Kos ISLAND - so much to do and to see
As nice as the Lango Design Hotel & Spa is, it would be a pity not to do some sightseeing on the island of Kos. The island is just 50 km long, up to 10 km broad and is, so to say, the gateway to Europe, just a stone’s throw (well, a bit more…) away from the Turkish coast. Eirini, the charming PR lady of the hotel, has many tips for me. I will see what I can do in just three days.
KOS CITY - The little Capital has it all
Where to begin the sightseeing? The picturesque Kos Town is just 2.5 km away. You can either walk in 20 to 30 minutes or take the bus (very comfy, friendly drivers who speak English – 1.50 EUR) or … bike! Kos is a bikers´ paradise and you will find rental stations all over the place. Walk along the harbor, sip a coffee in one of the many places (my favorite is the VIE Café and Cocktail Bar with a lovely sea view) and stroll to the little squares, mosques (Kos has a small Muslim community) and antique sites such as the Agora market square, where construction begun in the 4th century BC. After all, we are in Greece!
Kos Town is full of buildings of various centuries which makes up its charm. You will automatically get to the Eleftherias Square with a mosque that dates back to 1725. Lovely area with – again – many cafés where you can quench your thirst. Remember, the Greek sun is always with you! Interesting to know that, according to a statistic, the locals take an average of 94 minutes for sipping a cup of coffee – isn't that a relaxed lifestyle? And certainly the contrary of all these „coffees to go“!
A 2,000 year old Tree
Not to miss is the little square between the castle and the Hadji Hassan Mosque. Here you will find the Hippocrates tree that is, according to biologists, almost 2,000 years old. A legend says that it was even planted by Hippocrates, the islands most famous son and that he taught under this tree. I am curious to learn more about this ancient savant!
If you continue your way along the harbor, you will reach the marina with – again - many nice cafés. Some of them are located just next to the sea. It is hard to recommend any I had a snack at „Bella Vista“ (the name is well deserved...), watching the sea and the scenery. A wonderful break after all the walking.
Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine
Back to Hippocrates. He was born on Kos in 460 BC and is supposed to be the „father of medicine“. Hippocrates aimed at boosting the self-healing powers of his patients (reminds me of today's natural treatments) and provided tips for nutrition. After his death, the Asklipion was built and Kos became one of the largest health resorts of the ancient world. Reasons enough to visit this site on the border of Kos Town. As a reward for climbing all those stairs, you get an awesome view over the island.
„You can take the train from Kos Town to the Asklipion,“ says Filitsa, the Front Desk Officer at the Lango Design Hotel & Spa. „The train“ is a mini train, pretty touristy. Well, for the first time in my life I board such a „train“ that takes me to the (almost) holy site in 15 minutes (it costs 7 EUR as per June 2018). It is a nice ride along the outskirts of the city, eucalyptus woods and with little potholes here and there. The spinal disk says hello from time to time, but thats ok.
The Asklipion (entry fee 7 EUR – June 2018) was built on three levels where treatment centers and temples were located. You can climb all those horizontal terraces which still have impressive columns and remaining parts of the temples. I jump on a little wall to get the best shot of the magnificent view. I spot a younger lady from far who is shouting and wildly gesticulating. After a while, I become aware that she means me! KH is standing on an ancient wall which is forbidden. Oh, my Greek God! I promise to behave and carefully walk through the area from now on. All in all, calculate a maximum of 45 minutes at this place (unless you are an archaeologist or historian who really wants to dig deep into ancient history). The funny little train is already waiting to take me back to the city. Get ready for the ride, spinal disk!
Beach time on Kos Island
Clear blue sky and the strong Greek sun … I need a swim after all the history and climbing on forbidden walls. „Take a cab to Fokas Beach, you will love it,“ says Eirini, the PR lady at the Lango Design Hotel & Spa. No doubt she has the best recommendations. After a 20-minute cab ride (20 EUR – June 2018) I am at Agios (that means SAINT) Fokas and walk down the staircase to the beach with a very nice bar on various levels.
There are hardly any people (it is already 5 pm), but lots of pebbles and the Aegean Sea in front of me. No one can stop KH now – clothes off (with swimming trunks on, of course) and right into the refreshing and crystal clear water. I feel so good that I shout out loud „YEAH“. No worries, no one has heard it (hopefully!). So much fun to swim here. I forgot about the pebbles that are waiting for my tired feet after getting out of the water. Conclusion: I need to walk on stones (barefoot) more often! After enjoying some sun, I order a cab from the beach bar to take me back to the Lango Hotel.
The best sunset on Kos Island
What better way to end this spectacular day with a stunning sunset from the mountains (the tallest one being 845 m high)? Zia is said to be the best place to watch the sun going down. Too bad I did not rent a car, so I have to take a cab again (20 minutes, 25 EUR – June 2018). There is also a bus connection from Kos Town (40 minutes). Zia is a picturesque mountain village and full of tourists in the early evening. Thousands of selfies are taken when the sun goes down over the sea. Locals have made a smart business out of this natural spectacle with quite a few boutiques (pretty touristy though), cafés and restaurants with so-called „sunset viewing terraces“.
The Oromedon is one of them, go early to get one of the best tables. And walk up to the little church Kimissis Tis Theotokou (as I said, the Greek language is nice, but not that easy…) in beautiful surroundings and with another awesome view - and a bit of extra exercise.
What a day! A glass of (local) wine on the patio of the Lango Design Hotel & Spa is the perfect end of it. Maybe I have missed the nightlife of Kos Town, which is said to be one of the best in Greece, but I leave this for my next visit.
KOS Island - Tips from Locals
Since I could only experience a few places on Kos during my short visit, I have asked a few locals for their recommendations. You will find them below. If you want to treat yourself, you may consider a romantic dinner at the KOAN Restaurant at the Lango Design Hotel & Spa. I really enjoyed this place which also offers some great vegetarian options.
Eirini Damani , Guest Relations Officer at Lango Design Hotel & Spa
My favorite restaurant in Kos Town is the Barbouni. In the picturesque, full of life island of Kos this cozy seafood restaurant is waiting to lure you into a journey of flavors, that combines the modern and the traditional Greek cuisine.
The Sitar Bar is famous in Kos island for its special cocktails of fresh ingredients such as herbs, spices and fresh fruits, which stand out for their taste and unique presentation. The music moves in funk and soul rhythms, just perfect for a cocktail bar. TIP Sitar and Captain Hook stand out from the cocktail list – enjoy!
Shortly before arriving at the marina of Kos, you will find the all-day café-bar Avra Bar. You can visit it for your morning coffee or for your lunch break, but you will definitely prefer it for your evening drink at one of the tables on the sandy beach. Chill out music and super summer cocktails are two of its highlights.
Filitsa Gianniki , Front Desk Agent at Lango Design Hotel & Spa
A walk by the seaside by the Neratzia Castle in Kos Town and a cold homemade lemonade at Neratzia Cafe while reading a book.
Manolis Smalios, local photographer
Should you need a photographer on Kos island - no matter for what reason - Manolis is the PERFECT GUY. He has taken most of my photos of my Kos blog, part one. Look at his FB page!
La Strega Restaurant
Enjoy real authentic Italian pizza and pasta at La Strega. Also homemade Greek food. A cozy, family-run place almost in the center of the town. Ask for Charlie!
Lofaki Restaurant and Café
Extraordinary place on the top of a hill (Lofaki means small hill). Admire the fantastic sunset and the amazing view over the Aegean Sea and nearby islands.
Take a long walk at sunset on the beach of Agios Stefanos in Kefalos village opposite the small island of Kastri.
Walking around the harbor of Kos by the sea. Palm tree avenue and the castle bridge. Admire the Italian architecture of the Kos county hall.
Roman Odeon of Kos Island
Obviously one of the most crucial public buildings of ancient Kos, erected during the 2nd century A.D. Today, the auditorium hosts cultural happenings and it houses the photo exhibition of The Aegean Institute of Archeological Studies.
Do some yoga on our endless beaches
Sunset is the best time for some asanas - take a deep breath!