Holidays to the Greek Island of Kos put historical sights, standout scenery, a never-ending supply of beaches at your fingertips.
With a coastline that unravels for over 290 kilometres, Kos has more than its fair share of beaches. They come in all shapes and sizes, from golden swathes backed by beach bars, to hidden bays and little-known coves. The island’s good looks don’t end with its shores, either. Inland, whitewashed villages spill down the hillsides and wild flowers blanket the fields. Then there’s Mount Dikeos, whose slopes are peppered with pine forests and castles.
In terms of where to stay, Kos has two very different sides to it. Kardamena is the best place to head for nightlife – its streets are packed with karaoke bars, English pubs and strobe-lit clubs. The cosmopolitan capital, Kos Town, is also lively, with holidays here revolving around lantern-lit dinners by the harbour-side, and cocktails and dancing in the bars of the backstreets.
Kefalos combines old and new. At first glance it’s thoroughly traditional, with its sugar-cube houses, ancient ruins and timeworn windmills. But it’s also home to the purpose-built resort of Kamari, which is bubbling with cafés, bars and restaurants. If you want to keep things low-key, Psalidi is another good option. There’s little more than a golden sandy beach and a sprinkle of tavernas and shops here.
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Marmari sits very quietly on the northwest coast of the island of Kos. Its main waterfront street comes with a handful of welcoming shops, bars and restaurants, while the long sandy beach is the height of relaxation. As for getting out and about, you’re only 15 minutes away from the capital, Kos Town.
Psalidi is a small, modern resort on the east coast of Kos. It’s so close to the capital, Kos Town, that it could almost be classed as a suburb. Even with some of the island’s most exclusive hotels lined up along its unspoilt seafront, it’s still a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it place, making it ideal to really recharge your batteries.
Set on the northeast coast of Kos island, the capital Kos Town wears its history well. The Romans, Ottomans and Italians have all left their stamp here in the architecture and ruins, while a 15th-century castle plays up to the resort’s Medieval roots. There’s plenty of room for modern Greece, too, as you’ll see in the lively bars and harbour-side restaurants. There’s a beach in the centre of town, too.
Mastichari is a peaceful fishing village on the west coast of Kos. It’s a small, compact place with just 4 streets to get around. The locals pride themselves on the super-fresh fish that goes straight from the harbour to the friendly tavernas, as well as their laid-back, disco-free evenings. And they’re pretty chuffed with the sandy beach, too.
Lambi centres on the coast in the north-eastern corner of the island. The sand-and-shingle beach begins at Kos Town’s harbour wall and unravels north, edged by traditional tavernas and British-style pubs. If you prefer things a bit quieter, head for the far end of the beach – the crowds thin out and the grains are accessorised with olive trees and wildflowers.
Helona Beach keeps its head down on the southeast side of Kos. This hushed little place has just a sprinkling of shops and tavernas, all neatly topped by hike-friendly rolling hills. Things look equally good down at the beach, where a ribbon of fine white sand looks across to Nissyros Island. There’s an altogether relaxed vibe here, but although you’d never know it, the very lively Kardamena is just up the road.
This hillside village, 40 kilometres southwest of Kos Town, was the island’s first capital. These days it’s split into 2 parts. One of them is up on the hill, where the narrow streets are lined with charming old buildings and you’ll see the remains of a castle. Then, down on the coast, there’s Kamari, home to ancient basilicas, a beach and a marina dotted with yachts and fishing boats.
Tingaki, on the north coast of Kos, is a byword for tranquility. This little place is tucked just behind the magnificent stretch of sand here, so you can easily saunter between the beach and the bars, restaurants and shops. The nightlife is low-key, but if ever you want more action, Kos Town is about 11 kilometres away.
Kardamena, on the southeast coast of Kos, makes no apology for its party-hard attitude. It used to be a simple fishing village but now this town is the liveliest holiday spot you’ll get outside of Kos Town – which by the way is only about half-an-hour away. These days it’s all about Brits abroad enjoying the full line-up of bars and discos, then recharging their batteries on the local beach.
Agios Fokas Beach ticks all the boxes. Because it’s made up of a mix of black sand and pebbles, the water is really clear – so it’s ideal for swimming and snorkelling. A decent selection of thatched parasols and sunloungers are dotted along its length. And, there’s a beach club for food, drinks and chill-out tunes.
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