It’s pretty obvious why the 20th-century Greek philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis called Tinos the “handmade island”. In the 50-odd villages of this 75 square-mile isle in the northern Cyclades, marble sculptors have transformed every lintel, doorway, and fountain into a work of art: Gyzis, Lytras, Chalepas, Filippotis and Sochos are some of the renowned great artists of marble carving. According to the legend it was Fidias, the famous sculptor of the ancient times, that taught the secrets of his art to the locals.
The dry stone walls that corrugate the valleys, the intricate dovecotes and the gaping quarries sprinkled around these sage-scented hills are evidence of hard labour, as well as an artistic sensibility.
Since anyone arriving on here has to come through the Chora, Tinos is an island whose powers of seduction are not immediately apparent, but venture beyond and you will soon fall under its spell.
The mountains here are steep, the distances between villages on the tortuous roads are vast, and nature has largely been left to its own devices. All this gives the island a wild, untamed feel. While the landscape is heart-stopping in its beauty, the villages enchanting and the beaches lovely, Tinos is an island for people looking for elegance, simplicity, tranquility and seclusion.