The island of Kos

Sandy beaches, turquoise waters, lush vegetation, ancient and medieval monuments, tree-lined wide roads, large squares, parks, a superb city plan and the extensive bicycle-only routes network are the distinctive characteristics of the third largest island of the Dodecanese after Rhodes and Karpathos, lying close to the Asia Minor coast, between Nisyros and Kalymnos island.

Well known as the homeland of Hippocrates (father of medicine), with a fertile climate, the mountains with green hills in which claim traditional villages with whitewashed houses bedecked in flowers; the wonderful beaches with crystal waters; the monuments and the glory of the past harmoniously connected with the comforts and cosmopolitan aura, under a bright sun shining most of the year. They all compose the image of the island today.

Its marvellous golden beaches have made Kos an international tourist centre and one of the most attractive and beautiful of the Greek Islands.

The capital city and its surroundings

Also called the ‘Kos Town’, the city was founded in 366 BC. When entering the harbour of Kos town the imposing medieval Castle of Neratzia (the Castle of the Knights of St. John) is bound to draw your attention. This castle is connected to the mainland by a bridge that crosses the Palm Tree Avenue, or stroll around famous squares like Platanos and Eleftheria, and admire legendary buildings, remains of the Italian rule. Platanos square with the large plane tree (one of the oldest in the world -over 2,500 years old) is where according to tradition, Hippocrates used to teach his students under its shade.

All around Kos town you can find signs of the past, reminders of the civilisations that passed through its harbour. Numerous buildings, built in imitation of the Italian architecture of the colonies in N. Africa, like the Country Hall. Interested in history? Pay a visit to the ancient city of Kos and observe important archaeological finds dating back to the 4th century. Don’t miss the 4th century Asclipiion, or the Antimahia 15th century castle with its imposing battle tower.

In order to take a taste of the antiquity wonders that Kos has to offer, make a stop at the Archaeological Museum, located at Eleftherias square, exhibiting a wide collection of archaeological treasures, such as the mosaic of Hippocrates, the Hellenistic sculptures of Aphrodite, Eros and one believed to be of Hippocrates himself.

The wetland in Psalidi is waiting to be explored. This space is ideal for relaxation and contact with nature. Rare species of birds find refuge in the rich flora of the region, while the beautiful beaches of Psalidi are paradise for those who love tranquillity.

Shortly after the Psalidi village you will find the Therma (Warm) that obviously took the name from the hot springs in the area. The waters finally flow into the sea, and the great content of the sulphur has made it famous for its healing properties. The village, secluded among the rocks and sea, is a breath of beauty, isolated from the rest of the world.

Wonderful villages and beaches

Tingaki and Marmari are the first seaside villages encountered when leaving the town of Kos. Tingaki is a 10 km long and white sandy beach with shallow waters that makes it ideal for kids, an easy place to swim and have fun with the waves.

The sunset at Zia just spectatular. Kardamena is located 30 km from the capital and 5 km from the International Airport "Hippocrates". Here are many archaeological sites: The Temple of Apollo, early Christian Basilicas and the Ancient Theatre. And of course get some rest after sightseeing at the nearby sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. Also on offer are a variety of water sports or daily boat services to Nisyros, the neighbouring volcano island that you ought to visit.

The Fish Festival is one of the local events not to be missed! The Antimachia is located 25 km Kos, having so much to show: The Castle of Antimachia, the traditional windmills, traditional house, and many more. The Honey Festival in late summer is a great opportunity to taste local delicacies!

Approximately 3 km northwest of Antimachia lies the village of Mastichari. Peace and tranquillity prevail in this village with some of the most beautiful beaches on the island, ideal for windsurfers. The small port is always full with fishermen providing with fresh fish local restaurants and taverns. And guess what: another festival, the Mastichari Wine Festival, where you should go if you love home made wine, local delicacies and Greek music. Its port is also your gate to the neighbouring island of Kalymnos with daily cruises. 

Kefalos on the western edge of the island (42 km from Kos) with probably the most beautiful beach and I should say, the most famous one. A beautiful white sand and crystal blue waters. Paradise beach is also there. You can test your skills in waterskiing, parascending, or jet-skiing, or rent a speed boat for some privacy and a close look at the nearby dolphins.

This picturesque village is situated above the beach of Kamari, where, just a few meters from the coast, lies the island of St. Nicholas (Castri). Don’t leave without seeing the St. Stephen's Basilica, the monastery of St. John the Theologian, the ruins of Astypalea (old capital of the island) and the cave of white stone (where found the first human traces on the island).


The nightlife in Kos is found mainly around two streets, the Diakon and Nafklirou roads where you will find most bars and nightclubs. The summer nights are definitely hot. Of course, there are several nightclubs outside the town of Kos, and many resorts have private nightclub for visitors.

Extra tip on Tourist Traps: The most common trap for Kos visitors is excessive charge for taxi rides, so it is good idea to insist paying the fare that appears on the meter. Some restaurants "inflate" the bill so is wise to the check the bill before you pay or the prices on the menus. However, usually most companies don’t follow similar practices.


On the island of Kos will find plenty of Greek traditional products, easily found in all popular tourist destinations. Strolling the narrow streets of Old Kos Town you will find everything from green soap and jars of local honey, to the latest gadgets and children’s’ toys.

Kos is also famous for its jewellery, leather goods, pottery and textiles markets, and will give the opportunity to find them in reasonable price. Of course, throughout the island you will find all the traditional types of arts and crafts.

Supermarkets have a variety of traditional products while in the city’s Central Square Market you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables or local products.

In the mornings, the Kos bakeries fill the air with a wonderful smell of fresh bread. It is definitely worth tasting their delicious cookies and sweets too. Fashion stores with all major brands are located at the modern part of town. Here you will find the latest collections of known designers and some very good jewellers.

In many villages you can find beautiful handmade ceramics and exquisite handmade textiles and embroidery. The village of Pelion is famous for the fantastic variety of top quality cheese. I would strongly recommend trying the kokkinotyri (red cheese), which has aged in red wine.

Useful information
Getting there:
  • Kos is connected by ferry to Piraeus, and all the other nearby islands of Dodecanese
  • You can reach island by aeroplane from Athens and Thessaloniki.
Useful phone numbers (+30)
Municipality +30 22420-28420
Airport 22420-56000
Police 22420-28211
Port Police 22420-26594
Fire Station 22420-22199
Hospital centre 22420-28050
Medical centre 22420-23423
Taxi 22420-22777, 23333
Local buses (KTEL) 22420-22292