One of the 12 Dodecanese islands in the southeast Aegean Sea, Kos stands out due to its lush vegetation, superb beaches, picturesque settlements, and cosmopolitan atmosphere. Kos if above all welcoming and friendly, an island that seems to have been designed especially for travelers and sunbathers. It has monuments dating back to 3,000 years ago and fascinating sights that will keep history buffs busy and in awe, plenty of sandy beaches to tempt sun worshipers and enough outdoor activities to satisfy the appetite for exercise of those who just can’t stay still.
Kos Town – the heart of the island
Kos Town is the island’s capital and main port and awaits on the east end of the island. This is the place where you can unveil layers and layers of history with stories dating back to ancient times when Hippocrates, “the father of modern medicine”, used to teach his students under a plane tree. Hippocrates is long gone but the tree is still there.
The town invites travelers to discover a superb blend of architectural styles that testify to the island’s rich history. You’ll discover fascinating Roman ruins, like a fourth-century BC Asklepion, a religious sanctuary dedicated to the god of healing, as well as an agora and an Odeon, two Ottoman mosques and a fountain dating back to the 18th century, but also superb Venetian buildings, all surrounded by lush green areas and a charming ambiance. Just stroll the town’s wide alleys and historic streets and you’ll capture the essence of life in Kos. No one is in a hurry and everyone is looking for happiness in the little things.
If there is one historical sight you shouldn’t miss, this is the Castle of the Knights of Saint John located on the eastern side of the harbor. The 14th-century castle has fortified walls that once protected the island from the invasions of pirates. It is connected to the town by a bridge that crosses the iconic Palm Tree Avenue. This avenue is the core of the town, a long pedestrian street lined with boutiques, cafes, taverns, and restaurants, as well as numerous bars and nightclubs.
The resorts, the beaches, the holiday fun
While the island’s history is fascinating and very interesting, tourists come to Kos mostly for the golden sand beaches and charming resorts. Kefalos and Kardamena lead in the tourists’ preferences being the most popular resorts on the island. Home to infinite golden beaches and crystal waters, great accommodation, and a plethora of taverns and restaurants, Kefalos and Kardamena create the perfect ambiance for a relaxing holiday.
Kefalos is truly beautiful due to its maze of narrow alleys and traditional houses. It also is home to an interesting museum dedicate to the local folklore and invites visitors to discover the ruins of the Christian Basilica of Agios Stefanos. Even though the village is modern and provides all the necessary facilities for comfortable holidays, it still has its authentic charm intact. The resort’s beach is surrounded by greenery and caressed by refreshing crystalline waters while the waterfront is home to numerous taverns perfect for lunch or dinner with a view.
Kardamena is the largest and most developed resort on the island, home to modern villas and all-inclusive hotels, but still very fond of its authenticity and traditional buildings. The resort is wrapped in luxuriant vegetation and plenty of trees to provide the much needed shade on the hot summer days. The resort’s beach is one of the best on the island. The sand is soft, the waters are clean and warm, and the facilities are exactly what tourists need to spend the entire day in the sun. Among the hotels, restaurants, and cafes, you’ll also discover fascinating sights, like the church of Agia Barbara, ruins of the Temple of Apollo, and an ancient theater. The nights are reserved to fun parties in posh nightclubs and traditional entertainment at the local taverns.
The discreet resorts of Tingaki and Marmari await on the north coast of the island and are the destination of choice for windsurfers and a variety of birds, especially flamingos. Most luxurious hotels and quiet, picturesque beaches can be found in Psalidi and Fokas.
If you want to spend every day on a different beach, you’ll definitely be able to do this in Kos. The island is blessed with fabulous beaches, most of them dressed in soft golden sand glittering in the hot Greek sun. Mastichari beach though, the superstar of the island, surprises visitors with exotic white sand and turquoise waters. The beach is phenomenal! Dotted with colorful sunbeds and umbrellas and adorned with leafy trees, Mastichari is unforgettable.