The islands of the Cyclades have a special pull. In Tinos, where steep mountain ridges give way to hidden coves and sparkling Aegean shores, the magnetism is undeniable and even a bit surreal. Around every bend a new mythical scene unfolds like something out of an ancient dream — a herd of wild goats leaps over a craggy outcropping, a tiny white church perches atop an impossibly high cliff, a grove of shimmering olive trees sprouts from the mouth of a stream that gurgles unseen in the crease of a deep ravine.
On an island where such wonders lurk, it shouldn’t be a surprise when the windswept beach of Kolimbithra on the island’s north side suddenly comes into view. But yet, it is. Nestled between two long peninsulas, the water at Kolimbithra is wild with rolling waves — a sight to behond on an island rich with otherwise placid swimming bays.
And it's not just those unlikely waves. It's the whole damn thing. Like a desert mirage or a sepia-tinted hologram, a small community of glistening-skinned waifs in board shorts and rashies has grown. Its members lounge beneath mushroom-shaped beach umbrellas drinking mojitos made with raki served from the window of a cherry-colored Volkswagen van. They linger among the rental boards and wait for swell beneath thatched-roof lean-tos decorated with black-and-white flags emblazoned with the logo for Vans. They beckon you over with twinkling eyes, a nod of the head, and a gentle wave of the hand that seems to say, "Well, what did you expect?"
Honestly, not this. But then again, why not? Because even though — for us anyway — the swell never did come, Kolimbithra was still one of the most magical places we've ever seen. Which, in a land filled with magical sights, is saying quite a lot.