The third largest of the Dodecanese Islands, this pretty mountainous Greek isle wows visitors with its natural beauty. With miles of caramel-coloured sands that shelve into aqua-blue waters, topped with warm Mediterranean sunshine – Kos villa holidays are relaxing and rejuvenating. This is the birthplace of the ancient healer Hippocrates, after all. With a history that stretches back millennia, centuries-old relics and ancient landmarks scatter the interior. For a feast of the senses, head to mountain villages to try Greek classics at charming tavernas or enjoy dinner with a view at a waterfront restaurant at a laid-back seaside resort. Night owls are in for a treat, with a diverse nightlife ranging from pumping clubs to low-key beachside bars. Add in a fantastic shopping scene and a divine traditional cuisine, and Kos is the ultimate sun-soaked island getaway.
Whether you’re discovering ancient sites, windsurfing in the Aegean Sea, or simply soaking up the Mediterranean sunshine - there are so many things to see and do on a Kos villa holiday. This scenic island definitely packs a punch when it comes to its natural beauty. Hikers will find peace mixed in with some unbelievable far-reaching views in the Dikeos Mountains, with plenty of scenic trails woven into the landscape. You’ll be instantly drawn to the coastline, with swathes of golden sand and untouched shingle coves lapping the turquoise waters. Hop on a quick boat ride to the tiny island of Nissyros and come face-to-face with an active volcano.
After dark, the island comes alive with themed bars and neon-lit clubs, with Kardamena being the nightlife hotspot. Evenings aren’t only about drinks and late nights, though, as a vibrant gastronomic and shopping scene awaits. In the laid-back seaside resorts and off-the-beaten-track villages, bustling markets, traditional tavernas, and handicraft shops dot the streets. You won’t need to travel far to soak up some history, as ancient ruins and crumbling temples sprinkle the interiors. The fun-filled water parks are a big hit with the kids with spiralling rides and slides, or head to the coast for some water sports action.
Home to some of the most picturesque beaches in the Aegean, Kos serves up a complete set of sandy swathes. They come in all shapes and sizes, with ribbons of golden sand bays and cliff-backed shingle coves along its mesmerising 300-kilometre coastline. For a beach day full of action, Kardamena Beach hums a lively tune crowded with water sports, buzzing bars, and waterfront cafes. With a strong, balmy breeze, windsurfing is a crowd favourite where even locals call in to show off their skills. If you’re looking for a peaceful spot in the sun, the tropical Tigaki Beach is a slice of rural paradise made for lying back and soaking up the laid-back atmosphere. Paradise Beach definitely lives up to its name, where afternoons are spent snorkelling in crystal-clear waters or lounging on the powdery white sand. Although a Greek island may seem like an unlikely place for hot springs, Therma Beach features several thermal pockets that dreamily heat up its turquoise waters.
Nightlife in Kos
Kos is one of the livelier of the Greek Islands, with plenty of after-hours fun to be had from pumping parties to low-key beachfront bars. Karadmena is the spot for those wanting to kick their heels up, with the appropriately named "Bar Street" lined with strobe-lit clubs, karaoke bars, and funky discos. If you’re keen on sipping cocktails on the sand, Tigaki is the place to go, with chilled-out bars and tavernas lining its sweeping shoreline. Kos Town comes alive after dark, where you can say cheers in a stylish harbour-front bar or raise a glass with the locals at a side-street taverna. During the summer months, the island hosts a mix of traditional celebrations and energetic music events. Don’t miss the annual wine festival based in Mastichari, where you can sip on mouth-watering local wines and fill up on homemade food.
Food and Drink in Kos
Kos is soaked in Greek culture and tradition, which is reflected throughout the island in its culinary dishes and restaurants. The locals are fans of all things cheesy, with the katimeira fried cheese pie and lasagne-influenced pitaridia being the staple regional dishes. Mediterranean food is also popular, with fresh seafood, hand-picked salads, hearty meat dishes, and delicious mezzes highlighting every menu. The hub of fine dining can be found in Kos Town, with high-end restaurants lining its glitzy yacht-lined marina. Inland has a traditional flavour, with charming towns peppered with tavernas serving up homemade souvlaki and moussaka. Head to the larger resorts if you fancy some international bites, with British, Italian, and Indian restaurants galore.
Home to lush fertile soils, Kos is famous for its melon production, and there are stalls scattered along the roadside to purchase the freshly picked fruit. If wine is your tipple of choice, the island prides itself on its centuries-old wine heritage. The volcanic status gives the grapes a truly unique taste, with a handful of vineyards and wineries to sample a glass or two. In every bar, you’ll find the local’s favourite drink, ouzo, an aniseed liqueur traditionally enjoyed in a small glass over ice and sipped slowly.
History and Culture in Kos
When you fancy some time away from the beach, immerse yourself in the island’s rich history which has left a vivid mark on the architecture. Travel back in time with a visit to its illustrious temples, Venetian castles, and ancient ruins, which all tell the tales of the cultures and people of days gone by. Take a seat at Odeon, a Roman amphitheatre standing tall since the 2nd century, once a historical hub for musical and theatrical shows. Another must-see is the ancient Agora, a now-ruined town with a treasure trove of houses, baths, and temples painted with colourful mosaics. The most famous site is arguable the Asklepieion, an ancient ruined healing temple where it was said Hippocrates learnt his trade. A little more up-to-date but still oozing traditional charm, the village of Antimachia is picture worthy with a mighty medieval castle that overlooks its enchanting streets.
Family Holidays in Kos
Whatever your ingredients for the perfect family holiday, Kos has a little bit of everything, from splash and squeal-filled days at waterparks to lazy afternoons on sandy beaches. Go wild in the water with a visit to Lido Waterpark, with a labyrinth of twisting slides, thrilling drops, and wave pools. Prove you’re the fastest in the family with a high-speed race at Go Kart Kardamena, where you can speed against the kids and spectators are welcome to cheer on the action. Treat the family to something sweet with a visit to the Melissa Honey Factory, where you can learn all about beekeeping and sample some homemade honey. Beyond the sun, sea, and sand, there’s plenty of family-friendly fun to be had on this sun-kissed island.
Kos is home to an exciting shopping scene, with handicrafts and shopping streets at every turn. Start in Kos Town, where in the morning, fuel up on a freshly-baked pastry from a local bakery before the browsing begins. The town is filled with quaint stores offering handmade gifts; look out for locally-made olive soaps, leather goods, jewellery, and pottery. Then head to the buzzing stalls at the Agora marketplace, where you can hunt for trinkets, souvenirs, and local produce such as fresh vegetables and knuckles of cheese.
Away from the island’s capital, there are ample spots to pick up a few holiday mementos. The shops in Kardamena are packed tightly with shops offering a colourful mix of crafts and clothes, woven in between restaurants and cafes. Make for the mountains and explore charming hilltop villages, where you can buy beautiful handwoven fabrics and Grecian-style carpets, along with specialty shops selling local olive oil and honey. The weekly market in Bodrum is worth the short ferry ride, where you can snap up bargains such as leather crafts, handmade bracelets, and delicate lanterns.