Discocer the island of Kos

Kos Island is a captivating blend of historical richness, stunning natural landscapes, and vibrant cultural life, making it a standout destination in the Dodecanese island group of Greece. Located in the southeastern Aegean Sea, close to the Turkish coast, Kos is the third largest island in the Dodecanese, following Rhodes and Karpathos. Its strategic position has imbued it with a long and varied history, where different civilizations have left their mark, from ancient Greeks to Romans, Byzantines, Knights of Saint John, and Ottomans.

Kos is celebrated for its abundant sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and sunny climate, making it a popular choice for beach lovers and sun-seekers. The island’s landscape is diverse, ranging from fertile plains ideal for agriculture to mountainous regions offering picturesque views and opportunities for hiking and nature exploration.

The island is perhaps most famously known as the birthplace of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, who was born here in 460 BC. The Asklepieion, a significant archaeological site on Kos, was an ancient healing center and serves as a testament to Hippocrates’ enduring influence. It’s a place where visitors can wander among the ruins and get a sense of the ancient world.

Kos Town, the island’s capital, is a mix of historical sites and modern life. The town is home to a variety of architectural styles, reflecting its rich history, including ancient Greek and Roman ruins, medieval castles, and Ottoman-era buildings. The vibrant harbor area is filled with cafes, tavernas, and shops, offering a lively atmosphere day and night.

For those interested in exploring beyond the beaches and historical sites, Kos offers a rich culinary scene that includes traditional Greek cuisine, fresh seafood, and local specialties. The island also boasts a variety of nightlife options, from relaxed beach bars to lively clubs.

Cycling is a popular way to explore Kos, thanks to its relatively flat terrain and the presence of numerous bike paths that offer a unique way to see the island’s sights. This, combined with its natural beauty, historical sites, and warm hospitality, makes Kos an attractive destination for a broad spectrum of travellers, from those seeking relaxation on beautiful beaches to history buffs eager to explore its ancient ruins.


According to Greek legend, the island takes its name from the daughter of Merops, the mythical king of Kos. It is said that the island’s namesake, Kos, was revered for her beauty and grace, embodying the essence of the island’s natural splendour.

Yet, perhaps the most enduring myth associated with Kos is its connection to Asclepius, the revered Greek god of healing. Legend has it that Asclepius was born on the island, nestled amidst its fertile lands and gentle hills. The island’s landscape, imbued with an air of tranquillity and serenity, provided the perfect backdrop for the birth of this divine healer.


In ancient times, Kos was inhabited by the Minoans, Mycenaeans, and later by Dorians. The island flourished during the Classical period (5th-4th centuries BCE) and was known for its cultural achievements, including philosophy, medicine, and poetry.

Notable historical figures associated with Kos include the ancient physician Hippocrates, often referred to as the “Father of Medicine.” He founded the Hippocratic School of Medicine on the island, pioneering the practice of medicine based on observation and rational analysis.

Kos holds a special place in the annals of medical history, for it was here that the renowned physician Hippocrates, often hailed as the “Father of Medicine,” walked the sun-drenched shores. Hippocrates founded the Hippocratic School of Medicine on the island, pioneering a scientific approach to healing that laid the foundation for modern medicine.

Towns and villages

At the heart of Kos lies its vibrant capital, Kos Town, a harmonious blend of ancient and modern. Strolling through its streets, one is taken on a journey through time, with the imposing Castle of the Knights standing guard over the town, and the ancient Agora whispering tales of centuries past. The town’s marina, a yachting haven, adds a contemporary flair, brimming with chic cafes and traditional tavernas that invite you to savor the local cuisine.

Heading southwest, the coastal village of Kardamena offers a lively atmosphere, renowned for its energetic nightlife and beautiful beaches. Once a sleepy fishing village, Kardamena has transformed into a hotspot for young travelers, while still retaining pockets of tranquility for those seeking a more laid-back experience. The village’s waterfront is a tapestry of colors at sunset, a perfect backdrop for evening strolls.

Nestled on the island’s northern shore, Tigaki is a serene retreat, famed for its long, sandy beach that stretches into the azure of the Aegean Sea. Tigaki’s shallow waters make it an ideal spot for families, while its wetlands are a haven for birdwatchers, offering a glimpse into the island’s diverse ecosystem. The town itself, though smaller, is dotted with charming eateries and shops, providing a quaint but lively atmosphere.

Mastichari, on the northwest coast, is another gem, offering a more authentic glimpse into the island life of Kos. Known for its windsurfing and kite surfing scenes, the village attracts a mix of thrill-seekers and those looking to unwind on its pristine beaches. The daily ferry to the nearby island of Kalymnos adds an adventurous option for day-trippers.

To the south, Kefalos is perched on a hilltop, overseeing its beautiful bay. This area combines historical intrigue with natural splendor, home to the ancient basilica of Agios Stefanos and the enchanting Aspri Petra Cave. Below, Kamari Bay dazzles with its crystal-clear waters, offering secluded spots for relaxation and reflection.

Zia, although not a coastal town, deserves mention for its breathtaking panoramic views of the island. Situated in the mountains, this village is a sanctuary of traditional Greek life, where sunset dinners overlooking the sea become a memorable ritual.

Each town and resort on Kos is a world unto itself, yet all share the common threads of warm hospitality, rich history, and natural beauty. Whether you seek the lively streets of Kos Town, the adventurous shores of Mastichari, or the serene landscapes of Tigaki, Kos invites you to discover its myriad of experiences, promising memories that will linger long after your journey ends.

What to do and see

Kos is a destination that appeals to a wide array of interests, from the historical and the cultural to the natural and the adventurous. Each attraction on the island contributes to the rich tapestry that makes Kos a memorable and enchanting place to visit, inviting travellers to immerse themselves in its beauty and legacy.

This enchanting island is a mosaic of ancient ruins, pristine beaches, therapeutic hot springs, and picturesque villages, each telling a story of a civilization that has thrived through the ages.

One of the island’s most iconic landmarks is the Asklepion, an ancient healing centre dedicated to Asclepius, the god of medicine. Situated amidst cypress trees, the ruins of this sanctuary offer a glimpse into the early practices of medicine, developed by Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, who was born on Kos. The serene atmosphere and stunning views over Kos Town make it a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

Kos Town itself is a vibrant mix of the past and present, where narrow streets lined with Ottoman-era buildings, Italian architecture, and ancient Greek ruins coexist. The imposing Castle of the Knights of Saint John, guarding the entrance to the harbour, stands as a testament to the island’s medieval history. Meanwhile, the Plane Tree of Hippocrates, under which the great physician is said to have taught, offers a living connection to antiquity.

Beach lovers will find their paradise on the shores of Kos. From the bustling Lambi Beach in the north to the tranquil Agios Stefanos Beach with its captivating view of Kastri Island, there’s a beach for every mood. Tigaki Beach, with its fine white sand and crystal-clear waters, is perfect for families, while the remote bubble beach of Agios Theologos attracts surfers and those seeking solitude.

For the adventurous souls, the Dikeos Mountain offers hiking trails that lead to the peak, where the small chapel of Christos Dikeos offers panoramic views of the island and the surrounding sea. The mountain is also home to Zia, a charming village known for its spectacular sunsets and traditional Greek tavernas.

No visit to Kos is complete without exploring the island’s rich agricultural heritage, best experienced in the village of Asfendiou. Nestled on the slopes of Mount Dikeos, this village is surrounded by lush vegetation and offers a glimpse into traditional farming practices, with olive groves and vineyards dotting the landscape.

The thermal springs at Agios Fokas, on the southeast coast, offer a unique natural spa experience. The warm, mineral-rich waters are known for their therapeutic properties, and the surrounding area’s tranquil beauty makes it an ideal spot for relaxation.

Kos also serves as a gateway to the smaller islands of the Dodecanese. Day trips to the neighbouring islands of Nisyros, with its active volcano, or Kalymnos, renowned for its sponge fishing heritage, offer further adventures for those looking to explore beyond Kos.

When to go

Kos is the ideal destination for a seaside holiday, given that the temperature of the sea water that laps its coasts remains high for most of the year, and this allows tourists to enjoy the beaches even during the low season, and excursions to the archaeological sites and towns of the island, during the cooler months of the year.

Kos is a very sunny island, with little rainfall even from April to November, although it must certainly be said that the best period is from June to mid-September. If, however, you want to visit the remains of ancient Greece, and discover the wonderful tourist sites, avoiding the warmer months, the ideal period for culture lovers is spring, especially the month of May.

Like many other Greek islands, thanks to the Mediterranean climate, the sun is present for a good part of the year and therefore you can go to Kos not only in July and August (high season), when you spend more and tourists are really numerous, but also at the end of spring or beginning of autumn, making for truly wonderful low-cost holidays, with favourable weather and in complete tranquillity.

Even if the winters are rather mild, the inconvenience, if you plan to visit Kos in the less hot months, could be the rains, concentrated between October and March which often turn into real thunderstorms. In reality we do not totally advise you against leaving in autumn or winter, with the right clothing you will be able to face some precipitation which is immediately followed by good weather and thus be able to visit the hinterland of the island. If so, avoid the end of October and November

Where to stay

Kos offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s preferences and budget. The island caters to solo adventurers, couples seeking romantic getaways, families on holiday, and even large groups looking for communal living spaces.

For those yearning for a lavish retreat, Kos boasts an array of upscale hotels and resorts that pamper guests with lavish amenities, including infinity pools overlooking the azure waters of the Aegean, spa facilities offering rejuvenating treatments, and gourmet restaurants serving delectable Mediterranean cuisine.

Travelers seeking a more intimate and authentic experience may opt for boutique hotels or charming bed and breakfasts scattered throughout the island. These quaint accommodations often exude charm with their traditional Greek architecture, personalized service, and locally sourced breakfasts showcasing the island’s culinary delights.

Moreover, Kos offers numerous self-catering options, such as apartments and villas, ideal for travelers seeking flexibility and independence during their stay. These accommodations provide fully equipped kitchens, allowing guests to prepare their meals using fresh ingredients sourced from local markets, immersing themselves in the island’s culinary scene.

For budget-conscious travelers, Kos offers an abundance of affordable guesthouses, hostels, and campgrounds, providing comfortable yet economical lodging options without compromising on quality or convenience. These budget-friendly accommodations are perfect for backpackers and adventurers looking to stretch their travel budget without sacrificing their experience on the island.

Regardless of the type of accommodation chosen, visitors to Kos are guaranteed warm hospitality, breathtaking vistas, and unforgettable memories. Whether lounging on pristine beaches, exploring ancient ruins, or indulging in mouthwatering Greek cuisine, the island of Kos promises an enchanting retreat for all who venture to its shores.

How to Get to Kos

Kos has an airport, you can arrive on the island comfortably by plane. In fact, the simplest and cheapest way to arrive from the UK is the direct flight. Many low-cost airlines operate flights to the city of Kos, without stopping in Athens. Alternatively, you can reach the island by ship or ferry, from one of the other islands of the archipelago, from Athens or from the coasts of Turkey.

By plane

The plane is the most comfortable and fastest way to get to the island. If you are already in Athens, with the SkyExpress company it will take you about an hour, while with Olympic about 50 minutes, for a cost of between €50 and €100, in mid-season. If, however, you leave from Italy, from spring to the end of summer there are direct daily flights from the main Italian airports.

Finally, if you are organizing a tour between the islands, you can always travel by plane to Leros, Kalymnos, and Rhodes. These routes require approximately 35 minutes of flight.

By ferry

If you prefer traveling by sea to flying, or if you want to organize a tour between the different islands of the Dodecanese or the Cyclades, you can also get to Kos by ship or ferry.

You can reach the island by ferry from other nearby Greek islands, from Athens or from the Turkish coast. In particular, given the long distance from Mainland Greece, we advise against traveling by ferry from Athens, as the crossing takes up to 13 hours. Alternatively, you can take a ferry from the cities of Bodrum and Datça, located on the nearby Turkish coast.