Updated October 5, 2016.
[intro title=”Forget Santorini. Go to Kos, instead.” text=”It’s hard to argue with beautiful beaches, lovely food, ancient ruins with half as many crowds as Greece’s better-known islands. “]
This is a guest post by Roxanne Bridger.
When it came time to pick a holiday spot last summer, the sunny island of Kos, Greece shot straight to the top of my list. I was looking for a place where my boyfriend and I could escape for a week or two and finally get a chance to relax. Greece was a natural choice, and I narrowed my list down to Kos due to the fact that it’s quieter than some of the other more publicized Greek islands, but still has plenty to offer in terms of beaches and outdoor activities.
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Mitsis Blue Domes Resort and Spa, which was only 10km from the airport. The beautiful resort was located right on the beach, with easy access to Kardamena. Our room had luxury linens, marble floors, wireless Internet and everything else you’d expect from a 5* hotel.
One of the great things about the resort was its wide variety of in-house restaurants and dining options. There were 10 different places to choose from, specializing in Greek, Italian, Asian, Mexican and American cuisine. I especially enjoyed Ellinadiko, which served amazing and authentic Greek food. There was also a great American-style breakfast buffet that we visited each morning and a late night pancake and ice cream place which was perfect for a midnight snack.
What to Do
With the resort as beautiful as it was and the beach just steps away, I’ll admit that we spent our first few days just lounging around in the sun. But once we’d fully relaxed, we set out to explore our surroundings.
Tour Nearby Islands by Boat
Heading into Kos Town Harbor, we booked a 3 island boat tour for just 30€/person.The tour ran from 10:00am – 6:00pm and included stops at the islands of Platti, Kalymnos, and Pserimos.
Along the way, we were able to swim in the Aegean Sea, explore the islands and sit down for a leisurely lunch. It was amazing stopping off on these tiny fishing islands that are homes to just a handful of people.
Enjoy the Nightlife in Kardamena
Another one of the highlights of our trip to Kos was discovering Kardamena. The small town was a 45-minute walk along the coast from the resort and turned out to be the hotspot on the island for nightlife.
During the day it’s a relatively quiet beach town where you can rent pedal boats or swim in the sea. However, things here turn lively when the sun goes down. There’s a street called Bar Street, full of nightclubs and bars. We spent quite a few nights here during our holiday and enjoyed well-priced cocktails, dancing and a bit of karaoke, too!
Explore Kos on a Bike
As our trip wound down we decided to hire bicycles so that we could fully explore Kos. Bicycle hire was just 10€/day.
Our first stop was The Asklepieion, the island’s most famous archaeological site. Just a few kilometers from Kos Town, it dates back to the 3rd century BC and was built to honor the God of Health and Medicine. There were three separate terraces here, each with a different building meant for a different purpose.
From here we cycled along the coastline of Kos, admiring the view and stopping at different beaches throughout the day.
Kos is an amazing place to visit if you’re looking to relax and sightsee in the day, and then for something a little livelier at night. As an added bonus, Kos has its own airport with direct flights from the UK (and various other cities in Europe).
When to Go
We visited slightly before the peak summer time in May and the island was quiet but still really fun. It meant we didn’t have to worry about competing with everyone to get a lounger or a seat in the restaurants.
Hotel staff told us Kardemena really comes alive from mid-June onwards so if you really want a party, June to September is probably the best time to head there, but expect much higher prices .