So Tinos turned out to be a bit of a highlight. I’m not sure what we were really expecting, we’d planned to rent a scooter (sorry, mum) and just sort of bum around a little bit, y’know? I’d found a list of some villages that people had said were nice so off we fucked to put them all in our eyeholes.
What an absolutely enjoyable day! Tinos’ roads are kind of well maintained, there’s the odd pothole you need to avoid but to be fair we just rode along no faster than 50 kph because fuck going any faster with all the tight bends they’re very fond of around here. I think pootled would be the best word to describe it. We pootled along and moved over to let anyond behind us pass. The roads were really quiet too, we hardly saw any other vehicles which is good given how annoying our pootling selves would be to anyone who actually wanted to get somewhere.
We started off at the traditional village of Kardiani which is as cubic and whitewashed as you’d expect a Cyclades village to be. They must have a job lot deal on white masonry paint and blue gloss, these islands. I fucking love it. Blue just so happens to be my favourite colour and seeing it contrasted against the dazzling white buildings which in turn blast out of the dry, brown hills. Like anyone is going to look at that and not swoon a little bit.
I felt like we were the only people in Kardiani as we made our way through the narrow streets. They were exactly how I wanted them to be; clean, photogenic, well placed plants. I waved my camera at everything. Honestly I’m such a fucking tourist. We came upon a small café and figured it was only polite to stop for a coffee. Tarrant is a fan of local coffee, if a country has a certain way of doing coffee than she wants that coffee in her facehole. I’m more of a tea girl but I do like a local drink so we sat and chucked a Greek coffee each back before shuffling around the village a little more and heading back to the scooter.
We headed all the way to the coast to check out Ormos Panormou which is a really cute little harbour town, the seafront lined with cafés and shops. Outstandingly pretty. We wandered along the front, up a load of steps that highlighted how unfit we’d become since Prestatyn, then back down where we plonked our arses down for a little picnic.
We’d crossed paths with a woman from New Zealand on the ferry over to Tinos and as we were shovelling butties into our chops we met her again and got chatting. We got onto the subject of places that aren’t safe, I said I was from Stockport and it turned out so was she originally. Not just that, we both went to the same private school in Stockport albeit seven years apart.
I mean, what are the fucking chances? Two people living on opposites sides of the world randomly encounter each other in a third country on a small island, AND it comes up in casual conversation that we went to the same school which isn’t the standard school you go to when you’re from Stockport. Seriously. That can happen but I can’t match six bloody numbers on the lotto.
Debbie headed off to catch her bus and we scooted off to our third village, Pyrgos. I’d say it was more of a tiny town in comparison to the other villages, it’s certainly larger and had more tourists wandering the little streets, stopping to take photographs. Again, it’s gorgeous. Stark white walls broken up with bright pink flowers which I think might be bougainvillea? It’s like, this impossibly picturesque shit actually exists outside of postcards and souvenir magnets.
We live in a tourist city by the sea on the south coast of England and in the summer our streets are packed. It’s overwhelming even with our wider pavements and open spaces, I can’t imagine how claustrophobic it must be for the residents when the height of August rolls around and a tour bus shows up. I accept that I, as a tourist, am part of the problem small places face and I think I would advocate for a small charge to enter villages like this if tourism ever became too damaging.
We made our way to the village square which is surrounded by cafés so we grabbed a table and ordered a freddo each. Now, to me a Freddo is a small chocolate frog often used to lament the state of the British economy and soaring inflation as we long for the days they were only 10p. A freddo here is an iced coffee made with an espresso, not to be confused with a frappe which is an iced coffee made with instant coffee. I’m not even shitting you, iced coffee is serious here. I can definitely see freddos becoming a thing I apply to my chops quite regularly. Sleep is for the weak.
As we sipped our beverages we noticed a sign pointing us the way to the Museum of Marble Crafts so we decided to follow it without checking how far away it was first, or more to the point, how many steps we’d have to climb up to get to it. A sweaty slog later and we shuffled into the museum which was mercifully air conditioned. It was also really interesting so we’re calling it a complete win.
It went through everything marble related from where you’ll find each type of marble (because there are, it seems, a crap tonne of different qualities and colours), how they got it out of the mountain, then down the mountain, to carving it into statues and reliefs, and how the art has been passed down through Tinos families for generations through the men. It’s really good. I resisted the urge to buy marble coasters because we don’t even bloody use the lovely slate ones we got from Wales years ago. They’d just end up being something else to go dusty.
We got back to the scooter and made our way to Isternia and the all day bar, Mayou. I’d read that this bar was super popular for sunset and you could see why. The view from their terrace, fuck me, it goes on for miles! We figured we shouldn’t indulge in another coffee if we wanted to sleep, like, ever again, and I couldn’t drink boozes as I had to negotiate a scooter round some very tight corners and the scooter had to remain scooter shaped and we had to remain human shaped, so we opted for a delicious homemade (it seemed homemade anyway) lemonade.
This was nice. The music was chilled, we were chilled, we’d been given a spoonful of vanilla and sugar which was apparently some manner of traditional welcome dessert, and the lemonade was, as lemonades go, outstandingly delicious. I would quite happily have just sat here until sunset but that was four hours away and I’m not sure how many more citrus/sugar concoctions my tooth enamel could take.
We had time to check out another village or two but we were villaged out and opted to head back to the room instead. We couldn’t find anywhere to camp on Tinos so we we’d ended up in actually quite a lovely room for the price where a small army of felines loitered, demanding food and head strokes. As soon as we’d rocked up one of them started head butting my feet which are, quite frankly, a bit toxic. That cat has issues.
What a cracking day. The kind of day where you feel compelled to tell each other at least four or five times what a cracking day it was between sips of your evening seafront beer. Yes, Tinos. You’re alright, you are.
Tinos, South Aegean, Greece / Τήνος, Νότιο Αιγαίο, Ελλάδα
Stayed at: Prasino Oniro, Tinos
Useful shit to know…
- We were meant to take the 15.00 Seajets ferry from Andros to Tinos but I got a text the day before saying it had been rescheduled for 14.05. At least we were notified.
- It cost €15 each. Seating was allocated on the boarding pass but once on board we were told we could sit anywhere in economy. We were asked to wear masks.
- I used Ferry Hopper to book our tickets but Ferries.gr, Greek Ferries and Ferry Scanner will do the same job. I tend to check all of them as sometimes one will have a good ferry the others don’t.
- You’ll be sent an email confirmation which will include a link to check in online. You can check in 48 to 2 hours before the sailing.
- After checking in you’ll be emailed your boarding pass which will have a QR code you can present. You don’t need to print anything.
- The Museum of Marble Craft was really interesting and cost €4 each.
- There are loads of places to rent scooters or cars in Tinos town. We opted for Vidalis. They have a catalogue of scooters to choose from so we opted for a 150cc (I have a full motorcycle licence) for €28 a day.
- They have smaller scooters to rent but I think if you can’t legally ride it at home then they’re not going to rent it to you here. Even if they did, your medical insurance won’t cover you if you injure yourself in an accident and you’re not meant to be riding it.
- You’ll need your passport to rent a scooter, or at least I was asked for mine.
- Fuel was cheaper in Tinos town, around €2.15, rising to €2.25 in some of the further places.