The Monastery of Saint Panteleimon
Built on the side of Kryallos Hill amidst centuries-old plane trees and walnut trees, this historic 15th-century monastery stands out for its magnificent fortified architecture. Behind its imposing stone walls, visitors can admire the decorative pebble mosaic in the courtyard. The church has an elaborate carved wooden icon screen and superb frescoes inside the dome.
This deserted medieval settlement is a rare architectural jewel of cobbled footpaths, 220 stone houses, and charming Byzantine churches dating from the 14th and 15th century. The otherworldly atmosphere of the village and the splendour of the landscape cast an irresistible spell. Don’t miss the opportunity to wander its narrow lanes and see the exquisite frescoes in the 1787 Church of the Assumption and the 1861 Church of the Holy Belt.
The last dwarf elephants in Europe, one of the continent’s most important palaeontological finds, lived in this historic cave in Messaria. Archaeological excavations have uncovered more than 15,000 fossilised bones from 40 dwarf elephants (from 4500 BC) as well as examples of Neolithic pottery. Some of these are on display at the Paleontological Museum.
The island’s capital lies at the foot of Saint Stephen’s Hill in the shadow of the Knights’ Castle. The style of the 19th century town is simple and attractive, with stone houses and flower-filled courtyards.
The Knights’ Castle
The 15th-century Castle of the Knights of St. John sits above Megalo Horio and is built on the ruins of the ancient acropolis and the sanctuary of Apollo and Athena. Inside are the ruins of water cisterns and the Church of the Archangel Michael (dating from the 14th or 15th century) with its ornate pebbled courtyard.
The ramparts of the castle overlook the fertile plain and the ancient port of Eristos, as well as the coastal village of Agios Antonios.
The Byzantine churches
There are over 200 Byzantine churches and chapels scattered throughout the island. Most of them contain wonderful frescoes by important artists and craftsmen of their time. It is worth visiting the 19th-century Church of Our Lady of Constantinople and the 14th-century Church of Saint Nicholas, near Livadia.
The ancient trails
Tilos is a top hiking destination, its stunning countryside criss-crossed by ancient paths of unique beauty. Today, there are 30 hiking trails here, revealing an unexpected variety of surroundings and cultural monuments.