Welcome to the beautiful island of Kos in Greece, known for its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and rich history. In this article, we will take you on a journey through time, exploring the island’s ancient past and the various civilizations that have left their mark. We’ll then dive into all the exciting things to do and see during your visit, from visiting ancient landmarks like the Asklepion and the Castle of the Knights to exploring the beautiful Casa Romana and the Hippocrates Garden Cultural Center.
Finally, we’ll tantalize your taste buds with a guide to the island’s delicious cuisine, highlighting the must-try dishes and local specialties, and we will explore the most beautiful beaches Kos has to offer. Get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty, history, and culture of the enchanting Greek island of Kos.
- History of Kos
- Things to do on the island of Kos
- Taste – What to eat in Kos
- Is Kos a party island
- Stay – Hotels in Kos
- Be Active – Outdoor Activities on Kos island
- The Best Beaches in Kos
- How to get to Kos
- Transportation in Kos
- Island hopping from Kos
- When to visit – Weather on Kos island
History of Kos
Before you dive into the stunning beaches and vibrant culture, it’s important to understand the rich history of this fascinating destination.
Kos has a history that dates back to ancient times, and it has been influenced by various civilizations and cultures throughout the centuries. The island was first inhabited by the Carians, a group of people who were known for their seafaring abilities. Later, the island was settled by the Dorians, who were a Greek tribe that migrated from the mainland.
During the 5th century BC, Kos became a major center of culture and intellectual development. It was home to some of the most renowned scholars of the time, including Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine. The famous Hippocratic School of Medicine was established on the island, and it became a hub for medical research and education. The Asklepion, a healing center dedicated to the god of medicine, was also built during this time and became one of the most important sites on the island.
Kos was later conquered by the Romans in 42 BC, and it remained under their rule for several centuries. During this time, the island was heavily influenced by Roman culture and architecture. Many of the island’s ancient structures were rebuilt and expanded, including the Asklepion.
In the 14th century, the island was conquered by the Knights of St. John, a military order that controlled much of the Eastern Mediterranean. They built a fortress in the town of Kos, which still stands today and is a popular tourist attraction.
Kos remained under the rule of various empires throughout the centuries, including the Ottoman Empire and the Italians during World War II. It wasn’t until 1948 that the island was reunited with Greece and became a part of the country.
Today, the history of Kos can be seen and experienced throughout the island. From the ancient ruins of the Asklepion to the medieval castle in the town of Kos, there are numerous sites that showcase the island’s rich past. The island also boasts a vibrant cultural scene, with festivals and events celebrating its history and heritage.
As you explore Kos, take the time to immerse yourself in its fascinating history. It’s a destination that offers not only natural beauty and exciting activities but also a deep connection to the past.
Things to do on the island of Kos
Now that you’ve learned about the rich history of the island, it’s time to explore all the exciting things to do and see during your visit.
One of the must-visit landmarks on the island is the Asklepion. This ancient healing center was founded in the 4th century BC and was one of the most important medical centers of the ancient world. The Asklepion was dedicated to the god of medicine, Asklepios, and it’s believed that people from all over the Mediterranean came to seek treatment here. Today, visitors can explore the ruins of the Asklepion and learn about the innovative medical practices of the time.
Another fascinating historical site on the island is the Castle of the Knights, also known as the Nerantzia Castle. Located in the heart of the town of Kos, this medieval castle was built by the Knights of St. John in the 14th century. The castle offers a glimpse into the island’s rich history and provides breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
If you’re looking for a unique experience, be sure to check out the Hippocrates Garden Cultural Center. This botanical garden was created to celebrate the life and work of Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, and it features a collection of over 150 species of medicinal plants. Visitors can take guided tours of the garden and learn about the various plants and their healing properties.
There are many more fascinating landmarks to explore on the island of Kos. One such site is the Ancient Agora. Located in the heart of the town of Kos, this ancient marketplace was a center of commercial and political activity during the Hellenistic period. Today, visitors can explore the ruins of the marketplace, including the impressive Roman Odeon.
Be sure to visit the Castle of Antimachia. This impressive fortress was built by the Knights of St. John in the 14th century and served as a stronghold against invading forces. Today, you can explore the castle and learn about its rich history.
The Casa Romana is an impressive Roman villa that was discovered in the 1930s. This ancient house was built in the 3rd century AD and features intricate mosaics, frescoes, and other artwork. Wander around the various rooms of the villa, including the atrium, the peristyle courtyard, and the baths. The villa’s beautiful artwork depicts scenes from Greek mythology and daily life, providing a fascinating glimpse into the island’s ancient past.
The Hippocrates Tree, situated near the Kos Castle, is said to be the tree where the father of medicine, Hippocrates, taught his students. The tree is over 2,400 years old and is an essential part of the island’s history. Next to it stands the Gazi Hasan Pasha Mosque, a stunning example of Ottoman architecture. The mosque, built in 1786, features beautiful domes, minarets, and a large courtyard, making it a popular tourist attraction on the island. Both the Hippocrates Tree and Gazi Hasan Pasha Mosque offer visitors a glimpse into Kos’s rich past and are well worth a visit.
The ancient theater of the Odeon is another must-visit destination. It was built in the 2nd century AD and was used for musical performances and other cultural events. Today, visitors can explore the ruins of the theater and imagine what it must have been like to attend a performance there in ancient times.
Taste – What to eat in Kos
Welcome to the delicious world of Kos cuisine! Here you will discover a world of flavors and ingredients that will take you on a journey of taste and culture. The island is famous for its use of fresh and natural ingredients, which are the basis of its healthy and delicious cuisine. From traditional savory dishes to sweet desserts, Kos has something to offer for every palate.
Start your culinary journey with Labropites, traditional Koan pies with anthotyro cheese filling. If you are a fan of vegan food, you will love Spinach and Rice or “spanakorizo“. This simple dish is made with spinach, rice, onion, dill, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. It is easy to prepare and bursts with flavor.
Seafood lovers must try the local delicacy of Stuffed Tomatoes with Octopus. The dish is made by stuffing tomatoes with grilled octopus and seasoning them with herbs and spices. It is traditionally served on the Sunday before “Clean Monday”, so make sure to try it during your visit to Kos. And if you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss Loukoumades, traditional Greek honey donuts. They are made with flour, milk, yeast, sugar, honey, and cinnamon. Serve them with cold Greek yogurt and honey for the perfect dessert.
The island of Kos is also famous for its honey. The local flora produces a unique honey, rich in taste and unmatched aroma. Hippocrates considered honey to be a preventative medicine and praised its beneficial health-giving properties while fervently advocating its consumption by both healthy and ailing individuals on a regular basis. Don’t forget to try Varvara, a “spoon sweet” made with sugar, wheat, raisins, tahini, black beans, and pomegranate. It may be difficult to make, but the taste is worth the effort.
Mediterranean flavors are infused in every dish on the island, with fresh ingredients being the key to the island’s cuisine. Olive oil, wild greens, wine, yogurt, and cheeses are the basis of both cooking and pastry making. Feta cheese is a staple in Greek cuisine and is used in many dishes on the island, while seasonal fruits and vegetables add freshness to every meal.
Besides the famous “kanelada“, a traditional beverage of Kos made of cinnamon, clove, and aromatic herbs, there are many other unique flavors to try on the island. Possia cheese, or “krasotyri“, is a protected cheese with a designation of origin (PDO). It is stored and matured in red wine for extra taste and color, adding a unique flair to traditional recipes.
Pasta lovers will enjoy “pitaridia“, handmade pasta resembling lasagna in shape and cooked in beef broth for an intense “meaty” flavor. “Pasa makarouna” is another must-try dish, similar to Greek Pastitsio, made of pasta, minced meat, cheese, and béchamel sauce.
End your meal on a sweet note with “Maergia“, a traditional sweet made with thyme honey, or “Katimeria” sweet pies made with mizithra cheese, fried in a pan, and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. Don’t forget to try the famous “Tomato Spoon Sweet,” a delicious dessert made with sweet cherry tomatoes.
Nightlife on the island of Kos
As the sun sets on the charming island of Kos, the sound of music fills the air, signaling the start of a night full of excitement and adventure. The island’s vibrant nightlife offers an array of experiences that cater to every taste and preference. From trendy cocktail bars to laid-back beach bars, the options are endless. Whether you’re looking for a night of dancing under the stars or a quiet drink by the sea, the bars and clubs of Kos will not disappoint. So, grab your friends, put on your dancing shoes, and get ready for a night to remember on this beautiful Greek island.
First things first, let’s talk about the famous Greek drink, Ouzo. It is an anise-flavored aperitif that is often served with meze, small plates of food to nibble on while you drink. It’s the perfect way to start your evening and get your appetite going. You can find Ouzo in almost every bar and taverna on the island, but for the best experience, head to one of the traditional Greek tavernas in the center of Kos town, where you can try local Ouzo distilled on the island.
For those who prefer something less strong, the island offers a variety of refreshing cocktails made with local ingredients. Sip on a fruity Mai Tai made with fresh orange and pineapple juice, or indulge in a sweet and sour Margarita made with Kos’s famous lemons. Head to one of the beach bars in Kardamena or Mastichari for a chilled-out atmosphere and delicious cocktails made with fresh fruit and herbs.
If you’re looking for something more sophisticated, then you should head to one of the rooftop bars in Kos town. Here, you can enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the town and harbor while sipping on classic cocktails, such as a gin and tonic or a Manhattan, made by experienced mixologists. Most of these bars offer a wide selection of wines and champagne, so if you’re in the mood for a celebratory toast, this is the place to be.
For beer lovers, Kos offers a range of local and imported beers that will satisfy even the most discerning palate. Whether you prefer a light, refreshing lager or a rich, dark ale, you’ll find it all on this island. The local Mythos beer is a popular choice, and you can find it in almost every bar and taverna on the island. But if you’re looking for something different, try one of the craft beers brewed on the island. Some of the best bars to enjoy a cold beer and a lively atmosphere are located in Kardamena, Tingaki, and Mastichari.
Get ready to experience the electrifying nightlife of Kos! At night, the island transforms into a hub of energy with its lively clubs, trendy bars, and pulsating discos, all eager to entertain you till dawn. The island’s towns, such as Kos town, Kardamena, and Tigaki, light up with the music and the sound of laughter, beckoning you to join in on the fun. The vibrant atmosphere is palpable as you wander through the streets, with a feeling of anticipation building within you for the night ahead.
Get lost in the pulsating beats of the latest hits, or sway to the rhythm of live music in a laid-back setting as the night unfolds into an unforgettable experience. Kos has it all, from traditional Greek pop to the latest international DJ sets, creating a magical and dreamy atmosphere that you’ll remember forever.
Stay – Hotels in Kos
As you plan your trip to Kos, one of the most important decisions you will make is where to stay. Fortunately, the island has plenty of options to suit any taste and budget. From luxurious resorts to charming boutique hotels, Kos has it all.
If you’re looking for a relaxing, pampering experience, then a stay at one of the island’s high-end resorts might be just what you need. These luxurious properties boast stunning pools, private beaches, and world-class amenities. You’ll be able to unwind and soak up the sun in style while being treated to top-notch service and gourmet dining options.
For those who prefer a more intimate atmosphere, Kos has a range of charming boutique hotels. These properties often have unique, personalized touches that make them stand out from the crowd. Whether you’re looking for a cozy room in a traditional Greek house or a chic modern suite, there’s something to suit your taste.
If you’re traveling with family or a group of friends, you may want to consider renting a private villa or apartment. These accommodations offer the comforts of home, with the added bonus of stunning views and proximity to the beach.
No matter where you choose to stay, one thing is for certain: Kos has a wide range of accommodations to suit any taste and budget. Just be sure to book early, as the island can get quite busy during the peak travel season.
Be Active – Outdoor Activities in Kos
Are you looking for an island adventure? Look no further than Kos! This gorgeous island is the perfect place to get outside and get active. From hiking to cycling to water sports, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy on Kos.
One of the most popular outdoor activities on the island is hiking. The mountainous terrain and stunning scenery make Kos a hiker’s paradise. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, there are plenty of trails to suit your level of experience. One of the most popular hiking spots is the Asklepion, where you can explore the ancient ruins of a healing sanctuary while enjoying breathtaking views of the island.
If you prefer cycling, Kos has plenty of options for you too. You can rent a bike and explore the island at your own pace, taking in the beautiful sights and sounds of nature. One of the most scenic cycling routes on the island is the coastal road between Kos town and Kefalos, where you can enjoy stunning views of the sea and the surrounding landscape.
For water lovers, Kos offers a range of exciting water sports activities, including windsurfing, kiteboarding, and stand-up paddleboarding. The crystal-clear waters surrounding the island make it the perfect place to enjoy these adrenaline-fueled sports. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced athlete, there are plenty of schools and rental shops to choose from, so you can make the most of your time on the water.
Scuba diving is very popular on the island, where you can explore the underwater world and discover the beautiful marine life and shipwrecks that lie beneath the surface. There are several diving centers located in Kos that offer courses for beginners and organized diving trips for experienced divers.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed way to enjoy the island’s natural beauty, why not take a leisurely boat trip around the coastline? You can soak up the sun, admire the stunning views, and even swim in the crystal-clear waters of secluded coves and bays.
Another must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts is the Plaka Forest. This beautiful woodland is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in nature. You can explore the forest on foot or by bike, taking in the fresh air and stunning scenery along the way.
Finally, don’t forget to visit the island’s natural landmarks, including the famous Mount Dikeos and the Therma hot springs. These breathtaking sites offer a glimpse into the island’s geological history and are a must-see for any nature lover.
The Best Beaches on Kos island
Kos is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. With crystal-clear waters and soft, golden sand, there is no better place to relax and soak up the sun. Whether you’re looking for a secluded cove or a lively beach with plenty of facilities, you’re sure to find the perfect spot on this island.
Tigaki beach is one of the most popular beaches in Kos. With its long stretch of golden sand and clear waters, it’s the perfect spot for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying a range of water sports. The beach is backed by restaurants, cafes, and bars, so you’ll have plenty of options for refreshments and entertainment.
Paradise beach is another must-visit beach on the island. This secluded cove is surrounded by rugged cliffs and crystal-clear waters, making it the perfect spot for snorkeling or simply soaking up the sun. There are no facilities on the beach, so be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks.
Mastichari beach is a beautiful and unspoiled beach located on the north coast of Kos. With its pristine waters and stunning views of the Aegean Sea, it’s a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and windsurfing. There are plenty of facilities on the beach, including restaurants, cafes, and beach bars.
Kefalos beach is a beautiful and tranquil spot on the southern coast of the island. The beach is known for its turquoise waters and soft sand, making it the perfect spot for swimming and sunbathing. There are plenty of facilities on the beach, including sun loungers, umbrellas, and water sports equipment.
Agios Stefanos beach is a beautiful and secluded beach located on the east coast of Kos. With its crystal-clear waters and rocky outcrops, it’s the perfect spot for snorkeling or simply soaking up the sun. There are no facilities on the beach, so be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks.
Finally, Psalidi beach is a popular spot on the east coast of the island. With its soft sand and clear waters, it’s a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying a range of water sports. The beach is backed by restaurants, cafes, and bars, so you’ll have plenty of options for refreshments and entertainment.
How to get to Kos
Getting to Kos is easier than you might think! The island is well-connected to both the Greek mainland and other European cities, making it accessible to travelers from all over the world.
The easiest way to get to Kos is by air. There are regular flights from Athens International Airport and other major European cities like London, Amsterdam, and Berlin. The flight time from Athens to Kos is just 50 minutes, while flights from other European cities can take around 2-4 hours.
If you prefer to travel by sea, there are regular ferry connections from Athens’ port of Piraeus to Kos, with a journey time of around 11-14 hours, depending on the ferry you choose. Additionally, there are also ferry connections to other nearby islands like Rhodes, Symi, and Kalymnos.
Once you arrive in Kos, you can start your adventure and explore all that this beautiful island has to offer. From the stunning beaches to the fascinating historical sites and the mouth-watering cuisine, there’s something for everyone here. Whether you’re traveling solo, with friends, or with family, this enchanting island will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.
Transportation in Kos
Getting around Kos is easy and convenient, with a variety of transportation options available to you. Whether you prefer to travel by car, bus, or bike, you’ll find a mode of transportation that suits your needs.
If you want to explore the island on your own schedule, renting a car is a great option. There are several car rental companies located at the airport and in major tourist areas like Kos town and Kardamena. Keep in mind that traffic can be heavy during peak tourist season, so be prepared for some delays on the road. Additionally, make sure to have a valid driver’s license before renting a car.
Another popular way to get around Kos is by bus. The island has a reliable bus network that connects all major towns and tourist attractions. Buses are frequent and affordable, making them a great option for budget-conscious travelers. You can purchase bus tickets at kiosks and convenience stores throughout the island.
For those who prefer a more eco-friendly mode of transportation, bike rentals are widely available in Kos. Biking is a great way to explore the island at a leisurely pace while enjoying the beautiful scenery. There are also guided bike tours available if you prefer to explore the island with a group.
If you’re staying in Kos town, walking is a great option for getting around. The town is compact and easy to navigate, with plenty of pedestrian-friendly streets and pathways. You can easily walk to the town’s major attractions like the Castle of the Knights, the Ancient Agora, and the Hippocrates Tree.
Overall, getting around Kos is hassle-free and affordable. With a variety of transportation options available, you can explore the island at your own pace and discover all the hidden gems it has to offer.
Island hopping from Kos
As beautiful as Kos is, there is a whole world of other islands waiting to be explored just a short boat ride away. Island hopping is a popular activity for visitors to Kos, allowing them to discover more of the stunning Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.
One of the most popular destinations for island hopping from Kos is Rhodes. The island is famous for its stunning medieval old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you can wander through the narrow streets, explore ancient ruins, and take in the stunning views of the Aegean Sea. The journey time from Kos to Rhodes is around 2-3 hours by ferry, making it a perfect day trip or an overnight stay. Read our Insider Guide to Rhodes and learn all about the island’s secrets.
Another popular island to visit from Kos is Kalymnos, which is famous for its natural beauty and rock climbing opportunities. Here you can explore stunning beaches, hike through mountainous landscapes, and enjoy some of the freshest seafood in Greece. The journey time from Kos to Kalymnos is just 30 minutes by ferry, so it’s the perfect destination for a day trip.
If you’re looking for a more laid-back island experience, then head to the neighboring island of Nisyros. This small island is home to a dormant volcano, which you can visit and even hike to the top. The island also boasts beautiful beaches and a charming traditional village, where you can get a taste of authentic Greek island life. The journey time from Kos to Nisyros is around 1-2 hours by ferry.
For a more secluded island experience, consider visiting the small island of Tilos. This island is home to just a few hundred people, and its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters make it a true paradise. You can explore the island’s charming village, hike through its natural beauty, and enjoy some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste. The journey time from Kos to Tilos is around 2-3 hours by ferry, making it a great destination for a day trip or an overnight stay.
When to visit – Weather on Kos island
When it comes to visiting Kos, the weather is definitely a major factor to consider. The island enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate, with long, hot summers and mild winters. The peak tourist season is from June to August, when temperatures average around 30°C (86°F), making it perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and outdoor activities. However, this is also the busiest time of year, so be prepared for crowds and higher prices.
If you prefer a more laid-back vacation, consider visiting Kos in May or September. These months offer pleasant temperatures in the mid-20s°C (70s°F) and fewer tourists, giving you the chance to explore the island’s natural beauty and historical sites without the crowds.
If you’re a fan of hiking or exploring the island’s countryside, then spring and autumn are the perfect seasons for you. The weather during these seasons is cooler, and the island is filled with colorful wildflowers and greenery.
Overall, there’s no wrong time to visit Kos. It all depends on your personal preferences and what you want to experience. Just remember to check the weather forecast before you go, so you can pack accordingly and make the most of your time on this beautiful island