One Day in Kos, Greece: A Girl’s Guide

by Beth Santos

Pure paradise. Image courtesy of Beth Santos.

Headed to the Dodecanese Islands in Greece? If so, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be flying into Kos, the third largest island of the Dodecanese and one of the two islands with an airport. Here are some tips for how to make the most of one day in Kos while en route to another island oasis.

How to get to Kos

For the small island that it is, Kos is remarkably easy to reach. Flights from Athens are just 50 minutes long and can cost as little as 30 Euros if you plan them right.

The most populous area of Kos Island, Kos Town, is on the other side of the island from the airport. The trip is rather inconvenient, and taxis can be very hard to come by – we waited about an hour for ours. Other options, such as shuttles, are available if you plan ahead. But once you’ve found your transportation, the rest is easy – a taxi ride is about 30 minutes and should cost you around 35 Euros.

If you’re looking to explore the island, your best bet would be to rent a vehicle to get around. If you’re planning to stay in Kos Town (where the ferries depart), however, the town itself is very walkable, and it will be easy to get around once you arrive.

What to do in Kos

Visitors could easily spend a weekend exploring Kos’ beaches and cultural offerings, but you can also get a lot done in a day, too.

Tree of Hippocrates

Tree of Hippocrates in Kos, Greece by Go Girl Travel Network

Image courtesy of Beth Santos.

The 2400 year old tree is said to be the exact tree under which Greek philosopher Hippocrates taught his students. The tree itself is in poor shape, and the island is working hard to restore it. That being said, for a 2400 year old tree, it doesn’t look all that bad.

Greek ruins

Ruins in Kos, Greece by Go Girl Travel Network

Image courtesy of Beth Santos.

Kos has played a strong role in Greek politics, from the Doric Exapolis to the Persian Wars. This becomes more apparent when you discover the sheer number of ancient ruins that grace the island. Have a walk through and imagine what life was like thousands of years ago. Permanent maps installed around the ruins show you where you are in reference to the ancient towns and what you would have found before you.

Grab an oceanside drink at H2O restaurant at the Kos Aktis Art Hotel

H2O at Kos Aktis Art Hotel in Kos, Greece by Go Girl Travel Network

Image courtesy of Beth Santos.

The Kos Aktis Art Hotel is a luxurious waterfront hotel that was kind enough to offer us dinner during our stay in Kos (see our disclosure statement here). Though I wasn’t overly impressed with our entrees, I loved the variety of Kos island wines and local appetizers. Get a cheese plate (possibly the biggest cheese plate you’ve ever eaten) and a bottle of local Kos wine. Then sit back and stare for hours at the bluest water you’ve seen.

Where to stay in Kos

Americana Hotel in Kos, Greece by Go Girl Travel Network

Breakfast on the patio of the Americana Hotel in Kos. Image courtesy of Beth Santos.

Kos is an island well suited for tourists. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a hotel or tourist-friendly restaurant. If you’re looking for a break from the main scene, take a few steps back from the waterfront.

The Americana Hotel offered us a free stay during our visit, which is just a five minute walk from the water. We stayed in a large suite with a long balcony that faced the sea. The room itself had a faintly sulfuric smell; we weren’t sure if it was typical of Kos or something specific to the hotel itself.

The true gem of the hotel, however, is its owner, Chris, and her employees. The hotel is female-owned and, as far as we could tell, heavily female operated. Chris is a Greek American who has been living on her family’s island of Kos for nearly 20 years. She is a fountain of knowledge, and can help you get oriented if you’re new to town.

Don’t miss breakfast out on the shady Americana patio in front of the hotel. The meal features some of the best Greek yogurt + honey you’ve ever had, plus incredibly fresh watermelon and other bites. Inside, you’ll find a mini library (with literature in English available) and bar for guests to mingle with one another in their down time. And don’t forget the resident pooch, Liz, who will welcome you with open paws.

Though definitely on the touristy side, Kos is a great town to stop through on your way to the rest of the Dodecanese. If you’re traveling via ferry to other destinations, we recommend reserving your ticket online or you may run the risk of it selling out before you arrive. When picking up your ferry ticket, make sure you’re at the dock at least an hour in advance to survive the long queues.

Most importantly, have fun – and if you get a chance, have a glass of Greek wine in our honor.

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