KOS ISLAND TRAVEL GUIDE
Our route in “Places near Bodrum” is the Greek island of Kos. The island of Kos is so close to Bodrum that it is only 20 minutes away by ferry. Even from the centre of Bodrum it takes you longer to reach some parts of the town.
If we were to call Bodrum and Kos Island two related holiday destinations, I do not think there would be any objection. Most holidaymakers who holiday in Bodrum also visit the island of Kos, even if it is only for a day trip. At the same time, the holidaymakers who visit the island of Kos also visit Bodrum, even if only for a day.
About 3-4 thousand Turks live on the Greek island of Kos, which has about 35 thousand inhabitants. The island has hosted many civilisations over its rich history. Byzantium, the Knights of St. John, Italians, Germans and the Ottoman Empire ruled here. For this reason, you will come across archaeological sites all over the island. There are many mosques and artefacts of Ottoman architecture on the island, which was occupied by the Ottoman Empire for 400 years.
Kos Island hosts over a million guests every year. In fact, the island earns a large part of its livelihood from tourism. The Municipality of Kos Island has been very supportive in preparing our Kos Island Travel Guide article for publication. This article was prepared not only with the experience of a 2-3 day trip, but also with the input of the experienced team of Kos Municipality. Also, the Municipality of Kos has a great website; www.kos.gr
- WHERE IS KOS ISLAND?
- HOW TO GET TO THE ISLAND OF KOS
- CAN I GO TO KOS ISLAND WITHOUT VISA?
- KOS AIRPORT
- THINGS TO DO ON KOS ISLAND
- PLACES TO VISIT ON THE ISLAND OF KOS
- KOS ISLAND BEACHES
- WHAT TO EAT IN KOS ISLAND?
- KOS ISLAND NIGHTLIFE
- KOS ISLAND HOTELS
- DIFFICULT GOING TO KOS OR DIFFICULT GOING HOME?
WHERE IS KOS ISLAND?
Kos is a Greek island belonging to the Dodecanese Islands, located in the heart of the Aegean archipelago, directly opposite the Turkish coast. The island is 338 kilometres from Athens and has a 112 kilometre coastline, offering a wide array of sandy beaches.
Kos is the third largest island in Greece after Karpathos and Rhodes, and the second largest in terms of population (about 35,000 people).
Kos is the leading beach destination of the Dodecanese and a true Mediterranean oasis for history lovers and adventurers. Famous for its long, golden coastlines and Mediterranean climate, summers on the island of Kos are hot and sunny and winters are rainy. Summer temperatures reach 35°C in July and August and drop to 10°C in December to February.
HOW TO GET TO THE ISLAND OF KOS
There are two different means of transport to the island of Kos. The first is by ferry and the second one is by plane. There are daily ferry connections from the centre of Bodrum and Turgutreis to Kos. You can also reach the island by ferry from the Greek capital, Athens, and through nearby Greek islands. The international airport of Kos offers direct flights from/to Athens daily throughout the year and from/to several European countries from April to October.
HOW TO REACH THE ISLAND OF KOS BY FERRY?
There are daily ferry connections from the popular Turkish holiday resort of Bodrum to the Greek island of Kos. The ferries depart from the centre of Bodrum and Turgutreis every morning at 09:00 and return in the evening around 18:00. There are two professional companies that organise ferry services: Yesil Marmaris and Bodrum Express.
You can buy your tickets online. We advise you to plan your visit to Kos Island at the same time as your holiday in Bodrum and buy your tickets in advance. Please note that both companies are interested in “Visa on Arrival” procedures. If you have a Schengen visa, it is sufficient to have your passport with you.
While ferries operate daily in the summer season, they are only available on certain days in the winter season. The ferries that depart from Bodrum reach the port of Kos after 20 minutes.
We would like to emphasise once again that there are daily ferry connections to Kos Island from almost all Greek islands and from Athens.
CAN I GO TO KOS ISLAND WITHOUT VISA?
If you are not a citizen of one of the European Union countries, you cannot travel to the Greek island of Kos without a visa. As Greece is a member of the European Union, citizens from European Union countries can visit Kos without a visa.
A visa is required for citizens from other countries. If you have a Schengen visa, you are welcome to Kos.
Before 2022, it was possible to visit the island with a Gate Visa, unfortunately, the Gate Visa application has now been abolished.
KOS ISLAND GATE VISA APPLICATION CANCELED!
Until 2022, Kos Island could be entered with a gate visa, but this application has been cancelled. You can no longer enter Kos Island with a gate visa, no matter which country you are a citizen of. It is really difficult to understand why the gate visa application was abolished on the island, which earns a large part of its livelihood from tourism. It does come to our mind that this decision has a connection with the increasing migrant crisis in recent years!
We hope that the gate visa application will return soon, and we will have the opportunity to visit this beautiful island more easily again.
There is an international airport on the Greek island of Kos, Hippocrates Airport. Between May and October you can travel to Kos Island by plane from many European countries. From Athens, the capital of Greece, there are two or sometimes three flights a day to Kos airport. The flight time from Athens to Kos Island is about 35 minutes.
There are also direct flights to Kos airport from many popular Greek holiday destinations such as Thessaloniki, Rhodes and Heraklion. However, these flights are only available in spring and summer!
International Hippocrates Airport is 24 kilometres from the city centre.
Buses run from the airport to the city centre. If you want to rent a car, we advise you to book your car before your flight. The distance between the airport and the city centre is about 30-35 minutes by car.
THINGS TO DO ON KOS ISLAND
First of all, make sure you have Euros or a credit card on you before you go to the island. It is good to have at least 100 – 200 Euros on you for your day trips so that you don’t have to worry about finding an exchange office or a bank.
Even if you go for a day trip, be sure to take your beach towel and swimsuit with you. The sea of Kos Island is so clear and the sandy beaches are so clean and wide, that you might suddenly find yourself sunbathing on the beach or cooling off in the sea.
If you want to explore the island of Kos, of course, a daily visit will not be enough. There are many activities to do on the island. Some of the most popular activities of the island; cycling, scuba diving, windsurfing, kitesurfing, horseback riding, trekking and wine tours. There are many centres which offer these activities professionally.
BICYCLE ISLAND KOS
Cycling is the most economical and eco-friendly way to explore Kos Island. Kos is not called the “Bicycle Island” for nothing. There is a 16-kilometre special cycle path along the coast. It is very easy to find a rental bike on the island, as there are many professional bike rental shops. An estimate of 6,500 rental bikes are available for visitors every year.
With these rental bikes, you may take a stroll on the beach, explore the island or take a ride on the many special mountain bike trails.
KOS ISLAND PARADISE FOR WINDSURF & KITESURF
Windsurfing and kitesurfing are two very popular activities on Kos. In certain parts of the island, strong winds blow almost every day during the summer. Whether you are a professional or an amateur, there are many professional surf clubs for both on the island.
The island has an ideal location for all wind sports. The best months for windsurfing and kitesurfing are between June and September. As in all Aegean islands, August is the windiest month on Kos Island.
Psalidi, Mastihari, Tigaki, Kefalos and Kochilari host the most popular windsurfing and kitesurfing centres. These centres also offer first class equipment and training. Therefore, fans do not need to worry about professional equipment.
Learning to kitesurf is easier than learning to windsurf, so in recent years many kitesurfing clubs have set up stores on Kos. However, travellers prefer Kos Island for these sports. You do not need to bring your equipment with you when you come to the island on vacation. You can rent the necessary equipment in these centres or get professional training in various clubs on the island.
Another reason why the island of Kos attracts so much attention is the variety of dive sites. The island is home to many interesting underwater caves and reefs. Scuba diving is as popular on Kos as other water sports.
You can take a diving trip to the small island of Pserimos, which is a nearby and popular diving site. Some interesting sites around Pserimos are: The ancient underwater amphorae, also known as “The Potteries” and “The Gardens” because the seabed resembles an English garden.
The wreck of the Thor Star, which is very popular with divers who come to the island, is located on the south-eastern side of Pserimos Island. At the wreck and in the surrounding area you can spot many sea creatures. If you are lucky, you may see dolphins or even sea turtles, so keep your eyes open!
There are many diving centres on the island, both for beginners and professionals. The diving centres offer courses for all ages, including children, and do not require any previous experience.
The tourist island of Kos offers all the facilities of the island in a professional manner to provide its guests with an unforgettable holiday experience. Although Kos is most famous for its beaches, there are also some majestic mountains that are ideal for hiking thanks to their breathtaking scenery.
The lush vegetation and wonderful natural surroundings of Kos are fascinating for any visitor who wants to explore the island. You can take a walk through the Plaka forest in Antimachia, visit the church of Panagia Tsoukalaria and observe dozens of exotic peacocks and wild animals living peacefully together. One of the most popular hiking trails is Palio Pyli.
WINE TASTING TOUR
The wineries of Kos are very popular on the island. Over the years, these wineries began to attract the attention of guests coming to the island. Wine tours are now professionally conducted on the island.
Every year more and more visitors take part in wine tastings. The history of wine growing on Kos dates back to ancient times. We strongly recommend that you experience these wine tours, where the people of Kos Island demonstrate their hospitality. They take their guests on a delicious wine tasting tour as if they were hosting an old friend.
Be sure to buy a few bottles of wine before you return home. When you get home, you can enjoy these delicious wines together while telling your friends about your holiday on Kos Island.
PLACES TO VISIT ON THE ISLAND OF KOS
Countless cultures have come and gone over the centuries on the island of Kos, located in the middle of the Dodecanese. Therefore, the island is full of buildings from different historical periods: Ottoman mosques, iconic Roman monuments, mediaeval castles, ruins of Byzantine settlements, ancient Italian public buildings, caves with finds from the first human settlements.
Therefore, there are many places to visit on the island. Remember to take this into account when planning your vacation!
The imposing mediaeval knight’s castle, also known as Neratzia Castle, was built by the Knights of St. John. The castle was reinforced in 1380 to protect it from the attacks of the Ottoman state. As a reminder, the Castle of Bodrum was also built by the Knights of St. John.
The Castle of Pyli is another archaeological structure that must be seen, because it offers a magnificent view and is a must for those who love hiking. Although it is difficult to climb the hill where the castle ruins are located, it offers an impressive view over Bodrum and its surroundings.
Antimachia Castle, a castle built by the Knights of St. John as well, is another magnificent mediaeval castle you should see. The castle was built on a plateau overlooking the southern coast of Kos, southeast of the village of Antimachia.
KOS ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
Although you have come to the island to sunbathe and swim, this must-see modern museum will fascinate you. The museum houses archaeological findings from a long period of time, from ancient times to the late Roman era.
Even if you have planned only a day trip, you should not skip this place.
Visiting hours of the Kos Archeological Museum : Kos Archeological Museum is open to visitors every day except Tuesdays between 08:30 and 15:00.
Entrance fees to the Kos Archeological Museum : 6 euros in the summer season and 3 euros in the winter season. (This price information was obtained on 04.2022).
How to get to the Archeological Museum : googlemaps
PLATANOS OF HIPPOCRATES (PLANE TREE OF HIPPOCRATES)
According to local belief, the father of medicine, Hippocrates (460-370 BC), taught his students in the shade of this long-lived tree. The Plane Tree of Hippocrates stands in the plane tree square near the port of Kos, where the Gazi Hasan Pasha Mosque is also located. The plane tree, which stands about a three-minute walk from the port, is known as one of the oldest trees in Europe, with a trunk diameter of 12 metres.
The plane tree is now about 500 years old and is believed to be descended from the tree under which Hippocrates lived 2400 years ago. The trunk of this gigantic tree has formed distinctive hollows over the years and the tree has worn away. That is why today the Hippocratic plane tree is under protection and its branches are supported by iron bars.
Tree of Hippocrates Entrance fee : Free of charge
How to get to the tree of Hippocrates : googlemaps
ANCIENT CITY OF ASCLEPIEION
It is one of the longest preserved archaeological sites in Greece and one of the most important historical monuments on the island of Kos. It is known as the school that Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, founded and where he taught medicine. This archaeological site is located four kilometres southeast of the island and is believed to have been built in honour of Asclepius, the god of health and medicine. Although this 3rd century BC structure has been severely damaged by the effects of earthquakes, it is a must-see.
Visiting hours of the Asclepieion of Kos : The Asclepieion of Kos is open for visitors every day between 08:30 and 20:00 daily (last entrance at 19:30).
Entrance fee for the Asclepieion of Kos : 8 Euros in the summer season and 4 euros in the winter season. (This price information was obtained on 04.2022).
How to get to the Asclepieion of Kos : googlemaps
Casa Romana was built on the ruins of a Hellenistic house. It is a Pompeian type villa from the late 2nd century AD and early 3rd century AD. The exterior of the building does not prepare you for the impressive interior! However, once you pass through the main entrance on the east side of the building, you will be impressed by the richness of the Roman house finds.
As you tour this impressive historic building, you may suddenly feel like Roman soldiers from that era will appear before you! Do not worry, this will not happen. But do not trust us anyway!
Casa Romana Visiting Hours : Casa Romana is open to visitors every day between 08:30 and 15:00, except for Tuesdays, when it is closed.
Entrance fee Casa Romana : 6 Euros in the summer season and 3 euros in the winter season. (This price information was obtained on 04.2022).
How to get to Casa Romana : googlemaps
ROMAN ODEON OF KOS
The island of Kos is home to many archaeological monuments. You need a long holiday planning to visit them all. The Roman Odeon is another historical building that you must see.
Discovered and excavated in 1929 by Italian archaeologist Luciano Laurenzi, the conservatory is located right in the heart of the city and is considered one of the most important structures of ancient Kos. It was originally built in the 2nd century AD and restored during the Italian occupation.
The first phase of restoration works on the monument was initiated by the Italian Archaeological Mission in 1929. The more recent restoration works were carried out between 1994 and 1999 for the protection, consolidation and improvement of the monument.
The structure, 12 metres high, was covered in ancient times and had a capacity of 750 spectators. According to information from ancient inscriptions, the auditorium was intended for holding musical competitions.
Roman Odeon Visiting Hours : The Roman Odeon is open to visitors every day except Sundays between 09:00 and 16:00.
Entrance fee Roman Odeon : Free.
How to get to the Roman Odeon : googlemaps
INTERNATIONAL HIPPOCRATIC FOUNDATION
The International Hippocratic Foundation was established in 1960 by Professor Spyridon Economou, Professor of Urology at the National and Kapodistrian College of Athens, in honor of Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, with the aim of promoting Hippocratic ideals throughout the world.
The Foundation building is located in the east of Asclepieion, on a 380,000-square-metre plot of land. The building consists of a conference hall, an exhibition hall and various offices. Be sure to visit this museum, which features important exhibits about Hippocrates.
You can also visit the “Botanical Garden of Hippocrates”, which exhibits various medicinal plants of the Greek flora mentioned in Hippocratic literature. You should also be interested in the exhibition of medical instruments and ancient methods of treatment.
Visiting hours of the International Hippocrates Foundation : The International Hippocrates Foundation is open for visitors every day except for Tuesdays, between 08:30 and 15:00.
Price of the International Hippocratic Foundation : The entrance fee to the International Hippocratic Foundation is 3 Euros. (This price information was obtained on 04.2022).
How to get to the International Hippocratic Foundation : googlemaps
VILLAGE OF ZIA
Located at the foot of Mount Dikaios, the mountain village of Zia is known for its iconic sunsets, traditional cuisine and picturesque streets. Zia village is one of the most popular destinations in Kos, both for visitors and locals.
There are taverns, traditional stores, cafes and restaurants serving authentic local cuisine. Surrounded by olive groves, pine trees, cypresses, oaks and lively springs gushing from the mountains, the village offers panoramic views of the coast of Kos Island and nearby islands such as Kalymnos and Pserimos.
The cobbled streets of the village are lined with handmade food, traditional and handmade products, local herbs, spices and various souvenir stores.
In addition, Zia is home to the well-kept Zia Nature Park amidst the pine forests with fascinating trails, domestic and wild animals, various plants, a children’s playground and a rest area. One of the most beautiful villages on the island of Kos is the village of Zia.
How to get to the village of Zia : googlemaps
VILLAGE OF MASTICHARI
Mastichari is a busy tourist destination in the summer season, known for its fresh seafood restaurants, beach bars and sandy beaches full of sunbeds. Mastichari is located 22 km from the centre of Kos and has about 470 inhabitants! Nevertheless, the place is a must visit with its tourist infrastructure and accommodation facilities.
The village has traditional taverns and cafe-bars with sea views, restaurants and several souvenir stores. Just outside the village, visitors can visit the island’s only but impressive water park.
Meanwhile, Mastichari is one of the areas with the highest wind probability on Kos Island and therefore a very popular destination for wind and kite surfing enthusiasts.
How to get to the Village of Mastichari : googlemaps
VILLAGE OF KARDAMENA
Kardamena is a coastal settlement about 30 km from the centre of Kos and 6 km from Kos airport. The village of Kardamena is considered the youngest settlement on the island. It used to be a fishing village, but today it is a popular tourist destination that attracts thousands of holidaymakers every summer.
The lively nightlife and the six kilometres long sandy coast are the biggest factors for its popularity. You can also enjoy various water sports in Kardamena such as diving, windsurfing and beach volleyball. There are entertaining bars, nightclubs, restaurants and taverns in Kardamena.
How to get to the village of Kardamena : googlemaps
KOS ISLAND BEACHES
One of the main reasons to travel to Kos are its wide, Blue Flag, sandy beaches and clear sea. With a 112 km coastline, Kos has countless beaches to offer. It is equally difficult to choose one of these stunning beaches.
Long, golden sandy beaches surround the island. Both the landscape and the sea on these beaches are beautiful in a way you will not find in most resorts. Wherever you are on the island, you can reach a beautiful beach in a few minutes. It is not possible to mention all these beaches individually, so let us briefly introduce a few popular beaches. Beaches other than those listed below are more secluded and natural, the choice is yours!
KOS CENTRE BEACH
The beaches, which cover a large part of the island of Kos, are both sandy and pebbly, from the Averof road (also known as Kritika to the locals) to the Kos marina just off Psalidi.
There are many facilities on the beaches in the centre of Kos compared to other beaches. Of course, there are plenty of places to eat and drink at these facilities. Sunbeds, umbrellas, showers, beach volleyball courts, bars and cafés. Although the beaches in the centre of the island will give you a great experience, we think you will like the beaches outside the centre of the island better.
The beaches in the centre of the island are often crowded due to the many facilities and the faster arrival of visitors. Our advice to those looking for a quieter beach is to take a short trip to the beaches in other settlements on the island.
How to get to the central beach of Kos : googlemaps
Camel Beach, 40 kilometres from the centre of Kos, lies within the boundaries of the village of Kefalos. Camel Beach is divided into two areas, one equipped with sunbeds and umbrellas and the other looking like a pristine landscape after crossing large brownish stone dunes. Camel Beach has caramel-coloured, extra-fine sand. A rock formation surrounds the clear, shimmering sea. It is quieter and a little more relaxed than other beaches.
How to get to Camel Beach : googlemaps
Kardamena beach, located 30 kilometres from the centre of Kos, offers you a calm and unruffled sea. On the contrary, although the sea is calm, the nightlife is a lively settlement. Kardamena Beach is surrounded by cafés, restaurants, cocktail bars and friendly, family-run tavernas. The sea, on the other hand, is crystal clear but gets deep quickly in places, so be careful.
How to get to Kardamena Beach : googlemaps
Lambi Beach, one of the most popular beaches on the island, is about three kilometres from the centre. You can even cycle to the beach. Because of this convenient location, it is crowded by many visitors. There are a few cafés, restaurants and bars around the beach.
There is also a beach volleyball court directly behind the sandy beach. The seabed is covered with slippery rocks, unsteady visitors require aquatic shoes. The Kos Maritime Club, which offers swimming and sailing courses for all ages, is also located in Lambi.
How to get to Lambi Beach : googlemaps
Mastichari Beach, 22 kilometres from the centre of the island, is a lively resort known for its long sandy beach. Around the beach you will find several restaurants, bars and cafés. The crystal clear sea is usually mossy, the amount of seaweed can increase with the wind. Mostly, the windy beach attracts windsurfing and kitesurfing enthusiasts.
How to get to Mastichari Beach : googlemaps
When you lie on your sun lounger and look at the view, you will understand where the name of the beach comes from. Paradise Beach is also one of the most popular beaches on the island of Kos. The beach, 35 kilometres from the centre, is located in the middle of Kefalos Bay.
Paradise Beach has a turquoise sandy beach with shallow waters that deepen very gradually as you dive into the sea from the beach and walk at least 40 metres (at half a metre above sea level). The wide sandy beach and shallow water make it an ideal beach for families with children.
How to get to Paradise Beach : googlemaps
If you do not want to stray too far from the centre, Psalidi is the place you are looking for. It is about 4 kilometres from the port of Kos. You can even cycle to Psalidi Beach, cycling along the coast.
The beach, which is mainly pebbles, is ideal for those who want to have fun. Psalidi Beach is where most visitors flock to with its water sports, bars, hotels, shopping centres and typical Greek tavernas.
Psalidi is also a popular water sports centre. There is a wide range of water sports activities such as water skiing, flyboarding, banana rides, jet skiing, paddle boarding and parasailing.
How to get to Psalidi Beach : googlemaps
WHAT TO EAT IN KOS ISLAND?
Kos has a rich culinary tradition that offers local products. The island’s local gastronomy includes traditional Greek recipes and these delicacies consist mainly of fresh produce grown by the locals.
As in the entire Aegean region, olives, olive oil and cheese are among the most important products on Kos. On the other hand, the island’s wines have been attracting more and more visitors over the years. For this reason, there are many companies that organise wine tasting tours on the island. Often the wines of the boutique winemakers are better than the famous brands you know, let us say!
In traditional Greek tavernas you can taste island-specific flavours and fresh fish. On the other hand, there are flavours from international cuisine, there are also Italian and Far Eastern restaurants on the island.
KOS ISLAND NIGHTLIFE
The nightlife of Kos is one of the most famous on the Greek islands. Tavernas, restaurants and bars can be found in many parts of the island. Even in the most remote town you can find a tavern or a bar.
The main tourist resorts on Kos – Lampi, Kos town, Kardamena, Tigaki and Mastichari – are the places with the most entertainment. Nightlife in the centre of Kos, Kardamena and Tigaki is more popular than in the other resorts, as the best nightclubs and bars are located here. Most of the entertainment venues are also open late.
KOS ISLAND HOTELS
On the island of Kos, which derives most of its income from tourism, there are countless accommodation options to suit every budget. Most hotels on Kos Island are located in coastal settlements such as Tigaki, Lambi and Psalidi, or in the coastal village of Kefalos on the south side of the island.
These settlements have more facilities than other settlements. The most popular beaches on the island are also close to these settlements. Bars, nightclubs, cafés and tavernas are more common in these places.
However, this should not be taken to mean that there is nothing in other residential areas. There is also plenty of accommodation and entertainment in other residential areas. If you dream of a quieter, more natural Kos holiday, settlements such as Tigaki, Lambi and Psalidi, Kefalos may not be for you.
To see all the accommodation options on Kos Island, you can check out TripAdvisor’s list of hotels in Kos.
DIFFICULT GOING TO KOS OR DIFFICULT GOING HOME?
The only thing that will bother you on your holiday on the island of Kos in Greece is the day you have to return home. This island with the most beautiful beaches in Greece will save you from the concrete resorts and offer you a holiday in a natural environment.
We are not only talking about residential areas, beaches and nature, but also dishes prepared with natural products, fresh fish, the famous honey, olive oil and of course the wines, which are also natural and delicious.
You may also be interested in our article Everyone Should See Lake Bafa in our Places Near Bodrum section. We think you will enjoy reading this article.
We wish you in advance an unforgettable holiday on Kos Island.