Kos, otherwise known as Hippocrates Island, is the third-largest isle of the Dodecanese.
Suitable for families, couples, and young people there is plenty to discover here and moreover, it’s a destination where you can travel low cost by choosing apartment stays and eating at local taverns, or opt for a more luxurious experience with sophisticated boutique hotels and fine dining restaurants.
Having visited plenty of times, as my husband has relatives that live on this island, here is my insider information to help make your visit beyond memorable.
Getting There & Getting Around
You can fly to Kos from Athens, which is just under an hour flight or a 9.5-hour ferry ride from Piraeus Port. Kos is a large island so I recommend hiring a car or Vespa.
Where to stay
Kos Town is the main area with shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, and a great place to base yourself. If you prefer a spot that’s quieter Kardamena has nice beaches and plenty to offer. Kefalos, which I think is the best beach on the island is also a nice area to stay, perfect for lots of R&R.
Where to sleep
If you are after ultra-luxurious facilities and five-star service, Lango Hotel is for adults only and designed to spoil its guests. White Rock at Kefalos is also perfect for couples looking to splurge. If these are out of your price range but seeking an adults-only stay check out OKU Hotel, which is located on the beach of Marmari. For a real boutique feel Albergo Gelsomino in the heart of Kos Town is a gorgeous pick, while Costas Palace is a family-run hotel that won’t blow the budget. Hotel Agrelli in Kardamena is also a great option for apartment-style facilities, as well as More Meni in Tigaki, which is modern and minimal.
Where to eat
Let’s start off with our favourite places for seafood. Barbouni is a must not only for its ultra-cool vibe but also for its fresh fish, oysters, lobster, and all things delish! For a traditional Greek Psarotaverna (seafood tavern) Ta Votsalakia offers the most authentic dishes and local produce. Another local gem is Nestoras Taverna, where you can enjoy a late lunch right next to the water. For a farm to table experience and everything homemade from the bread, wine, and their own olive oil, Oromedon in Zia serves up great dishes and a fabulous view of the famous Zia sunset. If you are around Kefalos check out family-run tavern Maistrali and head to Mylotopi for great food, amazing wine, and a spectacular view of the island. When you are in the main town our picks are Broadway, which offers classic dishes with modern twists and meat lovers should head straight to Stavlisio Steak House for a range of grilled goods.
For Sweets & Coffee
For the best Crepes in all of the Dodecanese check out Crepa Crepa, with an amazing range of sweet and savoury options. For the widest range of homemade desserts, pastries, gelato, and bread, Zamagias Bakery is where all the locals go. One of our favourite places to sit back and enjoy a coffee is at Kaseta Café, where you can enjoy a Freddo or short black, and Select Café is also great.
Where to drink
For a drink in the sun and right next to the water head to Avra. If you are after a real Greek island feel head to Sitar. If a chic bistro is more your style make your way to Kaseta and to enjoy some live music while sipping on your wine head over to Marina. Our fave beach bars are H20, which is modern and sleek, and for tribal décor Mylos Beach Bar is perfect.
Local Delicacies & Dishes
Try the Possa– it’s a wine-cheese made from sheep’s and goat’s milk, heated and then placed in special jars with wine mud. Pitaridia is handmade pasta sheets cooked in broth. Katimeria are fried cheese pies served with syrup and the Marmarites are traditional pancakes baked on marble. To get a real taste of local beverages try the Kanelada, a handmade refreshment filled with lots of cinnamon and the Alefaskia is a local tea like herb.
Where to swim
Near the main town head to Mylos, Ammos, or Heaven Beach. And definitely make a day of swimming at Kardamena, Agios Stefanos and Tigaki which are all lovely perfect for a long, relaxed day by the sea.
In the main town, you will find the Hippocrates Tree where the famous physician is said to have taught his students. Also, check out Casa Romana and Roman Odeon, which shows the Roman influence that dominated the island in the Hellenistic and Roman Times. The medieval castle of Neratziais is the best-preserved on the island, and definitely make time for Palio Pyli Castle, which also offers breathtaking views. The fortress of Antimachia also has a lovely Folklore Museum and make sure you get to the Archaeological Museum of Kos, which only reopened a few years back and gives a great glimpse into the island’s rich history.
Where to shop
Around the main town, you will find small alleyways full of beautiful jewellery stores and plenty of local handmade products. At Hippocrates House, you can discover traditional confectionery, sweets, and olives. Olive Wood is filled with handmade wooden decorations, jewellery, and games and at Eleftherias Square you will find indoor markets. In the beautiful village of Zia, you can also purchase a range of local products to take home with you and you must visit Delfis Art Studio where you will find gorgeous handmade ceramics, paintings and other gifts.
Can’t leave until
- Having the most amazing dinner and watching the sunset at Zia
- Enjoying a meal under the Hippocrates Tree at Platanos Tavern
- Experiencing the holistic and therapeutic Therma Springs
- Visiting Haihoutes, the abandoned village with a gorgeous cafe
- Having a coffee or late lunch at Maistrali in Kefalos
- Hiring a boat with Archon Yachting and cruising around Kos and nearby islands
- Swimming across to Kastri Island from Agios Stefanos Beach
- Visiting the Holy Monastery of Agios Ioannis in Kefalos
All images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright)