You get all the Greek classics on a holiday to Kos – this island has ancient ruins, olive groves and plenty in the way of sugar-cube villages. But it’s the beaches that’ll really seal the deal…
An island of two halves
When it comes to holiday resorts, Kos goes from one extreme to the other. On the one hand it’s got bright and breezy towns like Kardamena, where the beach comes with a side-order of karaoke bars and nightclubs. On the other, there are blink-and-you’ll-miss-it spots like Psalidi that are not much more than a handful of tavernas and a sliver of sand.
From past to present in Kos Town
Of course, there are places that walk the middle-ground tightrope, like Kos Town. The island’s capital teams ancient ruins and a chic harbour-front with a strobe-and-laser fest dubbed the ‘Street of Bars’ by the locals.
With over 290 kilometres of coastline, Kos isn’t exactly short of a golden sweep or two. In fact, the sands skirting the south coast are among the best in the Dodecanese. As for the northern shores, they’re spot on for watersports.
Inland, Kos is textbook Greece, with whitewashed villages giving way to wooded hillsides and silvery olive groves. It’s got plenty of historical leftovers, too. Marble columns hark back to Kos’ stint as a Greek and Roman outpost, while gargoyles and ramparts are a nod to the island’s former overlords, the Knights of St John.
Head out to eat and you’ll most likely be presented with a glass of this anise-flavoured liqueur at some stage of the meal. It’s served ice-cold and straight up, but be warned – you’ll be tipsy pretty quickly.
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Kardamena used to be a fishing village but just look at it now. Set on the southeast coast of Kos, the mid-sized resort has turned into one of the island’s liveliest holiday destinations. The place plays up to the Brit pack – and the karaoke and clubs keep pulling in the crowds.
Way back in the day, the Romans ruled the roost at Kos Town. Set on the northeast coast of Kos, the place still carries their mark in its ancient ruins. It’s not all history here, though. A throbbing nightlife and some of the best beaches on the island in easy reach means there’s plenty of fun to be had in the 21st century.
As resorts go, Helona Beach – on the southern coast of Kos – is a bit of a wallflower. What you’ve got here is just a clutch of luxury hotels, a sandy beach and remote country walks. Then again, you’re not far from the beaten track – lively Kardamena is just 5 minutes away, so you can dip in and out of the action whenever you like.