13 Dec 3 Under-the-Radar Greek Isles — Wining, Dining, and Relaxing Without the Crowds
Tinos is a short 20-minute ferry ride from Mykonos, but worlds away in terms of both lifestyle and nightlife. Famous for Orthodox pilgrimages to the Church of Panagia Evangelistria in the main town of Chora, many travelers bypass Tinos, imagining it to be overrun with religious fanatics. In fact, just a few miles in either direction exposes the true nature of this enchanting and unique island: one of decorative dovecotes—remnants of the Venetians, decrepit windmills, and around 50 active villages. And the beaches. And the waves. And the food.
Visit Kolimbithra beach for the donkeys, surf school, funky cantina (try the rakito made with local grappa), and mushroom beach umbrellas. Livada is memorable for black rocks, wild waves, and the surfers during magic hour. (Tinos even has a magazine—
Kyma—devoted to surfing and waves.) Pachia Ammos beach is known for its green dunes and soft sand.
There are also several small villages worth visiting: Pyrgos for the marble streets (and marble museum); Volax for the surreal lunar landscape and itinerant exhibitions on the walls along the winding streets; and Kardiani for the view—three beaches and an oasis of vegetation and the local spring water from the marble fountains.
Here, where to eat, drink, shop, dance, and sleep:
A destination for locals, tourists, and Mykonians alike. Aris Tatsis holds down the fort while his wife, chef Antonia Zapas, serves inspired mezés, mains, seafood specialties, and desserts.
Marathia Fish Tavern
Another top fish tavern on Agios Fokas beach on the southeast side of the island, Marathia is open year-round and also operates a beach bar and seasonal apartment rentals.
San to Alati
Vassilis and Maria Plakias—another husband-and-wife team—work in tandem on the cuisine, decor, and operations for this unbeatable restaurant of refined Greek classics.
The best place for breakfast or a cocktail with a view, it’s located just below Isternia village and before the descent down to the bay.
Served at all of the higher-end restaurants in Tinos, and increasingly available throughout Greece and Europe (including in Alain Ducasse restaurants), T-Oinos wines are made of organically grown, handpicked grapes.
Winner of the Silver European Beer Star, this small-batch brew is all natural and extremely successful both locally and throughout Greece. Brewery visits are organized throughout the week and by appointment.
Well-made cocktails alongside surf and tiki vibes in Chora.
Housination and White Key Villas. It’s difficult to find nice accommodations on Tinos. These two agencies offer a selection of prestigious properties with high-end services.
Travel to Tinos
A useful help desk for information on private boat tours, village visits, and other excursions, such as day trips to the archaeological site Delos—the mythical birthplace of Apollo and Artemis—and the pristine beaches on the neighboring island of Rineia.
Vidalis Car Rental You can’t do Tinos without a car, and in high season it’s best to book as early as possible. Vidalis has the best cars and the most polite, professional service.