Kos: freedom, fun and a sea not to be missed, on the map, looks like a vulture, wingless, swooping toward the Aegean Sea. A thin strip of land, barely 45 kilometres long and no more than 11 kilometres wide, it is perhaps one of the most, if not the most, beautiful of the Dodecanese islands, just a few kilometres from the Turkish coast of Bodrum.
This is where Hippocrates was born, and where the temple dedicated to the god of medicine, Aesculapius, erected around the 3rd century B.C, is still a striking attraction with its terraces and long staircase. I highly recommend visiting it around sunset, a time when the light is enchanting, overlooking the northern side of the island with a view of the intensely blue sea.
Kos is very easy to get around with a car due to the good road and with a car essentially you are freer of schedules. While driving you can take in the different shades of colours that alternate throughout the day on these spectacular island panoramas. Not to be missed, for example, is the sunset at Zia, which sets the sea and the island opposite Kalimnos ablaze, or the simultaneous view of the whole island and the two sea sides from Kefalos, where perhaps you can stop at some small tavern for a moussaka or gyros.
The beauty of Kos can be grasped in the sense of extreme freedom offered by its wide and breezy beaches, especially those located in the south-western part, toward Cape Kefalos. One of them I regard as being magnificent, perhaps the most beautiful is Agios Stefanos where along a fine sandy shore there are the remains of an ancient Byzantine basilica. Just a short distance from this beach one can swim to the small islet where a tiny church stands, proud and immaculate. In the same bay, called Kamari, the nearby beaches of Camel Beach and Paralia Kefalos also offer moments of splendid images and colours that evoke absolute relaxation.
Also, in the southern part of the island, in the central area, are a series of beautiful beaches, quite simply modestly equipped, where you can forget about finding loud music, trendy bars, and the hustle and bustle; for that there is Kos nightlife. Paradise, Lagada, Markos, Psilos Gremos, Magic, Exotic, Chryssi Akti are some of the most beautiful and enjoyable beaches on the island. A modest daily or half-day rental price includes a set of large umbrellas, perhaps made of straw, a pair of sunbeds and two bottles of water. If you then still wanted to visit a water park head to nearby Kardamaina, the only town of any significance in the area.
As for the orography of Kos consider that the south-eastern part of the island has high mountains that drop directly into the sea to the south, and here you will find no viable beaches, except for the very special Agios Fokas with the resort called Therma Loutra. Reachable by car from the capital of Kos by coasting eastward via a good, paved road, it is place where there is a very small natural thermal pool of water placed directly on the beach. It’s free of use and you can actually dive in it if there are not too many people. I recommend going in the late afternoon, when the light cuts through the high, rugged mountain rocks, where you can spot some goats, and admire the view of the nearby Turkish coast.
Even wilder, somewhat isolated, and true oases of tranquillity are the beaches located on the far west of Kos; Agios Theologos, Quiet, Tripiti, Kata, and further south Paralia and Mystic-phenomenal are all reachable from Kefalos thanks to good, but winding roads that provide breath-taking views. Along the way, you can also see a few ancient monasteries painted in characteristic blue and white hues. Of all of them notably is Agios Ioannis, better known as St. John of Thyme, which in its moving simplicity nestled among the mountains offers for those who wish to meditate, cicada chants and a resounding terrace overlooking the sea in the presence of a slender little bell tower that calls the few Orthodox monks back to the tasks of the day.
Also, in the area of Cape Kefalos, northward there are three other beautiful beaches with sand and rocks that are Limnionas, certainly the most recommended, Kohilari and Volcania.
Are you ready to go?