Sleeps up to 13

Stylish and quirkily decorated with lots of art

Sun terrace and gardens with ancient olives, vines and citrus trees

TINOS ISLAND GREECE

xinara exonvourgo

For most of the year Tinos is good to visit. Spring is exceptionally beautiful, perfect for strolling in lush green meadows surrounded by wild flowers. Summer is busy with lively beaches and parties, and never too hot. Autumn remains warm enough for swimming on almost deserted beaches and great for walking the ancient paths and country roads. Christmas is lively too, and cosy at Xinara House with open wood fire and our cinema.

Tinos landscapes

Tinos landscapes

It takes around an hour and half to drive from the wild north-west Tinos coast overlooking Andros, through the pretty marble town of Pyrgos, passing terraced slopes, ancient white villages, to the sandy beaches facing Mykonos in the south east. Halfway is the Tinos port, the principal town with old-fashioned shops, lots of tavernas, a daily farmers' market, fresh fish and meat. Here is the extraordinary church of Panagia Evangelistria, a Greek Lourdes with an ikon venerated by pilgrims who travel from all over Greece and can often be seen crawling the 500m uphill from the harbour to the church.

Exomvourgo

Exomvourgo Peaklets

Practise and improve your climbing skills a few minutes walking distance from Xinara House.

Beaches

Lavada beach on Greek island of Tinos

Xinara House is in the middle of ancient Xinara, a village remaining Catholic from Venetian times, beneath Exomvourgo mountain at the heart of the Tinos. From the garden the sea can be seen on both sides of the island, with good beaches around 20 minutes drive away. Many have simple tavernas, a few have beach bars, lots are barely visited. Examples are quiet, breathtakingly beautiful Lavada beach and windsurfing, social Kolinbythra on the north side, while on the south, beneath the old church at Stavros, is a tiny beach in the ruins of a Phoenician harbour, at Ag. Fokas are smart loungers served by excellent the Marathia restaurant, or around Kardiana you can have cocktails on a succession of sandy beaches.

Ancient dovecotes

Ancient dovecotes

Most extraordinary is the proliferation of ancient decorated dovecotes, a sort of folk art with stone arrangements of checkered, fishbone, cedar, or criss-cross patterns, with finials sprouting oddly-shaped ears of stone. Flocks of white doves remain all over the island although they are no longer a source of food (or guano). While lots of the old dovecotes are in ruins many are still maintained, and even a few new ones are built.

Ancient tracks to walk

Ancient tracks on Tinos for walking

You can walk all over Tinos on a network of old donkey tracks. These are now being signposted. From Xinara House you may go down to the port by walking the pleasant ancient stone road right into town, or go swimming by hiking across to the old wine town of Falatados and on down through an exquisite wooded valley to the sea (and a summer taverna) at Lavada. Or more ambitiously arrange to climb historic Exonvouga mountain at the back of Xinara House.

Traditional villages of Tinos

Traditional villages of Tinos

Tinos still has an unusual number of traditional Cyclades villages, white-painted homes tightlypacked like sugar cubes along cool car-free lanes often barely visible from the road. Because Tinos has a tradition quarrying and carving the houses are decorated with pretty marble features – decorated doorways, Old decorative dovecotescarved fanlights, etc. (Xinara House has many examples from the 18th century). The villages put on festivals and traditional parties with food, live island music, and dancing often into the small hours, like the big annual artichoke festival of Komi, with huge quantities of food utilising every conceivable artichoke recipe.

Local organic vineyards

Tinos organic wine from the vineyard

Tinos has always had good wine, with a couple of rare ancient varieties of grape that survived the arrival of phylloxera. A recent renaissance of the old vineyards has encouraged expert wine producers. There are exceptional wines such as T-oinos, and great organic wines from Volacus, Domaine Kalathas and others.