A Guide
to Tinos Island, Greece

Usually, when thinking of the Greek islands, one’s mind goes to the gorgeous Santorini (Thera) or the cosmopolitan Mykonos, the superstars of the Cyclades. But the informed travelers and the locals know that you can get the iconic Cycladic beauty and the gorgeous beaches without the teeming masses of tourists in other islands....

One of those is Tinos, which will offer you unique experiences that you can’t find anywhere else: spirituality, tradition, relaxation, and authenticity together with gorgeous beaches, good food, and a stunning array of villages to explore. Exploring Tinos is a treat, with more things than you’d expect to do, so here is everything you should know about the island to get you started!

Where is Tinos?
Tinos is the third biggest island of the Cyclades, after Naxos and Andros. It is located in the northern Cyclades, roughly opposite of Mykonos. The distance from Mykonos is about twenty minutes by boat! You can get to Tinos by boat from Athens’ major ports, Piraeus or Rafina. The trip is about an hour longer from Piraeus than from Rafina port. Especially during high season, there are different types of vessels you can take to get to Tinos with different time spent on the trip: The regular ferry will take you to Tinos in about 4 hours. The high-speed ferry (catamaran) or the hydrofoil can take you there in about 2 hours. Make sure you are aware of the specifications of each type of vessel, as most catamarans and all of the hydrofoils can’t carry cars and have plane-line seating arrangements.
Tinos’ weather
Tinos’ climate is Mediterranean, like all of Greece. That means it gets hot, dry summers and mild, damp winters. Temperatures get as high as 37 degrees Celsius during the summer and can drop to 0 degrees during the winter.
A big element of Tinos’ weather is the wind. Tinos is an extremely windy island that makes summers feel cooler and winters feel colder. The winds are mostly northern winds, with the peak of the windy season being during August and its seasonal meltemi winds.

A brief history of Tinos Island
Tinos’ history is lost in the sands of time. The island has been inhabited since Neolithic times and is prominent in ancient Greek mythology. It carries the name of its first settler, Tinos, who led his people from Ionia in Asia Minor to the island. According to mythology, Heracles had a feud with the god of northern winds, Boreas. So, during the Argonaut campaign when he located Boreas’ sons, Zitis and Kales, he chased them to kill them. Because Zitis and Kales had wings, the chase lasted for a long time and Heracles only caught up with them in Tinos. When Hercules killed the two sons and buried them in Tinos’ tallest mountain, Tsiknias, their father Boreas would angrily roam over his sons’ tombs. This explains the fierce northern winds that characterize the island. Another version of the myth says that the winds come from the two sons’ tombs, to incorporate the northern winds that also overtake the island. Tinos’ dwellers primarily worshipped Poseidon and his wife Amphitrite. During ancient and Roman times, a shrine to the sea god became central and even offered immunity to appellants. Tinos’ strategic position made anyone who controlled the island have influenced all over the Aegean. For that reason during the medieval period, Tinos became a hotspot for pirates but also a fiercely held position for the Venetians. So much so, that the Ottomans only overtook the island in the 1700s rather than the 1500s as the other Cyclades. Tinos stayed under Ottoman rule only for 100 years as opposed to 400.
Tinos’ seafarers and commerce boomed during that century, and then in the War of Independence of 1821, they contributed massively to the cause. In 1823 the sacred icon of the Virgin Mary, which is thought of as miracle-granting, was discovered and the church of the Virgin Mary Evagelistria (i.e. Our Lady of Tinos) was erected. This church became the major Christian pilgrimage in Greece and remains so today.

Read more here
February 6, 2022 by Chrissy​