Miracles, Marble and Marzipan
Tinos is the archetypal Cycladic island without the blight of too much tourism. A barren, mountainous mass with the typical dry terraces, rocky peaks, wide sandy beaches, azure waters and fertile valleys of the Cyclades. Aiolos, the ancient keeper of the winds, resided, they say, on the peak of mount Tsiknias. Tinos is still blown around by the summer meltemi after several thousand years. There is a divide between the Hora (town) of Tinos (with its topping of an ice-cream-white church of the Panaghia) and the mountainous country villages, with their traditional architecture and dovecotes perched high above wavy plateaux and small lush valleys of well-developed agriculture and full of running streams.
There are innumerable bays and beaches to drive to – you will truly be spoiled for choice – and the small port of Panormos is developing the best seafood tavernas on the island. The village of Volax in the north is glued into a moonscape of giant boulders and still produces generations of basket-weavers, and is a perfect modern amphitheatre for its artistic events. The 800 pigeon-lofts or dovecotes are never identical. The artistry and good taste of the local artisans created these practical barns and decorative bird houses after Venetian feudal occupiers encouraged pigeon breeding.