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Tinos town in Tinos
Everyone do not fall head over heels for Tinos town (or Chora). Some think that the town is impersonal, uninteresting and noisy at first sight. If one previously only have visited adapted tourist resorts it is no wonder that Tinos town is perceived as unruly. But after a day or two one generally accept the alarming Greek street life and slowly begin to understand Tinos town, and the negative words transforms into positive words.
Tinos town, or Chora as it is also called.
About 4,750 people lives here, add the large number of Greek day trippers and it is no wonder that there is a bustling life in the town. Indeed the large number of day trippers combined with the local everyday life leave their mark on Tinos town. The street life primarily revolves around the waterfront where cars and buses crowd together, and tavernas, ouzeries and cafés are chock full of eating, coffee drinking and lively discussing Greeks. It's like Athens in miniature.
The commercial street Odos Evangelistrias.
Three streets dominate Tinos town: the waterfront, Odos Evangelistrias and Odos Megalocharis. The waterfront begins above the ferry port and extends all the way to the marina, which is located after the beautiful neoclassical building which houses the Cultural Foundation of Tinos. Along the waterfront lies the majority of the town's restaurants, tavernas and cafes. There are also many banks, travel agencies, car rental places and shops.
Odos Evangelistrias begins at the waterfront and is one of two streets leading to the church of Panagia Evangelistria. The street is lined with all kind of shops which sell religious knick-knacks and souvenirs of all kinds, mainly wax candles, but also icon copies, crosses, holy water and the usual souvenirs such as stuffed animal donkeys and weathervanes. The wax candles dominate and they are available in all sizes, from a few centimetres up to two meters.
When the day trippers are done shopping, they walk up to the church and light their candles. There is no room for the longest candles inside the church and therefore they are lighten to the right of the main entrance. Small candles can be lighten inside the church after having kissed the icon. Candles can also be purchased at the entrance to the church if you forgot to buy. The consumption is huge. Many candles are also lighten for their families that for various reasons can not get to Tinos.
Odos Megalochari leading to the church of Evangelistria.
Odos Megalocharis lies just to the left of Odos Evangelistrias, and it also begins at the waterfront. It is here that the most devoted pilgrims tormenting themselves by crawling up to the church. I do not know exactly how far it is to the Church, but the distance is certainly not suitable to crawl. Odos Megalocharis is not nearly as commercial as super commercial Odos Evangelistrias.
There are many narrow alleys with a cosy atmosphere in the areas to the right and to the left of Megalocharis and Evangelistrias. You can browse among a wide selection of cafes, bars, ouzeries, fast food places and tavernas in the alleys. There's even a bar street.
Restaurant Malamatenia in Tinos Town.
One of the best tavernas in the alleys is Malamatenia, located on a small square with a church that gave the taverna its name. The food is superb and reasonably priced, the service is familiar and entertaining, and the location is perfect. Good old-fashioned Rebetika music is played over the loudspeakers - what more can you ask for. The friendly owner Pavlos is married to a Finnish and he has lived in Finland for many years. The wife is a photographer, some of her photos is hanging inside the taverna.
Another favourite taverna is Aithrio at Palladas square not far from the waterfront. Aithrio is almost always full. Anything else would be strange, it is hard to find tastier food anywhere else. The staff is very friendly, the atmosphere is relaxed and it is easy to happily be seated here all evening.
Taverna Aithrio. The fish shop where the pelican Marko lives, is to the left.
Beside Aithrio is a fish shop called Markos. If you order fish at Aithrio you follow the waiter into the fish shop and choose out the fish you want. Just such a thing. A pelican called Markos lives in the fish shop. It behaves more like a dog than a pelican, in the evenings he usually sit and preen his feathers and he looks pretty cute. At night he sleeps inside the fish shop, there is a tub with fish on the floor if he would wake up and be hungry.
Agios Fokas beach close to Tinos Town.
There are no beaches in Tinos Town. The nearest beaches are Agios Fokas just east of the town, and Kionia a few kilometres to the west.
ACCOMMODATION IN TINOS TOWN
Most people who travel to Tinos stay in, or near, Tinos town. Many come to visit the church, and then it's advisable to stay as close as possible. Not least if you're going to crawl to the church. Then you certainly want to have close to your accommodation. There are not as many simple family pensions as it is on other Cycladic islands. However, there are a lot of hotels, especially along the waterfront.
Nikoleta Rooms is very popular among the readers of Kalimera (the Swedish version of Kalispera). I myself have not stayed there, but I have met Nikoleta several times and she is a very friendly person. Nikoleta's daughter Clery, who is also super friendly, has a hotel called Altana Hotel. I have stayed there and I will happily do it again.