7 wonders to discover on the island of Tilos

L'île de Tilos dans le Dodécanèse, Grèce
L'île de Tilos dans le Dodécanèse, Grèce

Tilos, also known as Telos, is a little-known Greek island in the Dodecanese archipelago. It lies on the edge of the Aegean Sea, a few kilometers from Turkey, between the better-known Greek islands of Kos and Rhodes. Its 500 inhabitants live peacefully on a tiny mountainous territory of just 65 km². It’s a real paradise for lovers of green tourism, nature and birds. Tilos is a Natura 2000-approved site, totally self-sufficient in energy, and recycles over 80% of its waste. The ideal destination for sustainable vacations!

What’s more, if you’re dreaming of a quiet vacation in Greece, far from the crowds, don’t hesitate to unpack your suitcases and visit this authentic, unspoiled Greek island. But what is there to see and do in Tilos? Between archaeological sites, pretty beaches, picturesque villages, fishing ports, hiking trails, medieval castles, Byzantine monasteries, and small museums, there really is something for everyone! By the way, did you know that Tilos was once home to prehistoric dwarf elephants? Join us in discovering the 7 must-see wonders on the island of Tilos!

1. The charming port of Livadia

If you arrive on the island of Tilos by sea, you’ll inevitably dock at Livadia. This charming little port is nestled in a magnificent bay surrounded by mountains. If you look to the east, you can see the Turkish mountains silhouetted against the horizon.

Take the opportunity to visit Agriosykia Castle. Perched on its rocky summit, it has watched over the town for over 600 years. You can also enjoy a swim in the crystal-clear waters of Livadia’s long beach.

Livadia offers a number of interesting accommodation options. Book your accommodation in advance or visit the local accommodation office on the harbor to find your perfect spot. Then choose from one of the many taverns to enjoy a traditional fish dish!

2. Megalo Chorio, capital of the island of Tilos

Tilos chora
Canva Pro – Céline P.

A few kilometers from Livadia, the small town of Megalo Chorio lies at the foot of a hill. The capital of the island of Tilos, the village features traditional architecture typical of the Dodecanese archipelago. In fact, its narrow streets are lined with pretty whitewashed houses.

At the top of the hill of Megalo Chorio, you can see the ruins of the medieval castle of the Knights. In the 15ᵉ century, the building was the stronghold of the Knights of St. John. The little path leading to it promises breathtaking views.

Don’t leave without visiting the Taxiarchis church and its magnificent 16thᵉ century frescoes!

3. The Charkadio cave and its archaeological museum

The island of Tilos is home to a unique archaeological treasure: the Charkadio (or Harkadio) cave. This spectacular cavern houses the remains of prehistoric dwarf elephants, the last elephants in Europe. Archaeological digs carried out in 1971 confirmed that these elephants lived on the island over 40,000 years ago and became extinct 4,000 years ago. Unfortunately, the cave is closed to the public.

The small Tilos Prehistoric Museum, located next to the cave, displays these amazing paleontological finds. You’ll be able to see ancient tools and fossilized elephant, turtle and deer bones dating back over 70,000 years. Admission €2.

A visit to the museum and the exterior of the Charkadio cave is a must on your trip to the island of Tilos!

4. Agios Panteleimon monastery

Tilos monastery Agios Panteleimon
Canva Pro – Céline P.

The island of Tilos boasts several monasteries and over 100 Byzantine churches with remarkable frescoes. If you have to see only one of these buildings, the monastery of Agios Panteleimon is the most important.

Panteleimon is the island’s patron saint. Today, the Byzantine monastery built in 1470 is no longer inhabited, but it still retains great beauty. The inner courtyard is paved with geometric figures made of black and white pebbles. This church is also worth exploring, with its walls adorned with impressive paintings, icons, and mosaics from the 15th and 18th centuries

The monastery of Agios Panteleimon lies close to the island’s highest peak. The road leading to it isn’t the easiest, but it does offer some incredible views! This monastery is also the starting point for a 5.7km hiking trail to Eristos beach.

5. The abandoned village of Mikro Chorio

In the hills overlooking Livadia, the small village of Mikro Chorio seems to be gradually sinking into oblivion. Founded in the 15ᵉ century, this medieval village was inhabited until the Second World War. Its inhabitants then deserted it, and today it’s completely abandoned.

The atmosphere is one of suspended time, tinged with charm and a certain strangeness. In this ghost village, century-old trees and birds continue their peaceful existence. Don’t miss the pretty village church, Panagia Theotokissas. Still well-maintained, its white walls contrast with the ruins of roofless stone houses.

On summer evenings, the village comes alive again, the remains are illuminated and a small bar is set up for a drink in this surprising and mysterious setting. An original idea for an outing!

In the surrounding mountains, you’ll come across many small, rustic churches and ancient stone walls. A poetic interlude in the middle of your trip that’s well worth a visit!

6. The small fishing port of Agios Antonios

In the north of the island, the pretty coastal village of Agios Antonios was the main port of Tilos before the development of Livadia. Now that we’ve got rid of the transport vessels, we’re concentrating on small-scale fishing.

Life in Agios Antonios is gentle and peaceful. The small fishing port, a rocky seafront and a few hotels, cafés and restaurants make up the bulk of local activity. This view of the neighboring islands of Nisyros and Kos is also truly magnificent.

The bus around Tilos always stops at this haven of peace. Take the opportunity to recharge your batteries by the sea!

7. The beaches of the island of Tilos

Tilos Plages
Canva Pro – Céline P.

Tilos is worthy of the most beautiful Greek islands when it comes to beaches. The warm, transparent waters of the coastline lend themselves to all kinds of seaside pleasures: water sports, swimming and lounging.

The island boasts 19 listed beaches, the most popular of which are :

  • Livadia beach, just a few meters from the port.
  • Eristos beach with its golden sands, 2 km from Mégalo Chorio.
  • Lethra beach with its white pebbles, accessible only on foot.
  • Plaka beach, not very popular.

But finding a beach in Tilos is never a problem. Just let yourself be carried away by the island’s footpaths and you’ll find a little corner of paradise where you can put down your towel!


Now that you know what to see and do on the island of Tilos, all you have to do is plan your stay.

Finally, take advantage of your stay in this magnificent region to discover the other islands of the Dodecanese!

Sandra B.

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