Things to do in Kos
Tuesday 11 December 2018
The Greek island of Kos is so much more than simply an oasis of brilliant sunshine cascading down upon a myriad of glorious beaches. It’s the deep roots of its history, the lovingly cooked Mediterranean cuisine that perfumes the air and the welcoming nature of those who live there that make the island truly spectacular.
It’s always nice to know a little history about the place you are going. Whether it’s to satisfy your own curiosity or to provide interesting topics of conversation around the dinner table!
The island of Kos prides itself on its rich and varied history. A consistently well populated settlement, the island is now scattered with ancient ruins offering a window into the island’s exciting past.
Here are some interesting nuggets of information to get you excited about the island of Kos:
- Walk in the footsteps of the Gods: Greek mythology states that on returning from Troy, the Goddess Hera summoned a great storm to sink Hercules’ ship, however the demigod escaped and washed up on the shores of Kos.
- The birth place of the ‘father of medicine’: Hippocrates was born in 460 BC and went on to become an inspirational voice in the study of medicine. Using a philosophical approach and his skill as a teacher, Hippocrates led the way with his revolutionary views on ethics.
- A window into the past: With archaeological evidence dating back to the bronze age, the island’s long list of ruling powers, including the Romans, Turks, Italians, Germans and English, has resulted in the island containing an array of historical artefacts.
- Ahoy Matey: In the island’s history, periods of prosperity were threatened by frequent pirate raids, the most dangerous of the pirates were known as the Saracens.
- Trouble in paradise: In 1934 an earthquake nearly destroyed the whole island.
- United with Greece: In 1948 the island was finally united with the rest of Greece.
Top things to do in Kos:
Commemorate the life of Hippocrates at the Asklepieion
After the death of Hippocrates, a renowned Greek physician, the Asklepieion was constructed. A popular attraction located 4km south-west of Kos Town, the building was created not only to commemorate Hippocrates, but also to honour Asklepios, the god of health and healing. Although now in ruins, it is still possible to identify the different rooms and the complex that was home to Roman baths in the 3rd century.
A snake was the symbol of the institution, and this symbolism continues to be used today with the well-recognised Rod of Asclepius still being associated with medicine and health care.
Explore the Casa Romana
Originating from Hellenistic and Roman Times, this impressive house offers a fantastic insight into the architectural style that once was popular on the island. For a further look into the jewels of those time periods visit the Museum of Kos.
Stroll through the streets of Zia
If you’re in the mood for meandering around a picturesque village, Zia is the ideal place to explore. Located in the centre of the island, on Dikalon mountain, the enchanting village offers visitors old churches, shops and a number of tavernas and cafes in which to relax. Spend the day delving into an assortment of small boutiques selling beautiful lace, rugs and ceramics. The location also affords breath-taking views as the sun sets over the Dodecanese Islands, enhanced by lively night time entertainment, including traditional dancing.
Investigate the Archaeological Museum of Kos
Built in 1935, the Archaeological Museum of Kos hosts a vast range of sculptures, frescoes, wall paintings and mosaics that beautifully display the architectural and artistic accomplishments of those who previously occupied the island. Explore the Roman Atrium, examine the Artefacts from the antiquity period up until the late Roman era that adorn the walls, stare into the eyes of Hippocrates whose imposing statue gazes out at all who pass. This is the ideal place in which to escape the heat of the day and spend time appreciating these fantastically well preserved historical artefacts.
Discover the Castle of the Knights
The ruins of a magnificent fortified battlement, the Castle of the Knights of St John stand at the entrance of Kos harbour on what used to be an island attached to the mainland by a single bridge. Consisting of two separate areas, the castle was built to be well defended from attack. Wander around the grounds and explore the castles bastions, battlements, gun ports and impressive draw bridge.
Watch the sunset from the Castle of Antimachia
For breath-taking views over the island, visit the ruins of the Castle of Antimachia. Built in the 14thCentury by the Order of St John, this Venetian castle stands on a hill above the village of Antimachia. Visitors can climb on the battlements and investigate two charming churches, one of which you can enter. With the views reaching out to the horizon, this is a fantastic place to watch the sunrise or sunset.
The easiest method to reach the castle is by car, once there the castle has no entrance fee allowing you to freely wonder around and explore.
Cool off in the shade of the Tree of Hippocrates
This ancient tree stands at the heart of Kos just outside the Castle of the Knights. Legend has it that Hippocrates used to teach his students under the shade of its branches. Whether or not this is true, this tree is a magnificent spectacle with saplings given as gifts to medical schools around the world. With the symbolism of this tree continuing to inspire many, it is an attraction not to be missed!
Make a splash in a water park
For a fun filled adventure visit the Lido Waterpark in Mastichari. Throw yourself into the wave pool, meander down the lazy river and set the adrenaline pumping on the variety of water slides available. Or for a smaller and quieter waterpark choose the Aquatica in Kardamena! The perfect place to keep the kids entertained for a few hours, the park is filled with a range of water slides, a lazy river and a café offering a selection of snacks and refreshments.
Credit: Jaye Somers CC