Kos Island is one of the most spectacular places to spend your holiday. A holiday on the island of Kos offers much to see and do. There are plenty of water sports, amazing beaches and a vivid nightlife. Because the island is tourist-oriented, there is always something to do for adults and children both. The towns are always bustling with excitement and several annual festivals taking place during every season. Island hopping is available from Kos to other islands and has become extremely popular.
Kos Town is the main hub of the island and features many restaurants, nightclubs, hotels and other fabulous venues one normally expects in a town. The town of Kos is home to a fourteenth century castle which is always a pleasure to visit. People come to Kos to absorb the rich culture of ancient structures and whitewashed buildings.
In Kos Town you can visit most of the sights, such as the castle built by the Knights of St. John, the archaeological museum, the renovated Roman house (Casa Romana), the ancient market and the temple of Dionisos which is quite close to the market. But, the whole island is rich in history, therefore important historic sites are found in other villages as well. It is worth visiting the early Christian basilica of Agios Stefanos in Kefalos and the medieval castle in Antimacheia. Apart from ruins from the Classical, Byzantine and Roman era, the island is full of monuments showing its more recent history. Many of these are beautiful buildings with special architecture built by the Italians. Some examples would be the “Eparheio of Kos” and the conservatory. You may also visit the synagogue of the Israeli community of the island which flourished until the German occupation.
However, one of the most famous sights on the island is the Plane Tree of Hippocrates. The legend has it that the place where the tree is nowadays is where Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine, taught. There are several institutes and museums in town that are dedicated to Hippocrates. The tree is located in Kos Town and it is supposed to be 500 years old. Another well-known monument worldwide is the Asclepieion- the pride of the island. It the temple dedicated to Asclepius, the ancient god of medicine, and where Hippocrates was trained. It is accessed by lots of climbing up stairs on the terraced system which, during the summer months, might be a bit daunting. Regardless, the top terrace offers an immaculate view of the Asia Minor coast.
For more modern Greek culture you might want to attend one of the festivals organised on the island. The majority of them include concerts, plays, ancient Greek dramas, exhibitions and folk dancing. From July until August the Hippocrates festival takes place in Kos Town including all the above mentioned events plus sailing contests.
Other festivals are the religious feasts, called “panigyria” in Greek, organised in many islands or villages and small towns of the mainland to celebrate the nameday of saints. Such feast on Kos island is the St. George’s feast on 23rd April celebrated in Pyli and Asfendiou village. In the first one horse races are organised, whereas in the latter local dishes are served in a beautiful area of parkland. In Kefalos a traditional feast takes place on 15th August where the locals serve goat cooked in a special way. Apparently, August is the month of feasts, as then it’s the Fish Festival in Kefalos, the Wine Festival in Mastichari and the Honey festival in Antimacheia and Kefalos once again.
Speaking about the Honey Festival, the honey produced in Antimacheia is one of the traditional products of Kos and it’s definitely worth trying it as it is made from wild thyme and other flowers indigenous to Kos. Other products that you will not find in the rest of Greece are sweet preserve made of baby tomatoes, a special kind of goat cheese stored in red wine with the name “cheese of posa”, the traditional liqueur made of cinnamon, called “kanellada” and a liqueur from the neighbouring island of Nisyros, called “soumada”. Kos is also particularly famous for its “baklava”. This is originally a Turkish dessert, but it’s very popular throughout Greece as well.
You can find all these products in several stores in the Old Town where there are numerous souvenir and ordinary shops, selling from healthy local products to handmade jewellery and the latest technology.
If you’re seeking the right place to have lunch or dinner, after your shopping in the Old Town, then there are many alternatives to choose from. Traditional Greek “tavernas” serving fish caught in the fishing village of Mastichari which is famous for its delicious fish, Italian restaurants and pizzerias, gourmet restaurants serving international dishes and fast food places are some of the options. For the night, there are plenty of bars and clubs to party till the early hours in Kos Town, in Kardamena and other villages as well. Kos is one of the Greek islands which is re-known for its lively nightlife and that is the reason why it attracts a lot of tourists from overseas.
In the daytime, you can ideally relax and sunbathe on one of the impressive beaches of the island. Paradise beach and Mastihari beach are a must, but you shouldn’t miss the lifetime experience the Thermes beach offers. There you can have the most amazing therapeutic treatment that will cost you nothing. Thermes is a natural spa with healing properties for all ages.
For the more active of you, there are water sports facilities in the majority of the beaches. If you are looking for something different though, you can go horse riding in a professional centre with well-trained instructors who will introduce you to these lovely animals with the calm spirit.
Another option is island hopping! Kos’s position is ideal for this, as there are a lot of islands in very close distance and visiting them by ship takes a really short time. Some of the nearby islands are the not-to-be-missed volcanic island of Nisyros, Kalymnos, Rhodes, Pserimos, Patmos and many others. The Turkish coast is also just half an hour away, so you can visit two different countries at once!
If Kos is somewhere you have never visited, then it is the next place to add to your list of travels!