Tinos Greece: a perfect one-week itinerary

This week-long itinerary combines a beach-time rhythm of Tinos Greece with the island’s unique artistic, historical and religious heritage. From local architecture, traditional tavernas, and must-see museums, to religious tourism stops, beautiful beaches, and hidden village square coffee shops, we have the island covered for you.

A Week in Tinos Itinerary Overview

Tinos is an island in the heart of the Cycladic archipelago and also in the heart of the Greek island identity.

Map of Tinos Island

Low-key compared to the neighboring Mykonos and larger than the small Cyclades islands, Tinos and its high artistic, religious and lifestyle significance offers much more than just sand, sea, and sun options.

Map of Tinos Greece

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Map of Tinos, Greece

Its allures are best discovered during a longer stay to go village and beach-hopping, so here is a full week itinerary with tips and important information in order to discover and visit Tinos.

You might not want to cover everything on this itinerary every day, and you can certainly pick and choose from the number of options on offer each day. But even for the most active adventurer, you won’t be bored with this itinerary! 

Important things to consider before you visit Tinos

Tinos is connected by ferry ride from Athens (ports of Rafina and Piraeus), as well as from various neighboring islands.

In case you are departing from Tinos in order to embark on your international flight from Athens’ Eleftherios Venizelos airport, make sure to leave the island one day before your scheduled flight and avoid being late due to bad weather and choppy seas cancelations or delays.

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Tinos traditional architecture

Rafina port is more convenient for travelers who are not going to the city of Athens, but to the Athens airport.     

Tinos and other Greek islands get busy during July and August, so buy your ferry tickets beforehand and avoid crowds and even sold-out ferries.

Tinos is definitely not a small island. Booking a car rental makes exploring Tinos easy. You will need your own transportation to see most of the island.

High-speed ferries might get bumpy during the summer, as the famous Meltemi winds blow strong in July and August. Have a sea sickness pill ready just in case.

Tinos is an ideal destination if you have already been to Santorini, Mykonos, and Naxos and would like to continue the exploration of the Greek islands, love hiking, and water sports, or enjoy art and religious heritage.

 

About Tinos

Tinos is one of those Greek islands that still retains a proper island charm, lost around its better-known neighbors, Mykonos and Santorini. If Mykonos stands for mass tourism, nightlife, and celebrities, Tinos is its pure opposite – an island immersed in the culture, history, and faith.

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Church of Panagia Evangelistria

With more than 100 km of coastline and 40 picturesque villages, a rugged and unique landscape, and rich history, Tinos is becoming a travel hotspot.

One of the most significant features of the island is the wonder-making icon of the All-Holy Virgin Mary held in the Church of Panagia Evangelistria in Tinos town. Her festive day, the 15th of August attracts believers from Greece and abroad seeking her help and healing, making Tinos a sacred destination for Orthodox Greeks.

Tinos also hosts one of the largest Catholic communities in Greece, as it was part of the Venetian Republic for centuries.

That, along with its favorable position along the trading routes in the Aegean Sea made Tinos an urban center with artistic ateliers and handcraft workshops long before Greece gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire.

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Tinos chora street art

Tinos has been known from ancient times for its minerals, ore, and marble that has decorated lavish villas all around the Mediterranean. Some of the quarries are open for visitors and it is a sight you should not miss.

Tinos is also an island of more pretty villages than many other places in the Cyclades. Each has a central square, narrow alleys, whitewashed houses that brave the winds, and warm local people.w

Tip: It is also a place of the finest traditional omelets Greece can offer!

As well as world-unique pigeon houses that go up to several stories high, that have recently been revamped into artistic shops and holiday accommodation.

You will also love the sandy beaches – from quiet spots to read and swim to wind-powered spots for experienced surfers.

Tinos offers a rare combination of art and history, a low-key lifestyle, great nature and beaches, and traditional and contemporary cuisine with proximity to Athens and other islands. It is a proper authentic Greek island summer experience!

Day one: Get your bearings around the island and head straight to the beach

Choose one of the ferries that arrive early to make the most of the day in Tinos. Getting to your accommodation, either by car or pick-up provided by your hosts should give you a first glimpse of the island and you will see that much of its terrain is hilly, so be cautious of the traffic.

Kolibythra-Beach-Tinos
Kolibithra Beach, Tinos Greece

After settling in, always check the wind direction with your hosts. Avoid going to a beach facing the direction of the summer wind. It can be so strong that it makes swimming impossible. Our picks for the first day are Agios Ioannis Porto and Agios Sostis beach.

Agios Ioannis Porto is typical Cyclades – a sandy beach with a view towards Mykonos, azure shallow waters, and a chapel to the side.

Bring your snorkeling equipment as the sea-bed gets interesting around the rocks. Beach bars with sun-loungers are a perfect spot to relax after a ferry arrival!

Spend your late afternoon on the neighboring beach of Agios Sostis which is just a minutes’ walk over a small “peninsula” that separates it from the Agios Ioannis Porto beach.

When the time comes for fresh seafood and Greek wine (try the sharp-tasting retsina), tavernas are just behind the sand dunes.   

Day two: Get to know the history and heritage of Tinos

Morning: the Greek breakfast

Start your day with a visit to your local bakery and savor the pastries – the best are the local cheese pies (tyropita) and sweet custard pie (bougatsa) that go perfectly with strong Greek coffee.

For later, grab a couple of super-sweet almond delicacies called amigdalota that were even served at the presidential dinner when President Obama visited Greece (some of the best ones are in the patisseries of the island’s capital).

Afternoon till Evening: Chora

The island’s capital is a rather developed port settlement but makes it all up in the cultural sphere. This is where you will get an idea about the island’s significance and rich heritage. Make sure to visit the Church of Panagia Evangelistria, some of the great museums in Tinos (including the Archeological Museum and the Tinian Artists Museum), and the Mausoleum of the Elli.

Church of the Panagia Evangalestria

Panagia Evangalestria (Our Lady of Tinos) is the island’s main attraction where a famous icon is kept. It was built on the place the miraculous icon was found in the 19th century.

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Church of Panagia Evangalestria, Tinos Island

The red carpet leading to the church from the port is dedicated to the pilgrims who are covering the distance on their knees, showing their devotion and faith. August is the month when most of the pilgrims arrive.

The Archeological Museum

Ancient treasures of the island and artifacts from neighboring islands are displayed here.

There are sculptures from ancient to Roman times, coins, and a great pottery collection. Vases depicting scenes from Greek mythology are super interesting. The star exhibit is the marble sundial of Andronicus.

Entrance fee: €3.

Museum of Tinian Artists

This museum is set in a beautiful whitewashed mansion next to the Panagia Evangalestria.

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Museum of Tinian Artists

Its fine arts heritage collection consists of sculptures and paintings donated by renowned Greek artists, most notably Giannoulis Chalepas and Nicholaos Gyzis. The soul and the aesthetics of Tinian culture radiate from the exhibits. Even the famous Phidias, the creator of the Parthenon is said to have originated from Tinos.

Tip: Make sure to keep your ticket from the Museum of Tinian Artists to visit the house of Greek master sculptor Giannoulis Chalepas in Pyrgos

Mausoleum of the Elli

WWII in Greece began when the Greek ship Elli was torpedoed while docked in Tinos, on the holy day of the Virgin Mary in 1940.

The museum is within the Evangalestria church complex. One of the cannons from the ship was salvaged and is displayed next to the lighthouse in the old port.

Day three: Villages, the true island identity

You don’t want to spend all day at the beach when there are over 40 villages scattered around Tinos, each with its own history, population, churches, a main square, and restaurants.

The real life of the island opens up to curious travelers via a network of roads and paths that zig-zag along the slopes. My favorites are the villages of Pyrgos, Dyo Choria, and Volax.

Pyrgos

Pyrgos is one of the largest villages in Tinos and a perfect example of a Cycladic picturesque village.

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Beautiful Pyrgos streetscape

Almost the entire village is made from marble slabs and you’ll love the crisp Greek sun against the whitewashed houses and stone-covered streets.

Make sure to walk the uneven little streets to experience the famous archways, above which the rooms of the adjoining houses are set.

Pyrgos is the birthplace of Giannoulis Chalepas, Greece’s most important modern-time sculptor. You can admire the marble tradition of Tinos at the Giannoulis Halepas Museum.

Marble crafts and the School of the Fine Arts in Pyrgos are the core of the marble sculpture artisanship of Greece.

Don’t leave the village without treating yourself to lemonade and yogurt with local honey in Sousouro café.

Dyo Choria

The name Dyo Choria means “two villages,” two settlements that over the years became a single village. Its altitude allows for an open sea view of Delos, Syros, and Mykonos. The “upper” and “lower” villages are idyllic, with violet bougainvillea flowers falling on the white cobbled streets. The village square offers shade under the plane tree and stone cave fountains.

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Countryside around Volax, Tinos

Volax

Volax is a village surrounded by huge granite rocks, the remains of a long-forgotten volcanic eruption. The landscape seems unearthly and only the whitewashed cubic houses remind us of the other villages in Tinos.

The Folklore Museum and the outdoor theater are the main attractions. The traditional art of basket-weaving is kept alive in this village and you can buy baskets from the weavers.   

Day four: Marble quarries and beaches

Morning:

Take a dirt road to the northernmost tip of the Tinos island to find Koumelas, a marble quarry fit for the Game of Thrones scenery. Have the camera ready for the emerald green waters of the natural pool set among the gigantic marble cuts.

Pack a picnic and head further on to Koumelas beach for a swim, and enjoy the view of Andros on the horizon.

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Isternia village, Tinos Greece

Afternoon:

Head to Isternia (Ysternia) village and down to a small beach on the bay. Isternia is a lovely village built amphitheatrically on the western slopes. It’s home to marble craftsmen and offers amazing sunset views and glimpses of Syros island, as well as protected windmills and imposing churches.

Day five: Tinos walks, sea views, and wooden doors

Tinos has some of the most elaborate hiking paths of all Cycladic islands! The labeled paths allow you to experience unspoiled olive groves, traditional terraced gardens, and local architecture in beautiful villages outside of Chora town. In a nutshell – authentic Tinos.

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Tinian landscape, Tinos Island

Hiking   

There are plenty of hiking options. My favorite is the M1 “The Highlands” route that goes via the mountain of Xompourgo and along the lines of the Castle of Saint Helen. It was one of the sturdiest strongholds of the Aegean during the Middle Ages and is now in ruins.

Another favorite is the M2 “The Geo” route that shows the changing landscape, with a special focus on the gigantic boulders of the Granites Faltado location.  

Churches    

Tinos island has more than 1000 churches, the largest number of churches per capita in the Cyclades and perhaps in all of Greece!

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Village church, Tinos

From grand marble churches of the village squares to humble stone-built shrines, churches are the backbone of Tinian holy architecture. They include:

  • Assumption of the Mother of Lord Kechrovouni.
  • Panagia Vrysiotissa (Our Lady of Vrysi)
  • Jesuit Monastery of Tinos (Loutra)
  • Convent of Ursulines (Loutra)
  • Agia Triada (Holy Trinity)

Pigeon houses (Venetian dovecotes)

Venetian dovecotes or pigeon houses are the single most interesting examples of Tinos folk architecture. They were built by the rich and wealthy during past centuries to show their prestige and influence.

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Venetian dovecotes, Tinos Greece

The large-scale breeding of pigeons meant fertilizer became an important export product. There are hundreds dotted around Tinos island, some turned into holiday homes, some left to ruin.  

Day six: Beaches and watersports

Make the best of all those sandy beaches around Tinos. Here are some of the best beaches:

  • Head to Pachia Ammos for deep sand dunes and the blue waters of the Aegean. It is a quiet beach without beach bars.
  • Agios Romanos beach is for those who love secluded bays, soft sand, and an easy-going beach bar. It provides natural shade under the trees.  
  • Pacheia Amos beach is a pebble beach and another quiet spot on the eastern side of the island. Again, no beach bars, so equipment, snacks, and refreshments are necessary.
  • Tinos has some of the best surfing spots in the Aegean dotted around its north-facing coves. Head to Kolymbithra, Agios Fokas, and Livada beaches for some wind action.
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Sunset over Agios Romanos village and beach

Other popular beaches loved by travelers are:

  • Rochari beach
  • Kionia beach (known for its many restaurants)
  • Mikri Ammos and Megali Ammos (the two beaches of Kolympithra Bay)
  • Santa Margarita beach
  • Agia Thalassa (cove)

Day seven: Souvenir shopping

Religious artifacts are the best storytellers when it comes to the artistic and religious heritage of Tinos. Wander off the main streets into the alleyways and pick up some of the items made for locals and for religious Greeks visiting Tinos.

tinos-island-chora-souvenir-stalls
Tinos town souvenir shops

Tinos has its own microbrewery, Nisos, that you can visit for as little as €15 and taste up to five different labels. Some of them will make a great souvenir for connoisseurs back home.  

Stock up with local sweets – the amigdalota bites with rose water are the best.

The Cheese Cooperative of Tinos is a local treasure when it comes to PDO agricultural products of a Cycladic island. Head to their shop in the main town in Megaloharis street and look for Tinos Graviera and Kopanisti cheeses.