TinosGuide.com I Travel Guide to Tinos island

Exo Meri

Marble white and Aegean Sea blue are the dominant colours of Exo Meri or Oxomeria (Outer lands). Orthodox villages (except the denominationally-mixed Kardiani) with big artistic tradition. Built on a cool green gorge, with its courtyards overlooking the Aegean Sea, Kardiani seems an oasis in the infertile – surrounding land. You can find here beautiful churches, as well as a taverna, a cafe and an art-gallery.

Don’t let the steepness of the road stop you from visiting Isternia, the homeland of renowned artists but also the homeland of many anonymous stone and marble craftsmen. The marble artefacts in the houses, the church, the museum and the square as well as the breathtaking view over Syros will compensate the ascent. On the way to Pyrgos, the biggest village of Tinos, we find Platia, the place where Halepas spent the tragic years of his insanity studying the light and shadow on the rocks, and Venardados, the homeland of the artists Yannis and Nikolaos Gaitis. A road at your left, short before Pyrgos, lead to the remote villages of Marias and Mamados (village of origin of the great Greek composer Skalkotas). From Marlas, a non-asphalted road passing through the green-marble quarry and ending at two quiet settlements with nice beaches: Koumelas and Mali.

Pyrgos (tower), one of the most beautiful villages of the Aegean, owes its name to an old Venetian tower. The village itself stands like a museum of sculp¬ture on its own, representing in details the affluence of the place. Nevertheless, it is worth visiting the museum/home of Halepas and the brand-new interactive Marble-Art Museum. One can enjoy Plastic Arts either at the churches, or the sculptures at the village cemetery, or at the wood-carving or marble-art workshops or the preparatory-professional School of Fine Arts that operates here. At the village you will find a minimarket, tavernas, cafe, bars, atm and a post-office.

It is a must to have a break at the marble-paved square with the plane tree to taste the famous galak-tomboureko (milk pie) and to drink water at the marble-gallery, Pigadi (well), with the fountains, before start-ing the trip to the port of Pyrgos, Panormos. This is the perfect place for calm vacation, with small fish tavernas and dazzling beaches.

If you choose to take the road that leads to the inner lands (on the left after Platia), on your way back, it will lead you through the “tis Koris o Pyrgos” (the Young Lady’s Tower), a newly established settlement, built with¬in the limits of the old village, with a view on northern Aegean. The legend says that a princess was exiled at the ruins of the old tower there.

for swimming!
At Exo Meri we can encounter the most striking beaches of the island, with thin golden-green sand, flat sleek rocks and transparent waters. A rock with the picturesque chapel of Agios Petros (Saint Peter) divides in two the same-named beach. You will have to go down several steps, so better carry water – and goggles to see what-ever is left from a German warship wreck.

The neighbouring beach, Kalivia, offers rich shadows under the big saltworts. Water is also necessary here, but the access is easy. At the beaches of Giannaki and Isternia bays, which are the respective ports of the villages Kardiani and Isternia, you will find tavernas and ouzeri with traditional or gourmet dishes. Both easily accessible by car, you will only need to walk a little bit if you want to go to Schinaki beach at Isternia bay.

It is easier to approach Aspros Gialos and Agios Charalambos by boat. An accessible non-paved road arrives till Mali and Koumelas beaches. From Panormos there are three options: to swim at the little port, to go right at the organised Rohari beach or to go left, following the non-paved road to Agia Thalassa. This last option may force one to walk through brushwood, but it is worth it. Follow the path pass¬ing by the chapel and ending at Kavalourko, if you wish to experience lying down on the white sleek strangely-shaped rocks, near Planitis, the island with the deserted lighthouse. Again, you may find shadow, but no water.