Tinos is known as the religious center of the Cyclades group, like Patmos is for the Dodecanese. What attract pilgrims is the church of Panagia Evangelistria which houses an old icon of Virgin Mary, source of numerous miracles and healing. On August 15 each year thousands of pilgrims visit Tinos to join the celebration of Virgin Mary and touch the miraculous icon, as according to the tradition some of them pass all the way from the first step of the church to the icon on knees. Apart from the church, Tinos is a nice place for holiday, with old Cyclades style mountain villages and sandy beaches.
Tinos is locked between Andros, Syros and Mykonos. The easiest and fastest way to reach the island is from Rafina port (a couple of ferries running every day) but there are regular connections from Piraeus as well. From Tinos Mykonos and Syros can be reached in 15 minutes via speed boats or 30 minutes via conventional ferries. The closest airport is on Mykonos.
Tinos town, the capital, is not the typical Cyclades capital - it rather looks like a bigger port town with high buildings combining both the Cyclades and North Aegean architecture. It is a busy and lively place with many shops and public services. The villages inside the island, however, are quiet and much more authentic, built amphitheatrically on elevations, with dazzling white narrows streets and blossomed flowers. The most prominent of them are Pyrgos, Isternia, Falatados, Kardiani and Tripotamos. Pyrgos and Isternia have long traditions in marble carving and both are considered open-air museums. The beach of Pyrgos is 1 km below it and it is also known as Panormos, located in a sheltered gulf. It has a small sandy beach, hotels and restaurants.
The beaches around Tinos town on the south coast have developed as small resorts. Such are Kionia, Agios Fokas, Agios Sostis and Agios Ioannis, all sandy and partly organized with sunbeds and umbrellas but yet not crowded. The sandy beaches of Kolympithra and Rochari are set in a picturesque coves on the northeast coast, with some beach facilities. The north part is rich in small coves with sand or pebbles.
Sights and interesting places to see on Tinos:
- The Church of Panagia Evangelistria in Tinos town
- The villages of Pyrgos, Isternia and Kardiani
- The dovecotes (pigeon houses) spread all around the island, more than 600 in number. These are two-storey buildings with geometric ornaments and holes for the pigeons to come in
- Mount Exombourgo, a huge rock in the middle of the island which used to be a fortress town in the past. Today only ruins can be seen on the way to the top of the rock, rising above the village of Tripotamos
- The Ursulines Monastery which is now a folklore museum
- The beach of Agia Thalassa and Planitis rock near Panormos. Planitis resembles an isthmus, almost connected to the land with a few small cliffs, and in calm weather people dive and swim around them