The birthplace of Hippocrates
Finally, a very much desired Greek island for a long time now in the bucket list, Kos. Considering how many islands are out there in this region and in Greece alone, this could take several years finding nice deals every now and then, or make the most on an Aegean Cruise, why not. But for now, this is the fun of keep travelling, going every time to a different destination, and enjoying as much as possible, never getting tired.
What we believed it would be a very small island, as Google maps might look like, ended up being bigger than expected. The airport is at the centre of the island, and we first headed to Kos Town where our hotel was. A very charming city and amazingly quiet, thankfully because it was still low season. Another reason why we love travelling to places always during the low season months whenever we can.
The ancient Greek-Roman remains are spread all around. On one side is the Forum, on another the Odeon; then the Western Archaeological site and the Casa Romana, while farther away outside of the city is the Asclepeion, ancient healing temple. We only found out that distances were actually bigger than expected when we were there, and decided to rent a car for 24 hours. Best decision ever, out of sudden we were flexible to travel around the entire island.
With the car we were able to see everything in the city, then driving to the Asclepeion and around it. The views from the top of the hill are totally worth it, overlooking other islands and the coast of Turkey clearly visible. Then a drive towards the Thermae. Forget what you might find over the internet that says it’s like 5km away from Kos Town. It was way much farther!
As for the following day, we managed to drive to Kefalos, stopping along the way at the Fortress of Antimachia. On approach to Kefalos you will see the famous little island with the small blue and white church on it. The perfect picture is done from the road while you are still up in the hill before descending to sea level. There are places along the road where you can park without problem. Then once down, you can follow the signs for the old basilica by the sea. Small and not too exciting, but still offering nice views of the beach and the other island at the front of it.
Kefalos itself is nothing special. All we did here was having a great and actually cheap lunch. This place is located once you climb up the hill and you end up in what it seems to be the “main square”. You will see many restaurants around, but head towards the one at the right side end. If you go left you will end up in a car park. You can leave your car here and walk to the other side. Very recommended restaurant.
In Kos Town you can find Goodys. This is a Greek fast food chain, the only fast food chain in the world using olive oil for anything they fry. Their specialty are burgers, gyros, but you can find many other things, salads, club sandwiches. And very good prices. Out of season, any restaurant is good to go and enjoy a copious Greek meal or dinner. Value for money and quality is great, but at the peak of the season, things change around, and being overpriced is quite common unless going to quiet side streets outside the city centre.
For more information about Kos check Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. Greece’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Kos
- Castle Costing 3 Euros entrance fee. Not much remains of it apart of the well preserved Venetian walls and inside, many ancient Greek and Roman artefacts as columns, statues. It offers great views of the bay and the islands nearby, specially of the coast of Turkey.
- Tree of Hippocrates Located towards the western side of the city, where, according to legend, Hippocrates (the father of medicine) taught his pupils the art of medicine.
- Western Archaeological site Where the Odeon is located on one side, and across the road, many remains of houses, paved streets, columns, and the Roman House.
- Cathedral Although nothing very special, it is in the middle of the old town.
- Eleftheria Square This is the main square in Kos City, very lively and full with coffee places and restaurants.
- Asklepeion Around 10km away from Kos City, it is the ancient healing temple of Asclepius. 4 Euros entrance fee, but before you come here, check the opening times (and dates) since during low season much shorter opening times and dates apply.
- Thermae Easy to reach on bus number 5 from the port for 1.6 Euros. Thermal water by the beach. Free, but beware it can get quite crowded, since the thermal area is pretty small.
- Castle of Antimachia Some 20km away from Kos City is this fort, where the best preserved areas are the walls. You can walk inside it and make your way through the small paths made between the vegetation. There are nice views of the island when you approach the opposite end to the one you entered.
- Kefalos The most visual sight when approaching this village is the small island with it’s blue church, just opposite the Kefalos Beach. Notice that the village itself is on top of the hill, and offers great views of Kos island itself and surroundings.
From the airport you have a bus, very convenient and easy to spot. But beware on the weekends it stops running quite early, so the only two options left are pre-booking online a bus which stops along the way at some of the resorts, or the taxi. Both options are not expensive. The bus will take around 45 minutes and when booking it online, you need to enter the hotel you are staying. They drop you off at your hotel or nearest location, and they pick you up at the hotel to bring you back.
Other than that, there is a tourist “road train”. This will take you everywhere around Kos Town. But it is only running during the season. So don’t expect it from October till May. However, the best you can do should you be willing to visit the rest of the island, is to rent a car. This will be the best you can do as will allow you to drive around in no time, otherwise you risk being “trapped” just in Kos Town without knowing how many other beautiful places are that near you.
This must have been one of the cheapest hotel I’ve ever been to date. And also a very good standard. Looking over the internet you will see that prices for hotels are really low during the off-season months, hence grabbing a nice deal is not difficult. Having a look at some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, LateRooms, Ebookers or TUI is the best way to start. Then, if your budget is still not met, there is a good selection of properties through airb&b and the likes of course.
I can strongly recommend you the Philippion Hotel. At just 10 minutes walk to the harbour, and located by the sea, overlooking the Turkish coast. But when booking, make sure you know which room you are booking. This place has different buildings, all in the same complex around the pool. The one we booked is the building which is on the main entrance. This has very large rooms, in fact, full apartments, and a very large terrace. Great service, friendly staff and nice breakfast.