From sampling fresh seafood and visiting beautiful beaches, to exploring the island’s dramatic landscapes, these are the best things to do in Tinos, Greece.
Everyone’s heard of the Greek island of Mykonos, with its famous windmills, white and blue towns and luxurious hotels. But, did you know that just 20-minutes by ferry is its wilder and more authentic neighbour Tinos?
This is an island with similar landscapes, great food, interesting attractions and stunning views. However, you won’t find mass tourism here. It’s not been developed on the same scale as Mykonos so retains a lot of its original charm and natural beauty.
I absolutely adored my time in Tinos! I found it still offers everything you’d expect from a Greek island holiday, but at a fraction of the cost.
During the daytimes we exploring the traditional white and blue villages that cascade down the sides of the hills. Our evenings were spent dining at traditional tavernas and ocean-front seafood restaurants. We even stayed in a beautiful Cyclades-style hotel, with bright white interiors and wonderful views of the Aegean Sea!
I left the island feeling that Tinos was something of a hidden gem. It deserves to be known about as it offers so much! However, it’s important to preserve its wildness and authenticity. Many of the locals I met commented on how developed Santorini and Mykonos were, saying they were keen to prevent Tinos from going in the same direction.
Tinos may not offer the glitzy sushi restaurants or expensive hotels of Mykonos. Instead, it’s for a curious type of traveller, who craves real and meaningful experiences. It’s also one of the best Greek islands for couples.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Greece and would love to visit somewhere a little off the beaten track, here’s my guide to the best things to do in Tinos.
The Ultimate Tinos Travel Guide
Where is Tinos?
Tinos is a part of the Cyclades group of islands, located in the Aegean Sea. The closest islands to Tinos are Mykonos, Andros, Syros and Delos. You might be surprised to hear that Tinos is one of the largest of the Cyclades at 194.5 km² – that’s twice the size of its neighbour Mykonos!
How to get to Tinos
When we visited Tinos, we caught the ferry from Athens. There are several ferries a day that serve the islands in this part of the Cyclades. If you’re short on time, the quickest route by ferry is from Rafina Port in Athens to Tinos (3 hours 45) or you could fly to Mykonos and catch the ferry from there (30 minutes).
I’d recommend booking ferry tickets in advance. They can get very busy in the peak summer months. Also, allow a bit of buffer in case of any bad weather as they can occasionally be cancelled. If yours is the first stop, arrive early to get a comfortable seat.
I think Tinos is an ideal addition to any Greek island-hopping itinerary, along with other lesser-visited islands such as Andros and Syros.
15 Amazing Things To Do In Tinos, Greece
After spending several days road-tripping around Tinos, I’ve compiled a big list of all of my favourite things to do! I’m sure there are plenty more activities you’ll find when you visit the island.
Explore the picturesque village of Kardiani
Tinos is famed for its spectacular mountain villages. As you drive around the island, you’ll see the white buildings lining the edges of the hills, often with amazing views over the landscapes and ocean.
One of the prettiest by far is Kardiani village. We adored this place! The best way to explore it is on foot, meandering past adorable white buildings with their blue accents around windows and doors. The streets are narrow, dotted with small archways, church towers, steps and even a spring producing fresh, cold water (ideal for hot days!)
If you get peckish, I’d recommend stopping at Dimitra Restaurant. It’s in a gorgeous location, with tables laid out on the streets. We enjoyed a simple lunch here of traditional Greek dishes including a filo tart, salad and tzatziki with bread. It was all really tasty and the picturesque setting made it even more enjoyable.
If you visit Kardiani, keep your eyes out for marble. It’s everywhere (more on that coming up!) Even the frogs in the main courtyard are made from a beautiful polished grey marble!
Also, don’t miss the black and white photos scattered throughout the village. They show life through the ages for the locals.
Go on a wine tour in Tinos
I think it’s fair to say that Greek wine doesn’t have the best reputation internationally.
You’d think Dionysus, the ancient Greek god of wine and winemaking, would have helped cement Greece at the top of the leader board for amazing wines, but the country’s production is rarely seen on the world stage with the likes of France, Italy and Argentina.
However, while this may be valid for some Greek wines, there are plenty of great ones, and some are produced right here on Tinos island!
I’d recommend booking a wine tour with T-Oinos. This winery has its vineyards in some of the most dramatic and unique landscapes in the world, with vines nestled in between enormous rock formations. Interestingly, the ground here is protected by UNESCO so the boulders can’t be moved. The vines thrive in the mineral-rich volcanic soil, all while being battered by the Meltemi winds (northerly winds that you find across the Cyclades).
The first vines at T-Oinos were planted in 2002, with the first bottling in 2009. The winery now produces around 20,000 bottles a year, although when we visited, they were sold out! That’s a true credit to how special this wine is. I couldn’t wait to taste it!
After walking through the vineyards and learning about how T-Oinos produce their wines, we visited the winery for a guided tasting of three signature wines. These were white wine Asyrtiko, rose wine Mavrose and red wine Mavrotragano. Each had so much character and flavour, principally from that incredible volcanic soil. There was also a salty element to the wines, created by the strong winds blowing salt from the sea onto the vines.
It was such an interesting vineyard, and I really loved the white wine I tasted here in particular. Each was worthy of competing against great wines from France, Spain, Italy and beyond. The experience definitely gave me a new appreciation for Greek wine!
Visit some of the best beaches in Tinos
If you’re craving some relaxation in Tinos, there are several amazing beaches to visit. Most of them boast beautiful soft sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Unfortunately, during our trip there were some strong winds battering the island, so we didn’t manage to enjoy the sandy beaches in the way we usually would.
However, we loved seeing Livada Beach on the southeast of the island. This is a popular spot for surfers, with waves sometimes over 3 metres. There are lots of interesting rocks around the beach, making it a cool spot for photography too.
Other popular Tinos beaches include Kolymbithra (great for beach bars and surfing), Agios Ioannis (one of the most popular) and Agios Sostis (close to where we stayed). I’ve also read great things about Santa Margarita, Agios Fokas, Agios Romanos and Agios Petros. Some of these take a bit of determination to reach as they’re down awkward tracks, but worth it!
To be honest, the best tip I had from the locals was that the best beaches in Tinos were the hardest to get to! So, if you fancy road tripping and going on an adventure, it could pay off!
Visit the Museum of Marble Crafts
I’ve alluded to the fact that Tinos and marble go hand in hand, but now it’s time to find out why. The Museum of Marble Crafts is located a short walk from the centre of Pyrgos village. This is a great place to learn not only about the history of marble and Greece’s relationship with this beautiful material, but also more about how skilled workman craft items from it.
Several Greek islands are famed for their amazing marble, but Tinos in particular has numerous quarries on the northwest of the island, producing stunning white, grey and green shades of the material.
After learning about marble in the museum, I’d recommend wandering into the centre of Pyrgos and keeping your eyes peeled. You’ll spot marble absolutely all over the place! From statues, churches and gravestones, to ornate balconies and benches, it really is everywhere.
Wander the charming streets of Pyrgos
One of the top things to do in Tinos is to explore the island’s charming villages, and Pyrgos is another not to be missed! Not only are there marble details to admire everywhere, it’s got a few attractions of its own. There are two museums in the centre (more on those below), plus several churches, shops and a main square filled with restaurants and cafes.
Compared to the tiny mountain village of Kardiani, Pyrgos offers a lot! It’s bigger and more vibrant, with several spots to visit. I’d recommend wandering the picturesque streets and popping into the boutiques and antique stores on the main street.
You could stop for for a coffee and a traditional galaktaboureko (a custard pastry pie) in the main square. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a lovely cocktail spot, swing by Sima. We stumbled across this restaurant and fell in love with its pretty terrace and views. The cocktails were great too!
Explore Pyrgos’s museums
Pyrgos is also home to a few museums. There’s the Museum of Tinian Artists, where you can view over 100 sculptures and paintings by artists from the island.
Plus, next door you’ll find the Giannoulis Halepas Museum. He was a famous sculptor from Tinos, often regarded as one of the greatest modern Greek artists. The museum is located inside his former home. As well as some of his artworks, you can see where he lived, his furniture and photos from over the years. These museums aren’t open every day, so check opening times before you plan your trip.
Road trip around Tinos
If you want to truly explore Tinos, you’ll need to rent a car. We booked ours with Vidalis and collected it from the ferry port. It was all very simple to arrange and meant we had complete freedom to see a lot in the few days we had on the island.
There’s something so liberating about driving around a new place. The excitement of turning a bend and seeing an incredible view ahead… the moment you spot something and decide to change your plans to go and see what it is… it’s all so exciting when you’re discovering somewhere for the first time!
Driving in Tinos is pretty easy and the roads are generally pretty good. There weren’t a lot of cars on the roads when we visited either. If it’s your first time driving in Tinos, there are a few things to be aware of:
- You’ll be driving up and down the mountains a lot, so prepare for hairpin bends! If you or your passengers struggle with travel sickness, pack some tablets and avoid reading or looking at screens on the journey.
- Some of the roads to reach beaches (such as Livada Beach) and off the beaten track locations are a gravel / trail type of terrain, rather than tarmac. Drive slowly and avoid using them if it’s raining.
- If you’re not the most confident driver, I’d avoid driving at night. Those bendy mountain roads can be more challenging when you don’t have full visibility.
Enjoy a seafood dinner by the water in Panormos
Tinos has got several lovely spots by the water to enjoy a relaxing meal. You could head to Bianco Beach House Restaurant in Vourni or O Ntinos by Kardiani beach.
My top recommendation would be to travel to the northeast of the island and enjoy a meal in Panormos. This tiny fishing village has a lovely feel to it. It’s charming, with a small harbour dotted with boats, and serene views out towards some large rocks in the ocean.
Lining the water’s edge are several restaurants, many of which specialise in fresh fish and seafood. We enjoyed dinner at Maistros Restaurant, one of the best-rated restaurants on the island. The menu featured a range of dishes including calamari, local fish, mussels, lobster, fish soup and more.
We both selected different seafood pastas, and I have to say mine is one of the best I’ve had anywhere in the world. There was a delightful balance of garlic, tomato, herbs and seasoning. It was topped with a generous number of king prawns, crayfish and mussels too!
One tip – don’t miss the cheesecake at Maistros. It’s absolutely divine!
See the granite rocks in Volax village
In the small village of Volax, you’ll find some of the most impressive panoramic views in all of Tinos. Enormous boulders give the impression of a lunar landscape. They were formed in a volcanic eruption, and have given the terrain a unique appearance.
You can wander around the main area, taking photos of the rocks and the views of the valley. To be honest, I’d never associate views like these with the Greek islands, so this is definitely somewhere worth visiting!
Enjoy some delicious Tinian cuisine
One of my favourite meals in Tinos was at Veneranda Restaurant, a pretty bistro with a huge terrace in the village of Krokos. Firstly, the setting is lovely. It’s located on a street with a few places to eat and drink, but Veneranda has its main dining areas set below the road overlooking the countryside. It feels private and romantic, with pretty trees all around.
Secondly, the menu features several traditional dishes but they’re prepared in innovative ways. You’ll find lots of fresh, local produce here, including cheeses, fruit, vegetables and meats.
We ordered three dishes for a late lunch on the sunny terrace. I absolutely adored the cherry tomato salad which came topped with the most amazing fresh cheese. We also enjoyed the lightly-spiced Greek meatballs, that had a sweet, tomatoey sauce. The filo tart was also made to perfection, with its intricate layers enclosing feta, spinach and herbs.
This is the perfect place to visit to sample the flavours of Tinos. Hospitality was warm and friendly too!
Visit the Church of Panagia Evangelistria
The island of Tinos is famous amongst Greeks for its main church. The Church of Panagia Evangelistria (also known as Our Lady of Tinos) is where you’ll find the shrine to the Virgin Mary, making it an important location for religious pilgrimage in Greece. It’s home to a religious icon which was discovered in 1823.
The church itself is a beautiful renaissance structure, built on the location where the miraculous icon was discovered. There’s a long red carpet leading to the entrance, used by the pilgrims who visit. Many of them arrive on their hands and knees, praying to Panagia. We saw one pilgrim right in Chora town, who was on her hands and knees heading towards the church.
There are several big celebrations held at the church throughout the year, with the most important being the national holiday on 15th August which celebrates the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary). The church is located above Tinos Town where the ferries arrive too. If you do decide to visit, be sure to dress respectfully, covering your shoulders and knees.
Stay at a cool Cyclades hotel
While scrolling Instagram I’d seen so many dreamy images and videos of those all-white Greek island hotels, with the curvy stone walls and sea views. I was over the moon when we checked into Cavos Hotel & Suites and it was all of that and more!
This Cycladic-style hotel is located in Agios Sostis, a ten-minute drive from the ferry port. It’s right on the beach too, with its own private area with sunbeds, plus a gorgeous infinity pool with a sea view.
The hotel also has a restaurant and bar area, ideal for those mid-morning freddo espressos (the iced coffees all the locals love!) or a few evening cocktails. The hotel is popular with a mix of couples and families. I thought it was very romantic, so I’d say it’s an ideal spot for a getaway with your other half.
Spot Tinos’s famous dovecotes
The island of Tinos is renowned for its small dovecotes that you’ll see dotted all over the sides of the hills. It’s thought there are well over 600 of them in total, so you’re guaranteed to spot a few.
The oldest dovecotes on Tinos island date back to the 18th century, when the Venetians were living on the island. Back then they were used for attracting pigeons and doves, which were a big part of their diet. The droppings were also used as a fertiliser.
They’re more than just standard dovecotes. They’re iconic structures! Most of them are decorated with beautiful folk-art designs, featuring geometric patterns, trees and birds. I even spotted houses that had used some of the elements of dovecote design in their appearance.
Visit Saint-Joseph Monastery in Loutra
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Tinos, I’d recommend visiting this monastery, located in the tiny village of Loutra. The monastery was constructed in 1840 and has a really beautiful church inside. It’s also where you’ll find the Ursuline Convent.
During the summer months you can go on a tour to learn more about the history of the village and the convent. There are lots of artefacts inside too, including beautiful handmade costumes, art materials, geological items and even the old kitchen. It’s a fascinating look at what life would have been like on Tinos all those years ago.
Catch the ferry to another Cyclades Island
Finally, if you really feel you’ve seen and done everything Tinos offers, how about catching a ferry to a nearby island? Mykonos would be the obvious choice as it’s right next door. However, if you’re enjoying getting away from the crowds, I’d also recommend Andros.
Just two and a half hours away by ferry, Andros is the greenest of the Cyclades. The landscapes are quite different to the typical Greek island views. The top things to do include river trekking to beautiful waterfalls and exploring the capital Chora (with its iconic lighthouse on a rock). For more Andros tips, read Macca’s travel guide to visiting Andros.
I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out about the best things to do in Tinos. This is a beautiful island that offers so much, especially if you’re prepared to go on an adventure!
If you’re looking for more ideas of great things to do in Greece, there’s lots of information on the Visit Greece website. Plus, I’ve got plenty more guides to visiting other Greek islands below…