Megalo Horio, the tiny ‘capital’ of Tilos, is a hillside village where the narrow streets hold sun-blasted cubic houses and teem with battle-scarred cats. Enthusiastic volunteers can tell you all about the island's famous dwarf elephants at the one-room museum on the main street.
A taxing one-hour hike from the north end of Megalo Horio takes you to the Knights Castle, passing the island’s most ancient settlement en route.
The northwestern end of Tilos is home to several attractive beaches. The best for swimming is long, broad Eristos Beach, lapped by sapphire-hued waters, 2.5km south of Megalo Horio. Generally deserted but for the odd local line-fishing, its greyish sands are fringed by tamarisk trees.
The quiet settlement of Agios Antonios, in the large bay 1.5km northwest of Megalo Horio, is a narrow strip of shingle with a taverna at either end. Much prettier Plaka Beach, in a cove another 3km west, is completely undeveloped. The water is slightly warmer, there's shade in the afternoon and, once you wade in a little, the rock shelves are good for snorkelling.
Beyond Plaka, the coast road climbs the sheer hillside, skirting 3km of alarming drop-offs to reach cliff-edge Agiou Panteleimona monastery.