Times travel report: Discover the serenity of the Greek island of Tinos

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Times travel report: Discover the serenity of the Greek island of TinosA two-hour ferry ride from Santorini and a half-hour from Mykonos

It seems like there are fewer people in the middle of Hong Kong than on Santorini in the summer, one of the world’s popular islands overrun with so many tourists it’s like army ants running up and down the famed cliff sides overlooking the Caldera, the dormant volcano on an islet that’s a backdrop for dazzling sunsets.

Cruise ship arrivals are being limited, the island’s infrastructure taxed by masses, you can’t walk without bumping into someone on the narrow paths leading up to the favored spots like Oia, where most gather to watch the sun go down, the whitewashed luxury boutique hotels where you can drop $1000 a night right there with little pools.

“It’s a magical moment — except for the thousand or so sweaty bodies packed on the narrow streets, arms extended to capture the perfect shot,” the New York Times wrote in a feature of the island being a victim of its own success like Yogi Berra saying he no longer went to Toot’s Shor’s restaurant in Manhattan with the simple reason: “It’s too popular. No one goes there anymore.”

Supersaturated Santorini may be incomparable for what if offers, even if that’s barely recognizable under the mounds of humans overshadowing its iconic images and no longer pristine offerings so the Times suggested if you want to find what Greek islands offer without the people, to try nearby and much quieter Tinos.

“A more authentic Greece — the one that Santorini offered before the crowds — can be found in the Cycladic haven of Tinos. With its own enchanting sunsets and rugged charm, this under-the-radar gem is an alluring alternative,” reporter Liz Alderman wrote.

A two-hour ferry ride from Santorini and a half-hour from Mykonos, Tinos is the Little Easy compared to Santorini’s adrenaline and is filled with charming villages, much inland away from pirates who would land a long time ago.

There are little churches but the best-known is The Panagia Evangelistria church in the capital, Chora, built around what is said to be a miraculous icon, is a destination for pilgrims around the world who crawl there on their knees. Tourists can walk, of course.

There’s no volcano but there are plenty of hills and homes built out of the pure white marble used since ancient times to build houses, archways, streets, churches, and fountains that you can see and appreciate without elbowing someone out of the way.

One of the most alluring places is Pyrgos at Tinos’s northern tip, “honeycombed with sculptors’ ateliers, picturesque paths and marble carvings framed by fuchsia bougainvillea,” as the paper described, a place to buy marble artwork as souvenirs.

At the center of the island is what the feature called the otherworldly landscape of Volax, scattered with boulders, some the height of small buildings, known in ancient times as the home of Aeolis, King of the Winds, who whipped around the mountains and carved giant sculptures from the dark granite.

There are, as on Santorini, some cliffs too, if not as spectacular but filled with gorgeous green marble used in architectural projects at Buckingham Palace and the Louvre.

And, of course, Greek food such as artichokes, capers, black squid-ink noodles and local cheeses, including Castellano, scented with the aromatic mastic plant, and Kopanisti, a pungent local cheese.

So take a deep breath – you can do it without someone accidentally sticking an elbow in your chest on Tinos – and enjoy the charm of a less-spoiled Greek island, as well-known and filled with fewer tourists.

“Tinos’s beaches are more expansive than Santorini’s, and under the blazing sun, the turquoise sea is calm,” Alderman wrote, adding anothe reason to go there: “As night falls, the sunset from one of Tinos’ mountainside villages is about as breathtaking as a sunset on Santorini — minus the hordes.” When’s the next ferry?

Read more at thenationalherald.com

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinationsGreek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons License: CC-BY-SA Copyright: eu.stefan

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