The island of Kos belongs to the Greek islands of the Dodecanese, located in the southeast of the Aegean Sea. As the third largest of its 18 inhabited islands, its northern tip extends up to about 5 km to the Turkish peninsula of Bodrum. Its capital, also located in the northern part of the island, which is named after the island of Kos, has some 19,500 inhabitants and, together with its surroundings, represents one of the island’s six municipalities.
Like many of the Greek islands, tourism is the main economic sector. On Kos, the latter benefits above all from the long white beaches and the charm of the small villages, some of which have already been abandoned.
Things To Do in Kos
Here is our complete guide about things to do in Kos. Here is a guide about the best places to stay in Kos.
Below is a list of the most important points of interest.
One of the most attractive sights that the city of Kos has to offer as the capital of the island is the fortress of San Juan Neratzia. Its powerful complex is located on the east coast of the island, on a small peninsula near the city’s port. Built between the 14th and early 16th centuries and expanded at the same time, it now covers much of the peninsula.
Built as a bastion against the Ottomans and pirates, the fortress also served to control maritime traffic. A few years after its completion, the fortress of the Order of St. John was abandoned and is now a ruined city with the remains of its walls, buildings, battlements and stairs, and can be visited from both outside and inside.
Plane tree of Hippocrates
Not far from the fortress, in front of its entrance, you can admire the Plane tree of Hippocrates. Legend has it that it was planted by Hippocrates, the ancestor of modern medicine, in the 5th century BC and that he taught under his guidance.
Surrounded by a small wall, there is a cleaning fountain next to it for visitors. The plane tree itself is supported by iron bars. The diameter of the trunk and the crown is about 4 and 18 meters respectively. Several young shoots growing from its roots testify to its lasting vitality.
Not far from the port of the island’s capital, the Archaeological Museum is another of Kos’s many attractions. In six rooms of the Archaeological Museum interested visitors can learn about the history of Greece, as well as valuable objects found during excavations or after an earthquake.
In addition to sculptures from various periods, they also include magnificent mosaics and reliefs. As the museum is located in an ancient Roman villa, you can also admire its inner courtyard with an ancient mosaic on the floor. A visit to the Archaeological Museum is especially recommended on days with bad weather or to balance out life on the beach.
Walk in the Dikeos
From the town square of Zia you can enjoy an exciting walk to the top of the 846-meter high mountain Dikeos, named after the mountain range that extends behind the southern coast. The ascent runs along rocky trails, partly covered with pebbles, through a forest on the northern slope of the mountain and ends at a shelter under the cross on the summit.
You will be rewarded with a beautiful view over the coast and the neighbouring islands off the Turkish mainland by the fairly bearable stresses of the ascent. Also worth a visit is the chapel of Metamorphosis tou Christou, near the summit.
Tigaki and Lake Alikes
On the eastern part of the northern coast of Kos Island is Tigaki, one of its most popular resorts. In addition to several hotels, it offers supermarkets and restaurants, souvenir shops and a pharmacy and is easily accessible from the town of Kos by bus or taxi. From the town extends a bright sandy beach surrounded by shady trees that invites you to relax, swim and do water sports.
Behind the dunes, which border the beach at its western end, is the Alikes salt lake. Salt mining was completed in 1990 and the lake was placed under nature protection. Walking along a circular path around it, you can observe beautiful views as well as, with a little luck, flamingos or a water turtle.
The charming mountain village of Zia
In the mountainous region of Dikeos, above the village of Asfendiou, is the mountain village of Zia, the highest village on the island of Kos. Surrounded by olive groves, cypresses and pines, whose greenery is protected by springs, it has about 100 inhabitants. The place welcomes the many tourists in various restaurants.
From its terraces you can see the most beautiful sunsets of the island announced as attractions. Zia is also known for the spices and herbs offered here, for its small church painted in the Byzantine style, an old water mill and the small adjacent natural park, very familiar and welcoming.
Lido water park at Mastichari
The coastal town of Mastichari offers a ferry service to Kalymnos, as well as several unspoilt beaches and opportunities for walking and shopping. However, its main tourist attraction, or rather a popular hiking destination, is its Lido water park.
It covers an area of about 80,000 square metres and is therefore the largest of its kind in the Aegean. Equipped with several swimming pools, slides and jacuzzis, a separate children’s area and gastronomic facilities, it offers an exciting holiday experience for young and old alike.
The Palio Pyli ghost town
Pyli is located in the central part of the island of Kos, above Marmari. The village itself invites to a contemplative walk, where you can discover the tomb of Charmylos with a small chapel and a traditional farmhouse. The visit of the ancient Pyli called Palio Pyli can only be admired after a hard climb.
The abandoned village is dominated by the ruins of a fortress built in the 11th century. For those who are not afraid of the climb, there is a breathtaking view over the north coast of the holiday island. Two churches, also from the 11th century, belong to the abandoned and more or less dilapidated buildings. Above Palio Pyli a small tavern invites you to stay.
The peacock forest near Plaka
Near the island’s airport there is a forest park, where you can find numerous peacocks, but also turtles and stray cats among the pines. The majestic peacocks, which communicate with noisy calls, naturally wait for some food and reward it with the tapping of a colourful wheel.
Often you can also admire the offspring that accompany the proud animals. You can have a picnic in the shade of the park, there is a barbecue area and even a clean water fountain. The peacock forest is an ideal destination for a family outing.
The Mediterranean island of Kos, with its numerous beaches that meet the most varied requirements, is considered a true bathing paradise. One of the most popular is Paradise Beach on the south coast. Easily accessible by car or rental bus, it is located in a picturesque bay and is covered with fine white sand. Without the usual scenery of large hotel buildings, it spreads an almost Caribbean atmosphere.
The beach with its crystal clear water invites you to swim and snorkel. Its attraction is increased by the bubbles that rise in the water, formed by volcanic gases and give the beach the nickname “Playa Burbuja”. However, the gases are completely harmless! Cafes, restaurants and showers are within easy reach for a relaxing day at the beach.
Best Time To Travel To Kos
We recommend the following months as the best travel time to discover the highlights and views of Kos:
May, June, July, August, September and October
You can find more detailed weather information, including all weather data, on our Kos weather details page.