Kos Travel Guide
Kos is a popular tourist island in the Dodecanese chain, which sits just off the coast of Turkey. While you will have no trouble finding fantastic beaches here, there is plenty of culture to go around, too.
From Roman villas to Greek healing temples, there is much to do when you aren’t working on your tan.
Start your time on Kos with a visit to the Asklepion. These ruins once served as a healing temple – one of 300 scattered throughout the former Greek Empire. The grounds take their name from Asclepius, the Greek god of healing and medicine.
Three tiers made up this place. The bottom one was where doctors treated patients, and the middle contained the hydrotherapy baths. The top level contained the entrance, where only the noble class could enter.
After taking pictures of ruined columns, turn your attention to Kos Town. This ancient site’s position on a hill grants it amazing views over it, as well as the surrounding countryside. Caretakers charge admission fees – be sure to bring three Euros per visitor.
Do you still have a hunger for ancient ruins? Make the Casa Romana your next stop on your tour of Kos. Archaeologists working on its excavation have dated it to the 2nd century AD. If you follow Roman architecture, you may notice the owners of this particular villa built it the Pompeii style.
The ornate nature of this mansion is stunning. From frescoes depicting a panther/bear encounter to elegant sculptures, those in t-shirts & shorts will feel underdressed. To get the most out of your time, be sure to rent an audio guide at the admission desk.
Stay immersed in the Roman-era by walking over to the Roman Odeon of Kos. An Italian archaeologist dug up this former local senate in 1929. To this day, this well-built forum maintains its shape. As such, it continues to host local cultural events, just as it did 1,900 years ago. While not much goes on between events, it costs nothing to visit. In addition to the stage, a small underground tunnel is also accessible. Its utility is not clear, but it likely has something to do with the performances put on back then.
With all the digs going on around the island, archaeologists have unearthed many artifacts. Find an impressive collection of them at the Kos Archaeological Museum. Many of the items found within became known due to this island’s worst tragedy. In 1933, a massive earthquake shook Kos, reducing many buildings to rubble.
The subsequent recovery efforts yielded many items from the ancient past of Kos. From exquisite sculptures of Greek gods to detailed mosaics, you’ll marvel at the antiquities on display here.
In spite of its cultural treasures, most people travel to Kos for its stunning beaches. Of them, Kardamena Beach is one of the most popular. It is quite far from Kos Town – about 50 kilometres away. But, it offers brilliant clear water, free sunbeds (with food purchase), and a handful of restaurants and bars.
Want to combine sightseeing and beach time? Spend a day in the vicinity of Agios Stefanos Beach. Besides the beach, you’ll find ancient ruins that date to Roman times. While you’re out swimming, make your way to a small island offshore. On it, you’ll find a little blue chapel. There’s even a bell you can ring!
Want to get a suntan that’s truly… complete? Spend a day on the pebbles of Agios Fokas Beach. On arrival, make your way to the left side of the beach. This section is where the nudists gather. After your entire figure has gotten a good bronzing, saunter over to the bar. This beach is well-known for its great music, making Agios Fokas an excellent spot for party people!
Need to unwind, but sick of the beach? Spend some time hiking through the Plaka Forest. The first thing you’ll notice is a bunch of peacocks strutting about. With impressive plumage, these birds are walking photo opportunities – don’t crowd them, though!
Peacocks aren’t the only animals that inhabit this park – plenty of house cats make their home here also. Over the years, a population has entrenched themselves here, sustained by the generosity of locals and volunteers. Feel free to feed and give them scratches, but respect the chairs that have been set out for them!
Want to chill out for a bit while in Kos Town? Head over to Eleftherias Square. Like many civic spaces in Greece, this square has its share of cafes lining its perimeter. As such, you can order a coffee and watch the world go by. From hilariously-dressed tourists to interesting locals, the people-watching is on point here.