According to a now rather out-of-date article in the London Evening Standard in August 1999 this unspoilt, small island has plenty of opportunities for nude sunning and swimming. According to the Thomas Cook guide the best beach is Eristos and nudity is happily tolerated there.
The Captain subsequently had reports that it was changing massively and has far more tourists as a result. Islanders were less prepared to tolerate nudism and because of the greater number of tourists it was much harder to find any privacy. In 2000, the Red beach (which is about 40 minutes walk from the town down a steep cliff) was very crowded with textiles all summer long. Yachts kept arriving in search of isolated beaches, but again all textiles. Reports came in about every beach (even some of the relatively inaccessible ones, some miles from paved roads) bearing at least one "Nudity Forbidden" sign. My contributor says it seems from casually chatting with locals that the strong ex-pat British community that has done so much to promote walking trails on Tilos has turned against Naturism in a serious way.
However prospects appear to have since improved. Various reports during 2002 and 2003 (which seems to have been a quiet year for tourism in the Greek Islands generally) were much more positive, notably about Eristos.
A contributor who re-visited the island in September 2002 said that with regards to nudity, things were much like they were in 1998. There was a "no nudity" sign on the beach in Livadia, otherwise they saw no signs. Both Lethra and Red beach are an easy 45-60 minutes walk from Livadia, and cannot be regarded as really remote. Nudity varied from 100% nude to almost 100% textile, depending on who visited that day (just like before). Eristos was mainly nude on the farthest, eastern part, after the end of the road. Sunbeds and parasols, which attract textiles, were limited to the section by the bus stop. Some secluded coves further on required more climbing abilities than my contributors had.
My contributor thinks somebody must have given in on their fight against nudity, and it seems that out of the high season Tilos is still good for the dedicated nude swimmer who is not afraid of a walk.
So this is the context within which the Captain offers the reports below.
A long (over 1km) sand/pebble beach easily accessible by a regular bus service. Turn left and go down the track behind the beach for about 300m, then go on to the beach. This is about 4/500m long and even during August was not crowded - generally 50m between groups/couples. Go to the far end of the beach where access to the sea is easier - most of the beach has a rocky outcrop close to the shore. Report from July 2003 confirms that the beach was still good for nudism, and as quiet as one regular visitor had known it for 9 years.
The rest of the beach is almost wholly textile with topless bathing tolerated.
It's now apparently accepted by locals on the island that 'this is the nudist beach'. Easy access to crystal clear water. Good snorkelling. Sandy beach. There is a further bay around the headland and my correspondents had the beach completely to themselves, however getting there involved a scramble down a slippery path. Many people would not be unable to make this. If getting down seemed hard, getting back up was more difficult!!
Barefooters who visited Eristos in late July 2011 found it to be the best beach on Tilos. A lot of camping under the tamarisk trees to the left of where the bus stops (there is a rudimentary toilet/shower block for the campers). Very few people on the beach beyond the camping area, but those there were nearly all nude. Lovely long beach where you felt comfortable being nude for swimming, walking along the shore and sunbathing. Shade from tamarisk trees, but no shade at the south eastern end of the beach. Sand/shingle, gently shelving - rated 85%. Try the En Plo Taverna for lunch a short walk behind the beach - friendly owner who also rents rooms, and the taverna has a lovely terrace with shade provided by vines.
In July 2011, there were a few sunbeds/parasols at the textile end of the beach, near the Eristos Beach Hotel.
Plaka beach has a dedicated nudist section on the left, according to reports from 2003. At NW end of island. No bus service to Plaka, although it is possible to get the bus to Agios Antonios and walk from there along the road. Alternatively, get the island's only taxi or hire a car from Livadia (35 euros per day in 2011). Sheltered, east facing beach, the most northern end of which had an official sign 'Nudism area'. Very quiet other than a number of goats. Easy access to sea, pebbles, sand.
Barefooters who visited in late July 2011 found the northern part of the beach remains a dedicated nudist area, with the aforementioned sign still in position. No goats about! That part of the beach was 100% nude, and dominated by a group of about 8 French people who had erected two gazebos on the beach! Gently shelving, nice swimming, with some camping behind the beach at the textile end. Access is possible in a small car to a parking area by the (textile) end of the beach, turning right from the tarmac road.
Red Beach and Lethra
Fine for naturism in early August 2003. Lethra was 95% nude. A "tourist boat" visits both beaches on an irregular basis, but there is plenty of space for naturists and those who prefer to wear a costume.
The beach in the main town of Livadia is a long, narrow pebbly beach but not too crowded even in the peak season. Being close to the small coastal road, the church, some residences and tavernas it is almost wholly textile although topless bathing may be tolerated at the eastern end of the beach.
If you are prepared to walk, Tilos has some beautiful small beaches. They are isolated with no facilities so be prepared for a reasonable degree of caution if you go to them. Particularly, take plenty of water and wear good footwear. Access to some beaches such as Tholos and Skafi are for the enthusiastic and fit who don't mind clambering over rough ground. Access tracks to these beaches have been marked out with red dots by a tour rep, but be sure of where you are going as the going can get rough if you wander off them. There is a good map available, which should help the more energetic visitor.
Most are coarse sand and pebbles 200 to 500m long. Shelter is limited on most although at Levthra and Skafi there are some trees and caves that provide some shade throughout the day.
The chances are good that when you get to these beaches you'll have the place to yourself or at the most a dozen spread-out people. Nudism on all these small beaches is common.
If you want a day of almost total peace and quiet, plus some exercise getting there, they are great.
by boat only Beaches
If you can get together a group of around 8 like-minded people, Tilos Travel at the port will arrange a "fast" (but not cheap) motorised dinghy boat trip captained by Manos around the island for the day, stopping at otherwise inaccessible coves where nude bathing from boat or beach can be practised at will, just take your own lunch and refreshments. Thoroughly recommended by my contributor! 25 Euros per person during high season 2003.