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Tilos in Greece
Tilos, west of Rhodes, belongs to the Dodecanese and is located between Nisyros and Chalki. It is a relatively small island in terms of both area and number of inhabitants, here lives about 780 people divided in two small villages. Megalo Chorio is the capital and Livadia is the big tourist resort. The area is 64 km2 and the highest mountain - Profitis Elias - measuring 654 meters above sea level.
The beach in Livadia during low season.
Tilos is a small treasure, that despite of increased tourism has managed to retain much of its charm. The life on the island is peaceful, nearly 780 people lives here, some works in farming and in fisheries, but most of their income comes from tourism. Although Tilos is just within a stone's throw of cosmopolitan Rhodes, tourism industry has developed slowly, it was not until the 1980s that Tilos was discovered by tourists. The English tour operator Laskarina (no longer existent) was first out.
A few years ago, the Swedish Tilos lovers was surprised by the Swedish tour operator Ving, who started to arrange package holidays to Tilos. Then Apollo, another Swedish tour operator, followed. What would now happen to the island, I thought, and many with me? How long will it take before the island's fabulous charm disappear in the harsh reality of commerce? The answer is that it did not affect the island at all, Tilos remained, and still is, the same old wonderful island.
The first time I came to Tilos I hit a new record to fall head over heels for an island. It only took a few minutes before I told my fellow-travellers: "- Here we will stay for a long time!". And we did. More or less, we all fell in love with the island. And it seems that I'm not the only one to think so, more and more people are discovering Tilos, many stays for a long time and even more return year after year.
The stunningly beautiful view of Livadia.
The fact is that there are few Greek islands that have so many returners. It is said that as many as 60% of the tourists are returners. The majority of them are British and Scandinavian (mostly Swedish), and the average age is quite high. What is it that attracts tourists to Tilos? It's definitely not the beaches, for they are pretty mediocre when compared to many other islands, there is not so much to see and some longer excursions can not be done, the road network is less than twenty kilometres and there are only two inhabited villages.
There is something else that is the greatness of Tilos, something that is not visible to the naked eye, we could call it charisma and charm. The islanders amazing hospitality also affect that you feel at home. One can summarize it with that you as a tourist on Tilos wake up with a smile and fall asleep with a happy heart.
The abandoned village of Mikro Chorio.
Even when I turn the matter over in my mind I can not find anything negative to write about Tilos. Somehow Tilos has managed to retain much of the genuine Greece, which is particularly noticeable at the tavernas that often serves very good Greek food, and that the Greek everyday life still dominates. You feel like one of the gang, not as a tourist.
To sum up, I can say that Tilos is for everyone who likes peace and quiet, Greek food, nice walks and beautiful scenery, who like bird watching, and all who are fond of elephants! As strange as it sounds, there have been elephants on Tilos.
My favorite beach in Tilos is Lethra beach.
I have been to 65 Greek islands. Tilos has always been placed high on my ranking list. Every time I have been there I have moved up Tilos a placing. Last year I placed Tilos as number two, after the eternal number one, Amorgos. After my last visit (2018), I took the, for me, shocking decision to place Tilos as number one. This says a lot about Tilos. (Today I moved down Amorgos to place number three, Crete is suddenly number two.)
You can read more about Tilos via the links at the end of this page. A short summary of the information comes here:
It is possible to go on a package holiday from some countries. Check with a tour operator in your country. Most likely, the air plane will land in Rhodes, then it is a short sea voyage to Tilos. Of course, it is as easy to just buy a airline ticket to Rhodes, continue by catamaran and arrange the accommodation yourself. The catamaran Sea Star ply the route Rhodes-Tilos almost every day during the summer.
Livadia and Megalo Chorio is the only two inhabited villages on Tilos. Almost all tourists stays in Livadia, largely thanks to that the most popular beach and all facilities, lies there. There are also two uninhabited villages named Mikro Chorio and Ghera.
The beaches of Tilos are of good quality. Almost all are pebbly, some are mixed with sand and gravel. The most popular are Livadia beach (see photo on top), Lethra and Eristos. Other beaches are Skafi, Agios Antonios, Plaka and Tholos. My personal favourite beach is Lethra, not at least for the beautiful hike there.
For me, Tilos is a sight in itself. Somehow, nothing more is needed. But there is definitely no lack of sights. Mikro Chorio is a must. Like the monastery of Agios Panteleimon, not at least for the dramatic stretch of road leading to the monastery. The sunrise is also worth seeing. Something you definitely should not miss is the little elephant museum in Megalo Chorio. For those who enjoy bird watching, Tilos is a place of the highest dignity.
There are plenty of hotels and pensions on Tilos for being such a small island. Most are of good standard, and almost all lies close to the water. Most people choose to stay in Livadia, but there are also hotels at Eristos beach.
View of Livadia from the small port of Agios Stefanos.