Tinos Island Travel Guide

Tinos Island Travel Guide

  • Author’s Note: The interior of mountainous Tinos is a hidden Greek paradise full of wildflowers, artisans, walking trails, and Venetian dovecotes. On each visit I find and appreciate the richness of Tinos’ decorative arts, especially marble carving, I love visiting during spring when the countryside is lush and a bed of flowers covers the fields. My secret Tinos is what the Cyclades were like before mass tourism.

If you’ve daydreamed of running away to an idyllic island to call your own, you might want to consider reading this Tinos Island Travel Guide because sleepy Tinos is capable of stealing your heart. Tinos is one of the most beautiful islands of the Greek Cyclades and in this guide, we’ll cover its ancient paths, Venetian dovecotes, unbelievable views, religious pilgrimage, calm beaches, and picturesque villages.

How to get to Tinos Island

Unlike many Greek mainland destinations and more popular Cycladic islands, this blissful island has no airport.

It is the third largest Cycladic island (after Naxos and Andros) but it is largely depopulated, with around 9000 residents.

Ferry at Tinos Port, Tinos Island
Ferry at Tinos Port, Tinos Island

In order to get to Tinos Island, you need to take a ferry (it’s part of the charm!)

It takes a couple of hours from Athens (Rafina Port) or a short ferry ride of 20 minutes from Mykonos. It’s also possible to take a ferry to Tinos from Andros, Naxos, and Syros.

The island can be reached from both Piraeus and Rafina ports in Athens, but Rafina is a better choice if you are coming to Greece directly from Athens airport.

Approaching Tinos by Sea
Approaching Tinos by Sea

It’s best to try and get the ferry from Tinos to Piraeus as Rafina is further from Athens with less convenient transport links.

The best way to check the Tinos ferry schedules and to book your tickets in advance is with Ferryhopper because they have no booking fees and you can get your ticket in only four clicks!

How to get around Tinos Island

Getting around Tinos is easy if you hire a car, motorbike, or ATV or use the frequent KTEL bus system. But the most pleasurable way is walking the old footpaths!

Car Hire in Tinos

The most popular way to see Tinos by ferry is not to bother with a rental car until you arrive on the island (unless you are arriving June – August).

One of my car rentals in Tinos Island

Car rental agencies can be found around the port area.

It’s easy to book in advance, however, with Discover Cars. You can pick up and drop off at the port area and cancel for free up to 48 hours before you pick up the car.

Driving around Tinos is not the easiest task, but it’s similar to the majority of most Greek islands. You will often be driving on narrow dirt roads without traffic lights.

But the best way of getting around Tinos is definitely by car. Rent a 4WD if you plan to explore the whole of the island including the mountains.

ATV and Motorbike Hire

Honestly, renting a motorbike or an ATV can prove dangerous around Tinos, unless you’re an experienced driver. I love hiring a Vespa wherever I go, but Tinos is very windy in July and August, and so I prefer an air-conditioned automatic car!

Motorcyclists in Tinos Island, Greece
Motorcyclists in Tinos Island, Greece

You’ll need a valid driver’s license to rent anything in Greece! Similar to the car, you will find a dozen companies close to the port, so you can choose the vehicle you like on the spot.

Taxi and Private Transfers

There’s also the convenient option of using the local taxi service but it’s worth taking the time to plan ahead as a car rental might be more cost-effective over a week or more.

Taxi booking numbers:

  • 22830 26000
  • 22830 22470
  • 22830 31332

Getting around Tinos by Bus

If you have been to Greece before, you’ll know that each region has its local bus community service, known as the KTEL system.

Bus Stop on the main harbor of Tinos
Bus Stop on the main harbor of Tinos

The local bus service is quite frequent, compared to other islands. It’s used extensively by locals as an inexpensive way of getting around. You can check out their fares and schedules at www.kteltinou.gr

Where to stay on Tinos Island

For a comprehensive list of the very best places to stay in Tinos across the whole island, check out:

🛎️ 21 Top Tinos Hotels Across the Island [2024]

Best time of year to visit Tinos Island

Like most of Greece, Tinos Island has a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters.

The humidity sits at around 69% all year, and this means that spring, summer, and fall (autumn) are all pleasant times to visit.

MonthAvg. Temp. (°C)Avg. Temp. (°F)Min. Temp. (°C)Min. Temp. (°F)Max. Temp. (°C)Max. Temp. (°F)Rainfall (Days)

High Season (June – August)

The end of June until the end of September are the warmest months.

During these months it can be too warm in the middle of the day for hiking, but it is perfect on the beaches that provide shade.

Shoulder Season (April – May, September – October) 

The warmth of summer extends for a month after the crowds have gone, making September a perfect month to visit Tinos.

Shoulder season is a good time for hiking, and exploring the museums and village of the islands without crowds. You can even have some beaches to yourself!

There are more rainy and gray days during April and May than in peak season so you should expect to occasionally need to wait out a shower or two.

Low Season (November – March) 

Empty landscapes, no snow, and an average temperature in January of 11.6(°C)/52.9(°F) means that hiking is perfect.

You’ll find many of the hotels shut over this period, as do restaurants except those catering for locals. The ferry and bus services are also much diminished, so hiring a vehicle is a smart choice over the winter months.

Top Attractions in Tinos

In Ancient Greek times, Tinos was known as both Ophiussa and Hydroessa. They came from the words for snake and water. In Greek mythology, Poseidon banished all the snakes.

It’s possible though that it came from the name of the cedar tree found on the island.

The Meltemi is the wind that blows on Tinos as has also given it the name of Isle of the Winds.

Make sure you sample these top attractions in Tinos:

  1. Beaches
  2. Villages
  3. Museums and Churches
  4. Food
  5. Hiking and dovecotes in the countryside

🏝️ Tinos Greece: Perfect one-week itinerary

Here’s the full list:

1. Hiking in Tinos: Discover the Old Footpaths

If you are into hiking and trekking, Tinos is a great destination. There are many specially designed hiking routes and trails all around the island that stretch for 150 km.

The Road of Marble Hiking Trail, Tinos Island
The Road of Marble Hiking Trail, Tinos Island

hiking between the dry stone walls is a memorable experience. One of the most rewarding trails leads from Volax to Agapi village.

Some popular hiking areas in Tinos are:

  • Agia Kyriaki Beach in the south
  • Top of Tinos (the highest mountain on the island)
  • Skepanós
  • Castle of Exombourgo – there are several old sites worth seeing here including an 8th Century BCE Temple of Dimitra

You’ll find walking and hiking maps for purchase around the island.

2. Surf in Kolibythra

Kolibythra beach is the most popular on the island.

Kolibythra Beach, Tinos Island

There you can find the famous Tinos Surf Lessons beach bar which, in addition to refreshing drinks, also offers surfing lessons.

Kolibythra is exposed to strong winds making it ideal for surfing. Just a few meters away is Little Kolibythra which is usually calmer.

3. Swim at Pachia Ammos

Pachia Ammos is only one of the best beaches in Tinos. It got its name from the hill of sand that has formed at one end of the beach.

Pachia Ammos Beach, Tinos Island, Greece
Pachia Ammos Beach, Tinos Island, Greece

Many travelers go up for photos or to slide down the hill. It’s perfect for families as it is sandy, shallow, and crystal clear.

The shade of the rocks is limited as are the food options, so bring your own snacks and an umbrella to protect yourself from the sun at the height of summer.

Its bottom is suitable for exploration and the soft sand lying and sunbathing.

4. Panormos Bay and Rochari Beach

The most beautiful and relaxed of the beaches on Tinos island is probably Rochari, which is located a little after the village of Panormo.

Panormos, Tinos, Greece
Panormos, Tinos, Greece

It is sandy, shallow, and has a small beach bar with hammocks, armchairs, and sunbeds in the shade of the tamarisk trees. The water is almost always calm and crystal clear.

The village of Panormos with its port an

5. Wander through the narrows of Chora

Tinos is a small town, but you’ll find many beautiful cafes and restaurants for coffee, food, brunch, or drinks.

Tinos Town

At any time of the day, you can walk the alleys, browse the shops with handmade souvenirs, and try local delicacies. In and around the central square you can drink wine or tsipouro accompanied by live music in the evening festivities.

Chora, Tinos
Chora, Tinos

One of the great pleasures of Tinos is walking through Chora, and its villages (some of which are deserted), and stopping frequently to eat!

Don’t miss the Elli monument located near the harbor, which represents the torpedoing of the Elli, the warship sunk by an Italian submarine during peacetime in 1940.

6. Evening drinks at Kaktos Bar

It’s so not Mykonos in terms of nightlife, but there is an alleyway of bars and clubs called Taxiarchon.

But many of the cafes you find around the island become bars in the evening, selling local wines and cocktails. However, Kaktos bar is a great find, located on a hill above Tinos Town.

Katsos provides a panoramic view of Tinos’ landscape, thus it is a summer bar worth visiting.

At night you can have a cold beer or a cocktail while gazing at the illuminated country and the calm sea.

There’s a windmill attached to the cocktail bar and Kaktos Bar plays loud music and there’s a party vibe when it has live music.

Tip: Also check out Three Donkeys on Taxiarchon Street

7. Explore the lunar landscape of Volax

Tinos has many charming villages. One of them is Volax village, characterized by an unusual lunar landscape with huge granite boulders that surround the village.

Landscape around Volax Village, Tinos Island
Landscape around Volax Village, Tinos Island

In addition to the natural landscape, the village has in various unexpected places written verses from poems by Greeks and verses from old Greek songs.

You’ll come across the traditional dovecotes used for pigeon breeding by the Venetians many centuries ago as another quirk of this island.

There is an outdoor amphitheater where theatrical performances and events take place during the summer.

Volax is an ideal village to stroll among and check out the traditional architecture, and inscriptions, and buy poetry and handmade woven baskets.

It is 6 km (3.7 miles) north of Chora (Tinos town).

8. Coffee with a view of Ysternia (Isternia)

On the way to Ysternia you will see unique island landscapes and amazing views of the Aegean Sea.

Bay and village of Isternia, Tinos Island
Bay and village of Isternia, Tinos Island

In the elevated village, you can explore its narrow alleys, take photos in front of the blooming flowers and enjoy your coffee with a view of the bay of Ysternia and Greek islands that can be seen on the horizon.

The view from the village cafe is truly breathtaking. There are some small shops and is a nice place to wander around.

The sunset, also, is very impressive to watch from the village, as the sun disappears into the endless blue sea and the sky acquires a deep orange color.

9. Milk Pie and Marble Arts in Pyrgos

The most beautiful and the largest village of Tinos is Pyrgos. It’s famous for its Galaktoboureko (milk pie) but also for its sculpting community.

Main square of Pyrgos Village, Tinos
Main square of Pyrgos Village, Tinos

You can try Galaktoboureko in the central square along with various other fresh sweets under the sycamore trees.

You’ll find lots of locally produced products like honey and jewelry for sale in the small shops radiating out from the square.

Pyrgos has dozens of small and winding cobbled alleys to explore, many covered in Bougainvillea and blue and white stone houses with courtyards filled with blooming flowers.

There’s also the Museum of Artists of Tinos here.

10. Visit the Museum of Marble Crafts in Pyrgos

A short walk from the village brings you to this impressive contemporary museum.

It’s hard to imagine that in the early part of the last century there were 500 marble sculptors and 100 marble quarry workers in Pyrgos.

Marble Museum, Pyrgos Village, Tinos
Marble Museum, Pyrgos Village, Tinos

Here you’ll discover,

the historical trajectory of marble carving and sculpting in Tinos, as well as the contribution of Tinian marble craftsmen to the construction of Athens and other towns in the 19th century.

Museum of Marble Crafts, Tinos

There are representations of marble quarries, workshops, and the creation of a Bishop’s marble throne as well as audiovisual materials that switch on as you walk past them.

There’s a small but well-curated selection of locally made objects and a cafe. Well worth the trip if you can tear yourself away from gorgeous Pyrgos village.

Telephone: 22830 31290

11. Go Hunting for Dovecotes around beautiful Tarabados Village

An unmissable experience on Tinos is to wander the alley of lovely Tarabados village, hunting for the marble signs that lead you to the path across the river to the slopes of the valley where you’ll find the Venetian Dovecotes (peristones).

Tinos Dovecotes, Tarambados
Tinos Dovecotes, Tarambados

Tarambados is a fantastic village to discover and the decorative arts found all over Tinos has its heart in these special Venetian structures.

13. Ice Cream in Giannaki Bay

At O Ntinos you can try their vanilla and almond honey ice cream.

While Giannaki Bay is worth the trip for the ice cream alone, O Ntinos is also well known as a fantastic spot to watch the magical sunset.

14. Marvel at the Panagia of Tinos Church

Finally, a visit to Panagia of Tinos is mandatory on your first trip to Tinos!

Panagia Evangelistria, Tinos
Panagia Evangelistria, Tinos

The Panagia Evangelistria church itself is an attraction due to its precious icon, the stone mosaic courtyard, and the incalculable value of the icons inside.

Bottles for holy water and rosaries can be obtained from the shops on the way to the church.

The ornate interior of the Church of the Annunciation, Tinos Island
The ornate interior of the Church of the Annunciation, Tinos Island

In the lower part of the complex, there is a special area for sanctification, while in the main part of the church, there is the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary (Panagia Megalochari) which the faithful can worship and touch their rosaries to become blessed.

The two streets that lead from the harbor to the church (also known as the Church of the Annunciation) are lined with religious stalls.

Emergency and Useful Numbers

Police: 100

Fire Department: 199

Ambulance: 166

Police Station (Tinos) +30 22870 21204

Tourist Police (Tinos) +30 22870 21378

Health Center (Chora) +30 22830 23784

Police Station (Chora) +30 22830 22210

Port Authority +30 22830 22348

Bus Service +30 22830 22440

Final Thoughts on Tinos Island, Greece

This little-known jewel of the Cyclades is full of surprises, 64 scenic villages, delicious specialties, and impressive beaches you’ve come to expect of a Cycladic island.

It is a little off the tourist track but almost touches the super-glam island of Mykonos. If you’re looking for a quieter Cycladic island, Tinos is perfect!