hand, believe that they are the meteorites’ remains while scientists claim that these rocks were under the sea during the prehistoric period. One thing is for certain, the landscape of Volax is unique. As you walk around the village, you’ll see traditional basket-weavers. You can either buy their high-quality products or even better join a workshop and make your own basket.
Extra tip: Are you a fan of bouldering or you want to try it for the first time? Volax offers the perfect setting attracting every year numerous climbers of all levels.
Walk in the marble-paved Ysternia
“A piece of art crafted in marble’’ is the phrase often used to describe Ysternia, one of the most beautiful and largest villages in Tinos. Once you take a look at the exquisite decorative elements of the residences you’ll understand why Ysternia is the birthplace of famous sculptors and artisans. Plus, from here you’ll enjoy a fantastic view of the Aegean Sea and the island of Syros.
Extra tip: Before leaving Ysternia, head north to see a group of 19th-century windmills and the church of Saint Athanasios, one of the oldest churches on the island.
Savor the Tinian wine
Due to its unique terroir, Tinos is widely known for its high-quality wine varieties. Most of the vineyards are located in the center of the island spread in terraces. In order to be protected by the wind, the vines are trained low. Tinian wine incorporate the island’s soil and weather characteristics into their flavors, boasting a salty touch. Askathari, Potamissi, Koumari and Rozaki are some of the most popular Tinian wine varieties.
Not to be missed: Those visiting Tinos in September should head to Falatados to join the Rakizio festival. Here you can witness the process of making raki and of course, taste the local drink accompanied with traditional mezedes.
Taste the local cuisine of Tinos
The Greek cuisine needs no introduction but the local cuisine of Tinos certainly deserves a special place on our article. The island’s dairy products, charcuteries, artichokes and herbs are of high-qualiy and are often the main ingredients for local dishes. Taste the Tinian artichoke pie, the varieties of cheese such as graviera and the local meat-specialty louza.
Extra tip: Go to the Municipal Market of Tinos which is located in Chora and buy a local product to bring a taste of Tinos back home.