Fondest memory: They say the the best sunsets on Kos island can be seen at the mountain village of Zia. Undoubtedly the sunset at Zia is lovely but restaurants tend to be quit busy and touristic. We found a better alternative at Mastichari - a quiet seaside taverna on the beach front enjoying really tasty authentic Greek meals at the Tasty Palace taverna watching the sun dip into the sea. More sunset for your money here than Zia where it disappears behind the mountain first. Special memories of a lovely holiday.
Kos town is small and it is mainly inhabited by tourists - in full season. That is why locals do their best to bring tourist attractions as close to their guests as possible.
For me it doesn't make much sense to spend a day on a beach located almost in the middle of a busy town but as you can see, a lot of people like it.
Favorite thing: This cafe is placed in the main square of Kos town. Nothing special, really. We however liked it a lot. It is always busy, full of people and a great family atmosphere. Just be there.... :-)
Favorite thing: A great way of spending time - cruises around Kos. You'll definetely be asked by guys at the harbour to purchase your cruise tickets there. Don't do that. The same tickets can be bought at this street (see below), running from the harbour to the main square.
Favorite thing: As the island is very close to the shore of Turkey and Greeks traditionally dislike Turks (see history of Greece and Cyprus), Kos used to host strong Greek military forces. Before the 'tourist era' soldiers and their buildings occupied all strategic places of this small land. On your walk along the beach you'll see several concrete bunkers - mostly falling apart or drawning in the sea or sand. There are still three or four minor military bases in the island.
Favorite thing: The town beach which is east of the harbour becomes very crowded during the day, a better bet, also called the town beach, is about 500m west of the centre where there is windsurfing and paragliding on offer. There are plenty of Tavernas and snak bars nearby, and it is close to the discos and water facilities, if you prefure somewhere a little more peacefull and less congested head for Tigaki, a little further west, or Psalidi on the other side of town both have water sports facilities avalable. Beond that there is Aghios Fokas beach which has volcanic black sand and is often deserted
Kefalos is the furthermost village from Kos town, some 45 km. It stands on a limestone hill. It is still a real Greek village, not much tourists here. There is a small castle ruin, which was built by the Knights of St. John. Have a stop here and enjoy the Greek life while drinking a cup of Greek coffee in one of the many coffee houses.
Kefalos was built on the ruines of the former capital "Astypalaia". It was in this town that Hippocrates was born in 460 BC. In 412 BC there was a big earthquake and the islanders decided to build a new capital at the East coast (Kos town) as it was better located for communication with the big Greek cities and Asia.
Favorite thing: The road going from Kefalos towards the monastery of Ayios Ioannis was our favourite part of the island to drive. This part of the island (southwest) is the most desolated and rocky area with lots of trees and once in a while a goat.
Favorite thing: Kos has many different beaches. There are broad white sandy beaches, pebbled beaches, desserted beaches, crowded beaches with sunbeds close to one another and even dirty beaches. Most hotels stand along the less attractive beaches of Kos town and Kardamena. The beaches of Kefalos, Tigaki, Marmari and Mastihari are much prettier. The best beach is located at the south coast near Kefalos "Paradise Beach".
Favorite thing: Mastihari is an attractive seaside village with a small harbour. It has superb white sand beaches, a cosy village and a nice promenade with tavernas, cafes and rental apartments all with a great view of the sea.
Favorite thing: What we liked most about Kos was the free entrance to almost all sites. It seems that Kos doesn't take advantage (yet) of its many tourists. Almost all archeological sites are free to visit. Bring a good travel guide though, because you won't find any signs or explanations. You will have to figure it out for yourself, but for that price I didn't mind.
Favorite thing: My favourite spot on the island was the region of Asfendiou. This is the region near the highest mountain of Kos, Mount Dikaios. On the slopes of the mountain are different settlements which still have a rich folklore tradition. The landscape is very green, the mountain villages still typical Greek without too many tourists. The view from the heights here too the coast of Turkey is awesome.
Favorite thing: The capital of Kos, which has the same name as the island, is a lovely town. It has a harbour where you can find the Castle of the Knights, many archeological sites, buildings in different styles (Italian, Greek, Turkish), nice litlle alleys with many restaurants, cafes and shops and still enough vegetation which gives the town its tropical flare.
The blend of the old with the new can be seen all over the island with all ages represented often side by side.
Whether it is bronze age remains sitting on top of the Seraglio hill in the main town just a stone's throw from the roman remains or a minaret, or whether it is the crusaders' re-use of columns from the hellenistic site of Asclepion in their castles, or even the old late antique churches now in ruins which scatter the landscape, you are always aware that we are just passing through in the same way that others have before us.
The image shows part of the castle of the Knights of St. John, who presumably got lost on their way to Alexandria and took a share of the carved up Eastern Roman Empire for themselves. The lintels of this gateway are monolithic columns carved about a thousand years before being re-used: all spolia from the sanctuary of Asclepius a few kilometers away.
Fondest memory: Hunting and tracking down the traces of those who walked here before us.
You have to experience the atmosphere of Greek night if you are in Greece. It is a great way to try traditional greek food and see greek dances.
On the pic: venue of greek evening, 1km out of village of Zia