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Useful hints and travel information for a Kos holiday
The Greek island of Kos is one of the most popular choices by holiday makers in Greece. Kos has beautiful beaches, a very good tourist infrastructure and is the perfect destination for a family holiday in Greece. Most of its beaches are sandy, shallow and the majority is very well managed.
There are some excellent hotels in the vicinity of the town of Kos. The town itself has a lot to offer as well. Scattered around the town are a multitude of archaeological sites, most of which are accessible to the public. That way you are able to admire beautiful and very intricate mosaics right at the place that they were originally made for, or you can simply stroll through the town or along the scenic harbour until it’s time to sit down for a drink in one of the many bars or taverns of Kos town. The town also offers a variety of evening entertainment. During the summer months the town centre turns into a regular party mile and is extremely popular with young Scandinavians.
The other locations on the island of Kos tend to be quiet and family orientated. Due to the large number of beautiful hotels in the surroundings of the capital, Kos is particularly suitable for a family holiday with children. As the entire island is rather flat, entire families can cycle along the coastline. The only elevation on the island is Mount Dikeos that is situated virtually right in the centre and is ca. 850m high.
Pictures from Kos
Villages of Kos
The tiny mountain village of Agios Dimitrios is situated near Mount Dikeo, in the middle of the breath-taking scenery of a wild and romantic mountain landscape. The monastery of Agios Dimitrios has been rebuilt, together with its small, white-washed church, while some of the houses in the village look dilapidated, overgrown and haunted. Adventurous tourists visit the village by motor-bike and have a picnic under the gigantic plane tree near the monastery. An extraordinary experience!
The bane of family holidays tends to be a conflict of interests between the cultured and the not-so-cultured family members. The village of Agios Stefanos presents the ideal solution to the problem, as it has a large sandy beach and the ruins of the basilica of Agios Stefanos, built in the fifth century and re-discovered in 1932 by an Italian archaeologist. This makes Agios Stefanos a #1 destination for family holidays!
The island of Kos ticks all the boxes when it comes to every tourist’s dream of a Greek island: intensely blue sky, sea that reflects multiple shades of blue from dark blue to light turquoise, a windmill, a small tavern where you can sit in the shade and enjoy the local wine and Greek food, the sound of bouzoukis playing in the background – and very interesting sights. The village of Antimacheia does not only have the “Milos tou Papa” (the priest’s windmill, one of the oldest working windmills in the Mediterranean)), but the “House of Antimacheia” as well, a house dating back to the beginning of the 10th century. The perfect time to visit Antimacheia is in late August or early September – this is when the famous wine- and honey festivals take place – an unforgettable experience!
Asfendiou, a listed village with approximately 1900 inhabitants, situated on one of the lush and fertile slopes of Mount Dikios with stunning views of the Aegean and the island of Kos. Asfendiou itself is a treat for lovers of archaeology, history and architecture, with an 11th-century church and the ruins of the Agios Pavlos Basilica while the rest of the village is like a museum of Greek life. Traditional Greek food is served in any of the small taverns in the area, and all visitors are made welcome with traditional Greek hospitality.
Another example of a happy compromise between beach-lovers and culture buffs is the mountain village of Kefalos, situated just above the coast of Kamali. Kefalos is conveniently divided into two parts – one for tourists with all the necessary facilities and one of the most beautiful beaches on the island of Kos, the other one steeped in history and overlooked by the ruins of an old castle. There is a local history museum, the church of Agios Stefanos and the Agios Giannis Theologos Monastery – all definitely worth a visit.
No medical professional should deny themselves a sentimental pilgrimage to the tree of Hippocrates – a massive plane tree at the entrance to the crusaders’ fortress at the Mandraki Harbour of Kos town. The tree is supposedly 2500 years old, which makes it the oldest tree in Europe, and Hippocrates taught his pupils in the shade of this very tree. For those who are unimpressed by the tree, there is the pedestrian precinct nearby with bars, cafes and taverns for those who like to party.
Marmari is the perfect tourist resort on the island of Kos, complete with a long, sandy beach, endless options of water sports, a variety of hotels and everything a tourist could wish for. Marmari Harbour welcomes visitors who arrive in their own yacht as well. There are many restaurants, taverns, cafes and bars, but also super markets for those who like self-catering holidays.
Mastichari is an idyllic little fishing village on the north coast of Kos. Needless to mention, fresh fish is on the menu every day, and excursions to neighbouring islands are offered from the harbour. There are two beaches in Mastichari, the westerly one is rather wide and has become the favourite tourist beach, with ideal conditions for wind-surfing and kite-surfing, the one in the east is natural and very quiet. Mastichari is the ideal place for a quiet family holiday in traditionally Greek environment.
One of the most important ancient sites on the island of Kos is the sanctuary of Asclepios, the world’s first hospital. The nearby village of Platani has approximately 1700 inhabitants and is situated between Kos Town and the famous Asklepion. Another remarkable feature of Platani is the fact that Greeks and Turks live peacefully together and have done so for a long time. There is an old mosque, a Turkish cemetery and Turkish taverns in the beautiful village square.
With its charming village square and its beautiful stone houses, Pyli is a typical greek village on the island of Kos. There is a very impressive well surrounded with ornamental lions’ heads, and a museum of Greek life in an old farmhouse. Other sights worth a visit are the byzantine fortress and an old church with faded frescoes from the 14th century.
The village of Tigkaki on the island of Kos is one of the favourite holiday resorts of the locals, and here’s why: Tigkaki is a very pretty village with a massive sandy beach, shallow and therefore safe for families with small children. Outside Tigkaki there is a nature reserve with a salt-lake, where flamingos hibernate and eat lots of shrimps to freshen up their pink plumage. For tourists who like evening entertainment, there are bars and pubs in Tigkaki with very late closing times.
Framed by the Dikeos Mountains and 350 m above sea-level, Zia is the highest village of Kos. The village has only approximately 200 inhabitants, but it has nevertheless become one of the most popular tourist attractions on Kos. The view from Zia is spectacular, and the sunsets unforgettable. After sunset the village comes to life, with live entertainment in most taverns, dancing and singing. Zia is also a magnet for mountain-hikers who walk up to the summit of Mount Dikeos. Typical souvenirs from Zia are wild herbs, honey and local craft work.
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