Best 10 places to visit in Tilos
Tilos is one of the most underrated islands in the Dodecanese, so beautiful, so off the beaten path.
Indeed, it is not the island for a party, although it has one of the most unique bars you can find in Greece, isolated in a ghost village.
As you approach the Livadia port, you will not probably feel much inspired by the character and architecture of the town, a mix of old and new.
In saying that, Livadia is still one of the best places to stay in Tilos, so well connected to all the places to visit on the island.
But, on your first walk, you will soon discover a beautiful pedestrian-only beach walk, a square and access to many interesting places on the island, including the cave of the dwarf elephants!
At the end of the post, you will also find all the information to get around the island, either by bus or rented vehicle.
But without further ado, let’s start from Livadia, the gateway to Tilos Island.
This is the main town of the island, where you will arrive on the ferry.
As a first approach, it may be not that inspiring, but dig down and it’s actually a nice little village.
It becomes alive in the late afternoon, with the main square getting full of locals and tourists alike.
And that is the great thing about Tilos. You will be part of it, not just a tourist between tourists.
If you have kids, there is also a playground to leave your children playing meanwhile you have your dinner.
There is also a small section where the young crowd tend to organise football games.
Around the square you will find a few small shops, restaurants and a typical old ouzeri for some mezedes (small dishes to share with an ouzo).
There are other restaurants close to the square and facing the beach.
I tried a few of them (almost all actually) and they were all good.
I like to mention only the Kiriakos Grill House for the amazing well cooked meat, the friendly service and the bargain price!
Traffic has been limited in Livadi and now the beachside is all pedestrian, till the end of the bay.
There are a few organised sections with sunbeds and umbrellas, otherwise it is mostly free.
There is also an outdoor gym (day ticket to use it) at the end of the beach.
I stayed in Livadi during my holiday, and I loved the daily jogging along the little promenade.
The old abandoned capital of Tilos.
It was built during the 15th century by the Knights of St John with over 200 houses.
After the second world war, the residents left Micro Horio and move instead to the harbourside, in what is today known as Livadia.
This explains also the mix of architectural styles of Livadia, with many houses built in the 60s and 70s (I may add without much inspiration or common design).
Today, you can venture through a ghost village, with beautiful stone houses that are falling apart.
The island locals are contemplating about starting refurbishing the village, however, there is no actual plan.
At the moment, there are only two functioning buildings, the church and a bar that works only at night, without, of course, any music volume complaints (no neighbours).
To reach the bar, grab the free bus from Livadia. Drinks prices are a bit more expensive, but it’s a unique experience.
Unsure where to stay? Check out my guide to the best area and villages of Tilos
See more of the island in my photo documentary of Tilos
Harkadio – The dwarf elephant’s cave
You may not know that Greece had its own elephants too, back in the ancient days, when Asia Minor was connected to Tilos and the other nearby islands.
Harkadio is the cave where they found the bones of a few unique elephants, dwarf elephants.
You will find here also an open-air amphitheatre.
You cannot physically access the cave, but you can have a look from the small gate above the amphitheatre.
You should, however, visit the very well organised museum, where a knowledgeable lady will tell you all about the dwarf elephants.
Inside the museum, they have also recreated a full animal skeleton with the bones they found and, where missing, a 3D printed version of them.
This is the capital of the island, where you will also find a small medical clinic and the council offices, beside a supermarket, a couple of cafes/restaurants and the archeological museum of the island.
The village itself is not as old as you may think, dating back to the start of the previous century.
The architectural style is more similar to the Cycladic islands than the Dodecanese islands.
It’s a great place to wander around and spend an hour, including a stop at the lovely town church.
The church square is pretty unique, with a floor made of white and black stones, in a sort of mosaic.
A small working fishing village, a tiny little gem.
What I loved the most are the cafe and the restaurant, under gigantic trees facing the small harbour.
This is the best spot to stop for lunch or for a coffee. Must visit on the way to Plaka.
A mostly sandy beach in the northern part of Tilos Island.
There are no services available, no sunbeds or a taverna to eat, so bring your own water and food if you plan a long stay.
I suggest also to leave the car/scooter at the top of the descent and walk down 100m or so to the beach.
You can arrive almost to the water with your vehicle, but the last part of the unsealed road is quite steep and it can be dangerous (based on the season)
Part of the beach is used by nudists and free camping.
Agios Panteleimon Monastery
A monastery dedicated to Agios Panteleimon, the island’s patron saint, has been erected right at the end of the road, after Plaka Beach.
It’s a beautiful part of the island, a nature reserve where you will see birds and, of course, goats.
The monastery is located 270m above sea level, giving you a great viewpoint.
Be aware that this is the windiest part of the island and the drive with a scooter may be challenging on those few days with the strong Meltemi wind (usually July and August).
The best beach of the island, long and mostly sandy, with amazing transparent water.
It is a very wild beach with no organised areas. However, there are a bunch of sunbeds and umbrellas that probably lack in quality but they are free.
Half of the beach is dedicated to camping, meanwhile, the other side is mostly empty, even in peak season.
There are two hotels that work also as tavernas, one behind the beach and the other a couple of hundred metres from it.
It’s a great beach for everyone, kids included.
Castle – Kastro
Located above the Megalo Chorio, the castle is as impressive as difficult to reach.
The hike starts from the outskirts of Megalo Chorio and it goes up very steeply towards the peak of the rocky hill.
That is where you will find the castle, built over 500 years ago.
It is not pristine, but a wide part of it is still in good status.
Agios Zacharias Beach
Beautiful isolated and secluded beach reachable by foot from Livadia (1-1.5 hours) or by boat (30 minutes or less).
Being so isolated, you are almost assured that you will share it only with a bunch of people, if any.
It is a pebble beach and it does not have any organised facilities, so bring your own water and food, besides a sun umbrella because there is not much shade around.
How to move around Tilos Island
A bus connects Livadia, Megalo Horio, Eristos, Ag. Antonios, Harkadio and back every day of the week with an almost hourly schedule (Harkadio is not reachable on Mondays).
Check the schedule in Livadia.
There are around 10 runs/day but it is not hourly and it depends on the day of the week.
The service starts at 7:30am and it stops at 10:30pm.
The price of the bus ticket depends on the length of the trip and it varies between 1 and 2 euro.
The alternative is to rent a scooter or a car from one of the local agencies.
In peak season (July/August) I highly suggest booking the car in advance by contacting directly the local rental companies.
The scooters are less of a problem, but keep in mind that it can be quite windy and you may not be able to reach the monastery.
I used both a car and a scooter, and I could get to Plaka on a very windy day without any trouble.