On the outer perimeter of the Dodecanese Islands is Kos (also spelled Cos, and Κως in Greek). Discover Kos Island and all it has to offer, beyond never-ending beaches and great weather, like many other well-known Greek Islands. Delve into the beauty of alternating landscapes that will continuously take your breath away and walk through history with its numerous attractions and archaeological sites that date back to ancient times.
Discover Kos Island History
This is the land of Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician and known as the father of modern medicine. The much visited island also has had other names, including Karys, Nymphaia, and Meropi. Historical sites of different eras can be enjoyed by tourists, including those left behind by the Romans, the Venetians, medieval knights, and the Ottomans, in addition to those of the ancient Greeks.
The town of Kos was rocked and greatly damaged by a huge earthquake in 1933. Ruled by the Italians at the time, the town was completely redesigned and rebuilt. It now boasts large town squares and sidewalks, lined with trees and modern buildings that accommodate trendy cafes, shops, and restaurants.
Kos Island Attractions
There are lots of attractions on Kos that are sure to make this a memorable visit. Make your way up to the top of the hill to witness firsthand, one of the most notable historical sites known as the Asclepeion. Asclepeion is a holistic healing center, and was actually one of the most important institutions of in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE. This incredible institution consisted of hot springs, temples, infirmaries, hostels, and a school for physicians. Hippocrates’ Asclepeion is situated only 4 km from the town of Kos. It’s well worth a visit and offers an absolutely spectacular view.
On the edge of the Aegean Sea, Kos Island is home to numerous thermal springs with three different types of mineral water, of which lure many tourists. Enjoy your choice of Kos thermal springs, from hot, warm, or cool waters. The springs can be found at Kokkinonero (Redwater), Piso Thermes (Back or Rear Hot Springs), Agios Fokas, and Volkanous.
Read also: Greek Island Hopping – Guide and Tips
At nearby Antimacheia, in the woods at Plaka is the Kos peacock sanctuary that’s also home to other birds. Be sure to bring your seeds to feed the peacocks right out of your hands.
Eleftheria Square in the town is home to the Archaeological Museum of Kos, adorned with mosaics and beautiful statues.
Take in the the 12 meter circumference Hippocrates’ plane tree. It is said to have been planted by the father of modern medicine himself. Kos is loaded with interesting attractions for any history buff. Be sure to stop by the Nerantzia Castle of the Knights of Saint John, or the 14th century walls quickly built to ensure the Sultan Bayezit I was kept out. Also, the medieval district and the old harbor, the ancient agora, and the Roman ruins. There is a pleasant surprise everywhere you look!
The Antimacheia Castle is now a beautiful ruin that once stood proudly when built in 1457. The Ottomans, an astounding 16,000, besieged the castle where only 15 knights along with 200 locals were defending it. They held their own for 23 days, causing the Ottomans to withdraw.
The Beaches of Kos
The beaches of Kos are stunning and long with virtually each one measuring one kilometer long! One of the most popular beaches of Kos is Kardamena Beach. It boasts deep blue waters and breathtaking scenery. Do make time to enjoy other beaches too, as they won’t disappoint, such as Tigkaki, Kefalos, Mastihari, Paradise, and Chrysi Akti.