Kos - Following the Traces of Hippocrates
Experience the healing effect of the Embros thermal spring and see the home of the most famous doctor of antiquity. The numerous cultural sights, white sandy beaches and delicious local specialities on Kos are waiting to be discovered.
Geography - A small island in the Dodecanese
Kos is a Greek island and lies in the Aegean Sea near the Turkish mainland. It belongs to the island group of the Dodecanese. The shortest distance to the mainland is about five kilometres. The island is rather small with a length of only 41 kilometres and a width of 8 kilometres. It has an overall area of about 287.2 km². The island has about 31,000 inhabitants, half of which live in the island's capital of Kos town. The latter is also the location of the island's main harbour Mandraki. There is Mediterranean climate on Kos with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. In summer, temperatures can be as high as 40 °C.
Nature - White sandy beaches and healing springs
Along the south coast, you see the island's only mountain range, the Dikaios (846 m). Towards the north, the landscape flattens and changes to a fertile plain, which is used for agriculture. The most commonly grown plants are vegetables and cereal as well as figs, almonds, grapes and olives. The island is most beautiful in spring when it is covered in a sea of wild flowers (anemone, cyclamen, geranium and crocus). It is an important habitat for many migrating birds as well as for amphibians, invertebrates and fish. The island has ten wetland areas, eight of which are of natural origin and two of which have been created artificially. There are many springs, several of which are considered healing springs. The best example is the Embros thermal spring. Kos also offers an abundance of wonderful beaches such as Agios Stefanos, Mastichari, Lambi, Tigaki, Agios Fokas, Paradeisos and Marmari Beach, to name but a few. The loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) places its eggs in selected safe beaches. Near the airport, you find a peacock forest, in which you can marvel at a great number of peacocks.
Culture - From Hippocrates to the Order of Saint John
Kos was occupied several times in the course of history, for example by the Persians, Romans and Ottomans. The most significant ancient cultural site on Kos are the remains of Asclepeion, an ancient Greek sanatorium, which was named after the god of medicine and healing called "Asclepius". It was founded by Hippocrates as the first health spa in ancient times. At the entrance of Neratzia Castle, you see the Tree of Hippocrates - the oldest natural monument in Europe which was named after the founder of the Hippocratic oath. The capital also accommodates the Roman Odeon, a well-preserved ancient theatre. Opposite the Odeon, you find the Hellenic Bath. Both attractions are open to the public. Other interesting sights are the Basilica of Agios Stefanos, the castle and the Windmill of Antimachia, the deserted village of Pyli, including its castle ruin, as well as numerous excavation sites in Kos town. The island's original capital Astypalea and the mountain village of Zia are also worth a visit. The Archaeological Museum in Kos town accommodates an interesting collection of historical treasures.
Experience - The healing effect of the Embros thermal spring
A true highlight on Kos is the Embros thermal spring, especially for travellers who are looking for relaxation. The water, which is about 50 °C hot and smells of sulphur, is a popular healing spring, which helps with diseases of the skin, eyes, air passages and mussels. The spring is also said to alleviate symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism. Real culinary delicacies on Kos are the squids which are prepared as stew (stifádo). Two other specialities are fruit in syrup and red cheese (kokkino tiri), cheese baked in red wine. Typical dishes are pittarida (tagliatelle in stock), katimeria (rolled cheese pastry), xismata (wheat bread baked with cheese and herbs) and kousafi (boiled black raisins). Travellers who like to go shopping can pursue this hobby in Kos town. There are many shops which sell gold and silver jewellery, leatherware, clothes, embroidery and ceramic ware. Party-goers do not go short either. Kos town accommodates several bars and discos, especially near Dolphin Square. In addition, there are some bars in Kardamena and Tigaki.
Activities - Exploring the island by bike
Kos is excellently suited for going cycling. Thanks to its small size, it can easily be explored by bike. The capital is even equipped with proper cycle lanes. Travellers who prefer going by car or scooter can get to know the island on the fully developed roads and paths. Visitors who love the sea can go bathing, play beach volleyball or surf at one of the beautiful beaches. Bigger hotels offer activities like horseback riding, diving and fishing. The beaches and the Dikeos massif invite holidaymakers to go hiking or for a walk. A trip to the Turkish port city of Bodrum is equally popular.
Travellers reach Kos by plane via the Kos Hippocrates Airport or by ferry. Ships travel to Rhodes and other Greek neighbouring islands as well as to the Turkish harbour of Bodrum daily. About three times per week, you can travel from Piraeus on the mainland to Kos, which takes about 11 hours. The island is fully developed for tourists and has excellent transport connections. The best travel time depends on what you want to do during your holidays. Visitors who want to be at the beach and the seaside should arrive in summer. Travellers who are interested in nature and culture best visit Kos in spring or autumn.
The small but fascinating island of Kos impresses with numerous springs like the Embros thermal spring and several significant cultural sites such as the Asclepeion. The island is particularly popular with cyclists.