Tilos is small, just 40 or so square miles in area. Its single road links the communities of Livadia, Megalo Horio and the monastery of Aghios Panteleimon. There’s a little boat-port at Aghios Antonios and a beach at Eristos. In fact, there are 19 beaches to choose from. Five of these are accessible by road, the rest must be reached by foot over narrow paths or by small boat. Tilos is famous among palaeontologists for the recent discovery of the bones of dwarf elephants, which lived on the island 45,000 years ago. Near the cave where the fossilized bones were found stands a museum containing them, as well as the remains of tortoises and a deer dated to 7,000 years ago.
The island’s population is very small, about 100 or so persons during the winter, and not more than 500 or so during the summer; and the island itself is only 63 square kilometers in size, with about 65 kilometers of irregular coastline. You will not find a lot of frills by way of accommodation, restaurants, lively bars, and smart shops. On the contrary, this island is just about as laidback as you can get.
Festivities & Local Traditions:
On the island of Tilos every August the Honey Festival is organized under the Charkadio Cave.
This route starts off next to the island’s main road near the heliport and leads northeast for about 2 miles, up to the old Italian military observation post at the top of Mount Profitis Ilias (or Olympus, as the locals somewhat grandly call it). The route has its steep and rocky bits, and there isn’t much vegetation, but it’s not too hard to negotiate.
Starting from Livadia, this winds around the southeastern corner of Tilos, passing the beach at Tholo. The footpath is easy to find and follow, aided by unmistakable signs. The walk, for which you need to allow about four hours, is good for discovering other beaches.
The island was first inhabited in the early Neolithic period 8000-7000 b.c. as finds in the cave of Harcadio show. There was contact both with the Minoans and the Mycenaean’s who seem to have settled on the island. From excavations carried out Pelasgian walls were also found. However the island’s most important period was the 7th century BC when Tilians together with Lindians settled in Sicily and built the well-known city of Gelas. The tyrants Gelon and Ieron were from Tilos. The island flourished during the classical era also having its own coinage and being famous for clothing and perfumes. Thereafter, the history of Tilos followed that of Rhodes to which the island was united. In Byzantine times, together with Nisiros, Kos,and Samos it constituted the Samos Issue. The Knights of St John who either reconstructed or built three of the island’s castles inhabited it. At this time ecclesiastical wall painting was developed. In 1522 the Turks who occupied it until 1948 when it was reunited with HELLAS-GREECE who conquered the island.
The Castle: This is where the acropolis of the ancient city used to be and where stood the sanctuary of Pythios Apollo and Pallas Athina. In the ruins of this sanctuary the church of Archangel Michael with wall paintings from the 16th century AD now stands. The best time to visit the place is in the afternoon when the view and the sunset are unique. The Knights of St John repaired the castle.
The Castle of Agiosykias, which is a castle from the 15th century and contains the church’s ruins.
The Medieval Castle of Messarias.
The Charkadio Cave that contains paleontological findings.
Saint Antonios graveyard, ancient and byzantine graveyard that keeps its ancient position and is full of epigraphs and anaglyph tombs
The Saint Panteleimon Monastery.
The Taxiarchis and Saint Antonios Monasteries.
Kastelo, rocky hill which has medieval tower ruins.
The little church of Panagias Politissas, that was built in 1879 and was renovated in 1937.
Panagias Theotokissas church.
Municipality of Tilos Tel: 22460 44212
Tilos Health Services Tel: 0030 22460 44219
Megalo Horio Medical Office Tel: 0030 22460 44210
Tilos Telemedicine Station Tel: 0030 22460 70884
Tilos Sea Star Office Tel: 0030 22460 44000
Tilos Post Office Tel: 0030 22460 44249
Official Island website: www.tilos.gr
Sources: www.tilos.gr , www.dodekanissaweb.gr