To the north of Rhodes, 290
nautical miles from Piraeus, off the beaten track and a well kept secret, lies
Telos. If you are looking for authentic Greek Island life, Tilos can provide
With only 63 sq. km of land
mass and 63 km of coastline Tilos appears barren at first glance. Inland however,
groves of almond, walnut, fig, pomegranate and olive trees thrive, watered by
This is one of the few islands left in the Dodecanese that has a tourist-free traditional flavor. Most tourists are interested in the scenic walks, with vistas of high cliffs, rocky inlets, the sea, cypress-filled valleys, and walnut and almond groves.
Scientists have discovered skeletons of a species of prehistoric
mini-elephant (mastodons) in the island's Charkadion cave.
It is inexpensive and the islanders are very
hospitable. The land is fertile, but there are not many farmers. Many young Tiliots have migrated to the mainland or to Australia or the USA rather than take up farming.
Tilos is on a migration path, so there are often good birdwatching opportunities.
Livadia is the main town and port. Although the port, Livadia is a rather sleepy place. Most of the shops, eateries, and accomodations are in Livadia. The blue and white Agios Nikolaos is on the waterfront. The iconostasis was carved in 1953 by Katasaris from Rhodes.
There are many popular walks that start from Livadia. The walk to the pebble and sand cove at Lethra Beach starts at the north side of the port as is an easy hike. Return by the picturesque route through oleanders and goats by way of Potami Gorge and you'll reach the island's main road. A different return walk to Stavros Beach is a little easier and takes about an hour of steady walking. A third popular track from Livadia leads to the abandoned settlement at Yera and its beach at Despoti Nero.
Megalo Horio (or Megalo Chorio), the capital, is 8km north of Livadia. This white-washed village is fun to explore and there are places to eat and sleep. It's about a 40 minute uphill hike to the Knight's Castle. The ancient settlement of Tilos is on the way up. There's a museum with finds from the Harkadio Cave. You may have to ask at the town hall to get someone to show you around the museum. In the courtyard of the church of Archangel Michael there are festivals in July and November when the women dance the ancient dance of the koupa or cup.
A couple of km from Megalo Horio is a shaded beach at Eristos Beach near the quiet village of Agios Antonios. At Agios Antonis the "beach rocks" are petrified human skeletons, thought to be sailors caught in the lava when Nisyros erupted in 600 BC. Further west, you'll find Plaka Beach and then beyond that a few more km is the 18th Century Moni Agiou Panteleimona. There are fine frescoes in the monastery. It has a red pantiled roof and is a good spot for sunset watching. There's a festival at the monastery, starting on July 25 and lasting for three days.
Drinking and Dining
There are a number of good eateries, mostly in Livadia. Nightlife centers around the bars and taverns and may include music played in the ancient traditions on sandouri and violin.
The midget elephants whose bones were discovered in 1974 became extinct about 4600 BC. The find is in a cave, now closed to the public, at Harkadio.
Erinna, an ancient Greek poet, lived on this island in the 4th Century BC.
Tilos was known for its traditional weaving, and even today some of the island women wear the traditional cloth in their costumes.
Other than these unique facts, the island suffered the same list of invasions and occupations as the rest of the Dodecanese archipelago.