The island’s capital is a charming mosaic of multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism, with impressive monuments from every era set in verdant surroundings. From important archaeological sites and the medieval castles to mosques, neoclassical villas and the iconic architecture of the Italian occupation, the city’s brilliant and captivating history unfolds before the eyes of its visitors.
If you choose one of the itineraries to Kos, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the third largest healing centre in the ancient world, dating from the 4th century BC, which extended over a green hillside with views of the coast of Asia Minor. A place of worship of the god Asclepius, it was also where medicine was taught and practised by Hippocrates, the founder of modern medical science. A tour of the archaeological site is a unique experience.
Built by the Knights of St. John in the 14th century, this imposing medieval fortress dominates the eastern end of the port and is a superb example of fortified architecture. It was built using material from the Asclepeion and the ancient city of Kos, while some of its round towers bear the escutcheons of the Grand Masters. There are fantastic sea views from its ramparts.
The Peacock Forest
Plaka Forest was created by the Italians in the 1940s. Spread out over a lush valley, the forest has over the years been transformed into a haven for peacocks and a wonderful recreation park that you can visit.
The deserted stone-built village on the verdant slopes of Mount Dikeos is an architectural gem. Evacuated in 1830 after an outbreak of cholera, its most famous sight is its Byzantine castle, built in the 10th to 11th century, which offers excellent views of Kos, the neighbouring islands of Kalymnos and Pserimos, and the Turkish coast. Make sure you see the wonderful frescoes in the Church of Ypapanti, inside the castle.
Sunsets in Zia
Situated on the highest slopes of Mount Dikeos and surrounded by forests and springs, the picturesque mountain village of Zia is the most beautiful spot from which to watch the sun set over the Aegean!
The Archaeological Museum
Built in 1935 by the Italians, the imposing Archaeological Museum of Kos houses a fine collection of sculpture and exquisite mosaics. The entrance hall is dominated by an enormous head of the goddess Rhea, while the other rooms contain statues from the Classical and Hellenistic periods.
Founded by the Knights of St. John in the early 14th century, this magnificent fortress stands on the site of an old Byzantine watchtower and was at one time used as a gaol for knights who had been sentenced to imprisonment. Its position offers majestic views of the Straits between Kos and Nisyros.
This beautifully restored villa from the 3rd century AD reveals the wealth and grandeur of Roman-era Kos in all its glory. Its mosaic floors, depicting wild animals and sea creatures, are exquisite works of art.
The most famous of Kos’s thermal springs are located on Therma Beach, where they create a warm natural pool surrounded by black volcanic pebbles and rocks. It is one of the most exotic places on the island for swimming, both in summer and winter.