Have just returned from a weeks stay in Kefalos, Kos. There where very few trips that where suitable for a family of 4 including 2 children aged 5 and 13. We booked the 'Lazy day/fishing trip' at the excursions booking office loacated next door to our hotel. Cost of 25 euros for adults and 12.50 euros for the under 12s.
We where collected on time by a mini bus, unfortunately there where more passengers than seats and I was asked to share a seat with my 5 year old daughter.
We then spent 2 hours dangling a peice of cotten over the side of the boat in a very lame attempt to catch fish. There was very little shade and although entertainment was available for the children via 2 'pirates' this was useless unless your children spoke fluent German, which unfortunately my children do not.We then arrived at the 'secluded beach'. There is no beach at all and this place consists of pure rock. It is impossible to either sit or lie on this so called beach and hard wearing shoes need to be worn at all times. Seating was available to aid your 'relaxing' day in the form of a long concrete boulder covered by a make shift bamboo roof that offerd limited shade.A BBQ was included in the price which consisted of fish or pork souvlaki, tomato and cucumber salad and stale bread.The children did enjoy swimming in the sea but needed to be carried to and from the sea due to the rock beach. I couldnt wait for the boat to collect us and when I left I did feel a sense of achievement in having successfully escaped Alcatraz Island.
- Family Travel
Definately hire a quad to see the island. We hired them for two days and managed to get around almost the whole island in that time.
Therma, which is located at the very top right hand corner of the island past Kos town would have been a nightmare journey on the bus and i'm not entirely sure a bus would take us past Kos town, but it took us about an hour on the quads - you have to visit Therma to appreciate the Therma springs, this is where an area of the sea reaches 40 degrees in temperature, it is said to be linked to the volcano in Nissyros in some way and you can smell the sulphur if you move the gravel around where it is bubbling.
- Road Trip
Kefalos Old Town
We reserved this visit until we had a hire car - only 1.5 Km from the harbour, but all up hill. Therein lies it's advantage - the best views of Kamari Bay and the Kefalos beach resort.
We took the recommendations of others and went in search of the old man and his small bakery come cafe. After much exploring of back streets I looked up a small street and saw a man stood outside a shop and sure enough it was him. As we approached he launched into his patter of 'vanille, chocolate, mocha gateaux, eclairs...' and we stepped into his empty cafe and it was like stepping back 40 years in time. The shop probably hasn't changed much in that time. We ordered coffee and cake with a biscuit for our youngest child. He delighted in bringing two biscuits, explaining that the second was a present from him. Soon enough aided and abetted by us, he had enticed another couple in, and then a third couple. Even while he is taking your money he is still darting out of the cafe to speak to those passing, not wanting to miss an opportunity! Priceless. The obligatory handshakes were done and then a photo with our two girls (see off the beaten path tip for photo).
Apart from the view, the rest of Old Kefalos has little to commend it. Away from the main shopping streets there are a lot of ugly concrete buildings, many with graffiti. A previous commentator described the place as having the charm of a council housing estate - perhaps a little unfair, but I see where he's coming from.
Our children played in the park, which would be shut down under health & safety considerations in the UK! But do go, if only to visit the old cafe owner.
Bubble & Paradise Beach
We drove there ourselves (same place as Paradise beach and signposted from the main road, parking is free). If you’re looking for the Bubbles bit, then either look for all the people stood in the sea looking down, or else use the Paradise Hotel as the marker and it is straight out from there. We saw plenty of bubbles, but if you think it’s going to be like a Jacuzzi then you’ll be disappointed – it’s just an occasional stream of bubbles coming up from the sea bed.
A great sandy beach, but it did seem a bit busy and tightly packed with sun loungers. There’s a good water sports place where you can pay large amounts of money to go on crazy rides like rubber rings towed behind a speedboat, and an inflatable platform that took off into the air at a fast speed and you flew along! We opted for a more sedate hire of a pedalo which had a built in water slide that our daughter loved (a bit expensive at 10 Euros for half an hour). Two loungers and an umbrella were 7 Euros for the day.
The beach side taverna rocks with some good music; great pizza and fresh baguettes.
You can get here by coach, the Kos bus, or water taxi. We drove in our hire car and there was plenty of free parking.
- Water Sports
This was our local beach just 3 minutes walk from the Zeus Hotel. It's a long beach and you can choose your stretch. When we were there in Sept. it was pretty quiet, so plenty of choice. We paid 5 Euros for 2 loungers with umbrella, although others said you could find them for 3 Euros. The advantage of coming in September is that the sea has had time to warm up a bit - yes it's cold when you first go in, but you soon get used to it and then it can even feel warm!
I echo what people say about the clarity of the water - it's crystal clear. There were about 6 different types of fish in the water and using a scuba set you can almost touch them - fantastic! The beach shelves gently and there is no sea weed. On the down side, the sand is coarse and interspersed with pebbly sections. This stretch of water is very popular with sail boarders, so don't venture out too far or you may get chopped in half as they race up and down the bay at a rapid speed. The wind can get strong, and my daughter thought that she was being bitten by ants, but it was the wind firing sand at her!
There's plenty of choice of quality tavernas and beach bars from which to choose lunch.
We travelled to Kos Town by our hire car, and combined it with a evening sunset visit to Zia Mountain Village (for a family of 4 this is cheaper than booking the excursions). Kosmar were charging 12 Euros per person. The local bus from Kefalos is 5.60 Euro return (dep. 07:30/10:00/11:00, ret. 14:30/16:30/21:00), but beware taking the last bus, which does not always materialise and then it's a very expensive taxi ride. You can park for free next to the Casa Romana, off Grigoriou E.
We were really impressed with Kos Town and would definitely recommend it as a day trip to anyone staying elsewhere on the Island. There are loads of restaurants and small interesting boutique type shops to browse for hours on end. The harbour is interesting to see all the boats; some are replica wooden sailing ships that run trips to Turkey or the popular '3 Island Tour'. From here you can see clearly across to Turkey. We were told that Kos is having problems with illegal immigrants from Turkey, which include the begging children who roam about and are very pushy (we saw them but they never approached us or bothered us).
There are several sites of historical remains in the Town, including the columnar remains of the Basilica A which date back to the 5th Century. In Britain, these would be fenced off and protected, but this being Greece you are free to scramble about all over them!
It's best to shop around as identical items vary in price from shop to shop. By the time we had left at 4:30pm, things had gone pretty quiet.
We arrived by hire car quite late and found all the parking gone and coaches double parked on the main street. We drove to the far end of the village and mistook the Ayli Taverna for the recommended Aveli Taverna, but they did have reserved car parking. They were turning people away if they weren't eating there, so we agreed to come back to eat to secure our parking place.
We then wandered through the village and pottered among the various stalls that were set out in the street creating a special kind of atmosphere. We returned to the Ayli and took up a table on their roof terrace. The view from the roof has to be the best bit of the Taverna - the food and service was certainly a let down. The waiter placed a paper table cloth over a dirty table for us. Our daughter spilled her drink of lemonade on the paper table cloth, but they did not do anything to help and when the food arrived they put it down on top of the wet table. The food was adequate, but nothing special. A short time later a coach party arrived and filled the place up, and confirmed in my mind that they were trading on their location rather than their food or service. Nevertheless, fantastic views, but the dramatic sunset failed to materialise and instead we had just a very average one. If we were to return we would try to arrive earlier and eat at the first taverna on the right into the village.
The Island of Nisyros & its volcano
We paid 23 Euros per adult and children were half price (under 2's go free). Beware those that don't tell you about the 7 Euro bus fare to get you to the volcano, which everyone has to pay (we later spotted the best deal with Trust Car Hire at 20 Euros. The worst deal was with the reps at 27 Euros).
This is what we liked about the trip: the variety. For your money you get a great boat trip; to explore the wonderful island village of Nisyros (there's half a dozen ways to spell this); a bus trip and a volcano visit thrown in. We thought it was very good value for money. We departed from Kefalos harbour at 9:30am and arrived on Nysiros at 10:45. The bus rep told us we were on a 12:30 bus, so we explored the magical village of Nisyros which has some wonderful back streets and buildings. We had a leisurely lunch at one of the portside tavernas. The bus takes you the 17 Km up the mountain via a succession of hair-pin bends with some fantastic views. You drop down into the valley of the volcano, but are only given 35mins to explore on foot, which was a bit disappointing. This allows just enough time to walk down into the crater and back. We managed this carrying a 3 yr old on shoulders and with a 7 yr old, all wearing strong sandals (we did see some wearing flip-flops and they managed, but we also saw some ending up on their backside when the slipped! The volcanic ash and stone on the path down can be a bit slippery if you're not firm footed). The smells from the sulphur are great, and not too overpowering. Steam and smells come out from various pot holes on the crater surface - it's unique.
On return to Nisyros we had time to explore a little more. We walked up to the Monastery, which closed about 2:45pm, but the views are worth the walk up anyway. There was just enough time for a leisurely drink at a bar before catching the boat back to Kos. We thought it was a great day out, but you will know if this is the sort of thing that would appeal to you.
Down on the beach there was a watersports centre thats called 'Baywatch' which was doing all kinds of watersports and had sunbeds if you wanted to pay for one for the day.