It’s a tiny island, but Tilos has earned a big reputation for the good things in life. Like many other small Dodecanese Islands it promises a relaxing taste of traditional Greek life. But tranquil Tilos is also Greek’s greenest island – and the last place in Europe where elephants once lived!
Six-mile long Tilos and its 16 Aegean Sea islets are an internationally recognised ecological park. That’s a great plus for visitors to this sunny place full of flowers midway between Rhodes and Kos.
The mountains, forests, meadows and beaches provide safe homes for hundreds of plants, birds and other wildlife such as turtles and seals. Many species are rare, some are under threat, and volunteers work to protect them.
A network of well-trodden paths enables walkers to explore the countryside that stays green all year because of a network of fresh-water springs. In another bold ecological-venture, Tilos is striving to become exclusively powered by wind and solar energy.
So what else does this small, special place offer? Numerous beaches, including lovely, sandy Eristos, pretty Plaka cove beside a peacock park, and Livadia, where tamarisk trees and a traffic-free promenade line a long pebble beach. Explore them by bus, bike, boat or hire car.
Despite being the main port, Livadia is a small, laid-back town with a tree-lined main square and some lovely tavernas. The capital, Megalo Horio, is a charming flower-decked town of cobblestoned alleys, tiny courtyards and friendly people - and not to be confused with Micro Horio. That’s an abandoned village that still contains the remains of a medieval castle and church.
What about those elephants? Dwarf elephant bones found in a cave are believed to be from animals that survived when the land that is now Tilos parted from the mainland six million years ago.