Kos: A lesser-known Greek island that’s well worth exploring

The charming Greek island of Kos will seduce you with its stunning seaside and mountain towns and villages, and its fascinating history stretching back to 366 BC.

It’s ideal if you fancy a sun-kissed beach getaway, with its golden sands and crystal clear waters, but there’s so much more to this gorgeous Dodecanese island that you won’t be able to resist exploring while on holiday here.

There are plenty of accommodation options spread across Kos, whether you want to stay in a budget or luxury hotel, apartment or villa, and many of them are located right by the sea. With 70 miles of coastline, it feels like Kos is a never-ending beach paradise.

Simply sunbathing on one of the clean, award-winning beaches and taking a dip in the clear Aegean Sea makes for a perfect day.

The summer months of July and August are the hottest here, with temperatures reaching 31C (88F), so you may want to bear that in mind if you prefer to visit at a cooler time.

Exploring the island
Kos is predominantly flat and low-lying, so cycling is popular among both locals and tourists, and there are plenty of bicycle rental outlets.

Hiring a car on Kos is easy, and it will give you the freedom to explore to your heart’s content. Kos is a fairly small island, so you can drive from the east side of the island to the west side in less than an hour, and it’s only 20 minutes from north to south, so you can get to see many of the sights quite quickly.

Kos Town is rich with sightseeing opportunities, from the medieval Neratzia Castle to the Ancient Agora ruins and the Tree of Hippocrates. The island is famed for its connections with Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, as he was born here and legend has it that he taught his students underneath the tree.

Further out, you can see the Roman Odeon and mosaics, tour the Venetian Antimachia Castle, take in the panoramic views from the ancient Asklepion, and finish off the day with a fantastic sunset from the beautiful village of Zia.

Many holidaymakers take advantage of the location of Kos to enjoy day trips to nearby islands, such as volcanic Nisyros, and you can even take a boat trip to Bodrum in Turkey, as it’s less than 15 miles away.

Festivals and Feasts
Modern Greek culture in Kos means festivals, religious feasts, and plenty of cultural events, and August is the best month for this. At the beginning of the month, the traditional village of Mastichari hosts its Wine Festival, while the historic fishing town of Kefalos has an Ouzo and Sardine Festival. Mid-August sees the Honey Festival inland in Antimachia.

Towards the end of August, you can join in with the celebrations in Mastichari for the Feast Day of Agios Ioannis (Saint John), which is when pilgrims pay their respect to the saint. Later in the day, locals and visitors alike gather on the beach to party until sundown.

If you’re visiting in July or August, the Hippocrates Festival is a must-do for visitors to Kos. Each year, for two whole months, the festival celebrates Hippocrates with all kinds of entertainment, from theatre and music performances to street dancing and art exhibitions.

Wonderful food
All kinds of palates are catered for in Kos, but for traditional cuisine, you’ll find a multitude of tavernas serving meat, fish, and vegetable dishes. Being an island, there’s a fantastic selection of fresh seafood, of course, and what better way to finish off a beach or sightseeing day than with delicious food?