‘As the tongue starts reciting the special beauty of the island’ (to paraphrase a traditional song), we understand why it has been a source of inspiration for lyrical poets and painters. Tilos, a small and quiet island in the Dodecanese, has long mesmerised visitors with its special atmosphere and unspoilt nature.
Byzantine monuments, medieval castles, caves, and churches with rare iconography… you’ll be surrounded by the island’s cultural heritage, which the locals play an active role in preserving. They are hospitable and warm to visitors, only too willing to share their knowledge of the island.
A refuge for rare bird species and abundant with sea life, it also constitutes an eco-park, with hills and valleys that come alive with herbs and flowers that add heady aromas to the air.
Things to do in Tilos
In the capital of the island, you can visit the Paleontological Museum, which includes exhibits from the Cave of Harkadio (including the bones of dwarf elephants), and the Church of Taxiarhis, with its impressive crossed domes. Follow the path that leads to the Castle of the Knights at the top of the hill. The view will reward your stamina.
This is the harbour of the island with numerous rooms for rent, tavernas and cafeterias. The beach of the hamlet is large, with pebbles, salt cedars and clear waters. It spreads all the way to Agios Stefanos, which used to be the harbour in medieval times. The church of Agios Nikolaos is also well worth a visit.
The Monastery of Agios Panteleimon
This historic monastery, dating from the 15th century, is one of the most important sights of the island. It overlooks the sea from the hillside, in a location of natural beauty, and contains a wonderful carved wooden icon screen and eye-catching frescos. The shade provided by the cypress, plane and walnut trees in the courtyard of the monastery offers the perfect place to cool down on hot days. To celebrate the church’s saint’s day, there is a three-day festival in July with pilgrims arriving from all over the Dodecanese.
- Agios Antonios, with distinctive palms, salt cedars and a chapel.
- Eristos is the most popular beach on the island with golden sand and cool, blue waters.
- Plaka, in Agios Antonios bay, is special due to the eucalyptus trees and peacocks showing off their colourful plumage.
- Lethra is a small, secluded pebbly beach with calm, clear waters.
- Finally, Skafi, Tholos and Agios Sergios can be reached by caique from Livadia. For Skafi, in particular, there is a footpath.
Hidden treasures of Tilos
Built in the 15th century on the hills above Livadia, it was abandoned during World War II and is today a ghost village. Nevertheless, the domed church of Agia Zoni, built in 1861, is still in very good condition. If you visit the village by night, you can enjoy a drink in the only bar.
Exploring the footpaths of Tilos allows you to appreciate the relationship of the island with nature. You’ll find fertile valleys with abundant crops and wildflowers, as well as cypress, oak and almond trees. You may come across partridges that are accustomed to humans, as hunting is forbidden on Tilos. Other paths will take you to beaches inaccessible by car. Whatever trail you follow, you will enjoy the serenity of nature.