Kos Island

Lovely beaches, pretty villages, interesting sights and a great nightlife: what more can one ask from a holiday resort. This is considered one of the hottest party islands, but it has much, much more to offer than that.

The green and lush island of Kos is an island of many choices where you either can spend your whole holiday on a quiet beach in a laid-back village or party all night in the many bars and clubs. There is so much to see that a week or two just won't do, and that's one of the reasons people keep coming back to the island of Hippocrates.

The island has been quite rich ever since ancient times, with the exception of times of enslavement under the Turks and several pirate attacks. The fertile soil have blessed the locals with grapes for wine, wheat, fruits and olives as well as obsidian and rich fishing waters.

Mythology has it that the three giants Phoebos, Kinnas and Kios fled to this island after they had been defeated at the great battle of the gods and the TitansHeracles supposedly stayed here for a while after he had performed his 12 labours. His ship had sunk on his way home, and he managed to swim to Kos, where he met the angry shepherd Andagoras whom he fought for many hours. He then sought refuge in the mountains since king Eurypilos had ordered his arrest, but managed to capture the king's daughter Chalkiope, with whom he had Thessalos, future king Of Leros and Nissyros.History

The king of the Carians led his people to the island sometime in the 2nd Millennium BC, and this people from Asia Minor are traditionally considered to have been one of the first settlers on this island. They were succeeded by the Minoans, Cretans, and then, in the 10th century BC, the Dorians arrived. At this time, the island was called Meropida.

The people of Kos were forced to doing Persian forces against Greece in the 5th century BC, but that changed after the Persians were defeated at the battle of Salamis. After that, Kos was a full member of the Delian League and the island was prospering under its democratic constitution.

From an early stage, the god of medicine, Asclepius, was worshipped here, and pilgrims from all over came to his temple to go through cleansing rituals, sleep in the temple, and be cured. It is no coincidence that the father of medicine, Hippocrates, was born here.

In the 4th century BC Kos joined sides with the Macedonians, and the Romans conquered the island in the 2nd century BC. St. Paul the Apostle visited the island on one of his missions, and some of the earliest churches of Greece were built here - you can still see the ruins of a couple of the, Unfortunately most ancient and Christian buildings were destroyed in a big earthquake in AD 535. 

With the exception of many pirate raids, Kos flourished during the Byzantine era . The Genuans and Venetians ruled the island in the 12th century, but it came under the command of the Knights of Rhodes in 1315, who taxed the locals heavily.

The Turks occupied the island in 1522, and massacres and harsh treatment of the people followed. Kos was given to Italy in 1912, and freed in 1948 . Read more about the history of Kos 

What to See: Starting with the capital, Kos, there is an interesting archaeological museum, the Kastro from the 13th century, where the knights of St. John had a stronghold, the plane of Hippocrates where he supposedly taught and read, as well as the Mosque of Gazi Hassan Pasha from 1786.

There is also an archaeological excavation area here where ruins from the ancient agora have been found. Houses, temples, baths and mosaics from different eras have been found here as well as the statue of Hippocrates. You can visit the Roman Villa, Casa Romana, which is a replica of an ancient Roman house open for visitors.

Asclepion is a must for those interested in ancient history. Here, the great temple of the god of medicine lie, and it dates back to the 4th century BC, but might be even older than that.

Kos has many small villages worth visiting, and it is a good idea to rent a vehicle and explore them on your own. Palio Pylio is a deserted village from Medieval times, where there are many interesting little churches and a kastro. In Asfendiou there are very old churches and the Kastro of the Knights of St. John. Kefalos used to be the capital, Astypalea, in ancient times, and there are excavations going on here. Kardamena has a Byzan-tine church dedicated to Ag Theodotas, in Antimachia there is a Venetian castle, Zia is built like an amphitheatre with many little churches and shops.

You get the best sunsets on the southern peninsula Moni Agiou Theologou.

What to Do: There are water sports on several of the beaches. Bubble Beach has natural wells which are said to be healing. There are several excursions offered and apart from going to various beaches, you can also take daytrips to Rhodes, Nissyros and Pserimos as well as to Turkey.

Nightlife: You won't be disappointed if you want to party a lot during your holidays. Kos is reputed for being one of the best party islands, with many bars and clubs, as well as beachparties. Most of the bars are in Kos town, and the two most frequented streets the so called bar mile of Kos are Nafklirou and Diakonou streets, just next to the archaeological site..Beaches: The most popular beach on Kos is Paradise beach, a long, beautiful sandy beach. There are sun beds, water sports and is a good place for families with children. Other popular beaches are Tagaki, Mastihari, Lambi and  also the beaches in Kardamena and Kefalos, which most surfers prefer. If you want to find a quiet beach it is best to look around on the west side.