The Tinos Island, Cyclades, Greece! Everything you may need is there. Beautiful and exotic beaches, traditional taverns serving delicious food, impressive churches and monasteries, culture, as well as geologic curiosities, with “extra-terrestrial” landscapes.
The small village of Volax, at a height of 284 meters, in the very middle of the island, has 50 inhabitants and is far from the sea and the sandy beaches, but it is one of the most famous and visited places in Tinos. And this for very good reasons…
Nobody knows when it was built, its history going back to very ancient times, but it seems the region has been inhabited since the antiquity. What it is certain is that it was first documented in the 17th century.
It is surrounded by a plain dotted with large stones of volcanic origin. The granite rocks surrounding the village give a particular, moonlike view, unique in the world. The landscape reminds of an oversized battlefield, reason for which it was believed in the antiquity to be the place where the battle between the Giants and the Olympian Gods.
The origin of these rocks is uncertain. There are several theories, among which the most circulated are the explosion of a volcano millions of years ago, the withdrawal of the sea waters or the fall or a meteorite.
The strange rocks have various shapes, one looking like an eagle, others have anthropomorphic shapes, but most are round, which gives the name of the village: “volos” or “volakas” in the local language.
The granite rocks are everywhere, most of bright white houses in the village being built on top of them or having one or several rocks harmoniously integrated in their structure. Others, laid one on top of the other by humans or by nature, have been used as animal shelters and storage places. Who knows, they once might have served as dwellings too.
It is also due to its special relief that Volax has become an exceptional destination for climbers practicing the bouldering (a form of climbing, without securing gear, limited to very short tracks).
But the main occupation of the few inhabitants of Volax has been weaving baskets. Walking along the narrow alleys of the village one can see through the widely open doors how the traditional craftsmen weave the baskets that made the village famous throughout the centuries.
Another attraction that would pleasantly surprise the visitors is the poems written at places either on old window shades, on doors or on walls. They were written by an Athenian, Laskos Laskaridis, who, once in Volax, wanted to express his feelings. This is how he decorated this special village with poems written by well-known Greek poets, such as Ritsos, Odysseas Elytis, Kavvadias, Seferis and others. These poetic “decorations” mingle so harmoniously with this picturesque scenery, that even the visitor who does not understand Greek will find a delight for their eyes and soul only seeing them.
There are no hotels in the village. If you wish to find accommodation, there are rooms for rent in the best case. On the main street there are usually street vendors selling various local, traditional products. The access to the village is quite easy, as it is located only 11 km. away from Chora, the main town of the island. From Chora there are organized trips or you can rent a car.
Before leaving this delightful village, do not miss the small museum created by the villagers next to the church.