Welcome to Kos, the island of Hippocrates, the father of medicine that distinguishes for her rich history, the untold beauties and the culture of her residents. This beautiful island, which belongs to the complex of Dodecanese, is the second best in popularity only to the premier destination of Rhodes.
Kos, steeped in history, met times of boom that are registered on the remains of ancient towns and important monuments spread around the island. Visitors' options in terms of beaches for relaxation, or sports activities are several to satisfy anybody's taste. Visit the fascinating ancient hospital of Asklepion, the plane tree of Hippocrates, Neratzia Castle or the numerous little villages while travelling through the green fields to enjoy the rich fauna and flora of the island that impresses every visitor.
The island attracts thousands of visitors every year having a wide range of accommodation facilities offering a spread of things to see and do, from beaches and bars to archaeological sites and verdant hills. The crowds of tourists strolling up and down the seafront marina road have added to the bustling nightlife of Kos with bars and restaurants all around. However, it Kos has kept its identity while the residents exploited this untold beauty and important route in time and elevated their island to a top travel destination.
Kos can be accessed by sea or air. Scheduled flights from the airport of Athens and many charger flights during high season from several European airports make the island easily approachable to the tourists.
Ferry services are also available from the port of Piraeus with ferries or high speed catamarans. The island also connects to other islands of Dodecanese and Cyclades.
Beyond the busy resort hotels that welcome the vast majority of visitors, Kos has also another less seen face that you cannot meet unless you head in the mainland of the island and the mountains. Visit the villages of Kardamena, Kefalos, Tingaki, Antimachia, Mastihari, Marmari, Pyli, Zipari, Platani, Lagoudi and Asfendiou. Zia is a small lovely village in the mountains with great view. The main sights are in Kos Town with the ruins of the Castle by the port and the plane tree of Hippocrates. The multicultural past of the island is evident with a Roman Catholic Church, a Mosque and a Synagogue.
SIGHTSEEING & MONUMENTS
Kos has several memorials to the physician Hippocrates and the god of medicine from the Greek pantheon Asklepios, who had been the teacher of Hippocrates. The famous plane tree of Hippocrates in the city of Kos, with a perimeter of twelve meters, considered to be the largest in Europe is clamed to be planted by Hippocrates himself who used to teach under its shade. Local tradition also support that Apostle Paul also taught there.
The Asklepeio in Kos is an ancient religious sanctuary, a healing centre, and a medical school where Hippocrates was trained, consequently the most significant archaeological site on the island. Asklepeio was built in a green area with steep ground full of cypress trees, consisting of four connecting levels. The first one to host Roman ruins, the second one with arches and statues where the medical school and the spas were situated, the third one with the Temple of Aesculapius of Kiparissios Apollo and its treasury and finally the fourth one to host a large temple of Doric style along with the chambers of the patients.
The Archeological Museum of Kos housed in a neoclassical well-preserved building standing out not only for its architecture, but also for its highly interesting findings covering a long period from the ancient till the post-Roman and Hellenistic times, as beautiful mosaics, statues from the ancient site of Asklepeion, an extensive collection of prehistoric pottery and metallic objects, exhibits from a tomb of a young athlete dating back to the 3rd century B.C., coins, anaglyphs with various representations etc.
The palm trees range on the sides of the street mark the main entrance to the Castle which is situated in the entrance of the Kos harbour on a place where, in antiquity, there was an island, communicating with the inland through a bridge that one sees even today. The castle which was built of local stone as well as parts of ancient buildings from the ruins of the ancient city is formed of two defensive precincts. The interior one has four circular Towers in the corners with massive bastions on the four corners, battlements and gunports, where the two precincts are separated by a large moat and communicate with a drawbridge.
THINGS TO DO
Other than visiting the archaeological sites or just enjoying the island's nightlife, Kos offers a wide range of options in terms of outdoor activities and wonderful beaches ideal for exploration and relaxation.
First and foremost, the beaches are the main attraction of Kos, with the island offering everything from family-friendly golden beaches with plenty of restaurants and amenities, busy beach bars for the younger age groups, to quiet pebble coves perfect for secluded sunbathing. Kefalos is a beach that cannot be missed being probably the most beautiful in the island with white sand and crystal blue waters and therefore the most famous one. Kardamena is the ideal and the most touristic beach to visit when needing some rest after sightseeing at the archaeological sites of the area, where White Bait Festival takes place, where tourists and locals blend into a day full of dancing and incredible fun! Tigaki is another popular and highly rated beach due to its size and the variety of facilities offered and is a joy for visitors of any age group. Next to the beautiful village of Antimachia with its Venetian caste, the beautiful pathways and several windmills is the beautiful beach of Mastichari, where another festival takes place with local wine and delicacies and lots of Greek music. For those needing their space, Marmari although being highly visited, due to its great length, it can assure you a quite spot. There is a thorough list of beach options in the island Exotic Beach, Sunny Beach, Camel Beach, Markos Beach, Psilos Gremos, Banana Beach, Paradise Beach, Agios Stephanos all sharing the same crisp water and soft sand. On top of that, therapeutic tourism finds also its position in this island at the beach of Thermes where visitors can take a healing dip in the sulfur waters of the hot springs on Kos.
The sports-enthusiasts, will also find their paradise in Kos where the warm waters of the Aegean and the golden beaches around the island perfectly combine with a wide range of sea sports facilities. The visitor can choose between water-skiing, wakeboarding, parascending, wind surfing, kitesurfing or speed boat hire, or jet-skiing and banana boat rides with friends and family. Visitors can also cruise around the coastline, passing by the stunning beaches and rocky shores, either by chartering a private yacht with the assistance of a skipper, or by taking short boat trips from the marina, it's a great way to relax and see the charm and beauty of the island. Due to the island's position within the Dodecanese, it is ideal for island-hopping by taking even day trips to Rhodes, Leros, Astipalea, Nisiros or Kalymnos.
On the other hand, away from the beaches, the resorts offer a range of sporting activities to try, with facilities for tennis, volleyball, go-karting, horse-riding and even bungee-jumping. With a variety of different terrain, Kos is ideal for exploring by bike. There are flat areas of scenic countryside for those after a less strenuous biking holiday, or rougher, more hilly terrain, ideal for off-road mountain biking. The natural landscape, with its mountains, verdant forests and coastal plains, is also great for walkers as well as hikers.
The island's ground is lowland and therefore blessed with rich agricultural potential. In the vineyards of Kos is produced fine, white, sweet wine, while the island is famous for tomato production. The mainland of the island has many of cows and therefore local dairy products. The fresh local cow milk that can be found in the local super markets is worth tasting.
USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Airport of Kos: +30 22420 56000
Port Authority of Kos: +30 22420 26594-6
Kos Buses Services: +30 22420 22292
Kos Police: +30 22420 22222
Kos Tourist Police: +30 22420 22444
Kos Hospital: +30 22420 28050