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From its archaeological wonders to awe-inspiring scenery, the Greek island of Kos is a fascinating and diverse holiday destination. Following Rhodes and Karpathos, it is the third largest island of the Dodecanese chain in the Aegean Sea, off the Anatolian coast of Turkey.
Kos Town itself, the island’s capital, dates to 330BC, its ancient beginnings span the Greek, Roman and Byzantine eras. The Medieval castle of Neratzia (the Castle of the Knights of St John) still looms over the harbour town’s waterfront, while roman ruins, mosques and churches can be found throughout the island.
Architecture is a striking mixture of Kos’ cultural influences including Ottoman and Venetian. The Italian-style features prominently, examples being the attractive Town Hall, built in 1928 – a popular wedding venue today.
It’s also the natural wonders that see people coming back year after year. There are Blue Flag beaches with golden sands and shallow waters, the perfect place to relax in a sun lounger or to take a dip in the warm, clear blue sea. There’s also plenty of exploring to do, especially by bike, a popular pastime here – Kos is known as the ‘island of the bicycle.
The lush mountain backdrop with trailing olive groves and wildflowers is a haven for adventurers who take to the various cycle paths on two wheels to get up close to the flora and fauna.
Kos Island is also home to some of the best water sports available to tourists in Greece, including many snorkelling and scuba diving schools. However, those preferring to ride the waves can hire canoes, pedalos or jet skis – or kite surfs.
Great places for family days out include the action-packed water parks of Kefalos and Mastichari or the go kart tracks around the island. A more serene adventure is a visit to Zia Natural Park with its exotic trees and plants and animals in their local habitat, such as peacocks which roam free all over the park.
Popular holiday spots around the island include the small Greek town and former fishing village of Kardamena on the south-eastern coast, with its traditional tavernas and vibrant nightlife, the hillside village of Kefalos is another culinary haven with plenty of bars and restaurants, while nearby Kamari has a pretty marina and glorious stretch of beach. A quieter option is the small seaside town of Psalidi, renowned for its picturesque beaches and promenade.
Wherever you choose, there's a wide range of accommodation options throughout the island, from boutique hotels to larger resorts and private villas..
There’s a genuine taste of Greek tradition and local and international flavours to be sampled on Kos Island. From the freshest seafood to authentic Greek dishes with lashing of olive oil, served in charming tavernas along the waterfront. A trademark of the island is also the posa cheese or wine-cheese (goats cheese fermented in red wine), served as an appetiser in Kos and of course honey, local wine and ouzo.
A tour around the island by car or by boat, is a must for an overall picture of the stunning scenery and iconic landmarks. From the pristine beaches and traditional mountain villages such as Zia in the Dikeos mountain, historical monuments such as the Asklepieion, a healing temple sacred to Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and the windmill of Antimachia - the last working one on the island which dates back to the 19th century.
Whether you are travelling with a group of friends, your family, or with a loved one for a romantic getaway, Kos Island has something for everyone.