Kos Map For Tourists & Our What To Do In Kos Greece Travel Guide. Discover top Kos Attractions, restaurants, activities and boat trips. All the best things to do in Kos town and around Kos island.
Our Kos Greece Map is free & interactive and works on any device, so you can see all the most important points of interest as you travel around. Find our Kos map at the end of the guide.
Kos is a popular island for tourists from all over the world, especially the UK and Germany. High season runs from June to early September, and shoulder season for a month or a little more either side.
Come and discover the ancient history of the island of Hippocrates, the stunning blue water of the Aegean and legendary Greek hospitality.
Kos Map & What To Do In Kos Greece Travel Guide – Table Of Contents
Go Greek Island Hopping On A Multi-Day Adventure (Opens in New Tab)
Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links which generate a commission for us if you purchase something through a provider we recommend. Please use our links, rather than searching Google, in order to help support our blog so we can keep providing you free content.
Thanks to Discover Greece for helping us organise our time in Rhodes Greece #discovergreece
Introduction to Kos Island & Kos Town (Destinations in Kos)
Kos is a Greek island, situated in the South East Aegean, just off the coast of Turkey. It is part of the Dodecanese island chain (which includes Rhodes, Symi, and others). It flourished in Antiquity during the 4th and 5th centuries, starting with one of it’s most famous residents, Hippocrates, leading the medical school at the east end of the island.
Following that it boomed when Kos town became a free city under the Roman empire. Trade routes between Egypt & The East Mediterranean with Europe and Asia Minor had Kos island well placed as a midpoint.
Kos island was ruled by many different conquerors over the centuries. Once the Roman Empire collapsed, the Byzantine empire stepped in followed by the Ottomans and then the new Italians returned in the early 20th century until eventually, after the 2nd world war, Kos returned to Greece. The tourism boom grew the island’s economy and today it’s one of Greece’s top 10 most popular islands to visit.
Kos island still has many ruins from those ancient days, but today you will, of course, find luxury hotels, amazing views, and wonderful beaches right on those perfect blue Aegean waters.
Destinations in Kos – Where To Stay In Kos
Where should you stay on Kos Island? Choose a destination that is just right for you. Use Our Kos Greece Map at the bottom of this article to search each destination listed here.
Kos Town – Kos Town is the most popular destination on the island for those looking for culture and history. Many of the top ancient Kos attractions of the island are within walking distance of the old harbour. Though the waterfront has been a little over-touristified, you’ll find plenty more to see around the backstreets.
Tigaki – Ready for a beach party? Tigaki has a reputation for younger people out for food, drinks, and dancing near the beach. A relatively small beach town, it’s a good alternative with a nicer beach than Kos Town.
Marmari – Marmari is a beach village & resort area on the north coast of Kos, about halfway between the airport and Kos town. It’s a central point to be located to tour the island. Marmari offers a more laid back experience to the lively Kos town and Tigaki. You’ll find accommodation and necessities (supermarkets, restaurants, etc.) close to the 2km stretch of sandy beach.
Kardamena (Kardamena) – A holiday town on the south coast of Kos with views across to the volcanic island of Nisyros. Find a sandy beach with typical bars, tavernas, and clubs.
Kefalos – A small town on the hill above the south coast of the island, as well as resorts and hotels stretching down to the coastline. Kefalos is towards the southwest of Kos, close to one of the most scenic kos attractions – Agios Stefanos. Find a relaxed pace in Kefalos.
Top 10 Kos Attractions / History
First up, the must see Kos Attractions. Everything below is listed on our Kos Greece Map.
Agios Stefanos & Kastri Islet – The Basilicas Of St. Stephen
The ruined columns and walls of st. Stephen’s Basilica sits at the waterfront near Kefalos. Dating from around the 5th to 6th century BC and believed to have been destroyed by an earthquake in 554 AD.
The ruins were unearthed by Italian archeologists in the 1930s. Popular tourist beaches sit either side of the ruins, looking out towards Kastri Islet. Remains of fortifications once used to guard the bay, sit atop the rocky peak at one end. At the other, the small chapel of St. Nicholas – the patron saint of sailors.
You can swim to Kastri Islet, or take a little boat.
The Asklepion – Ancient Healing Center Of Hippocrates
The Asklepion was one of the most important centers for healing in the ancient world. Hippocrates, founder of the Hippocratic oath and one of the fathers of modern medicine, taught medicine to students here in the 4th & 5th centuries BC. Ruins of the various temples on the site still stand and it’s considered the most important of ancient Kos attractions.
Asclepius was the God of medicine and healing in Greek mythology and that is where the Asklepion gets its name.
Take a guided day tour to The Asklepion and other locations.
See Ancient Historic Kos Attractions In Kos Town
Plane Tree Of Hippocrates (Pictured Above)
A couple of minutes walk from Kos harbour, you’ll find a plaza with a huge old tree in the middle. It’s said that during the lifetime of Hippocrates, he would sit and give lectures on medicine, beneath this tree. Though the original tree is gone, it’s believed the current tree is directly descended from the original tree and sits in the exact same location.
Find all the locations of everything in this article on our Kos Map below.
Ancient Agora (Forum) & Temple Of Hercules
The ancient Agora of Kos was a marketplace and meeting place that was a hub for Kos town during the classical period and beyond. Ruined bathhouses, temples, columns, mosaics and more fill the site, just a few minutes inland from Kos harbour. The temple of Hercules on this site was built in the 2nd century BC and it is inscriptions found in the ruin suggest it was dedicated to the legendary Hercules. It’s free to enter and roam around the Agora area and soak up the history.
Another important historical site. Here athletes trained and competed. You’ll find remnants of a Roman era swimming pool and other buildings.
The Roman Odeon of Kos town was constructed around the 2nd century AD. The theatre would have originally seated around 750 people, though some of the upper tiers are no longer present.
Roman House (Villa)
A large manor house, built in the 2nd & 3rd centuries AD in the style of houses from Pompeii. The manor has 36 room and an advanced Roman drainage system. It’s one of the more complete ancient buildings of Kos.
Kos Attractions: Kos Town Harbour & Nerantzia Fortress
Kos has a horseshoe shaped harbour, lined with restaurants & bars. It’s a central point for the departure of boat tours and ferries.
On the east side of the mouth of the harbour you’ll find the Nerantzia Fortress. Built by the Knights of St John in the 14th century.
Church of Agia Paraskevi – Kos Town
Stroll through the inland streets of Kos town, between the ancient ruins and the harbour, and you may stumble across the Agia Paraskevi. After a destructive earthquake in the early 1930’s, the Italians who ruled the island at the time built many new structures. This church, completed in 1933, was dedicated to Saint Paraskevi of Rome. Today it is the home of the Orthodox church of Kos.
Archeological Museum – Kos Town
Discover ancient artifacts and the story of Kos through the ages at the Kos Archeological Museum.
Open 8.30am to 3.30pm daily (closed Tuesdays)
Ottoman Mosques – Kos Town
You can see Turkey across the water from Kos Town. At the shortest point, you can cross by speed boat from Kos to Akayalar in around 5 minutes. It’s that close. Back in the 16th century, the Ottomans may not have had speed boats, but with Kos so close to the mainland, it was an obvious choice for invasion. Kos was ruled by the Ottomans from 1523 until 1912. Many remnants of the cuisine and culture still remain, as do some of the buildings.
2 main mosques still stand in Kos town, one near the Plane Tree. One in the square near the archeological museum. See our Kos Map below for exact locations.
Kos Attractions: Drink Coffee In An Abandoned Village
In the hills of central Kos you’ll find the abandoned settlement of Haichoútes (or Chaichoútes). The community, possibly originally from Armenia, was first established around 1821. They worked for landowners nearby in the vineyards and olive groves.
During World War II, many people from Kos moved from the coast to the hills for safety. The settlement’s population grew to some 180 residents. After the war, people returned to the plains and the coast, and by 1980 it was almost entirely abandoned. In 2007 the last resident left, leaving it a ghost town.
More recently, the haichoútes cafe opened, along with a small museum as a monument. Explore the abandoned streets and buildings and enjoy food and drinks in the cafe. They sometimes have live music in the evening. Contact them on facebook for details. Open seasonally.
Antimachia Castle & Traditional Windmill Of Antimachia
Visit a traditional windmill, that was originally built in the early 19th century, repaired after the 1930’s earthquake and then refurbished in 2005 to make it suitable for tourist visits. You can go inside the windmill.
Just south of the town of Antimachia, lies the Fortress of Antimachia, built in the 14th & 15th centuries by the knights of St. John. Though the fortress lies mostly in ruins, you can still explore and you’ll be greeted with beautiful views of the Aegean.
Walk The Streets Of Old Kos Town – Shopping & More
Aside from all the other attractions in Kos town described above, you’ll find cute paved shopping streets with little boutiques selling clothes, handicrafts and souvenirs. Get lost in the back streets and discover artisan products to take home.
Top 12 Kos Activities & Beaches
What To Do In Kos? There is more to Kos than just ancient history and shopping! Get active by boat, sand, 4×4 and more.
Go Island Hopping – Visit Kalymnos & Pserimos (& Plati)
The third most populous island of the Dodecanese chain (after Rhodes & Kos), Kalymnos is known as the sponge divers island. A long history of free divers collecting natural sponge and today, they still collect sponge by hand. About 1.5 hours by boat from Kos town, you can discover the beautiful harbour town, and the island’s capital, Kalymnos town. Visit boutiques, and buy sponge right from the boats moored in the harbour.
Between Kos and Kalymnos you’ll find the island of Pserimos. Discover coves and sandy beaches. And nearby, the uninhabited tiny island of Plati where you can jump straight off the side of the boat to cool off in that perfect blue water.
Visit An Active Volcano On A Boat Trip (Nisyros)
If you want a more active day trip from Kos, You’ll find the active volcanic island of Nisyros about 1.5 hours boat ride from Kos town. Here you can take a minibus with your tour up to the active crater in the centre of the island. Wander inside the crater and see bubbling mud and smoking rocks. Hike around the outside of the larger crater for views of the active inner crater.
Whilst in Nisyros, you can also visit the painted harbour town of Mandraki and the monastery of Panagia Spiliani.
The Best Sunset On Kos Island – Zia Village
One of the prettiest things to do in Kos: On the slopes of Mount Dikeos (or Dikaios), the small hill town of Zia has the perfect vantage point facing north-west for incredible sunset views out to the Aegean, towards the island of Kalymnos. The traditional village, once of only about 200 inhabitants, is now a major tourist attraction, for obvious reasons.
Cute tavernas line the streets and up the hill behind the village. Though it gets busy during the season, it’s 100% worth the visit. Arrive early enough before sunset so you will be able to park. Or take a tour and let them worry about the parking and driving.
Take A Day Trip To Bodrum, Turkey
Just 45 minutes from Kos town by ferry, you can visit Bodrum on the Turkish coast. Approaching the harbour you’ll see Bodrum Castle, originally built in the 15th century by the Knights of St John, and abandoned after they retreated from the region in 1523, then occupied by the Ottomans.
Bodrum was famous in Antiquity as home to the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the 7 wonders of the Ancient world. Destroyed by earthquakes during the 12th to 15th century, today you can just visit the ruins.
Aside from getting to experience another country from Kos, Bodrum is also a fantastic shopping destination with lower prices on crafts, textiles and more.
Most visitors to Turkey require a Visa (including EU / UK / USA citizens). You can apply online easily and get your visa same day in most cases. This is much easier than standing in a line to get a visa at the port.
Take the ferry from Kos town to Bodrum.
Kos Beaches: Spend A Day At The beach
Kardamena Beach – A long, sandy beach which lies in front of the tourist town of Kardamena on the south coast of Kos. Classic crystal waters that you can’t help but want to dive into.
Mastichari Beach – Another long sandy beach on the north coast, facing northwest, perfect for a waterfront sunset. Well serviced beach with access to restaurants, watersports equipment and more.
Tigaki Beach – A fine white sand beach on the north coast of Kos. Lined with bars and restaurants and known not just for great sand and swimming, but also for beach party nightlife.
Marmari Golden Beach & Caravia Private Beach – Marmari Golden beach is a yellow sand beach near the tourist village area of Marmari, with views north to Pserimos. Just west of that public beach is the private sand beach at Caravia All Inclusive Resort (pictured above).
Kefalos/Agios Stefanos Beach – A small, popular sandy pebble beach with views of the Kastri Monastery across the water. From here you can swim out to the tiny islet monastery.
Camel Beach – A not so secret, small cove with sand, loungers and a beach bar. A little less mainstream than some of the larger beaches, but certainly not as off the beaten track as…
Paradise Beach – A secluded sand beach, off the tourist trail to the far southwest of Kos.
Lambi Beach – A coarse sand beach that is very close to Kos town and lined with bars all the way along. Not the prettiest of beaches, but walking distance from central Kos town.
And for a beach with a difference…
Soak In A Natural Coastal Hot Spring – Therma Black Sand Beach
A seriously hot volcanic pool that laps out into the sea. As you can see in the photo, very few people can handle actually going into the main pool. I didn’t get more than ankle deep. It’s for serious hot-springers only! But, enjoy where the hot spring meets the sea as the cool waves blend with the hot water.
Visit A Honey Farm – Melissa’s Honey
“You think honey keeping is a sweet job, but it’s actually very difficult” Says Melissa. When you have to move more than 75 honey trucks, full of hives, around multiple islands in the region, seasonally in search of the right types of plants for the bees to make the tastiest honey… Yes, it is quite a lot of work.
But Melissa, head of a 3rd generation family team of beekeepers, knows exactly where to get the best honey. From wild thyme flavours, to pine and more. It’s not just honey either, you’ll also find some amazing cosmetics, taking advantage of the natural medicinal properties of the honey and wax. Plus, spirits blended with honey, for a sweet pick me up!
Honey tasting is free.
What To Do In Kos? Wine Tasting At A Local Vineyard – Triantafyllopoulos
Though wine may have been made for thousands of years across the Greek islands, Kos, Santorini and some of the other famous islands mainly only made wine for personal use, not commercial sale. So, many of the wineries on Kos only started to boom as a result of Tourism. One of the oldest professional vineyards of Kos is Triantafyllopoulos, which was established in 2001.
Even now, most of the wine from Kos is sold locally, and to other Dodecanese islands. So, if you want a real taste of Kos winemaking and local grape varieties, then visiting a vineyard is a great choice. Triantafyllopoulos Winery produce some 70-75 thousand bottles a year, and the grape harvest mainly happens in August, due to the heat, the grapes ripen early here.
They offer wine tasting, with views of the sea over the vineyard, and a tour complimentary, no reservation needed. If you want lunch you need to book in advance – Contact them through their website.
Try Locally Made Olive Oil – Hatzipetros Olive Oil factory
A local family winery with a modern twist, using the latest cutting edge technology to produce the best quality olive oil from locally grown olives. The original production factory was built by the father of the current owner, back in the 1950’s, after he’d been working in olive oil production since the age of 10. Later, in the 1980s, father & son worked together to build the current factory.
It was the first olive oil factory on Kos to use electric machines, rather than donkey power for grinding.
Visit the Hatzipetros Olive Oil factory for a free tasting and to discover all of their other olive based product.
4X4 Adventure To Mount Dikaios And Surrounding Area
Get off track with a jeep safari through inland Kos. This trip takes you off road on unpaved tracks up to Mount Dikaios with stops for unique panoramic views, as well as a traditional Taverna lunch. Discover the forests as well as a local peacock park.
Speaking of peacocks, towards the southwest of Kos, you’ll find the Plaka forest. Enjoy a shady afternoon of walking in this natural woodland, discovering the local flora and fauna.
Tigaki Salt Flats / Wetlands
Just south of Tigaki beach you’ll find an epic salt flat, which is now a preserved wetland. If you arrive to Kos during the off-season, you’ll be able to see hundreds of flamingos from around October to March. Even during the summer, the salt flat glimmers with color. They only stopped collecting salt here in the 1980s.
Kos Restaurants – Where To Eat In Kos
A round up of some of our favourite restaurants whilst visiting Kos.
Arap Taverna – Platani, Close to the Asklepion
At Arap, Chef Kadri Memis maintains a family tradition of serving a mix of Turkish & Greek cuisine. His family heritage is originally Turkish, but his identity is being from Kos. His father opened the restaurant in 1955. Initially a breakfast restaurant, it developed into a full restaurant and by the 1970s was a local hotspot.
A member of the Hellenic executive chef federation for 15 years, Memis has traveled to many countries to demonstrate his style of cooking. He takes a lot of pride in working with local producers to find unique seasonal ingredients on Kos. His restaurant is much more than just a suburban taverna, it’s a piece of local history and a celebration of regional cuisine.
Chef Memis is an expert at grilling meat. So you can’t go too wrong with the meat platter (pictured). Another essential dish to try is the yogurtlu – a dish with flame grilled veg covered in a scrumptious yoghurt sauce.
See reviews of Restaurant Arap on Tripadvisor.
Avli Taverna – Zia
Aside from the stunning panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and Kalymnos island, Avli Taverna in Zia is creating incredible versions of traditional family recipes. For over 25 years, the family matriarch has been running the kitchen, and finding time to raise 6 children, who also help out with the family business. Now in her 70’s, she’s still the lifeblood of the kitchen, always ready to greet you with a smile.
At Avli Taverna, they like to add their own twists to local favourite dishes. Such as, using beer batter to coat their saganaki cheese (pan fried cheese). Their Zucchini fritters are cooked by frying them on a low heat to slowly cook them. That way they become perfect crispy on the outside and properly cooked on the inside. Because, if you flash fry them, they don’t cook evenly.
Enjoy a classic family style Greek dining experience at Avli Taverna in Zia. For the tables with the best views, reservations are essential.
The best piece of octopus I’ve had in Greece, ever. As a massive fan of octopus, I make it my mission to eat it as often as possible when I’m in countries where it is locally caught. Greece is always one of the better places to eat it. So, I’ve had a lot of octopus after so many trips to different parts of Greece. This is the winner. That glowing green olive oil, and all the different sauces only help enhance the succulent tentacle.
From the breads, nibbles and fava bean dip, all the way through the surf & turf with Lobster & Wagyu steak to the re-interpreted black forest dessert, Máina is executing superb food.
Sometimes restaurants in all-inclusive hotels drop the ball, focusing on a captive market. But Máina really stands out as a genuine casual fine dining experience in a lovely atmospheric location. The restaurant is open to outside guests.
To see the full menu and for reservations, visit The Máina Website. Or Call (0030) 2242041291.
Restaurants in Kos Town
Aside from great dining around the island, you can find excellent easy to visit options right in Kos Town too.
Broadway – Modern interpretations of Greek classics with good service and great food overall.
Kostas – On Ioannidi street. A taverna with all the classics. Their chicken gyros is the best (even better than the pork). Even though this is a very touristy street, Kostas is really maintaining a good standard of cooking. Be aware, the gyros are not on the tourist menu, so you have to be specific with the waiter, otherwise you will get a portion – which is huge. Both are good, of course, but if you were hankering for a freshly made gyros, make sure you get the right thing.
Ambrosia Restaurant – Cheap beers (1.5Euro most of the time) and quite acceptable Greek & international food.
Giameze – Small backstreet meze (greek tapas) place with a classic selection of tasty plates.
Find the exact locations for the above restaurants as well as more dining options on our Kos Map below
Kos Accommodation & Car Rental
TOP PICK: Caravia Beach Hotel
Just as I mentioned with Máina restaurant above, I’m sometimes dubious about all inclusive’s. I’ve seen too many that cut corners on food & drink and design. Cookie cutter boxes to herd tourists through with the minimum quality. But, of course, we’ve been lucky enough to stay in some surprisingly good all inclusive’s around the world, And Caravia Beach Resort has made the good list.
Their own private stretch of sandy beach, with a beach club serving you those essential all inclusive beach drinks while you laze and listen to the waves. Check.
An adults only wing with rooms that have walk in access to the pool from their individual patios, and a la carte breakfast menu at the connected restaurant. Check.
The main hotel with a surprisingly tasty buffet selection, including chefs cooking various dishes, and grilling meat and veg, right in front of you at the buffet. Check.
English speaking staff who are polite and offer the same high level of service that we see all around Greece (Warm hospitality is a Greek institution). Check.
An events program with live music and entertainment, day and night. Check.
The interiors of the rooms may not be wow factor for originality (ie. beige) but everything is comfortable and functional. But why stay in your room all day, when there is so much to eat, drink and do just in the resort. You might find it tricky to leave and visit the rest of the island – but you must!
Discover Accommodation options elsewhere on Kos
Other accommodation options to search:
Car Rental – Support Local Suppliers
To discover the hills and history around Kos, driving is essential. If you don’t want to take a guided tour, then rent your own car. Consider supporting a local vendor when renting:
9, Karaiskaki str., Kos, 85300
T: (+30) 2242022997
Μ: (+30) 6944591414
Cars delivered to your resort, or available for pickup at the airport or in Kos town. Just give them a call and book local.
Kos Map: Interactive Map Of Kos Greece (Find everything listed in this article, and more!)
Our Map of Kos Greece includes the verified location of everything listed in this article as well as more useful items like transport locations and additional restaurants and bars. Find your way to the most essential spots, with our Kos map for tourists.