What to see on Kos
Kos island is called the pearl of the Aegean Sea, and it fully complies with this title. Its luxurious nature shocks the imagination and makes you fall in love with this paradise forever. Holidays on the island – the best way to relax, escape from the hustle and bustle, energized. For those who like to learn new things and see the sights, you should think ahead about your trip and find out what you need to see on Kos in the first place, because the island has a lot of unique historical monuments and architectural masterpieces.
A good starting point for getting to know the island are the Kos sightseeing excursions, which help you to understand why you are so attracted to Greece. In addition, study tours allow you to focus on the most interesting places, to choose the most attractive sights for their subsequent independent study. If you like individual tourism, then start your trip with a tour of the capital of the island. Physically ease the walk will help you excursion on a funny colorful train, the first stop is on the most striking historical monument of the city.
Joannite Knights’ Castle
The powerful fortification of the 15th century has been well preserved until today, but the interior of Neratsia Fortress has suffered a little. Nevertheless, visitors can get an overall impression of the life of medieval knights. At the entrance gate you can see the ancient coat of arms, and in the courtyard you can admire the beauty of ancient monuments and sculptures. Powerful walls of the fortress are equipped with viewing platforms with a beautiful panorama of the island, and at the entrance there is a huge sycamore tree, and the locals say that it was under it that the famous Hippocrates taught his followers medicine.
All excursions on Kos must include a visit to the historic area with ruins of buildings from different eras. On the territory of the Agora you can see the surviving remains of prehistoric forums, fragments of ancient Greek and Christian temples, beautiful mosaics.
On Grigoriou Street in Kos you can see the ruins of Mycenaean buildings, ancient tombs and Roman houses with remnants of the thermae. Tourists are usually impressed by the Gymnasium with its 17 restored Doric columns and the small ancient theater with marble seating for the nobility and limestone slabs for the common people. The most impressive part of this historic complex is the huge Roman house, built in the Pompeian style. Its rooms are decorated with mosaics of mythological scenes, and the inner courtyard has magnificent columns and pools.
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The building, located in the central part of Kos, contains a good collection of finds from the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The most interesting exhibits are the marble statues of Hippocrates and the Greek gods.
Traveling around the island of Kos also does not take much time due to its small size, but at the same time it impresses with sights such as:
One of the most important historical monuments of the island, situated in a dense cypress grove, four kilometers from the capital. A temple-hospital dedicated to the God of Healing, it used to be one of the largest hospitals in Greece and annually attracted thousands of patients from Egypt and Asia Minor. The site is an archaeological sanctuary on three levels that are connected by a series of stepped stairs. In Asklepios, explore the ruins of the Thermae, the arcade and the temple of Asklepios where people used to make offerings to the gods.
Located at the highest point of the Kos, so it offers a beautiful view of the island. Tourists are attracted by the picturesque white houses with blue doors and lovely Byzantine churches. There are also many inexpensive souvenir shops with local handicrafts and traditional restaurants with colorful Greek shows and delicious wine. You can get to Zia on your own by car or by bus (about 3 euros one way).
This small town in the central part of the island is famous for its preserved Venetian fortress and windmills, one of which has become a museum (admission ticket costs about 1.5 euros). A little east of these settlements is a rather large knight’s castle, which once served to protect the island from pirates. Beyond the fortress walls you can see the well-preserved church of Agia Paraskevi and the ruins of the church of Agios Nikolaos.
The historical monument is an abandoned Byzantine town, located on top of an almost steep cliff. Nowadays, there are only the remains of powerful defensive walls which offer breathtaking views of the coast and surroundings.
The southernmost town of Kos attracts travelers with its beautiful beaches with fine white sand and the view of the tiny island with the chapel of St. Anthony. On the shore are the remains of an ancient Christian basilica.
For those wishing to go on excursions on Kos, it is worth knowing that you can order any of them from guides or local agencies. Their cost usually ranges in the range of 35-50 euros and they are held mostly in English. The sea tours to neighboring islands and travel to thermal springs are especially popular among tourists.
The main attractions of Kos
Tourists who choose Kos in Greece will be lucky enough to see the country from a completely different and unfamiliar side. There is a homey, cozy atmosphere, there are monuments of architecture built by the Turks, but the island has remained a traditional Greek. Attractions on Kos Greece is a rich antique heritage and cultural monuments from different eras.
Floating Garden in the Aegean Sea – Kos Island
The island got such a poetic name for its flowering gardens, numerous green meadows and parks.
This is interesting! On Kos live flamingos and many birds of rare species. In the southern part of the island there are Mediterranean seals, and Paradise Beach is home to turtles.
Kos is shrouded in legends. According to one, Heracles camped here after the Trojan War. Another legend says the island is the birthplace of Hippocrates and the place where the Apostle Paul preached.
The sights of Kos island are not the only reason to visit the resort. Those who like to rest here are those who appreciate comfort and solitude, who prefer to enjoy nature. At the same time on the island you can actively relax and have fun. Beach areas are equipped with sun beds, umbrellas, most of the coast is covered with sand of different colors – golden, white, black.
In recent years, the island of Kos is firmly on the list of the best resort regions of Greece.
Since recently, the island of Kos can be reached by air from Moscow and St. Petersburg. Flights run all summer. Domestically, you can get to Kos from Rhodes, Thessaloniki and Athens. All flights are served by Hippocrates Airport.
There is a water connection – there is a ferry from Piraeus, the popular Rhodes, the mainland Thessaloniki and the Cyclades islands. This route is the most inexpensive. The port is close to the capital of the island.
For more information about Kos, its resorts and beaches, climate and transportation, see this page, and in this article we will take an in-depth look at the island’s most prominent attractions.
What to see on Kos?
Let’s begin with a look at the most popular and worthwhile sights.
Joannite Knights’ Castle
The 14th-century citadel is included in all tourist itineraries of the island, because it arouses the interest of medieval history connoisseurs.
The attraction is located in the central part of Kos, about 25 km from the main town. The gate is decorated with the coat of arms of the Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St. John Pierre de Aubusson.
The fortress was able to withstand numerous attacks and sieges and was used to hold prisoners.
There are two chapels on the grounds of the citadel. There were antique buildings here before the construction of the fortress, but after the earthquake, only ruins remained in their place. The remaining stones and marble were used in the construction of the citadel.
In many places the walls were overgrown with figs and magnolias. Near the entrance is a bus stop. After the 2017 earthquake, the castle is closed for restoration, so you can only see it from the outside.
The best time to visit the landmark is in the summer, because in the fall there is a strong wind blowing at altitude. The place also looks very beautiful at night – the walls are illuminated, so even at night it is bright.
Exploring the question of what to see on the island of Kos, pay attention to the ruins of the ancient Agora. They confirm that in the ancient period Kos was developed, and trade was actively conducted here. The remains of the agora, or market in modern language, are located in the capital of the island, which occupies a space of 150 meters long and 82 meters wide.
The entrance to the market is decorated with sculptures. The period of construction of the buildings dates back to the 4th century BC. In the 5th century AD the island suffered a major earthquake that destroyed the Agora. However, in 1933, after another earthquake it was possible to find the remains of the ancient site. Excavations and restoration works were carried out from 1935 to 1942 in the course of which a lot of valuable artifacts were found and the appearance of buildings was restored.
The most significant finds are those of the temple of Hercules III with the mosaic floor, the surviving parts of the amphitheater, the temple of Aphrodite, the altar of Dionysus and the sculptures of Hercules and Orpheus.
In its heyday, the Agora was the venue of theatrical performances, baths and craftsmen’s workshops were built there. The columns are well preserved and you can fully appreciate the grandeur and luxury of the architecture, the clarity of the lines, the perfect symmetry. In the Agora partially preserved basilica of St. John, built by the Byzantines.In general, today the site looks ruined, so for a better understanding of the history and architecture of the place it is better to hire a guide.
- The ancient Agora is located on the outskirts of the port in Kos.
- Entrance to the area is free.
The list of interesting sights on the island of Kos in Greece includes the largest temple dedicated to the god Aesculapius or Asclepius. Religious services were held here and sick people came here to be healed. Hippocrates studied in the temple.
The ruins of Asclepius were discovered in 1901 by a group of archaeologists under the direction of a German scientist. At that time the island of Kos was under the rule of the Turks, so some valuable finds were transported to Constantinople. The remains of the church can be seen by climbing to the top of the hill. There’s also an amazing view of the sea.
The three terraces connected by a marble staircase are well preserved. The lower terrace was intended for studies and reception of gifts. On the middle terrace there were temples and premises for medical procedures. In those times water treatment was actively practiced, and one of the springs with “red water” is well preserved. Only members of the nobility could visit the upper terrace. Over time, the buildings were destroyed and gradually restored.
Asklepios is located 4 km east of Kos. The most convenient way to get here is to take a sightseeing train, which leaves every hour. The fare is 5 Euros. You can also take a bus, which costs 1,20 euros. You can also rent a cab, the payment in this case is negotiable.
- Asklepion works from Tuesday to Sunday (Monday is the day off). The schedule of the attractions: from 8-30 to 15-00.
- Admission for adults is 8 euros, children are free.
Photos of Kos attractions often show the village of Zia. This is a very colorful place where the indigenous people of Greece live. In the village you can see an ancient aqueduct, a church, stroll through the old streets admiring the cozy houses and relax in the green, dense forest.
The village is located 14km from the capital of Kos at the foot of Mount Dikeos. You can get there by rented car or with a tour group by bus. However, experienced travelers are not advised to choose guided tours. Most often, guests are simply brought to the village, and the guide tells the history of the settlement. At the same time on the way the bus stops at all the hotels and collects tourists.
It is much more fun and cheaper to walk around the village on your own. You can get there by bus, which runs from Kos. A round trip ticket costs only 5 euros. The fare is collected by the driver. The bus arrives at the only stop in Ziya and then departs on its way back. Count on your own time, as the drivers do not wait for passengers and follow a strict schedule.
You can also use a rental car, but you will need a card. The trip will take no more than half an hour. Parking is close to the bus stop.
There are many souvenir shops in the village, but the prices are high. Travelers note that here you can find a truly original and valuable things.
There is a zoo in the village, the entrance is paid, so decide for yourself whether to spend the money, because it is small and in the cages sit the usual rabbits, donkeys, goats.
Moving on, you can see the chapel with a small bell tower, behind it begins to climb the mountain Dikeos. If you turn left from the zoo, the road leads to beautiful, unfinished houses and an ancient cemetery. Of interest are a small church, a watermill and numerous taverns.
It is better to come here for the whole day, not only to walk through the village, but also to relax in the woods.
Paleo Pili or Old Pili
This town was the capital of the island during the Byzantine Empire. It is located 17 kilometers from the current capital, Kos. Despite its rather neglected appearance, it is an important historical and architectural monument on the island. The settlement sits at an altitude of 300 meters on the slopes of Dikeos.
At the top are the remains of the most ancient Byzantine fortress, which was built in the XI century. The location of the fortress had a strategic importance – it was here that it was possible to organize a reliable defense of the city and at the same time to monitor the movements of the enemy. From the height of the fortress residents watched the coast of Asia Minor, in other words, could timely protect the city from the attack of the Turks.
During the reign of the Knights of the Order of St. John, the construction was further strengthened, so the fortress was the key defensive building. Today you can see only partially preserved once-powerful walls.
Also on the territory of the site there are half-destroyed buildings of the Middle Ages, baths, the church of Panagia Yapapanti, the construction of which dates back to the XI century. Inside the church is decorated with frescoes of the XIV century. The wooden iconostasis is decorated with carvings and columns, which previously rose in the temple of Demeter. In the Church of St. Michael and St. Gabriel, paintings on the walls, made in the XIV-XVI centuries, are clearly visible.
For many years, Old Pili in Greece actively prospered. The situation changed after the cholera epidemic of 1830. Today Old Pili is rightfully considered one of the most colorful sights on Kos.
Hadji Hassan Mosque
The mosque, built in 1765, is one of the most beautiful in Greece. Not surprisingly, the Hadji Hassan Mosque is on the list of the most visited landmarks of Kos. The building is iconic, as it testifies to the invasion of the island by the Ottoman Empire. There are souvenir shops nearby where you can buy a memorable gift.
In the mosque come on their own and as part of excursion groups. At nightfall, couples in love stroll through here, as the lounge area is beautifully illuminated.
A mosque with a minaret is located near the Hippocrates plane tree. The structure is named after Hadji Hassan, the viceroy of the Ottomans on Kos and governor of the island. The site where the church of the Byzantine Empire was located was chosen for the construction. Moreover, nearby there is a spring from which water for ablutions was taken. Today Muslims come here to pray. The building stands out among other religious buildings of Kos for its luxury, oriental decoration.
- You can visit the attraction any day from 9-00 to 15-00.
- During the service the entrance to the territory is closed.
- It is forbidden to use flash photography inside the mosque.
If you want to get comprehensive information and not just look at the mosque, book a tour.
During the Kos earthquake in July 2017, Haji Hassan’s prayer structure was damaged, but authorities have planned to rebuild it.
Other attractions of Kos Island
Many tourists, answering the question – what to see on Kos in Greece – recommend visiting the ancient ruins. They are located on the Grigoriou Street in the capital. Here you can see ancient tombs and baths of the Roman Empire. The greatest delight is the Gymnasium. It managed to restore 17 columns and an antique theater with marble seats.
This impressive building is a traditional Pompeian style house from the Roman Empire. The interior rooms are decorated with mosaics which show scenes from Greek myths. The magnificent columns and pools have been preserved.
There is an archaeological museum in the center of the capital. There is an impressive collection of archaeological finds. The most impressive exhibit is the statue of Hippocrates and the gods of Greece.
Kefalos is a town at the southernmost point of the island with comfortable sandy beaches and a picturesque view of a small island with the chapel of St. Anthony.
Andimahia (Antimahia) is a cozy little town in the center of the island, where tourists are attracted by the Venetian-style fortress and mills. One of the mills can be visited – there is a museum. The entrance costs 2.5 euros.
Beyond the walls of the village stands the ancient church of Agia Paraskevi and the ruins of the temple of Agios Nikolaos.
To see the sights of Kos in Greece, you can book an excursion anywhere on the island. As a rule, all the local agencies offer guide services. The cost of a tour varies from 35 to 50 euros. However, most guides lead the story in English. Very popular are water excursions to neighboring islands, where you can swim in the thermal springs.
All prices on the page are for August 2020.
Watch an interesting video review of the sights of the capital of Kos – what to see in one day.
Author: Julia Matyuhina
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