To Truly Relax on a Greek Island, Head to Tilos

This time of year, late August, and my mind starts to wander to the southern Mediterranean. September and October is the ideal time to visit Greece and Turkey. Temperatures start to cool down a bit and the summer crowds have departed, returning the Mediterranean coast and islands back to their rightful owners. This week, I’m going to delve into some of my favorite Turkish and Greek locales. First stop, Tilos.

Tilos is an island where the locals, still unaccustomed to tourists, greet you as if you lived there your whole life. A place where one picks fresh figs off the tree and finds deserted medieval castles that request no admission fee. Tilos lies approximately 65 kilometers due east of Rhodes and 40 kilometers due south of Kos in the Dodecanese Islands. With a population of only 300 people, the island has a surprising number of readily available accommodations and restaurants, one of which makes some of the best Greek food I’ve ever tasted. Most of the tourist facilities line the sleepy port of Livadia, a town where the lone baker knows you on a first-name basis shortly after you arrive and a restaurateur gives you a free bottle of his favorite wine when you depart. Stay at the aptly named Dream Island on the beach at Livadia. Spacious rooms and patios overlook the sea. A family-run restaurant named Sofia’s is the gourmet dining choice in town. The restaurant is named after Sofia Economou, the matriarch and gracious hostess. Her husband does the cooking and his specialties include fried pumpkin with potato garlic dip, aubergine with tomatoes and Parmesan cheese, and the leanest and juiciest souvlaki we tasted in Greece.  Ferries leave from Rhodes to Tilos every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, returning Wednesday and Friday.