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Kos

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Kos (Greek: Κως, also spelt Cos) is a popular tourist destination in the Greek islands of the Dodecanese, located in the south-eastern part of the Aegean Sea, near the Turkish coast.

Understand

The island of Kos is part of the Dodecanese. It is the third largest of this group of islands and the second most popular and touristy island after Rhodes. It is located between Kalymnos and Nysiros. It is very well organised and has everything in terms of tourism infrastructure.

The island is part of a chain of mountains from which it became separated after earthquakes and subsidence that occurred in ancient times. These mountains include Kalymnos and Kappari which are separated by an underwater chasm c. 70 m (40 fathoms deep), as well as the volcano of Nisyros and the surrounding islands.

There is a wide variety of rocks in Kos which is related to its geographical formation. Prominent among these are the Quaternary layers in which the fossil remains of mammals such as horses, hippopotami and elephants have been found. The fossilised molar of an elephant of gigantic proportions was presented to the Paleontology Museum of the University of Athens.

The shores of Kos Island are washed by the waters of the Aegean Sea. Its coastline is 112 km long and is caressed by long immaculate beaches, leading to its main industry being tourism. Farming is the principal occupation of many of the island's inhabitants, with their main crops being grapes, almonds, figs, olives, and tomatoes, along with wheat and corn. Cos lettuce may be grown here, but the name is unrelated.

The main villages of Kos island are Kos Town, Kardamena, Kefalos, Tingaki, Antimachia, Mastihari, Marmari and Pyli. Smaller ones are Zia, Zipari, Platani, Lagoudi and Asfendiou.

Get in

By plane

  • 1 Kos International Airport (KGS IATA). There are daily flights from Athens airport by Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines. During the months of July and August Astra Airlines flies from Thessaloniki. Ryanair offers flights all year around from Frankfurt-Hahn and Milan-Bergamo to Kos, prices can be as low as about €30 for a return flight. From May till October charter airlines fly directly to Kos from many European airports.

By ferry

Daily ferry services [1] from Piraeus, Rhodos, Patmos and Leros. From Kalymnos several times daily. From Santorini about 4 times weekly. From Syros twice weekly.

It is also possible to take a ferry from Turkish coasts, Bodrum and Datça. To Bodrum there are 3 different ferry company, the fastest ferry (20 minutes) Yeşil Marmaris €38 for round trip and 26€ for daily trip, the other companies Dentur Bodrum and Turkish Sea Lines 25€ for round trip and 19€ for daily trip and it takes 45 minutes. Hydrofoil boat [] (from €30 one-way, passenger only) or the slower ferry operated by the Bodrum Ferryboat Association [2] (passenger/car/caravan: €28/100/200)

Get around

By bus

It is a fairly small island and there is every now and then a public bus going to every part of the island. From the airport, there is a public bus going to Kos town via Mastichari and to Kefalos. The timetable is available on the KOS KTEL website.

By ferry

Depending on the season, there are many passenger ferries leaving for various neighboring islands. The main ferry to Kalymnos leaves from Mastichari approximately every two hours. In high season, there are also daily ferries to Nisyros leaving from Kardamena.

By taxi

There is plenty of taxis on the island. From the airport they will charge at least €15, even if you just go the Mastichari, which is only 5 minutes away.

By rental car or scooter

Scooters, ATVs and cars can be hired from many places. If you hire a scooter for several days, rent can be as low as 14€ a day. You may check the prices and offers, by visiting https://www.kosmotogp.com . Roads are mostly asphalted and in a good condition. Reaching Kefalos from the town of Kos takes approx. 40 minutes by car.

See

  • Ancient Agora.
  • Roman Odeon.
  • House of Europa.
  • Casa Romana.
  • Archaeological Museum (in the center of Kos Town). Constructed in the Italian style in 1936 and renovated in 2016. It contains the spectacular statues discovered at the site of Roman Odeion, including a statue of ancient physician Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine. The first floor also contains a famous mosaic discovered at the "Casa Romana" on this island, and also a well-preserved statue of Hygieia, a daughter of Asclepius, the deified Greek physician who lived before the War of Troy and who was revered in the 5th century BC as the God of Medicine. Hygeia (or Hygieia) gave to us the English word "hygiene" and her sister Panacea (meaning "a cure-all remedy") was considered in the Greek antiquity as a medical helper who was knowledgeable on healing via plants (phytotherapy).
  • Asclepieion (Asklepieion) (on the right side of the island), ☏ +30 22420 22131. An Asclepieion (plural "Asclepieia") was a therapeutic center built around a temple of Asclepius -- known as the ancient Greek god of medicine. This ancient healing center is an impressive archaeological site, one of the first ancient hospitals and medical schools in the world, built according to the principles created by the great physician Hippocrates (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) and later directed by his sons Thessalus and Polybus. Hippocrates, the "Father of Modern Western Medicine", was born on this island and (according to ancient sources) is believed to have thought medicine to his disciples here, first in a place called Astypalea of Kos (near the small town of Kefalos), and later in the Asklepieion. Hippocrates divided the art of medicine from the practices available in the ancient temples of Greece and established the first rules of scientific diagnosis and therapy. He is also the author of the Hippocratic Oath and is believed to have written some of the books included in the Hippocratic Corpus (a collection of ancient writings on medicine). A large museum and garden dedicated to Hippocrates can be visited at The International Hippocratic Foundation, between the Asclepieion and the town of Kos.
  • 1 Tree of Hippocrates. The current tree is only about 500 years old, but may possibly be a descendant of the original tree from 2400 years ago. According to the legend, Hippocrates of Kos taught his pupils the art of medicine under this Platanus tree.
  • 2 Castle/Fortress of Neratzia. A castle of Knights Hospitaller from 14th-16th centuries. This castle dominates the port and is where the impressive Avenue of the Palms starts. The entrance to the castle is permanently closed after the earthquake (as of July 2019).

Do

Relax on the beach, wind- and kitesurfing.

Beaches

If you are looking for peaceful beaches, try Lakkos, with cedars and dunes, Agios Fokas with its dark sand, or Thermes.

Kefalos Bay has a number of good beaches: Camel, Paradise, Polemi, and Psilos Gremos.

At remote Cape Krikelos, you can choose from Skinos, Theologos, and Moscholiou.

  • 1 Mastihari Main Beach (Mastichari Μαστιχαρι). Mastihari is on the northwestern side of the island. Its main beach is sandy. During the summer season the part nearest to the village has beach furniture on it. However they end near a wind surfing centre, beyond which the beach is open. Other than the fishing boats from the local harbour, there are no motorised power boats - making for a peaceful and relaxing environment.

Yachting

The island of Kos is a top yacht charter destination in Greece. You can start your sailing experience from Kos and follow any possible route to other magnificent islands. The marina of Kos is at its old harbour and is known worldwide since it has been available to skippers and yachting enthusiasts for over a decade. It has been described as one of the hottest cruising areas in Europe, as it fulfills every need for any type of boat, such as fuel/petrol, speedboats, WC, showers, bilge & sewage pump out, waste disposal and many more.

  • Istion Yachting (Yacht Charter in Kos), G.Papandreou Avenue, Kos Marina, 85300, ☏ +30 22420 22195. Visitors and tourists can find a wide selection of yachts and catamarans and suggestions about sailing itineraries from Kos to all the surrounding islands and Turkey coasts.
  • Kavas Yachting.

Windsurfing

There are two windsurfing schools at Kefalos bay that offer lessons (both private and group) for all levels.

Kiteboarding

The northwestern part of the island (Mastichari and the Kohilari beach) has good conditions for kiteboarding.

Eat

If you're on a budget, there is pita gyros for € 2,5 sold by most restaurants (some for 2€)

  • Ampeli (Tigaki), ☏ +30 2242 069682. Traditional Greek tavern.
  • Broadway Restaurant, Megalou Alexandrou (Kos Town), ☏ +30 2242 027052.
  • Lofaki, Agios Nektarios (4 km (2.5 mi) south of Kos Town), ☏ +30 694 498 9999.
  • Mummy's Cooking Restaurant (Evdokia), 13 Bouboulinas, Kos Towns (near Dolphin Square)), ☏ +30 2242 028525. Tavern with traditional Greek food. Let mummy's son help you decide what to order and be surprised how good it all tastes. Reasonable prices, f.e. Moussaka 7€.
  • The Watermill of Zia (Zia), ☏ +30 697 229 2109.

Drink

Sleep

  • 1 Aegean Houses Hotel (Hotel in Kos), Ethelonton Palaion Polemiston, Lambi, Kos, ☏ +30 22420 48410. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. One of the most beautiful Kos hotels, Aegean Houses is a combination of traditional and modern architecture, 300 metres from the sandy beach.
  • Ampavris Hotel (Kos Town), ☏ +30 22420 25780. A family-run hotel, located in Ampavris area on a small hill just a short distance walk from Kos Town with nice view.
  • Artemis Hotel (Lambi, Kos Town). Artemis hotel apartments is located in Lambi area, just 1km from the harbour and Kos town center. The most popular beach of Kos island is just 150m away.
  • Gaia Hotels (Kos City, Mastichari, Tigaki), ☏ +30 22420 25804. A hotel chain with four resorts hotels located in Kos.
  • Katras Hotel Apartments (Tigaki), ☏ +30 22420 68238. It is located in Tigaki and consists of 55 sunny rooms.
  • Leonidas Hotel and Studios, Sintagmatos Dodekanision st., (Kos Town), ☏ +30 2242026921. Leonidas Hotel and Studios is the most popular 2 star hotel and the first discount hotel on Kos island. Price for a Double Room from 15€/night.
  • Michelangelo Resort & Spa Hotel, Agios Fokas, Kos 85300, ☏ +30 2242045810, fax: +30 2242045825, ✉ info@michelangelo.gr. A modern hotel with rooms and suites with views to the sea and gardens.
  • Sunny Days Hotel (Tigaki). It is situated at Tigaki of Kos 500 meters from the beach.
  • 2 Nissia Kamares Hotel Apartments, Kardamena (Close to the church), ☏ +30 6936207428. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 11:00. Built in a very distinctive traditional Greek island style, Nissia Kamares Hotel Apartments comprises 38 studios and apartments on two floors. Varies.

Stay safe

Kos is a very safe area and should not be a major problem for travellers. Just take normal precautions.

Go next

Leros



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