With its high-energy beach resorts, vibrant nightlife, picturesque mountain villages, secluded sandy coves and ancient archaeological sites, it’s not surprising that Kos is the second-most visited island in the Dodecanese after Rhodes, and the perfect spot for couples celebrating a honeymoon or romantic getaway.
Stroll or cycle the verdant tree- and palm-fringed streets of Kos town, which was founded in 366 BC and is today crammed with a picturesque mix of ancient, medieval and modern architecture.
See the ancient Ottoman fountain, the 18th century Hassan Pasha mosque and wander across a medieval drawbridge to explore the hollow remains of the 15th century Castle of the Knights of St John, which sits overlooking Kos Harbour.
Visit the ruins of a Hellenistic temple, the Altar of Dionysos, and the remains of the Roman Odeon, a theatre with 18 levels of marble seats.
Nearby sits the stunning Casa Romana, a beautiful 2nd century Roman mansion of which the remains are covered in colourful frescoes and elaborate decoration of animals and sea creatures.
The Kos Archaeological Museum offers an interesting collection of statues and mosaics from ancient Greece and the Roman era.
After dark, Kos town comes alive with countless cafes, taverns, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
To experience the best of Kos’ authentic natural beauty, hire a car, motorbike or bicycle and explore the length of the island at your leisure.
Follow the main road south from Kos town through a diverse landscape of forests, fertile plains, mountains and villages to Kefalos on the southwest coast.
Along the way, take time to go horseback riding on the slopes of Mount Dikeos (900m) and discover old chapels on Mount Dikaios, the Venetian castle at Antimachia village, more castle ruins at old Pyli and the prehistoric Cave of Aspri Petra (White Stone Cave) near Kefalos.
Four kilometres south of town are the ruins of Asklepion, the western world’s first medical school. On Platia tou Platanou, discover the massive Plane Tree of Hippocrates (12m in circumference), beneath which Hippocrates, the philosopher and father of western medicine, is said to have taught his students.
Must-see attractions in Kos, include…
Founded in the late 5th century BC, Asklepeion was a place of healing for 1000 years after the death of Hippocrates (ca. 460 to 370 BC).
The ruins of the first medical school date from the 4th century BC to the 2nd century AD.
Wander past Corinthian columns of a Roman temple and climb the monumental staircase from the altar (used for sacrifices to Asklepios, god of healing) to the Doric temple of Asklepios, set on the topmost terrace with panoramic views to the Turkish coast.
Located in the centre of Kos town, this huge plane tree is 700 years old and is believed to be a descendant of the actual tree that Hippocrates sat beneath when teaching his students during the 5th century BC. Hippocrates, known as the ‘Father of Medicine’, was born on Kos.
Cuttings and seeds from this famous tree have been gifted to and planted by associations around the world, including the National Library of Medicine in the United States the Michigan Medical School, the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Glasgow and Sydney's School of Rural Health in Australia.
The beaches on Kos are some of the most beautiful in the Dodecanese island group, ranging from soft white sand to volcanic pebbles, and from organised to secluded and unspoiled.
The best beaches in Kos, include …
Dig your toes into the white sand of this 10km-long beach that offers ideal conditions for windsurfing and kite surfing in beautiful crystalline, shallow waters.
Pick a quiet spot to sunbathe on the soft sand, go swimming or relax with a book beneath an umbrella on a sun bed.
The beachfront offers a huge choice of tavernas, restaurants, bars, shops and accommodation options.
Tingaki is located on the north coast and is the best white-sand beach nearest to Kos town, just 11km away.
This endless white-sand beach is backed by sand dunes and packed with sun beds, umbrellas and a range of beachfront tavernas and cafes.
Sunbathe on the soft sand, cool off with a refreshing swim, go windsurfing or try some of the other watersports on offer.
Marmari is located on the north coast, around 5km from Pyli and 15km south of Kos town.
This white-sand beach shelves into a turquoise sea that offers excellent conditions for swimming, sailing and windsurfing.
Facilities include sun beds, umbrellas and a range of beachfront tavernas, bars and shops.
Mastichari is located on the north coast 3km from Antimachia and 22km west of Kos town. Nearby sits Kos Waterpark, offering all the fun of a range of slides, rides and pools.
Located on the north coast near the port of Kos, Lambi stretches for nearly 1km, with a range of facilities including sun beds, umbrellas and beachfront tavernas, restaurants and hotels.
The beach, a mix of white sand and pebbles, shelves into turquoise waters perfect for swimming.
Nestled beneath a craggy cliff face, this unique black sand and pebble beach offers the chance to swim in seawater heated by natural hot springs.
Relax in the boulder-formed pool on the beach and soak up the natural warm waters that flow along a trench from the cliff-face grotto.
Facilities include sun beds and umbrellas and a taverna sits atop the cliff. Therma is located on the south coast just 8km from Kos town.
Pick your own private spot to sunbathe on this 3km-long white-sand beach that shelves into turquoise waters perfect for swimming.
Facilities include sun beds, umbrellas, numerous watersports and a range of beachfront restaurants, tavernas and hotels.
The village of Kardamena is known for its vibrant nightlife, with a choice of cafes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs on offer. Archaeological sights such as the Temple of Apollo, the Ancient Theatre and the Christian Basilica are located close by.
Kardamena, the second-largest beach resort on Kos, is located on the south coast, around 22km south of Kos town.
This golden-sand beach nestles beneath a mountainous headland and curves around a small bay with views across to picturesque Kastri Island, with its striking rock formations and tiny chapel.
Facilities include sun beds and umbrellas and there is a resort nearby.
Relax on the beach, cool off with a swim or go snorkelling around the rock formations beneath Kastri Island.
Ayios Stefanos is located on the south coast facing Kefalos Bay, around 40km west of Kos town.
Pick a spot to sunbathe on this long stretch of golden sand that curves gently along a hilly shoreline and shelves into crystalline waters perfect for swimming and jet skiing.
Facilities on the organised (but usually crowded) Paradise Beach (photo) include sun beds, umbrellas, a range of watersports and a beachfront taverna.
To escape the crowds, head east to the soft white sands of less-crowded Kamila Beach, with good snorkelling either side of the small cove.
Or go west to secluded Magic Beach (photo), a long stretch of white sand with a beachside taverna and a clothing-optional area at the eastern end of the beach.
These beaches are located on the south coast around 43km south of Kos town. The nearest town is Kefalos.
This fine white-sand beach shelves into crystalline water and offers a range of facilities including sun beds, umbrellas, watersports and many beachfront tavernas and hotels.
The town of the same name lies close by. Kefalos is located to the southwest of Kos, around 43km from Kos town.
Kos boasts a wide choice of white and volcanic black-sand beaches and a range of beachfront hotel accommodation to suit all budgets.
The best time to visit Kos for a beach holiday is from mid-June through to mid-September.
For general outdoor activities anytime from early-May to mid-October, is good.
Located a short distance from the Turkish coast in the Eastern Aegean Sea, Kos has a Mediterranean climate of hot and sunny summers, and cold, wet winters. It's generally windy year-round.
More information about weather in Kos…
Kos (or Cos) is part of the Dodecanese island chain located in the southeastern Aegean Sea, off the Anatolian coast of Turkey and lying east of Peloponnese.
The Dodecanese also includes Rhodes, Patmos and Simi, plus several smaller islands.
The most convenient route to Kos is by air to Kos International Airport (KGS), located 25km (15mi) from Kos Town, around 35 minutes by bus or taxi.
Alternatively, you can fly to Milas–Bodrum Airport (BJV), located 36km (22mi) northeast of Bodrum city centre, then take a catamaran or ferry to Kos.
Kos is closer to Turkey than to mainland Greece. By high-speed catamaran, Kos is 20 minutes from Bodrum, with a twice daily service. Kos is 3 hours 35 minutes from Rhodes by car ferry.
More information on how to get to Kos…
Latest update: Kos Honeymoon Guide: 26 July, 2022