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An Ecological Paradise in the Dodecanese

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Discover Tilos

Tilos is an ecological paradise in the Dodecanese and a popular getaway destination from cosmopolitan Rhodes, especially for nature lovers.

This little island, with its dazzling scenery and hundreds of cultural monuments, has much to offer.

As the location where Europe’s last dwarf elephants were discovered, Tilos has a prominent place both in the history of European palaeontology and in the Vienna Natural History Museum. As a refuge for hundreds of rare wild birds, it is a magnet for birdwatchers from around the world.

At the same time, this remote Aegean island is a pioneer in green energy, as well as in the harmonious coexistence of people from different cultures: French and Scandinavian travellers have known of its secret allure for decades. Perhaps it is time to discover it by choosing one of the ferry tickets to Tilos!

3 memorable experiences on Tilos
  1. If you choose one of the itineraries to Tilos, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the panoramic view of the island and the sea beyond from the medieval castle of Agiosykia in Livadia.
  2. Taking a boat trip around the crenelated coastline of Tilos to discover enchanting, deserted beaches such as Tholos, Skafi and Saint Sergius.
  3. Sitting for a drink on the atmospheric terrace of the one bar that opens every summer in Mikro Horio. With the illuminated ruins of the village as a backdrop, surrounded by olive trees and centuries-old oak trees, it is an unforgettable experience.
Beaches of Tilos

Tilos is an idyllic place for anyone who dreams of endless hours of relaxation and tranquillity on deserted beaches with crystal-clear waters. Of course, there are also beaches with tourist amenities. Don’t miss:

  • Eristos, the island’s largest and loveliest beach, which stretches to a length of 1200 metres around the bright blue bay of the same name. It has fine golden sand and tamarisk trees, with imposing reddish-grey rocks on both sides, while behind it is a green valley with abundant springs. There are facilities on one part of it, including umbrellas, sunbeds, and coffee and snacks.
  • Livadia, the main beach on the island, next to the new port. The coast combines small white pebbles, sand, and tamarisk trees providing natural shade. One part of it has amenities, with umbrellas and comfortable sun loungers for sunbathing, as well as changing rooms and showers. Canoeing and windsurfing are also available. In the nearby village there are cafes and restaurants for snacks or a delicious meal after a swim. The beach is easy to get to and is especially popular with families.
  • Agios Antonios, one of the most picturesque beaches on Tilos, with a crenelated coast, palm trees, tamarisks, and strikingly blue waters. It is suitable for anyone looking for a quiet haven, while there are tavernas nearby for a bite to eat after a swim. The impressive sea is suitable for diving, as the ruins of a Hellenistic city are visible at the bottom.
  • Plaka, a wonderful beach with crystalline waters along the coast from Agios Antonios, where the scenery is breathtakingly exotic. It is surrounded by aromatic eucalyptus trees, where gorgeous peacocks wander freely.
  • Lethra, a miniature Eden, with calm, cool waters perfect for solitary dips. The secluded pebble beach is about 40 minutes on foot from Livadia along a coastal path, and can also be reached by sea.
Postcards from Tilos: 7 things not to miss

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.

Mikro Horio
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.

Harkadio Cave
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.

Megalo Horio
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.

Tastes of Tilos

The island is famous for seafood such as battered shrimp, cuttlefish stew, boiled octopus, and spaghetti with slipper lobster (a local species).

You should also try goat in the oven with potatoes, tsouvra (a traditional tomato soup with bulgur wheat or rice), koulousoufades (intestines stuffed with minced meat or liver, rice and herbs, and fried in butter), fouki (pork fried with onions and sprinkled with vinegar), koulouria (handmade pasta) served with tomato sauce or butter and cheese, yiaprakia (minced-meat dolmades), kavourmas (pan-seared pork), pitaroudia (chickpea fritters), and fried hortopites (pies filled with wild greens).

Favourite sweet treats on Tilos include melekounia (a soft sesame-seed and almond bar), xerotigana (fried strips of dough), poungakia (pastry “purses” with an almond filling), and eptazima cookies (literally “kneaded seven times”).

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