Don’t you just love it when you stumble across a local’s secret spot when travelling. Well, here’s one more to add to the list: Tinos Island in Greece. Sure you can party it up in Mykonos with the rest of the world, or take in the stunning hills white washed with architecture in Santorini. Both great choices. But for something unique, stop by Tinos Island too on your next Greek adventure.
Tinos Island is home to the Nissos beer, which just landed on our Aussie shores this year. While the founder and Greek local, Alexandros Kouris was in town to celebrate the beer’s arrival we quizzed him on where to go and what to do in the hometown of the iconic Greek beer, which is brewed on Tinos Island.
Here’s Alexandros’ guide to Tinos Island. Local style.
Don’t leave Tinos Island without…
Tinos has its very own, intense energy. Believe it or not, you can’t visit without lighting a candle at Panagia, -Virgin Mary- of Tinos, one of the most sacred churches and pilgrimages of the Christian world.
Then, one must discover the wonderful hinterland. All the fascination is hiding in the 45 extraordinarily well preserved villages, in the stone huts, in the architectural details of the unique dovecotes, in the “handmade” terraces that cover the whole island.
Let’s not forget that the “gold” of Tinos is its marble! Tinos is the most important centre of marble craft in modern Greece and generations of talented marble sculptors have left their artistic mark all around the island. The Museum of Marble Crafts in Pyrgos is an absolute must see.
What are your favourite restaurants on Tinos Island?
It would be very difficult for me to isolate only a few restaurants. In Tinos the preparation and enjoyment of food is so much a part of the island’s DNA. Typically, all of our restaurants and taverns have a wonderful human dimension and a family, almost amateur feeling. Their atmosphere is relaxed and unpretentious and food is very straightforward and honest relyingon fresh, seasonal local ingredients.
What dish should everyone who visits Tinos Island try?
Tinos is famous for the high quality of its agricultural production and it can boast having one of the most authentic Cycladic cuisines. Local delicacies include various wonderful cheeses, louza (the Cycladic cured pork fillet), sundried tomatoes, wild artichokes in oil and capers in vinegar. Whole fresh fish char grilled is considered a treat. The recipes for meat, poultry and fish are endless, as are the sweets which include tasty xerotigana, sweet Easter cheese pies, and soft pasteli (sesame seeds and honey candy bars) on lemon leaves. Also, let us not forget the excellent local thyme honey.
Best local secret on Tinos Island?
One of the best local secrets is the wonderful Costas Tsoclis Museum. Internationally renowned artist Costas Tsoclis chose Tinos as the motherland of his heart and has created a cradle for Modern Art in the mediaeval village of Kambos.
Best beach on Tinos Island?
Tinos is called “The Island of the Winds” and the Greek mythology tells the story of how Aiolos, the God of the Winds, had his throne on the top of Tsiknias mountain, the highest peak on Tinos! So the invigorating winds define our swimming decisions. If the winds come from the North we chose the southern coasts, if the winds are southern, we then run to the North!
Where can you find the best view on Tinos Island?
Climb up on mount Exobourgo, an impressive trademark of the island, with a long history, that dominates the hinterland. On clear days, not only can you see the whole of Tinos island, but also all the islands that form the Cycladic archipelago.
Best time to visit Tinos Island…
My favourite time of the year is spring. The island is fluffy green, and all the prairies are covered with multicoloured wild flowers. It is the best period of the year to discover the numerous manmade paths that follow the tracks of ancient farm lanes in breathtaking landscapes.
Alexandros’ 10 must do’s in Greece
No other European destinations can offer Greece’s diversity and there are a lot of elements that remain largely unknown, it’s the ‘‘Hidden Greece’’ of the less known, not touristic islands, the Byzantine heritage, the mountains, the Aegean Chic of Antiparos and Thessaloniki’s nightlife.
1. Whilst in Athens, visit the Parthenon, the Acropolis Museum and Cape Sounion for an unforgettable sunset.
2. Attend a theatrical play at the Epidaurus Theatre in the summer.
3. Explore the Greek islands on a sailing boat.
4. Visit the amazing mountainous area of Epirus and the wonderfully well preserved Zagoroxoria village complexes. Walk the stupefying Vikos Gorge.
5. Spend some time discovering the stone villages of Mani in the Peloponnese.
6. Swim in the Blue Cave in Kastellorizo.
7. Climb Mount Olympus, known as the home of the Gods!
8. Walk in the narrow streets of the medieval fortress town of Monemvasia.
9. Visit the picturesque island of Hydra, one of the very few places on earth with no vehicles!
10. Taste the real Greek Salad! With real Greek tomatoes, real Greek cucumber, real Greek olives, real Greek oregano and real wonderful Greek olive oil!
Want to know more about Nissos Pilsner? Check out our Beer Profile!