Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Kos in Greece, along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Kos is a Greek island in the southeastern part of the Aegean Sea that belongs to the Dodecanese island group. It’s an island that is full of history and archeological sites as well as beautiful beaches and charming towns.
Kos has long been a favorite among international tourists, who have come here to enjoy the beaches and lively nightlife. In this article, I’m sharing some of the best places to visit in Kos as well as attractions and interesting facts.
Asclepius was the god of medicine and healing and, according to Greek mythology, was able to raise people from death. The Asklepion complex dates back to 400 BC and consists of three terraces.
It served as a school of healing and even the famous Hippocrates once practiced here. Visitors also have access to a small museum. The ruins of this sanctuary are one of the most interesting historical monuments of Kos.
The ruins of the Antimachia Castle are another interesting historical landmark. The castle was built in a Venetian style in the early 14th century. The most impressive remains of the castle are its external fortifications.
Its imposing gates and walls allow a glimpse into the past and stimulate the imagination of the visitors. Inside the castle walls are two Venetian churches, as well as a few remaining houses and cisterns. Beautiful views towards the sea and the surroundings can also be had from the castle.
Alyki wetlands are a protected salt lake on the northern coast of the island. The lagoon is filled both with freshwater and saltwater, and the main attraction of the Alyki wetlands include the diverse flora and fauna that can be found here.
The wildlife of the salt-lake is also very interesting. Many pelicans and flamingos come to the lagoon and even reptiles like water snakes and turtles are at home here. Don’t miss the untouched nature of this part of Kos.
This beautiful village is located on the southwestern tip of the island and dates back to ancient times when it was the capital of Kos. Kefalos is separated into two parts, the traditional village on the hill and Kamari, the harbor, and the waterfront area.
One of the most iconic landmarks of Kos is the little island Kastri and its Church of St. Nicolas. Don’t miss visiting the ruins of the Kefalos castle, it offers great views over the bay of Kamari.
Ottoman Mosques in Kos Town
The mosques of Kos are a great symbol of the diverseness of the island. The mosques remind of the four centuries of Ottoman rule of Kos and today act as a historical and architectural landmark.
Hanji Hasan Mosque features an impressive minaret and was built in 1786. It is located on the Lotzia Square behind the plane tree of Hippocrates.
The Mosque of Nefterdar on Eleftherias Square is a great sample of Islamic architecture and was built at the end of the 18th century.
One of the most famous beaches in Kos is Paradise Beach, also known as Cavo Paradiso. Its name stems from the clear water and white sand that makes it resemble a tropical beach. Paradise Beach offers plenty of fun, you can go banana-boating or water skiing and a small bar is also available.
Renting an umbrella and a beach lounger is possible and the perfect way to relax. Paradise Beach also features a unique natural phenomenon. Volcanic gases create bubbles that can be seen from the beach.
The small Kastri Islet is one of the most photographed places in all of Kos. It is located opposite the beach of Kefalos and is rocky and barren. Even though there is little to no vegetation on the islet, a small white and blue chapel is situated here.
It is the Church of S. Nicolas, who is considered the saint protector of all sailormen. You can reach the island by boat. Good swimmers can also get here by swimming from the beach of Kefalos.
Thermal Springs (Thermes Agios Fokas)
A sea-pool fed by hot springs can be found in the area of the Cape of Agios Fokas. The ”thermes”, as they are known locally, is very secluded, and getting here is not easy and involves some hiking across the Psalidi cape from the East beach.
These thermal springs are located on a pebbled beach and are surrounded by rocks. The water temperature ranges between 40 °C and 50 °C.
Casa Romana (Roman House) is one of the important excavation areas of the region and is a great place to learn about the Hellenistic and Roman Times. The style of the mansion is characterized by the remarkable frescoes which depict a panther attacking a bear.
Casa Romana has an impressive 36 rooms and three atriums. Each atrium features a fountain and was meant to provide the mansion with light and fresh air. You can find the Casa Romana west of the town of Kos, it is located near the Roman Odeon.
Another interesting excavation area is the Ancient Agora of Kos. It featured many temples, houses, and baths that mostly date back to the 3rd and 4th century BC.
One of the main draws of this site is the many remaining mosaics and columns that are often well-preserved despite their incredible age. There is no entrance fee to this site and due to its low visitor numbers, you can enjoy the excavation area in peace.
During the times of the ancient Kos the Roman Odeon was one of the most significant cultural buildings of the island. The odeon was erected during the 2nd century A.D and was not only used for musical events but also acted as the seat of the parliament of the city.
Even though the parliament of the city has moved on, guests can still enjoy musical performances in the auditorium. It is well-preserved and is located in a beautiful park.
Tigaki Beach is located a few kilometers west of Kos and serves as one of the most popular beach resorts on the island. Tourists can find all the infrastructure that is needed for a pleasant beach holiday here.
There are many hotels, bars, and restaurants scattered along the beach. As well as plenty of shops selling everything that a beach-lover might need. The wide beach is perfect for families and children can play here to their heart’s delight.
Aquatica Water Park
Kids who love to splash around in the water will find the Aquatica Water Park a dream come true. This modern park offers many different water slides, pools, and water playgrounds that guarantees a fun and exciting experience.
The facilities of the Aquatica Water Park are well maintained, and cleanliness and safety are of great standard as well. Visitors can find the park on the southern coast of the island, a few kilometers west of the town Kardamena.
Plaka Forest is a lovely place to go for a natural experience. The forest features various walking paths, wildlife, and beautiful pine trees. It’s easily accessible near Antimachia.
Visitors can expect to find several peacocks that are strolling around and showing their beautiful feathers. It’s a popular destination among the locals, especially during Easter and the summer months.
The Nerantzia Castle, located near the harbor of Kos, is one of the most imposing fortified structures on the island. It was constructed by the Knights Templar in the 14th century A.D. and consists of two fortified curtain walls and four-high towers.
The name of the castle stems from the many orange trees that were planted in this area in the 14th century. The Nerantzia Castle was also home to a prison during the German occupation of Greece.
Visitors should keep in mind that for the time being, the inside of the castle can not be accessed anymore due to a big earthquake in 2017.
Interesting Facts about Kos
- Kos is the birthplace of Hippocrates and Ptolemy II of Egypt.
- It is one of the largest islands in the Dodecanese.
- Kos has a population of 53,388 according to the latest census.
- In the beginning of the 14th century, the island was sold by the Venetians to the Knights of St. John.
- Kos has an area of 287.2 km² with a maximum length of 45 km and a maximum width of 11 kilometers.
- It was first attested in the Iliad as Κῶς in Ancient Greek.
- Other names of the island include Cea, Nymphaea, and Meropis in Ancient times.
- Kos has a coastline that measures a total of 112 kilometers (70 miles).
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