"Pilgrimage Island" Top 5 Page for this destination Tinos Island by mindcrime

Tinos Island Travel Guide: 127 reviews and 310 photos

Tinos island is the third biggest island in Cyclades (after Naxos and Andros) located close to Andros, Mykonos and Syros islands. You can easily reach Tinos from Pireaus or Rafina ports if you come from Athens or from the near by islands.

Although not a popular destination for non greek visitors traditionally Tinos is the island that greek orthodox people visit for pilgrimage at the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary at Evagelistria church that is located at Tinos town which is also the main port and the capital of the island. Although most people come to worship Virgin Mary and fulfill their promises to her the island has lots more to offer. Of course if you come on august 15 you will be surprised by the masses that arrive that day as it is the celebration day for the church and the island with every boat full many days in advance.

Tinos town isn’t the most attractive due to lack of good architecture near the port but there are picturesque districts at the back alleys. Of course there are lots of hotel rooms, restaurants and some bars so yes you wont get bored if you decide to overnight here. Most Greeks just visit the church and return back in the afternoon or stay for a night so to enjoy a dinner at a local restaurant and take the boat the day after. The church is on the top of the hill facing the port, there are two parallel streets that lead to the church both lined with stores that sell religious artifacts etc
What’s more Tinos town has some small museums and two nice beaches near by while the rest of the island houses lots of monasteries, many beautiful traditional villages that will please every visitor and unexpected surprises like the beautiful dovecotes all over the island. There is a good transportation system with buses connecting Tinos town with the villages but if you rent a car you will be more comfortable and have the time to visit much more and enjoyed many of the beaches too (the coastline is 114km long) with clear waters, especially some small ones away from the popular ones.

The island is also famous for its marble, a material of high quality that had been exported abroad too but it is amazing that you can see it everywhere all over the island, squares, houses, churches, small alleys etc That’s why you will see even a museum dedicated to marble craft but also many small museums focusing on local sculptures, we visited the ones at Pyrgos village. Locals work for the tourist industry but farming was also part of their lives some years before although the dry land made their life harder but they used some smart tricks like small stone walls on the hills so to create small parts of level ground.

Highest mountain is Tsiknias on the east (726m) while Exomburgo rock rises up at 641 meters in the center of the island. This was the spot where the ancient city was but the oldest area that the first people lived on the island was Vriokastro, the hill next to Agios Fokas beach. People settled there since the Bronze Age or probably the first Cycladic Period (3000-2300 BC). Later (between 2300-1600 BC) the settlement was fortified. It was also a strategic spot like Vriokastro, an area that people moved into during the first Archaic period (700 BC). The capital was settled near the sea after 600 BC, a aqueduct was built in Linopi in 549 BC (and was serving water to Tinos town until 1934).

Temple of Poseidon and Amphitrite was built during 4th century BC at Kionia. Romans arrived in 146 BC and then pirates, arabs, Goths and ottomans were just some of those who arrived or just attacked. Venetians came in 1207 and fortified Exomburgo hill so to be protected from the attacks. Turks never really conquered the island, only for a few years after the venetians and was surprisingly independent until the greek revolution in 1821. Next year the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary was founded, the church of Evagelistria was built and the island became again a pilgrimage island like it was in the ancient years when the people were coming for the Temple of Poseidon…

Tinos named after king Tinos, the first of Ionian people that came from Karia in Asia Minor. The island was also called Hydrousa due to numerous springs but also Ofiousa due to numerous snakes (ofis in greek) but some others claim that it has to do with efides a local plant. It was always famous for its strong winds, and is called island of Aeolos, even today boat connection may stop when the winds are above a specific level.

  • Last visit to Tinos Island: Jul 2012
  • Intro Updated Sep 3, 2012
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Reviews (15)

Comments (4)

  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo
    Sep 3, 2012 at 6:54 AM

    great writeup on another of your beautiful islands. most enjoyed ( over the week it took me ).

  • oriettaIT's Profile Photo
    Aug 28, 2012 at 5:42 AM

    You thought I did not know about Tinos, but I have been reading a book during my Greek vacation wrote by a Greek lady born in Australia from Greek parents and she described,along with many other things, the history of the icon and the sad episode of the sunken ship.
    Great page as usual my friend!

  • liliana91's Profile Photo
    Aug 24, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    lovely photos!! you're great at taking photos!

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Aug 19, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    great new page, love the villages and beaches, they look beautiful.The cat is like our new kitten, same colours.

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