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Tinos, a Meeting of Religion and Art

Tinos is a Cycladic island famous for its church, but worth exploring for its surprising artistic tradition and stunning marble sculptures.

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Tinos, the home island of many great painters and sculptors, is closely associated with the church of the Virgin Mary. The pilgrimage to its central icon is perhaps the largest in Greece, especially on August 15th, the day of celebration of the Virgin Assumption. Beside the church of the Virgin Mary stand the Archaeological Museum, the Art Gallery and the great Museum of Artists from Tinos. The rest of the island also has a number of beautiful sites to offer, including green orchards, endless sandy beaches, wonderful traditional settlements, ancient ruins and elaborately-built dovecotes.   

After wandering through the capital’s alleyways where one can find every kind of small shop and tavern, one can tour the island’s villages in order to understand its true nature. To the northeast lies the steep granite rock of Xobourgos and the ruins of a once important Venetian castle. In the midst of round granite boulders that form an almost lunar landscape, is the renowned village of Volax. Take a stroll along the white alleys with their low arches, simple island houses and yards filled with blossomed bougainvilleas and perhaps you will encounter old villagers weaving their village's traditional reed and wicker baskets. Next, take the road that leads to Kolybithra beach with its two sandy shores that lie in front of the impressive Drakonissi. The village that enchants the most, however, is Pyrgos, in the northern part of the island.  It shines a brilliant white and invites us to admire its mansions with their marble exteriors and its central square with a huge, ancient plane tree and marble fountain commemorating the 1821 War of Independence.

Pyrgos is the birthplace of artists such as Halepas, whose house is now a museum, Lytras, Philippoti and Scalkota. We can discover here the Preliminary School of Arts, the Museum of Artists from Tinos and many marble workshops. Nearby is Panormos harbour, once a very important site for extracting marble, where one can swim and eat fresh fish in front of the peaceful cove speckled with fishing boats. Later one can take a short visit to the village Hysternia, home of many artists, with a picturesque harbour and sandy beaches with crystal waters below. Syros, the neighbouring island, can be seen straight ahead. 

 

Where to stay:  Tinos beach offers condominiums in traditional Cycladic architectural style, spanning the shore of beautiful Kionion Beach, only 3 km from the harbor.

Porto Tango, a beautiful hotel complex in traditional Cycladic architecture, one of the best in the Aegean, with a spectacular view of Delos from above the picturesque cove of Ag. Giannis.

 

Where and what to eat Tinos is well known for its cuisine and will satisfy even the most demanding gourmet. Try fresh fish, local goat, Tinos cheese, sausages, frutalia  (omelette with sausages), louza (cured pork), capers, almond desserts, nougat and Turkish delight. “Koutouki tis Elenis" stands out in Hora for its tasty mezes and stews, all prepared with the best quality ingredients. Try the traditional taverna “Volax” in the homonymous village and do not forget the famous “galaktoboureko” in the classic Coffee shop of Alexandra in Pyrgos.

 

Useful Telephone Numbers

Local code / 22830

Municipality / 22234    

Police / 22255

Port Authorities / 22348

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