26 Best Things to Do in Kos (Greece)

roman odeon of kos

With its semi-deserted hills, mountain pine forests, golden sandy beaches, emerald green waters and breathtaking archeological heritage, Kos is an island that has it all.

It combines the following advantages:

Numerous archaeological monuments (most of them located close to the main tourist centers);

Less visitors in comparison to the large and popular tourist islands, such as Corfu, Thassos, Rhodes or Crete;

Wide and long golden or creamy sandy beaches;

Dry, long and hot summers with no chance of rain;

Holiday season of at least 7 months (from April till the end of October on average);

Great food;

Relatively affordable prices.

Even if it is less popular than dozens of other islands in the country, it is a perfect summer break destination for you and your family.

Here are some ideas of what not to miss while on the island:

1. Start your adventure with the Hippocrates Tree

hippocrates tree
Hippocrates tree by Shadowgate/Flickr

The tree of Hippocrates is a species of plane tree and is one of the most notable landmarks on the island.

It is located in Plateia Platanou Square, in the center of the port town of Kos Chora.

This is where Hippocrates taught his students approximately 2400 years ago.

Of course, the tree we see nowadays is not the same because it has been standing here for “only” about 500 years.

However, it is quite likely to be a successor of the original plane tree.

2. Take a walk in the past

ancient gymnasium
Ancient Gymnasium by Irene Grassi/Flickr

The ruins of the Ancient Gymnasium date back to the 3rd century BC.

They are one of the island’s most notable and recommended historical sites to visit.

We could compare the ancient gymnasium with modern fitness centers where people come and workout driven by the desire to achieve better health, appearance and performance.

The historical site is easily accessible from all points of the town of Kos.

3. Visit the Catholic Church of Kos

agnus dei catholic church
Agnus Dei Catholic Church by TripAdvisor

The Catholic Church of the town of Kos is an impressive structure, built in the 1920s.

During the 1930s, it was partially destroyed and seriously damaged by a strong earthquake.

It was gradually reconstructed so today we can enjoy and admire its beauty.

Nowadays, the church attracts not only Catholics but also numerous tourists from different religions and parts of the world.

If you want to visit some of The Holy Liturgies, you should come on Saturdays or Sundays.

4. Explore the Ancient Agora

ancient agora
Ancient Agora by Werner Bayer/Flickr

One of the greatest landmarks of the island is the Ancient Agora.

It is located in the very center of the town of Kos, only a few steps away from the popular harbor and its incredible restaurants and bars.

If you are wondering what “agora” actually is, this is the main square of the ancient Greek cities.

Nowadays, between the thousands of years old columns grow date palm trees and colorful bougainvillea, which brings some tropical feeling to the longing for sunshine visitors.

5. Explore the area of Lambi Beach by bicycle

lambi beach at sunset
Lambi beach at sunset by Martijn van den Bemt/Flickr

Lambi Beach is located just north of the downtown of Kos.

It offers emerald to sapphire blue waters and creamy-beige sands.

This is a good place to swim and soak up some sun.

In addition, the area is full of great restaurants and bars to visit.

The best way to explore the area is by bicycle.

You could hire a bike and ride along the coast to the north and northwest.

There is a number of rural roads.

The air is clean and fragrant, and you just need to take care of your skin with a strong sunscreen.

6. Enjoy the beauty of Defterdar Mosque

defterdar mosque
Defterdar Mosque by VinceTraveller/Flickr

In the very heart of the town of Kos Chora there is a building which is part of the heritage of the Ottoman Empire.

This is the mosque of Defterdar which is located in the central square of the beautiful coastal town.

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The building dates back to the 18th century, and its architecture contributes to the historical atmosphere of the town.

The best way to enjoy its beauty is to visit some of the nearby cafes.

7. Discover the attractions of Mandraki Harbour

mandraki harbour
Mandraki harbour by Chris Vlachos/CC-BY-3.0

The Mandraki Harbor is a great place to spend your evenings in Chora Kos.

It offers a wide variety of restaurants to visit, mostly traditional Greek tavernas or cafes.

This is also the place where most of the tourists come for a relaxing walk.

This is a great way to finish a day full of entertainment and adventures.

8. Visit the Archaeological Museum of Kos

archaeological museum of kos
Archaeological Museum of Kos by WikiData/CC BY-SA 3.0

The Archeological Museum of the town of Chora Kos is one of the top landmarks on the Aegean island.

It is located in Eleftherias Square, in close proximity to most of the island’s attractions, including cafés and restaurants.

The museum consists of two floors and is well-known for its rich exhibitions of old artefacts.

The most interesting part of them are the unique and authentic sculptures.

Here you can see also incredible ancient mosaics depicting Hippocrates and his students.

9. Visit the ancient temple of Asclepius

temple of asclepius
Temple of Asclepius by Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the historical landmarks to visit on the island is the ancient temple of Asclepius, considered to be the first doctor in ancient Greece.

The temple is known under the name Asclepion and is an ancient hospital and sanctuary at the same time.

Located in a scenic area, the historical site is about 3 km from the downtown of Chora Kos and is easily accessible from the capital of the island.

10. Enjoy the 3rd century mosaics

mosaic depicting asclepius and hippocrates
Mosaic Depicting Asclepius and Hippocrates by Wikipedia/Creative Commons

The island of Kos is known for some of the most iconic mosaics ever found.

They were accidentally discovered in 1933, after a strong earthquake.

This remarkable place is located on the territory of the main administrative center of the island – Kos (or Chora Kos).

One of the most remarkable mosaics can be found in the House of Europe.

They depict the Goddess Europe and according to scientists, date back to the 3rd century BC.

Also, don’t miss the famous Casa Romana, which is known for its mosaic depicting a fish in seabed.

11. Snorkeling and diving at Agios Stefanos Beach

agios stefanos beach
Agios Stefanos beach by Ann Wuyts/Flickr

Agios Stefanos beach is located in the southwestern part of the island and is considered one of the most beautiful beaches on the island.

It is well-known for its smooth and shallow limpid waters.

The beach is the most recommended place to swim, snorkel and dive in Kos.

The visibility under water reaches 30 meters.

Most of the divers and snorkelers visit the small rocky island of Agios Stefanos which lies 200 meters off the coast.

If you need some diving courses, equipment or just need someone to organize an incredible diving adventure for you, Sea World Diving Center is a recommended place to visit.

The professionals who work there could organize and ensure everything you need.

12. Windsurfing and kitesurfing at Marmari Beach

marmari beach
Marmari beach by Anna & Michal/Flickr

Marmari is a must-visit beach, stretching along the northern coast of the island of Kos.

The area attracts many visitors, and this is why the beach is usually lively and noisy.

It attracts not only families but also water sports fans from around the world.

During the scorching summer heat the beach offers enjoyable northern breeze.

This is what attracts not just regular holiday makers but also surfers and kitesurfers to enjoy their favorite water sport.

13. Visit the Roman Odeon of Kos

roman odeon of kos
Roman Odeon of Kos by Anna & Michal/Flickr

The Roman Ocean is a small but very well preserved amphitheater.

It is located in the downtown of the town of Kos.

This is one of the most remarkable places to visit on the island and is of great historical importance.

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According to archeologists, the amphitheater was built during somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd century AD.

Parts of the Odeon are decorated with beautiful and fine marble mosaics.

14. Explore the Castle of Neratzia

castle of neratzia
Castle of Neratzia by Trevor Owens/Flickr

Build during the 14th century, the Castle of Neratzia is definitely one of the first places to visit on the island.

It is surprisingly well preserved, with lots of stones and walls remained practically untouched over the centuries.

It is located in the downtown of Kos Chora and lies on the peninsula which closes the harbour from the east.

If you want to get the most of your walk to Neratzia, you better choose the early morning or afternoon hours.

The midday hours are too hot, and the temperature can easily reach 40 degrees.

Don’t forget the strong sunscreen, sunglasses and hat.

15. Try local melons

incredible local melons
Incredible local melons by Spiros Vathis/Flickr

The island of Kos is well known for its top quality fruits and vegetables.

The combination between rich volcanic soils, dry hot summers and mild rainy winters is the secret behind the incredible taste of local products.

It is deeply recommended to try local melons while on the island.

They are not just tasty but are actually considered the best in the world.

Kos’ melons are famous for their irresistible fragrance, strong and sweet taste and deep color.

16. Experience the beauty of Mastichari Beach

mastichari beach
Mastichari beach by Frank Martens/Flickr

Most of the travelers hear about the beach of Mastichari at some point of their holiday on the island.

The beach is well-known amidst locals because of its exceptionally long and wide stripe of sand.

Located on the northern shore of the island, it combines white to golden sands with azure and mostly shallow and smooth waters.

Only in rare occasions the constant northern sea breeze causes not very high waves.

One of the advantages of Mastichari Beach is the opportunity to find some pleasant shade under the trees scattered around.

Of course, you will have to come here earlier in the morning because at noon the most attractive places are occupied by tourists.

17. Spend a relaxing day at Paradise Beach

paradise beach
Paradise beach by Anna & Michal/Flickr

Paradise Beach is considered the best one in Kos.

It is located in a remote and isolated area in the southernmost part of the island.

For this reason, the easiest way to get there is by renting a car.

This is a great place to find privacy at the beginning and at the end of the season.

In July and August, however, the beach becomes a bit busy even if just a small part of the travelers come here.

Paradise Beach is covered with the best golden sands on the island.

The smooth, shallow and limpid azure water is great for swimming and snorkeling.

18. Take a walk to Kefalos

village of kefalos
Village of Kefalos by Mindaugas Danys/Flickr

The village of Kefalos is located in the remote and rarely inhabited southern part of the island.

It is a quiet and romantic place to walk around, enjoying the sunshine and clear skies above.

Kefalos is a preferred destination for many people.

It is a good choice of a place to spend your holiday at or at least to visit for a day.

It is located less than a kilometer from the shore where a numerous of blue flag golden sandy beaches are waiting to be discovered and explored.

19. Kitesurfing at Kohilari beach

kohilari beach
Kohilari beach by silvia07(very busy)/Flickr

Located on the northern shore of the remote western part of the island, it offers kilometers of golden sands and azure sea.

If you consider the idea of distancing yourself from it all during the summer holiday, Kohilari beach is a great option to put your plans into practice.

This is the perfect beach getaway spot in Kos, even during the busiest part of the tourist season.

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In addition, this is the best place to kitesurf in Kos.

Since the weather in the Aegean is quite hot and scorching during the summer season, the constant northern breeze is very pleasant and refreshing.

20. The statue of Hippocrates

the statue of hippocrates
The Statue of Hippocrates by Wikidot/CC-BY-SA-3.0

One of the remarkable things to see in the town of Kos Chora is the statue of Hippocrates.

It is located in the central part of the town, not far from the harbour and the restaurants in the area.

The statue depicts Hippocrates teaching and discussing with his students.

21. Visit the Church of St. Paraskeva

church of st. paraskeva
Church of St. Paraskeva by Olive Titus/Flickr

Located in the downtown of Kos Chora, the Church of Agia Paraskevi (Saint Paraskeva) is very impressive.

It combines beautiful Bizantium architecture and light shades such as creamy, yellow, white and blue.

It contributes to the elegant old-fashioned charm of the port town.

The interior of the basilica is richly decorated.

The most impressive are the elegant columns and graceful vaulted arches.

22. Visit the basilica of Agios Stefanos

basilica of agios stefanos
Basilica of Agios Stefanos by Antiochos Sidetes/Flickr

Built in the 6th – 5th century BC, the basilica of Agios Stefanos is located on the coast, northeast of the village of Kefalos.

The place reveals a beautiful panoramic view to the neighbouring rocky island of Kastri, also called Agios Stefanos.

Nowadays you can see just a small part of the basilica, including some columns, parts of walls or stairs.

Between some of the stones you will find ancient mosaics with signs in Greek.

23. The mountain village of Asfendiou

village of asfendiou
Village of Asfendiou by Anna & Michal/Flickr

Situated at the foot of the mountains, the village of Asfendiou is a lovely place surrounded by beautiful mountain forests.

The village is about 14 km away from the main administrative center of the island so you can get here relatively easily.

The most important landmark of the village is the Asfendiou Church, which is located in the southern higher part of the village, overlooking the sea to the north.

The church is richly decorated in typical Byzantine style.

The feeling of tranquility and inner peace you will find in this area are hard to explain in words.

24. Discover the protected area of Aliki

flamingos in salt lake tigaki
Flamingos in Salt Lake Tigaki by Wikimedia/CC-BY-SA-3.0

Located between the coastal tourist villages of Tigaki to the north and Marmari to the south, Aliki is a protected area in northern Kos.

It is dominated by the shallow salt lake Aliki, which fills a small depression (about 30 centimeters below sea level) right next to the north shore.

During the winter months it attracts large flocks of flamingo, and this is actually the best time to visit the place.

The winter months bring most of the annual rainfall and pleasant temperatures of around 15 degrees during the day.

25. Visit the castle of Antimachia

castle of antimachia
Castle of Antimachia by Shadowgate/Flickr

The old historical village of Antimachia is nestled amidst the picturesque rural landscape of southwestern Kos.

The village is a very pleasant place to walk around and offers some very interesting sights.

The most popular one is the castle of Antimachia.

This is a gorgeous 14th century Venetian castle which is remarkably well-preserved.

The fortress was rebuilt by the Knights of Saint John after it had been destroyed by a powerful earthquake in the 15th century.

26. Day trip to Bodrum

bodrum turkey
Bodrum, Turkey by Yilmaz Oevuenc/Flickr

Bodrum is one of the most popular Turkish holiday destinations together with Marmaris, Antalya and Kusadasi.

The good news is that the distance between Kos and Bodrum is only about 24 kilometers.

It takes about 45 minutes on average to reach the Turkish tourist center.

In addition, the ferry boat line is quite regular and comfortable for day-trippers who just want to take a short walk to the neighbouring coast for shopping and visiting the main local landmarks.