TILOS - THE ALTERNATIVE
Tilos is a small, isolated and rocky island located between Halki and Nisyros which is of special archaeological interest. It has three settlements that are characterized as traditional. The capital of the island is Megalo Chorio in the north, an impressive settlement, built inside a Venetian castle built by the Knights of Agios Ioannis on the foundations of ancient Tilos. Access to it is from the landscaped path that reaches the top offering stunning views. Near Megalo Chorio on the way to Livadia, is the medieval Castle of Misaria or Messaria, with ruins of houses and Byzantine temples, built above the most important cave Harkadio. In the Cave, 15,000 bones were discovered from 40 dwarf elephants that were 120-150 cm high. Other animals found during this excavation but in deeper places, were deer which disappeared before the elephants arrived on the island.
Livadia is the largest settlement and the port of the island overlooking Symi and the coast of Turkey. At the top of the hill above the village dominates the Castle of Agriosykia which was built in the 15th century by the Knights of St. John to fortify the island. In the fertile valley of Eristos that ends at the homonymous beach, the most beautiful of the island, is the village of Eristos, with rich crops and trees that in combination with wildflowers compose a unique image. In the picturesque fishing village of Agios Antonios, in the homonymous bay, with the beautiful beach there is an ancient cemetery with human skeletons, which are visible only through the sea. Mikro Chorio, built in the 15th century on the hills above Livadia and abandoned after World War II, is a unique refuge for rare bird species such as Spizaetos, Mavropetritis, Aetogerakina and Thalassokorakas that build their nests in the buildings. . Tilos is the only Mediterranean island in the Natura 2000 network.
The island is a huge ecological park and is protected by international conditions as from antiquity it was known for its healing herbs such as chamomile, sage, oregano etc. as over 348 species of plants thrive on the island. The name of the island according to Greek mythology comes from Tilos the son of Alia and Apollo who went to collect herbs for his mother who was ill. Megalo Chorio hosts the archeological museum with the palaeontological findings from the cave Harkadio and an archeological collection with pottery, inscriptions, sculptures etc. from various parts of the island. The monastery of Agios Panteleimon built on a green slope has remarkable frescoes and an ornate wood-carved iconostasis. The largest festival of the island takes place in its courtyard. The Church of Panagia Politissa in Misoskali, built in 1979, was renovated in 1937 and its name comes from the owner of the field, who lived in Polis.
On the island there are many beautiful beaches, most of which are accessible mainly by hiking. Eristos is the largest and most popular beach with clear blue waters, golden sand and tamarisk trees that provide natural shade. Following the path from the left you meet two small coves where the soil on the beach is red. Plaka on the way to Agios Panteleimon, is a beautiful beach with pebbles and trees very close to the sea, suitable for shade. Agios Antonios is a pebble beach with clear waters, near the beach of Petra, which can be reached via a dirt road. A magnificent beach accessible from the path to Livadia with cool waters is Lethra where one can enjoy the tranquility of the secluded beach. The only beaches that can be visited by boat are Tholos, Skafi and Agios Stefanos.
The island of Tilos offers its visitors unique traditional flavors such as the Dodecanese stuffed goat in oil paste, fouki (fried pork with onions, soaked in vinegar), as well as fish and seafood such as cuttlefish yachni, shrimp in kourkouti, korkhoto . You should also try yiaprakia, pork kavourma, koulousoufades and poumpari (beef or pork intestines, with minced meat, rice and risottos). Also the "bun" is a special kind of pasta. Tsouvras is a special tomato soup with rice or groats. For dessert on the island, the famous xerotigana, melekounia, pougaki with almond souls and the heptazymakoulourakia are served. As the island stands out for its herbs, it could only have decoctions and herbs such as foxglove, marjoram, rosemary, oregano, thyme, thrips, mallow (for constipation), "the beauty of the rooster" (as the Italians used to say about kidney stone) and the austro a herb for the prostate.