Are you here yet? Good. Now get off the internet and lay on the beach.
But until you’ve arrived, it’s good to have some background on what is possibly the most laidback Greek island. While Kos gets its share of tourists, its busy season is nothing compared to the big names like Santorini, Rhodes, Crete, and Lesvos (though let’s face it, people only visit Lesvos for the titillating name). It lacks some of the glamour, but escaping the crowds makes it all worth it. Of course, this is changing, and the island gets more popular every year.
As with a visit to any island paradise, the beach is of utmost importance. Kos doesn’t disappoint, with some of the clearest water that you may see in your life. There are several wide, sandy beaches on all sides of Kos’ elongated shape, offering different levels of development (as well as suggested attire—be aware of which are clothing optional, if you want to go out of your way to avoid or seek out that sort of thing). There are several luxury resorts, as well as smaller, family-run places tucked around. The best way to find them can be to rent a motorbike and get local advice, as otherwise you may feel like your only option is to get shunted to a high-priced hotel. The further you get from the main city, the more emptier the beaches will be. Kos town is lively, with a touristy market and several attractions. The most impressive is probably Agia Paraskevi, a Greek Orthodox church with rich decorations throughout its interior. Archeology and history fans will also be impressed by Kos, as it was home to Hippocrates, the “father of medicine,” and there are numerous remnants and memorials to his time. Nightlife is active and mostly caters to young travelers backpacking through town, centering around the picturesque harbor. For those really in the know, rent a bike or hitchhike to get out to the thermes at Agios Fokas before sunset. This rock pool on the seaside has the perfect mixture of temperatures for everyone, as cool seawater washes in with each wave and mixes with the bubbling heat of the hot springs. Wonderful at any time of day, but especially at sunset and for stargazing.
Getting to Kos can be accomplished from multiple directions, as ferries run between it and most other major islands, as well as Athens and sometimes Thessaloniki. Another option is to go to the Turkish port of Bodrum, an exciting city with a lot of history and activities. Day trips are possible, or for the more adventurous, Turkish visas are available on arrival, and there are several other sites of great interest within short and medium distance of Bodrum. Either way, you’ll have a great time.