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Tiny Tilos (pop. 550), midway between Rhodes and Kos, is the most enlightened Greek island we know and leads the way in environmental protection and eco-tourism. The islanders, led by a progressive mayor, realised years ago that the way forward was in limited, high quality tourism a world away from the mass market. To this end they dedicated their efforts to sustainable tourism – becoming the first island in Greece to ban hunting was a bold start – and have never looked back.
The island’s 64 sq kms, together with its surrounding archipelago of 16 uninhabited islets, have been designated an Important Bird Area, an EU-registered Special Protection Area and a Natura 2000 site amongst others. What this all means is that visitors here will find a protected natural environment with a wonderful diversity of flora and fauna, especially birds (there are 155 documented wild species, including the rare Eleonora’s Falcon).
Holidays In Tilos
Tilos is therefore a paradise for walkers and now boasts 67km of signed walking trails (many being restored cobbled mule paths) which run through untamed countryside, linking rugged mountains with fertile valleys of wild flowers, pine, oak and almond watered by the island’s many underground springs. From the heights, the views to six neighbouring islands and Turkey are stunning. A walking map is available locally and, for a nominal charge, Tilos Park (an NGO) will drop you off at the start of a trail and pick you up at the end.
And there are certainly things to explore whilst out and about – some 200 Byzantine country chapels, seven Crusader castles, abandoned villages, a Byzantine monastery, and one of the most important archaeological finds in recent history – a cave full of dwarf elephants, the last of their kind to survive in Europe. The small museum here is a must-visit.
Many walking trails start from the main port of Livadia. This sleepy, traditional and overwhelmingly friendly little village boasts a lovely long pebble beach, shaded by tamarisk trees, lapped by the clearest of seas and backed by a car-free walkway. It also has some dozen very good tavernas and the same number of café-bars, five mini-markets (will deliver), a bakery and a bank with an ATM. Cars can be rented and some organised trips do run, by bus, boat or on foot, including (last year) Monastery and Sunset, a boat BBQ and beekeeping! A water-taxi service operated in 2012 from Livadia harbour to other local beaches, whilst a regular bus runs to the other main settlement of Megalo Chorio and (in season) to sandy Eristos beach. Tilos has 19 beaches, many of which can be reached only on foot or by boat as they have been purposefully left road-free.
Of course all the usual benefits which make Greece such a great destination for a relaxing holiday are present in abundance on Tilos – sun, sea, tavernas, village life etc. But Tilos offers so much more, and is a shining example to other small islands under similar economic pressures. By visiting you will not only have a splendid holiday, you will be supporting the island’s initiative and helping others to see that an alternative to mass tourism can work.
Wednesday flights from Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham via Rhodes. Taxi transfer to Rhodes port (40 mins). Fast Sea Star Catamaran to the island (90 mins), tickets included – there may be some waiting time at the port. In 2013 the Sea Star dep Rhodes 18.00 and dep Tilos 07.00 on return. Local transfer or short walk to your accommodation. On your return the reverse applies.
We have our own local representative based on Tilos. However please note that transfers are not escorted.
Available locally - please see our representative.
With any other island served by flights to Rhodes e.g. Symi, Halki, Karpathos or with Akyaka in Turkey. Symi (Fri) and Halki (Tue & Thu) both had a fast direct sea connection with Tilos in 2013 which avoided travelling via Rhodes - however this is not guaranteed for 2014. Should mid-centre transfers be via Rhodes these can take most of the day but we can store luggage to allow free time to explore the Old Town.