With bustling turquoise beaches for the hip young travelers, to secret coves for dreamy romantic folks, Kos is the Greek island that has it all. Often a starting point for a yachting adventure in the Dodecanese, this cosmopolitan “it” destination owes its part of its allure to impressive architecture that fuses the Ottoman, Italian, Roman, and Byzantine heritage.
With glossy marinas where you might rub shoulders with models and celebrities, serene rustic tavernas serving “posa” cheese, created by allowing goat cheese to submerge in red wine, and beaches that resemble those seen on Caribbean postcards, Kos is excellent for your next luxury charter.
With a rich history that goes back to the Mycenaean era and landmarks built by the Romans and Byzantines, each corner of this Greek island reveals a new secret of eras gone by. The birthplace of Hippocrates will dazzle you with breathtaking landmarks, medieval castles, and secluded coves.
The third-largest Dodecanese island has something to offer for all sorts of travelers. Whether you like to stay in the loop and dine in glamorous restaurants, or prefer roaming around scenic villages loyal to the same lifestyle for centuries, Kos will leave you spellbound in minutes.
Best Places To Visit
The main harbor and capital of the island is a bustling town surrounded by lush greenery and hydrangea-hued seas. Populated since prehistoric times, Kos blends a trendy nightlife scene with mystical archeological sites, offering a unique summer experience. With so much to do on land and at sea, you’ll stay busy during each moment of your stay. Unless you want to relax at the beach and sip on some fine rose at the foredeck of your yacht, which is fine too.
If you do wish to get a glimpse into the age-old Greek culture, visit the Asklepieion, just 4 km east of the harbor, with remains of a Doric temple from 2 century BC, and an ancient medical center built in honor of the father of medicine, Hippocrates, after his death.
The ancient gymnasium or Xisto is part of a complex of Roman and Hellenic buildings that include the Acropolis, the Hippodrome, the Nymphaeum, and several ruins from temples dedicated to the goddess of beauty, Aphrodite. Located near the harbor, on the east side of town, the Gymnasium is now surrounded by greenery and affords beautiful views of the bay.
Visit The Castle of the Knights, a fortress built to protect the island from the Ottoman attacks - remains of a bridge that used to connect the island to the mainland can still be seen today. Located in the Old Town, the castle is also known as Neranzia and is one of the most emblematic sites of the island. Stop by one of several tavernas to recharge with some strong Greek coffee before heading to Casa Romana, a well-preserved Roman mansion where you’ll feel like Nero will pop by any minute now.
If you’re in need of some retail therapy, get some goodies at Olive Wood, or sprinkle some niche perfume at the Aromaterie. Finish the day by sipping cocktails under the baldachins of Balinese beds at Papa's Beach Bar, where you’ll be treated like a king by the super attentive staff. When the night comes, it’s time to put on your dancing shoes. Head to Sky Bar Red Loft to dance until the sun rises over the blue bay, or move to the sound of upbeat music at the windmill-dominated Mylos Beach Bar, while sipping on a frozen sangria that will set the right tone for the evening you’ll wish to remember forever, but won’t.
Admired for crimson-colored sunsets that rise over Mount Dikeos, Asfendiou is an affluent village with authentic allure. Dominated by numerous stone towers create an impression of a time capsule, Asfendiou is perfect when you feel like escaping the hustle and bustle and enjoying a romantic day. Hike to the top of the mountain to enjoy spectacular views from the chapel of Christ, visit the proto-Christian basilica, or enjoy nature’s grace at the spring waters.
What this village lacks in size, it surely makes up with breathtaking sights. Situated on the slopes of Mount Dikaios, the village is most famous for the awe-inspiring sunsets and vistas that extend to Asia Minor. The whitewashed houses with blue shutters might remind you a bit of Santorini, but Zia has its own distinct character to which stands true. Just 14 km from the capital of Kos, this charming village has a vibrant atmosphere, full of cute tavernas and shops that sell local products like honey, olive oil, and soaps.
If you enjoy sightseeing, make sure to visit the unique church of Dikeos Christos, founded in 1079, that sits high on the mountain’s peak and affords the best views of the town and even Anatolia. The sunsets in Zia have become the trademark of the island, so it does get quite busy in the summer, but the beauty of this Dodecanese village is definitely worth some shoulder-rubbing in the street. If you’re traveling with kids, take some time to marvel at the rich flora and fauna in Kos Natural Park, where you can feed the freely-roaming peacocks or pet the turtles and guinea pigs that call this natural oasis their home.
If you want to capture the beauty of Zia, but don’t care too much about its hustle and bustle, the sleepy village of Asomatos is a great alternative. Unlike its famous neighbor, Asomatos is virtually untouched by tourism who often overlooks the destination for the more vibrant Zia. But it’s their loss, and totally your gain. Stroll through the maze of old streets and make regular coffee stops to relax under the shade of olive groves and visit the imposing church of Agios Asomati, to which the village owes its name.
Best Beaches in Kos
Prepare to be spoiled with options - this Dodecanese island has so many incredible beaches that it’s really hard to keep count.
Adored for its soft-grained, sugar cane sand and intensely hued aquamarine seas, Mastichari is one of the most popular beaches on the island, yet somehow never gets overcrowded. Dotted with colorful tavernas that offer complimentary sunbeds and parasols, this beach is a great option both for those who come to laze around in the sizzling Greek sun and those who enjoy a more active day at sea. Test out your charter yacht’s water toys here, or get windsurfing lessons - thanks to the deep sea and winds, Mastichari offers the ideal conditions for a thrilling beach day.
Very appropriately named, Paradise Beach is adored for long stretches of golden sand, glittery seas. The family-friendly oasis even has a small water park with slides and bouncy castles your kids will enjoy, while adults can seek refreshment in the small bar that serves drinks and snacks.
You might think this is a postcard from the Maldives, but it’s really a Greek beach that due to competition doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Just 20 km from the main town, Marmari Beach has some of the most brightly colored seas you’ll ever come across, and soft beige sand perfect for practicing the art of dolce far niente. While there are a few tavernas, most of the beach is completely deserted with parts where you can enjoy complete solitude.
Popular among the yachties who come to the nearby port to swim and relax in one of the cleanest beaches on the island, Kamari is a true heaven for those who want to enjoy a relaxing beach day. With 5 stretches of pale sand, some parts are completely secluded and offer full privacy for a family adventure or romantic beach day.
If you’re looking for a secluded beach with an exotic appeal, you’ve found the right spot. Tangaki is the place to enjoy the beauty of the environment without any distractions, in some parts so quiet, some come to practice naturism here.
If you want to sip colorful cocktails at sunset or dance till dawn, visit Lambi, or more specifically, Artemis Heaven Beach Bar. With young and energetic DJs, a passionate staff, and hip visitors, this is the place to swim, bronze, and party surrounded by sweeping blue views.
Best Restaurants In Kos
Whether you’re planning a quick bite on the go or want to go all out for a special occasion, Kos will exceed your expectations in terms of cuisine.
Treat yourself to a fine dining experience right by the beach - Cuvee is a swish restaurant perfect for a romantic night out, with an endless list of culinary masterpieces and a handsome wine list. Located in Kos Town, Cuvee is the best place to come for a luxurious gourmet adventure in fabulous surroundings.
This Kefalos hotspot is seaside dining at its best, but also a great option for a lunch that turns into a full beach day.
With a stunning setting and gorgeous vistas, Mediterraneo offers incredible seafood dishes with a presentation just as amazing as the taste. The vistas extend to the Turkish coast and an infinity pool adds extra points to the overall glamorous atmosphere.
Yorgo Fish Restaurant
Famous for the spectacular seafood and freshly caught fish, Yorgo has an old-school appeal with simple dishes cooked to perfection. Located on a beach in the main town, this restaurant is a great choice for a family lunch and moments of casual relaxation.
The Watermill Of Zia
Try the best traditional dishes in a lush garden with fragrant flowers, where kittens roam freely and the sunset is of the loveliest blush hues. Everything from the eclectic decor, friendly staff, and Greek specialties are simply divine - book a table in advance as it gets quite busy.