Although the beaches of Kos are considered the most beautiful in the Dodecanese, find some time during your vacation for the fascinating sights of the island.
There are various things to see in Kos, as varied as the island’s landscape is: for example, you can leave the lively resorts along the coast, with their well-equipped beaches and trendy bars, to discover a completely different world in the inland mountains, made up of traditional villages and walking trails.
If, on the other hand, you want to learn more about the thousand-year history of the island, visit the interesting archaeological sites and museums that preserve precious testimonies of Greek, Roman and Byzantine civilization, to which a mighty medieval castle should be added.
Discover one by one the must-see attractions in Kos.
The city of Kos (or Kos Town), the island’s capital and main port, is an open-air museum: wherever you look, you can admire ruins from ancient and Byzantine times.
Partially destroyed by the violent earthquake that 1933 devastated the island, today is a popular tourist resort, so that some streets of the center during the summer evenings are clogged by noisy tourists looking for fun, but overall, however, remains an elegant and charming city.
The most characteristic area is certainly that of the port and the waterfront, flanked by a long line of bars and typical restaurants.
During the day at the stalls of the port you can buy fresh fish, perhaps not very useful if you do not have a kitchen in your accommodation but certainly picturesque to see.
In the city of Kos everyone goes around by bicycle. The port, dominated by the Castle of the Knights of St. John, retains a charming and quiet atmosphere.
The village of Kefalos is located in the western part of Kos, about 40 kilometers from Kos Town, and overlooks the large gulf of Kolpos Kefalou.
Kefalos is mainly known for its sandy beaches lapped by crystal clear waters and is one of the best places to stay in Kos.
The authenticity of the traditional houses of Kefalos, painted white, and its narrow alleys give the village, the first capital of the island, a unique charm and making it the ideal destination even for a visit of a few hours.
The village of Kardemena is located along the southern coast of the island 29 kilometers southwest of Kos town and is one of the most popular tourist resorts.
Kardamena can be a good base for visiting the island of Kos and, in addition, boats depart from its port for the nearby island of Nisyros.
Those who are looking for fun and a lively nightlife will be surprised by the vitality of the village and the presence of many bars and clubs.
Around the village of Kardamena you can visit the Temple of Apollo, the early Christian basilicas and the Ancient Theatre.
The village is located near beautiful beaches bathed by clean and quiet waters.
The wonderful traditional village of Zia is located in the center of Kos, 15 kilometers from the capital and at the foot of Mount Dikeon, and is immersed in a luxurious and picturesque landscape.
Zia is located not far from Asfendiu in a privileged position where the view extends to the sea.
The secret of the village are the traditional houses that give a magical touch to the village and its taverns where you can taste the food of the tasty local cuisine. Zia is also famous for its beautiful sunsets.
All the main tourist complexes of Kos are located along the coast, but it is the hinterland the most charming and authentic area of the island, where the rhythms are still slow and nothing is created for the tourists’ use.
The mountain village of Zia, inhabited by only a dozen people, is the most characteristic, with a landscape reminiscent of the Alps and a splendid view of the sea and nearby Turkey.
You’ll find only a couple of taverns, a market selling local products and a souvenir store; from Zia you can take the walking path that leads to the highest peak of the island, Mount Dikeo.
Other charming villages to visit are Pyli, Agios Dimitrios, Platani, Evangelistra, Asfendiou, Lagudi and Asomatos.
The traditional village of Antimachia, inhabited by artists, is renowned for its beautiful Venetian fortress and for being surrounded by magnificent beaches.
The traditional village of Antimachia is known for its artistic vocation: here are born and live remembrances, musicians, songwriters and dancers. Surrounded by magnificent beaches bathed by a crystal clear sea, the village is a real pleasure for the eyes thanks to its picturesque surroundings, traditional houses and old mills.
The main attraction of Antimachia is the Venetian fortress built at the behest of the Knights of St. John: its mighty walls and the Byzantine church, dedicated to St. Paraskevi, will conquer you.
To get a taste of the island life in the past, visit the traditional house where the original furniture and objects recovered from the surrounding ancient villages are preserved.
The traditional Greek village of Asfendiou is located on the slopes of Mount Dikon and is surrounded by a beautiful landscape. Interesting Basilicas
Asfendiou is a picturesque village in the hinterland of Kos and is one of the most loved and appreciated resorts of the island.
The village, surrounded by beautiful Mediterranean vegetation and abundant springs, faces the sea and is located in a panoramic position on the slopes of Mount Dikeon.
Visitors are enchanted by the traditional houses and the narrow alleys of the village that create a beautiful scenery: you can enjoy the landscape and the atmosphere from the traditional cafes and taverns that overlook the square of Asfendiou.
Don’t miss the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and the two early Christian Basilicas of St. John and Kapama.
Pyli is a picturesque village located in the center of the island of Kos, surrounded by magnificent expanses of olive trees and orchids. Do not miss the tomb of the hero Charmylos.
A few kilometers west of Asfendiu is the picturesque village of Pyli surrounded by green fields and full of traditional houses in excellent condition.
Nestled in an idyllic Mediterranean landscape with olive trees, orchids and vegetable gardens, Pyli attracts tourists for its authenticity and for the tomb of the hero Charmylos, a semicircular construction consisting of twelve identical crypts dating back to the Hellenistic period.
Following a ramification it is possible to reach the ancient medieval village today in ruins that rises to the feet of the Dikeo mountain and from which a magnificent sight is enjoyed on the plain and on the near beaches.
To see the Byzantine fortress and the church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary to the Temple that preserves the frescoes of the XIV century and the ancient columns, that probably come from the sanctuary of the Greek goddess Demeter situated in Kyparissi.
Kos is rich in evidence of Greek and Roman antiquity, with ruins scattered a bit ‘all over the island and museums well maintained.
The most important archaeological site in Kos is Asklepieion, a religious center dedicated to the cult of Asclepius or Aesculapius, the god of healing, which also served as a medical school.
Other interesting archaeological sites of Kos that are worth a visit are:
The magnificent archaeological site of Asklepieion is located just 3 kilometers from Kos town and contains the sanctuary dedicated to the cult of Asclepius, the god of medicine.
In Asklipieion Hippocrates had opened a school of medicine and a treatment center, a point of reference for the sick of the entire basin of the Aegean Sea.
It was founded in the third century BC and brought to light only at the beginning of the twentieth century following the studies of the German archaeologist R. Herzog.
Unfortunately, the remaining buildings are few because of earthquakes, but the site is definitely worth a visit: the site is located on top of a hill in the shade of cypress trees from which you can admire a splendid view of the city of Kos and the nearby coast of Asia Minor. The ruins of the sanctuary are developed on three levels:
TheHippocrates Tree is a centuries-old plane tree, which became famous because in the shade of its branches the father of modern medicine gave lectures to his students.
Unfortunately, the tree’s advanced age makes a scaffolding structure necessary to support it, but that doesn’t diminish the mythical appeal of this attraction.
Finding it will not be difficult: it stands in the cobblestone Platanus Square, just north of the ancient agora in the city of Kos.
After paying your respects to the Hippocrates tree, cross the bridge from Platanus Square to enter the 15th century Knights’ Castle.
Try to imagine the ancient majesty of this fortress unfortunately now in a state of abandonment while walking along the walls, the only part still perfectly preserved.
If the effort of imagination fails you, take a look at the harbor from above and the nearby coast of Turkey and you won’t regret having paid the entrance fee.
During your vacation in Kos pay a rejuvenating visit to the Kos Baths, a natural pool of warm seawater, just one meter and twenty feet deep and bordered by a ring of rocks.
The hot springs with therapeutic properties come out from cracks in the rock at the base of the cliff and mix with the sea water, reaching an average temperature of about 35 degrees.
Even in the height of summer, despite the high temperature of the water that offers no refreshment, the natural spa is one of the main tourist attractions of Kos.
Distant about 2 km from the beach of Agios Fokas, the spa can be reached on foot with a walk of about 10 minutes from the nearest parking lot or by shuttle bus.
Just 4 km from the island of Kos you meet the coast of Asia Minor: here lies Bodrum, the ancient Turkish city of Halicarnassus, a popular destination for day trips from Kos.
Considered the most fashionable of Turkish cities, so as to earn the nickname of Saint Tropez of Asia Minor, Bodrum is a modern resort that offers many shopping opportunities among boutiques and bazaars, but there are also interesting cultural attractions such as the mausoleum of Halicarnassus.