welcome to Villa Elea's
Guide to Tinos Island

Welcome to Tinos, and to Villa Elea!

We have put together a little guide of the island that we hope can be useful during your stay.

In this page you can find suggestions for things to see and do while in Tinos, a list of wonderful beaches to discover, and an introduction to the island's gastronomy.

We hope this guide can introduce you to the authentic beauty of Tinos, and you will come to discover much more during your stay.

If you need more information or have any questions, we will be happy to help, so please don't hesitate to call, text or email us if you need us.

We hope you will enjoy your time in Tinos and will come to love it as much as we do!

Have fun!

your hosts,

Danae and Michael

Discover Tinos

wildly beautiful, serene and authentic

Tripotamos and Xobourgo in the spring
@villaeleaTripotamos and Xobourgo in the spring

Tinos, the handmade island

The history of Tinos starts in antiquity - by some accounts in the early Copper Age. Millenia of constant occupation have bent the shape of the land to the will of man. Miles upon miles of "xerolithies" dry stone walls, meticulously constructed by hand, have been erected throughout the centuries in an effort to rein in every last bit of fertile land. Accompanied by an intricate network of footpaths, terracing covers a vast part of Tinos, lending it a unique apprearance and earning it the nickname "the handmade island".

The iconic cycladic architecture, with whitewashed houses, cobbled streets and blue-domed churches perfectly compliments the austere landscape. Windmills, fountains, dovecotes and an abundance of exquisitely carved marble details are characteristics particular to Tinos.

the village of Agapi
@sam_travellerthe village of Agapi

The villages, the soul of Tinos

The true soul of Tinos can be found in its many villages, each with a character and beauty of its own. More than 50 scenic whitewashed villages await you to explore them. Unchanged for centuries, seemingly frozen in time yet still inhabited and vibrant, they will captivate you with their iconic architecture, stunning views and rich cultural heritage. You will need to leave your car behind and wander the many-stepped streets to appreciate their quiet elegance.

Some villages worth visiting are the incredibly steep Kardiani with the stunning views and lush running waters, Loutra with the Ursulines convent and Jesuit monastery, the large village of Ysternia, the highly-populated village of Steni with the folk museum, Agapi which is as endearing as its name (“Love”), Dyo Choria (“Two Villages”) with their amazing view, the very old Falatados.

Pyrgos square
@ariannatradingPyrgos square

Pyrgos, the capital of marble-crafting

The ancient art of marble-crafting has a long history in Tinos, partly due to the many quarries on the island which produce the finest marble, including the famous green marble Verde Tinos. The art of extracting and processing marble in Tinos was influenced by Byzantine art and was fully developed during the late Venetian Rule (17th c.). Sculptors from Tinos were renowned for the quality of their work and travelled all over Greece and Europe to practice their craft, leading to the artistic prominence of several Greek sculptors, like Halepas.

Marble-crafting is still flourishing in the hands of the new generation, and Tinos is the largest marble sculpting center in modern Greece. Tinian marble craftsmanship was inscribed in 2015 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

The marble trade and craft brought great prosperity to Pyrgos, making it a city of arts and culture, grand, elegant and rich. Today, you will find many local sculptors showcasing their work in shops and galleries. Make sure to visit the Museum of Marble Crafts that highlights the history and tradition of marble-crafting and houses interesting exhibitions. You can also visit the house of Halepas and the Museum of Tinian Artists, or you can just wander through the village - an open-air marble exhibition through and through, from the bus stop to the fountain to the cemetery. After your walk, rest under the shade of the massive plane tree at the village's square and enjoy some local syrupy sweets.

Near Pyrgos you will find Panormos, a picturesque fishing village, the old harbor of Pyrgos. Here you can enjoy a meal at one of the tavernas overlooking the harbor. Some lovely secluded beaches, such as Aghia Thalassa and Rochari, are a short drive away.

the boulders of Volax
@karageorgethe boulders of Volax

Volax, an otherworldly scenery

The village of Volax lies in a unique, stunning scenery: great quantities of huge round boulders are scattered all around the area, stopping as abruptly as they start. Legends and myths accompany the moon-like landscape and the famous round granite rocks. Some say the "volakes" (large cannonballs) are the remnants of a mythical battle between gods and giants. The locals have built their houses on and around the huge monoliths, creating a quaint, one-of-a-kind atmosphere.

Volax is the village of basket-weaving, an ancient art that is still being practiced in the traditional way. You can admire the local basket-weavers practicing their craft in their shops, where you can also buy dried figs and capers.

If you are a lover of poetry, you will appreciate the "poetry doors": a local has scrawled poems from the most well-known Greek poets, such as Cavafy and Elytis, on old, unused doors and crumbling walls in the village. Even if you can't read Greek, this unusual street art holds a romantic, poetic charm.

The area around Volax is perfect for hiking, with paths leading to Agapi and Falatados - and, naturally, it's a bouldering paradise.

a dovecote at Kampos village
@nk_visuals_a dovecote at Kampos village

The dovecotes

Tinos is famous for its elaborate, traditionally decorated dovecotes. Originally built during the Venetian rule to provide the citizens with a source of meat and a potent fertilizer, the dovecotes remaining today are a symbol of Tinos. Some restored, some left to ruin, some very old and some modern, they dot the terrain almost everywhere you look.

The valley around the village of Tarambados is famous for its twenty well-preserved, well-restored dovecotes. There’s a path starting from the village, leading you through the valley to discover them, amid a unique, fragrantly green landscape with running waters, trees, reeds and orchards.

hiking to the old lighthouse in Livada
@footpathstinoshiking to the old lighthouse in Livada

Ancient footpaths

An ancient, intricate network of footpaths crisscrosses the entire island of Tinos. More than 150km of hiking trails will lead you to discover the island in a new, unexpected way. Ranging from easy to quite challenging, the footpaths have been marked only recently. You will find maps, descriptions, and suggestions of trails to follow by difficulty level or features at the dedicated website, Tinos Trails.

Starting from our own village of Ktikados are two old footpaths that lead down to Tinos Town (Chora) and Kionia. The trek down to Chora is relatively easy and takes about 40mins, while the one to Kionia is a bit more challenging, taking about 1h30mins. Both hikes will lead you up and down through fields, hills and ravines. Breathe in the aroma of herbs like oregano and thyme, pick wild capers and fennel, and enjoy fantastic views.

the custom of 'Fanarakia'
@xinarahousethe custom of "Fanarakia"

Faith and religion

Tinos has a distinctly religious heritage. It is home to the Church of Our Lady of Tinos, one of the most important Christian Orthodox pilgrimage sites, which draws crowds of faithful that visit the island to pay their respects. The spiritual aura of faith and hope is not confined to Tinos Town, but permeates the entire island which is peppered with churches, chapels and monasteries. Religion is a large part of the locals' identity, who are regular churchgoers and maintain the hundreds of chapels with love and care. About half the population are Catholic (much unlike the predominantly Orthodox rest of Greece), which only adds to the fervour, as the two groups are in perpetual brotherly competition.

The Church of Our Lady of Tinos

According to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared to the nun St. Pelagia and revealed to her the burial place of a religious icon. The icon, believed to be a source of miracles, is at the heart of the magnificent Church of Our Lady of Tinos (Panaghia Evangelistria or Megalochari). It was found on the very first days after the creation of the modern Greek State, which was seen as a divine sign, so Our Lady of Tinos was declared the patron saint of the Greek nation. Inside the Church, you can admire a small part of the items the faithful have left for the Panaghia, ranging from meticulously hand-carved silver votives to jewellery with precious stones to intricate gold incense burners, and of course the icon itself, almost completely encased in precious metals and stones. There’s a small museum with some of the Church’s treasures on display. Leading up to the Church you may notice a carpeted path on the side of the road. This is for the pilgrimage of the faithful, where tradition demands they climb all the way to the Panaghia on their knees. The very next street over is a picturesque cobbled road where you will find lots of shops, with items ranging from religious bric-a-brac, to Tinos souvenirs, to jewellery, to traditional sweets and pastries.

Ancient customs and religious holidays

Centuries-old religious customs that mingle Christian tradition with pagan elements still survive today, and their mystic atmosphere fills even non-believers with awe. The Fanarakia, on January 30, mark the discovery of the icon of the Virgin with a stunning procession of candlelit lanterns. On July 23, the vision of St. Pelagia is celebrated with a procession from the monastery to the town, with fireworks and firecrackers. The custom of Love is held every Easter Monday in our village, Ktikados, and celebrates the reconciliation of Orthodox and Catholic believers under the common miracle of the Resurrection with a joint feast.

the Wine Festival at Tripotamos
@villaeleathe Wine Festival at Tripotamos

Panigiria and Giortes, the island festivals

Panigiria are a centuries-old tradition of Greece. On the day of a saint’s celebration, the parish holds a feast open to all, with lots of food, wine and music. The preparations go on for days, with people whitewashing the streets, cleaning their houses, and cooking vast quantities of food, including a special dish that’s different at every panigiri.

The locals don’t let any excuse for celebrating go amiss, as there’s also the Giortes dedicated to local products: the Artichoke festival, the Honey festival, the Raki festival – the list goes on. If you are lucky enough to witness an island festival, don’t miss the opportunity to join in the celebration – be prepared for eating, drinking, dancing, singing and making merry until the early hours of the morning.

surfing at Kolimbithra beach
@michalisgiorgalissurfing at Kolimbithra beach

Hills, boulders, waves and wind

The unique terrain and weather conditions of Tinos create the perfect setting for sports and outdoors adventures.

Rock-climbing and bouldering

As you drive up from Tinos, you will notice the impressive rock of Exomvourgo or Xobourgo towering over the landscape. On this granite hill a geometric period acropolis and, later, the Venetian castle of St.Helena used to stand. Xobourgo is an excellent site for rock-climbing and bouldering, with over 90 routes to choose from. If still working up your courage to try the imposing rock, approach from the east instead (via the Monastery of the Sacred Heart) for an easy trek to the top, where you can visit the ruins of the castle and enjoy the stunning panoramic view.


A surf scene's probably the last thing you'd expect to find in Tinos - yet here it is, vibrant and stubborn. From modest beginnings, when a handful of friends learned to catch the waves, Tinos has grown into an exciting surfing destination. Kolimbithra beach is where it's all happening, and Tinos Surf Lessons is at the heart of it all. Whether an experienced surfer or a complete novice, you'll find the safe sandy bottom and ease of access to the line up make it a great surfing spot.


The strong biodiversity of the sea world of Tinos and the interesting diving spots make the island an ideal diving destination. Reefs, antiquities, sea caves and shipwrecks await divers of all levels to discover them.


The clear waters of the island and the variety of fish are tempting to any fisherman. White sea bream, saddled sea bream, dusky groupers and red scorpionfish swim the seas of Tinos, and you will often see people fishing even in the harbour. In late August, you can catch the Revival of the Trawl festival, where the traditional fishing method is reenacted at Kionia beach and followed by - what else - a feast of fish.

The beaches

crystal-clear and gorgeous

Tinos island is adorned with many beaches, each one clearer and more stunning than the next. Some sandy, some with pebbles, some with bustling beach bars and some completely virgin, you're sure to find one to fall in love with.



A 500m trek down a small path full of rocks, wild thyme and sage will take you to Apigania beach. Still exactly as nature made it, with no umbrellas, beach bars or chairs to mar its natural beauty, Apigania is the perfect sandy beach for those that prefer a bit of quiet, as even in the height of summer you will find very few people here. Don't forget to bring your own water!



Kolimbithres are a pair of tiny-pebbled beaches on the north of the island. Small Kolimbithra is perfect for kids and has two cozy tavernas, while Large Kolimbithra is a surfer's haven, with rolling waves and a surf shack where you can rent boards, find a surf instructor, or just hang out to chill music and cocktails served from the vintage VW van turned bar.

Ag.Giannis Porto, Skilandar, Ag. Sostis
@villaeleaAg.Giannis Porto, Skilandar, Ag.Sostis

Ag.Giannis Porto, Skilandar, Ag.Sostis

A very long sandy beach, known by many different names. You can choose between the quiet side of Porto, with few umbrellas, and the side of Ag. Sostis that's more organized.



Another very long sandy beach, located just before Ag.Sostis, and right next to the island's helipad. There's lots of restaurants and beach bars on one end, while the other end is mostly empty and unspoiled, making this an ideal beach for those that want it all.

Pachia Ammos
@elena_fePachia Ammos

Pachia Ammos

Its name means "thick sand" in Greek, and it perfectly describes this beach. Enjoy rolling down the sandy dune on one side, or sit under the shade of the rocks on the other side.



A pebble beach surrounded by amazing wind- and sea-sculpted rocks. You can enjoy a refreshing swim, read your book in the shade of the rocks to the sound of waves crashing, then have a lovely simple meal at the nearby taverna.

Ysternia Bay
@martfenerYsternia Bay

Ysternia Bay

The bay under the village of Ysternia has a lovely little beach, sandy and perfect for kids to play as it’s relatively shallow and completely enclosed.

Ag. Romanos
@soukou_travellersAg. Romanos

Ag. Romanos

A narrow, sandy beach, perfect for windy days. Children will love playing in the shallow water, while you can enjoy a cold drink under the tamarisk trees.



A sandy beach at the northern part of the island, with shady tamarisk trees and a carribean-style beach bar offering freh juices, watersports and tiki cocktails.

The cuisine of Tinos

frugal, exciting and full of flavor

the Wine Festival at Tripotamos
@tinos_island_officialdinner next to the sea at Panormos village

The gastronomy of Tinos is among the island's most exciting and interesting attractions. The Tinian cuisine’s authentic, bold flavors echo the island’s landscape, culture, and history. The local restaurants offer delicious Greek food based on the freshest ingredients - mouthwatering produce, just-caught fish, and local meat and dairy products from free-grazing animals. Family-run tavernas still cook the traditional dishes like their founder grandparents did, and the younger restaurateurs have elevated the cuisine to modern standards while staying true to the island’s soul.

In recent years, the local food scene has gone through an incredible revival, celebrating the island’s overlooked treasures and reliving forgotten traditions. Many restaurants offer top dining experiences, gaining nationwide recognition, while artisan microbreweries and wineries have won international awards for the taste and quality of their products.

A groundbreaking organized movement celebrating the local gastronomy, called Tinos Food Paths, spearheads the culinary revival. Local restaurant owners, chefs, cooks and artisan food and drink producers don mathing aprons and work as one, in perfect harmony, to highlight Tinos as a world-class gastronomic destination with a festival held yearly in late Spring.

Kariki cheese
@not_guilty_foodKariki cheese

The local products

The people of Tinos have been keeping livestock and growing their own crops on the terraced land for centuries. The long quest for self-sufficiency and the particularities of the land led to the development of a cornucopia of unique local products. Try Louza, a wine-cured ham; artichokes, small, tender and with a unique flavor; salty, juicy capers and caper leaves; Tyraki, the local cheese with the buttery, tangy flavor that’s shaped like a ball; Kopanisti, a naturally spicy spreadable cheese; the impressive Kariki, a cheese that matures inside a gourd and resembles Stilton or Gorgonzola; Thyme honey; Reiki (Erica or heather) honey, that crystallizes into a delicious butterscotch texture; sun-dried tomatoes; tiny, intensely flavorful chickpeas; Raki flavored with the omnipresent fennel; artisan wine and beer.

Pasteli on lemon leaves
@sousouro_cafe_pyrgos_tinosPasteli on lemon leaves

Traditional recipes

Wise and frugal, the traditional recipes make use of whatever the land offers in bold and exciting ways. Try Marathopitakia, fennel frond fritters; Agkinaropita, an artichoke quiche or pie; Pitsounakia, a dove stew, which has to be ordered in advance.

Many of the local sweets are associated with feasts or holidays, like the famous Tyropitakia, sweet cheese pies flavored with orange, usually baked for Easter. They’re so popular that you can now find them year-long, along with other specialties like Amygdalota (marzipan balls), Pasteli (sesame and honey bar, traditionally served in weddings over lemon leaves), and more.

Ballis winery
@ballistinosBallis winery

Gastronomic tours

The revival of Tinian gastronomy has been complemented by the emergence of award-winning breweries, wineries and artisan food producers. Some of these are open to visitors and even offer tours, where you can see their process and sample the unique products. Visit the Ballis winery in Arnados for an immersive tour of the cellars and a unique wine-tasting or private dining experience; the Tiniaki Ambelones winery in Falatados, makers of critically-acclaimed T-oinos Clos Stegasta; the Nissos microbrewery at Ag. Ioannis Bay, winners of the Silver European Beer Star for their Pilsner beer; and the San Lorentzo traditional creamery in Kechros.