An island with rough, mountainous and verdant volumes, hills and plains where four hundred species of flowers and herbs germinate, inhabited by numerous species of rare birds (Bonelli’s eagle, hawks, nightingales, goldfinches, herons, bee-eaters etc). It has picturesque villages and charming beaches. This is the place where the last elephants of Europe lived: The dwarf-elephants appeared in the island 45,000 years ago and disappeared 4,000 years ago.
The whole island constitutes a vast ecological park and is protected by international treaties. In ancient times, Tilos was famous for its herbs and became really prosperous during the classic period. During that period the famous female poet, Irinna, lived on the island. The island extends over a surface of 63 km2, its coastline is 63 km long and it has 500 inhabitants. It can be reached by ferry from Rhodes.
This is the island’s port and the largest settlement, bearing modern, yet small hotel units as well as rooms to let. If you want to swim, you should head to Erystos coast, which has a sand beach almost 2km long. It’s worth visiting Mikro Chorio [Small Village] (3km NW), which was deserted by the inhabitants in 1970. There are also remnants of a castle, deserted stone-made houses, paved streets, Byzantine churches (Aghia Zoni, Sotiras etc) with a unique ambience housing very old frescos. It is located 2 km SE away from Megalo Chorio. This is the capital of the island and it is located 7 km NW away from the port. It stands out thanks to the simple, island architecture used to construct the stone-made houses. You will enjoy a walk through the narrow alleys. On the top of the hill, there is a medieval fortress, built on the location of the ancient Tilos.
Sights worth visiting
-The medieval fortress, where there are some remaining relics of the Hellenistic acropolis and the church of Archangel Michael.
-The cave Charkadio (2 km SE), where the remains of dwarf elephants have been discovered (1971). Above the cave, there is the castle of Mesaria (1366), with ruins of settlements and Byzantine churches.The Paleontology Collection is where the bones of dwarf-elephants, drafts, photographs and other informative material regarding the excavations performed in the cave Charkadio are exposed.
-The seaside village Aghios Antonios [Saint Antony] (2 km W), a harbor for fishing and trip boats.
-The Byzantine Monastery of Aghios Panteleimonas (15th century), located in a verdant area, full of giant cypresses and plane-trees (9 km SW). Some Byzantine frescos (13th century) and the woodcut temple (18th century) are saved.
Three-day fair at Aghios Panteleimonas in July and the fair of Koimisi tis Theotokou in the deserted Mikro Chorio, on August 15. Food and great amounts of wine are offered.
Activities in Tilos
-Swimming at the beaches Livadia, Erystos, Aghios Antonios, Plaka, Lethra, Skafi and Theologos.
-Hiking through the old pathways of the island.