The Asklepieion archaelogical site is just 4km out of town on a hill as most such sites were for the tremendous views they afforded. It was built after the death of Hippocrates, in the mid 4th c B.C. but was oly discovered in 1902 by the German archaeologist Herzog. You can get here by the blue tourist train - or many people cycle here. Entrance fee is 4 euros and last admittance is 2.30pm for the 3pm closing. Oh and don't come on a Monday, its closed!
Its a fascinating place and I'll put more pics and info on its own page. Click here
- Museum Visits
Asklepeion is the biggest archeological site on Kos and worth a visit. It is about 4 km outside of Kos town. Asklepion was a religious sanctuary dedicated to Asclepius, god of healing. It also served as a healing centre and a school of medicine were Hippocrates was teaching. The site has three different levels. On the first level you can see the Roman public baths and the guest rooms. On the second level lies an altar of Apollo, the Temple of Asclepius and the Temple of Apollo. On the third level is another Temple of Asclepius. From here you will have a wonderful view across Kos town and the coastline of Turkey.
Entrance fee: 4 EUR
Opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm (summer) / 3:00 pm (winter).
There is a blue tourist train from Kos town (in front of the tourist office) to the site.
At the entrance is a small building with toilettes and a bar with chairs. They have delicious fresh orange juice.
Even within the centre of Kos Town there are narrow alleyways to explore just off the squares - you will soon find scenes just like this...and for our visit in May the colours of the trees were wonderful. This minaret was near to the western excavations and I think may stand on the site of the old acropolis.
And if you keep going from Agios Fokas, you get to Thermae. This is a where a sea pool has been made, into which a hot spring flows, and is really worth a visit. Some people dipped in for about ten minutes, but I spent around 90 minutes there.
I cycled from my hotel, about 4 miles/6 km (so double that from Kos Town). It is a good road, but uphill most of the way. The parking area, with drinks stalls is above Thermae, and there is a gravel track down (another 5 minutes walk) You could take a car down, there is some parking, but really better to park at the top. There is also a bus from Kos Town - not all go as far as Thermae.
When I arrived, a dreadlocked guy (probably Dutch) wandered over. "Hey man, no need to lock your bike, no-one steals them here". He was a very low key tout for the right-hand drinks stall, where I got a cold drink ( I certainly need it), as he gave me some advice.
This was, when you go into the pool, go in at the very left, and go to the back, then gradually move to the hotter area. The temperature anywhere in the pool is warmer than the sea, but varies quite a bit within the pool. The hottest is where the spring comes out of a rock fissure, at the far right shore-side. The temperature here is about 50C and you can sit in the fissure and broil (for about ten seconds). If you just wade into the hot bit first, everywhere else will seem cold.
Despite how the pic looks, it was a hot, sunny afternoon, and I don't know where all the people went when I took it!
Further on, at Agias Fokas, there's a Greek lookout post on a promentory. The rock is painted with the Greek flag, just in case you're in doubt as to where you are. On our trip to Bodrun we noticed a rocky lookout point there, painted this time in the Turkish flag. I expect they just sit there all day, looking across at each other.
By the time you get here, to Agias Fokas, the number of people you see has really dwindled. There are some small, islolated little beaches down below the road and there are a few people on some of them. At Agias Fokas itself there's a small "resort" - some apartments, a hotel, a taverna or two. It must be a strange place to stay.
A nice thing about the bike ride down to Agias Fokas was the number of lovely looking Tavernas we passed - our favourite place of all, Nikos & Kontessa, was on this ride. We also passed other places that we right by the sea, with the ocean coming virtually to the tables. They looked like they'd be lovely places to eat, but hey - how many times a day can you eat? These were ones we put down "for another time".
Even better beaches are available at Tigaki, a resort about 12km from Kos Town. This can be reached by bus or by bike (the bike track is a little used road by the coast from Kos). The beaches here are clean, white(ish) sand and have all the facilities you could want. The sea is clear and calm and there are beach bars and tavernas at the back of the beach.
The Asklepeion lies a short distance away from Kos on a hill overlooking the town and the coast. You get to it by driving or by taking the mini-train that leaves from close to the tourist information office in Kos Town.
The Asklepeion was where Hipocrates, Kos' most famous son, used to practice and teach medicine in the 5th century BC.The ruins are impressively complete, giving you a good idea of how it must have looked, and contains many different areas including temples and bath houses.
Being set on a hill the view from The Asklepeion is wonderful too, taking in the coast of the Kos Town area.
If you fancy a bit of peace, quiet and virtual isolation you need do no more than hire a bike and set off down the road towards Agias Fokas. Once you get past Psaladi you'll hardly see a soul. We stopped of at this place, Psaladi Point, a shingle beach that is great for watching shipping from. There's a little beacon tower there and just across the sea (almost close enough to touch) is Turkey.
More along the off-beaten path, on the way to Thermae. Stop here on route to enjoy the view. Most town buses end here, but some continue to Thermae. About 4 km from the Kipriotis, past the last hotels, the road curving around to the northwest coast.
Thermae 2 - Goats
The pool itself it big enough for quite a lot of people (and shallow enough for kids); and also to swim across, feeling the temperature changes as you do so. And you can clamber across the rocks and swim a bit in the sea, and feel the warmth as you climb back in the pool.
As you sit, you can watch the mountain goats clamber about the cliff-face above. Where they can get to seems really unlikely - but I guess that's why they are mountain goats! And once you are out of the pool, there is a pebbly bit of beach by it with a small beach bar, and you can walk northwards along a thin strip of beach under the cliffs. There were a few boats moored offshore. Also a few nooks and crannies where couples may be enjoying a bit of 'quality time' or even nude sunbathing.
One thing is, since it is quite pebbly around the pool, after an hour in the warm water, your feet will be lovely and soft: making it really difficult to walk back to your shoes, if you have left them a good bit back from the pool, as I did .
The black blob in the middle of the picture is a goat grazing. I'm sure there were two in shot when I took it, but I can't find the other one.
The beaches at Kos Town, such as they are, are not very good. Better beaches are found in both directions along the coast from the town at Lambi and Psaladi. The ones on the road to Psaladi, past the new Kos Marina are quite pleasant, close to a fair few tavernas, and offer great value for money too. The one we frequented did two sunbeds, one upright chair, an umbrella, a table and two bottles of mineral water for 5 euro! These beaches are within easy reach if you've hired a bike and they have proper bike parking racks too.
Beneath The Mountains
Tigaki (or sometime sTingaki) is a small resort the other way down the coast from Kos town (as opposed to the Psaladi way). It's about 12km and is a comfortable bike ride away, or you can go by bus (from the "Village Bus" station (see Transportation tips). It's a pleasant enough resort, if you like that sort of thing, and is picturesquley set beneath the mountains of Kos.
The beaches of Tigaki are big and clean, and the sea looks to be nice, calm and clear. There's everyhting you expect of a beach resort except raucous nightlife, so a good place for familes and a bad place for Club 18-30 lovers.
In 2008 we were driving around the smaller roads as we came out of kos town toward the old Turkish village of Platani when we came across signs for Hippocratic Altis - intrigued we investigated and discovered a little garden oasis with a monument of Hippoctates and a wonderful view over the coastline. Not only that but it is a reconstitution of Hippocrates Garden with 254 therapeutic plants on isle of Kos. There are also plans to link the garden with a 700m path to the archaeological site of AsKlepieion
The hike up Dikeos to the little church of "Christos" which is the highest point of the whole island (~700m). It's good if you have some kind of vehicle that can go through uphill dirtroads. Follow signs to the village of Zia. Drive through the village, past the tourist strip and follow signs to Kefalovrisi. Shortly passed Zia you will have to turn on a dirt road. Stay on that dirt road for as far as you can. You'll pass a few houses on the way, the Kefalovrisi tavern, and a couple of small churches. You'll see a sign indicating the beginning of the hiking trail pointing to "Christos" on your left. The rocky trail is fairly well marked (follow red arrows) and in fairly good condition. Hiking boots and good physical condition are highly recommended. It's a good 2 hour hike each way, parts of it through trees (i.e., shade). The view from Christos is amazing. Many locals hike up there and spend the night during the chapel's festivities.
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