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Stranded midway between Kos and Rhodes, the small, usually quiet island of TÍLOS is among the least frequented and most unpredictably connected of the Dodecanese. For visitors, however, it’s a great place simply to rest on the beach, or hike in the craggy hinterland.

Tílos shares the characteristics of its closest neighbours: limestone mountains like those of Hálki, plus volcanic lowlands, pumice beds and red-lava sand as on Níssyros. With ample groundwater and rich volcanic soil, the islanders could afford to turn their backs on the sea, and made Tílos the breadbasket of the Dodecanese. Until the 1970s, travellers were greeted by the sight of shimmering fields of grain bowing in the wind. Nowadays the hillside terraces languish abandoned, and the population of five hundred dwindles to barely a hundred in winter.

While recent development has turned the port of Livádhia ever more towards tourism, Tílos remains low-key. This is still a place where visitors come to get away from it all, often for extended stays. If you’re here to walk, little may seem striking at first glance, but after a few days you may have stumbled on several small Knights’ castles studding the crags, or found some of the inconspicuous, often frescoed, often locked medieval chapels that cling to the hillsides.

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