Located in the south of the Aegean Sea, just 4km off the coast of Turkey lies the long and gloriously sunny Greek island of Kos.
Kos holidays suit those who prefer to dip in and out of old and new culture, with an abundance of trendy bars, shops and restaurants amongst archaeological sites, museums and charming street markets. You'll never have a shortage of things to do in Kos.
Kos enjoys a healthy tourist trade, but is perhaps a tad more mellow than its bigger sister Rhodes. Born in ancient earthquakes and once home to the ‘father of medicine’ Hippocrates, the hilly island is steeped in heritage, but boasts modern amenities too.
When looking at the turquoise seas all day proves too tempting, then Lakitira Beach Resort offers a range of excellent free watersports facilities and tuition. Those that don't want to get their feet wet can head to our tennis or mountain biking centres. For families there is childcare from four months to 18 years with a range of fun age suitable activities.
The stunning infinity pools at Helona Beach Resort offer an amazing holiday backdrop. This 5 star hotel is a short walk away from Lakitira Beach Resort where guests can enjoy a range of activities on and off the water
But glittering ocean and beautiful beaches aren't all Kos has to offer. Venture inland and you'll find a wealth of picturesque villages where you can shop for souvenirs and local crafts, rugged mountain scenery and plenty of history and culture.
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You will not be short of things to do in Kos. From sunbathing on long sandy beaches, to shopping for crafts, soaking up history, or exploring the countryside – there’s lots to see and do in Kos. With 112km of coastline surrounding a mountainous landscape that is dotted with picturesque villages, family holidays in Kos are beautiful and fun-filled.
Asklepion: The island’s most important ancient site is the Asklepion, a religious sanctuary dedicated to the Greek god of healing, Asklepios. Situated on a wooded hillside, 4km west of Kos Town, there are ruins of temples, baths and an altar. An unlikely and unsubstantiated myth suggests Hippocrates worked and taught here.
Zia: Zia is positioned on the north side of the island and meandering around this pretty, quaint village is a very popular pastime in Kos. Situated on the Dikaion Mountain the views from the village are superb and can be enjoyed whilst relaxing in one of the cafés or tavernas that line the streets.
Calvi: Holidaymakers of all types will enjoy visiting Calvi, with its wide range of watersports, shallow waters and great amenities.
Îles Lavezzi: The beautiful and unspoiled Lavezzi Isles are part of the nature reserve off the coast of Bonifacio. They can only be reached by sea but are well worth the boat ride.
Lozari: This large white sandy crescent offers a nice café and plenty of watersports throughout the summer. It’s located close to Lama and the surrounding villages.
Calanche de Piana and the Réserve Naturelle de Scandola (Scandola Nature Reserve): This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located on the central western coast of Corsica and boasts a huge unique rock mass on the coastline, with many grottos and sea pillars tucked away into cliffs and islets. The spectacular surroundings and wildlife include clear waters and varieties of sea birds, and the park can only be reached by boat.
Vizzavona: For a charming village surrounded by forests and wonderful restaurants, Vilzzavona is a fantastic stop for a taste of true Corsica. This pleasant mountain resort is a good base for those hiking the surrounding mountains and forests, including the massive Monte d’Oro which sits nearby and the well-known walking route, GR20 (see below).
Cap Corse: Located at the northern end of the island, this 40km long, 10km wide promontory is filled with beautiful coastline, lovely beaches, charming fishing villages and a ridge of mountains, which split it down the middle.
U Trinighellu Train: Children and adults love a train journey and this ride between Calvi and L’lle Rousse is an exciting adventure for everyone. This ride hugs the coastline and offers stunning views across the sea and the mountains.
A Cupulatta: Animal lovers will enjoy paying a visit to Europe’s largest tortoise sanctuary, just to the north of Ajaccio, home to over 150 different species of tortoise and turtle.
Via Ferrata: This is a fun adventure park which older children particularly will enjoy, with a range of fun activities such as monkey bridges, Tarzan jumps and cables perched high on the mountainside.
With a rich history dating back to prehistoric times and fertile farming soil, it’s no wonder the Koan local culture involves a lot of celebration. The villages in particular like to celebrate the patrons and saints of their local churches with traditional dances, music and even boiled goat.
Kos is home to many religious festivals, which relate to the Greek Orthodox religion that is practiced here. The biggest of these are held in Antimachia, Kardamena and Kefalos. The Easter-linked Shrovetide, for example, is traditionally celebrated with masquerade processions. Antimachia and Kefalos both celebrate the Assumption of Mary on August 15th with plenty of wine and the latter even serves boiled goat for the occasion. Saint John is celebrated in the same way on August 29th in Kardamena and Kefalos, while on April 23rd Saint George is celebrated in Pyli with horse races followed by more wine and food.
During the summer months of July to September, Kos Town and Kardamena come alive with the rich cultural festival programmes of Hippocrateia and Alassernia respectively. The programmes include painting, sculpture, photography, theatre, poetry and music - most of which comes from local talent. During this time, the Hippocratic Oath is also re-enacted each Sunday at the Asclepeion.
The food in Kos is based on Greek Mediterranean cuisine consisting of meat, fish, vegetables, olive oil and pasta. You’ll find typical Greek dishes such as tzatziki, moussaka and stuffed vine leaves on many taverna menus, as well as more local traditional dishes and plenty of fresh fish. However, thanks to its flourishing tourist trade, it’s easy to find chips, burgers, pizzas, British or international cuisine too.
Pittaridia: A type of lasagne that has been boiled in meat broth.
Varvara: A sweet made of boiled wheat with honey, sugar, almonds, nuts, raisins, pomegranate, cinnamon, rose water, orange zest and spices.
Katimeria: A cheese pie that has been rolled and fried and is made with mizithra cheese, served with honey and cinnamon.
Xismata: A local wheat bread made with mizithra cheese and spices.
The weather in Kos consists of long hot summers, coupled with mild winters keep holidaymakers coming back year after year. Blessed with plenty of sunshine and warm waters, even in the lower seasons of autumn and spring when the island is less busy.
Its mild Mediterranean climate even caused the Roman Doctor Gallino to call Kos 'the most temperate place in the world.’ The height of summer can see up to 14 hours of uninterrupted sunlight per day, with hot temperatures made softer by cooling breezes.
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