Kos Island holidaysThe sample prices are per person based on two people travelling!
KOS ISLAND HOLIDAYSGreece
The official language of Kos is Greek, as it is one of the regional units of Greece. However, many of the locals speak basic English. As Kos is a popular spot for British tourists, everyone in the tourist industry speaks English and in many of the restaurants in the touristy areas, English menus are available.
Euro is the official currency of Kos. Pounds sterling, US dollars and a number of other currencies can easily be exchanged in banks or at the airport. Although ATMs are available in the big towns, they are not found in remote areas. Those that are present take foreign cards. Most of the large hotels and restaurants accept credit cards, but many businesses in the rural areas do not have credit card facilities.
Greece is a member of the Schengen Agreement, meaning citizens from other Schengen countries only need an ID card or passport to enter for a stay of unlimited duration. UK and EU visitors need a valid passport or ID card and are able to stay in Kos for an unlimited amount of time. Nationals in need of a visa should apply at their nearest Greek embassy.
Kos boasts long, hot summers and relatively mild winters, making it perfect for a winter break. Summer, from May to September, is hot and dry, with temperatures as high as 40ºC in July and August. This time of year also sees around 14 hours of sunlight a day. Winter, October to February, is considerably cooler but temperatures rarely fall below 13ºC. There is more rainfall in December, but little during the rest of the year.
Kos Island International Airport (Hippocrates Airport) is the island’s only airport and receives flights from a number of UK and European cities throughout the year. In the summer, the number of flights significantly increases. It is also possible to fly to mainland Greece and then onto Kos, with a number of domestic flights from Athens and Rhodes landing at the airport daily.
It is possible to fly direct to Kos from a number of airports in the UK. Thomas Cook flies from Birmingham, Leeds-Bradford, Newcastle and London-Gatwick. EasyJet and First Choice also fly direct from London-Gatwick. Flying from London-Gatwick tends to be the most popular route. Flight time from London to Kos is 3 hours, 55 minutes.
Due to the fact that Kos is a popular holiday destination, during the summer there are daily flights from major UK destinations. The popularity of Kos works as an advantage as flight competition is fierce, meaning there are some good deals to be found. It can sometimes be cheaper to fly from London rather than other UK airports but during peak time, the saving isn’t significant.
It’s possible to reach Kos via ferry, with a number of services running from mainland Europe. The Piraeus to Kos ferry runs several times a week and takes around 11 hours. Kos Ferries runs a year-round service between Kos and Rhodes, Symi, Patmos, Kalymnos and Leros, and in the summer, a daily service from Bodrum, in Turkey, which takes 1 hour, 30 minutes.
The most popular way to get around Kos is either by bus or hire car. The bus service covers the majority of the island and service is reliable and fairly comfortable. The roads network is extensive and car hire is reasonably priced. Hiring a car means more freedom and can help visitors reach the more remote beaches.
Getting around Kos by air is not an option, as there is only one airport on the island. However, as it is a Greek island, there are a number of domestic flights to mainland Greece. Olympic Airways run daily flights to both Athens and Rhodes, which takes around 1 hour. Flights are cheap and give visitors the option of exploring mainland Greece for a day or two.
Intercity buses are the main service providers on Kos. The bus service has an extensive network that serves the entire island, including Kos Town, Agio and Therma, along with many of the beaches in the south of the island. The main bus station can be found in Kos Town, where bus timetables and information are posted. Tickets can be purchased onboard. Service is reliable although not all the buses have air-conditioning. Kos is a relatively small island, meaning journeys are short and typically cheap.
All the major international car rental companies have rental places at the airport and in Kos Town. Many hotels can also point guests in the direction of a local rental company. The roads in the towns are well maintained, but are small and windy in other places. Driving along the coast roads can be an amazing experience. Road signs are frequent and in both Greek and English. Driving is on the right.
Kos Town, at the north end of the island, is usually the first stop for tourists. A sophisticated and lively city, it features a harbour which offers many amazing restaurants alongside chic bars serving classic cocktails, with many bars also hidden away in the windy little back streets.
Kefalos in the south is another popular destination. It may seem a little on the traditional side, but visitors will soon see that alongside the ancient ruins and quaint windmills is a bustling town packed with tavernas, bars and restaurants, with the nearby resort area of Kamari a hot spot.
Psaladi is little more than a long stretch of beach with a few drinking spots, but it is perfect for those heading to Kos to get away from it all. It is also only a short way from the capital, so a great night out can be had here with ease.
Kardamena on the south coast is a bustling beach resort that is ideal for water sport enthusiasts, as jet-skiing and waterskiing are popular activities here. There are plenty of beachside bars and shops, too. This is easily the most popular beach on the island and although it can feel crowded, there is a great atmosphere and plenty of amenities.
Banana Beach near Kefalos is often named as the most photogenic beach on the island, with rolling dunes creating a great backdrop. For those seeking luxury, neighbouring Paradise Beach more than lives up to its name. The volcanic bubbles in the sea here make for a natural sea spa.
The north of the island is easily the best spot for deserted shores. Selveri Beach has a great view across the waters to the Turkish coast and a low-key atmosphere, with few resorts and plenty of secluded spots.
Kos is steeped in history; after all, Greece is one of the oldest civilisations. The Castle of the Knights was the main defence against the Ottomans and is now a stunning spot to visit. Built in 14th century, it was damaged by an earthquake in 1495 but was perfectly resorted in the 16th century. Just south of the castle is the ancient Agora. This open site where visitors can stroll through ancient Greek ruins dates back to the 3rd century.
The Archaeological Museum is a great place to visit for those interested in learning more about the history of the island. Here, tourists can see many 3rd century mosaics and an impressive statue of famous ancient Greek physician Hippocrates.
Asklepion is another great place to witness the ruins of the ancient Greek empire. Cycling to this site is a popular but strenuous activity. Plenty of buses head here too and there are stunning views across the island from this vantage point.
The Church of Christ, in Kos Town centre, is a popular religious point of interest. Here, there are a number of Greek paintings and sculptures, with Greek Orthodox services on throughout the week.
The tiny village of Zia, found at the top of the Dikaion Mountain, has a nice little church and a number of local tavernas. This is also the location of Traditional Nature Park of Zia, which produces a huge amount of natural products that are then turned into things such as soaps. There are some great trails for visitors to explore and children can pet animals in the petting zoo.
Depending on the type of nightlife visitors prefer, Kos has a number of places to head in an evening. However, the undisputed queen of nightlife is Kardamena. Here, those looking for a lively evening can spend their time in the numerous bars, clubs and karaoke joints. Most of the clubs play current chart music or classics, so it’s not surprisingly this area is popular with the 18-30s crowd. The Starlight club is one of the top clubs here, with a foam party held every weekend.
Kos Town offers a great night out, but with a considerably more sophisticated feel. Many of the bars here serve classic cocktails on the harbour front and live music is generally tasteful and subdued. Many bars are open late, as are restaurants, so an evening meal can be enjoyed over a number of hours. Diakon Street and Naflirou Street are set back from the harbour, with a distinctly cosmopolitan feel to them.
Haman bar is a popular bar in the centre of Kos Town. Formally a Turkish bath, it’s now a high end bar with a number of chill-out rooms along with an open-air dance floor. During the summer months, it’s a DJ spot and the whole place oozes style.
Heaven, in Lambi, is another open-air disco. The vibe here is more funky and bohemian, with a swimming pool only a short walk from the dance floor.
The open-air theme extends to the island’s cinemas. Orfeos, in Kos Town, is an open-air cinema that shows a mixture of classic Greek films and Hollywood blockbusters. Films tend to be in English with subtitles, but it’s best to check before purchasing a ticket.
Kos Town is the place to find the majority of the traditional restaurants; however, Greek cuisine is easy to find across the island.
The Greek meze is similar to Spanish tapas. It’s great as a starter or a main meal, as it gives visitors the chance to sample a number of dishes. It’s also an extremely sociable way to try the local cuisine. Tzatziki, a yogurt, cucumber and garlic dip, is perfect with the warm pitta bread and olives that often come with meze.
Saganale, deep friend goat’s cheese, is another favourite dish in Kos, along with stuffed vine leaves and mousaka, which is similar to lasagne but made using aubergine and other vegetables. Another local delicacy to try is spedzofai, a stew made from spicy sausage and flavoured with spice.
Meze can be enjoyed at lunch or dinner and of course, should be accompanied by a few glasses of wine. Briki, a Greek style of coffee, is popular in the tavernas. Many restaurants offer the tradition sprit ouzo as an aperitifâ€•a strong aniseed flavoured drink. Mythos beer and the local wine, Hatziemmanouil, can be enjoyed by those not keen on strong spirits.
Dinner in Kos tends to be eaten late, as is the custom in Greece, and although many restaurants open early for tourists, the late evening is when the towns and harbours come to life. As an island, Kos features seafood as one of its must-tries, and fish restaurants can be found across the island.
For those seeking a taste of home, there are a number of British style pubs in Kos Town, while Kardamena is the place to head for major fast food chains and fish and chip places.
Although there are plenty of beaches across the island, Palm Beach is often named as the best. This small sandy bay is secluded enough for bathers not to be disturbed by crowds, but also only a 20-minute stroll from the harbour in Kos Town. There are a number of hotels in this area and the water is calm and inviting.
Although there are plenty of beach resorts on offer for couples to enjoy in Kos, the tiny village of Zia holds a lot of romantic appeal. This tiny little spot has a number of local tavernas where couples can enjoy some of the best food available on the island, but the real draw is in the fact that Zia is on Dikaion Mountain. This makes it the perfect spot to enjoy nice views and the sunset together.
Many of the beaches on the island are family friendly, with the possible exception of Kardamena. Many of the resorts offer children’s activities and many of the beaches in the west of the island have calm water which is ideal for swimming and paddling. Heading to the petting zoo in Zia is a great way to spend the day, but any of the beach resorts are ideal places to while away a family holiday.
There is no end of activities to enjoy in Kos. There’s rock-climbing, mountain biking, snorkelling, windsurfing, jet-skiing and parasailing across the island. Sailing around the island is popular with tourists and locals alike. The best scuba diving sites are Kalymnos and Leros for reef and cave dives.