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KOS island holidays

Kos is the third largest island of the Dodecanese archipelago, after Rhodes and Karpathos  with an area of 290 km2.
It lies between the islands of Nisyros and Kalymnos, close to the Asia Minor coast.
Kos is the greenest and most fertile island of the group and the second more touristy and popular island after cosmopolitan Rhodes.  Kos is the island that gave the world Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine.  

Kos has so many interesting places to discover that the visitor's needs are almost entirely covered - historical monuments of worldwide importance, fabulous beaches (Kos is the perhpaps the island with the longest length of coastlines and beaches in the Mediterranean), natural scenery of unrivalled beauty and a multitude of activities, sports and cultural events; a perfect place for holidays!

It is a very green island with an excellent infrastructure and large roads lined up with palm trees giving it its exotic flair. It is long and flat with two low mountains, Dikaio (875 m.) and Simpatro and that is why bicycles are a means of transport much used on the island.

During your visit to Kos, you must certainly visit the ancient ruins of the city that are numerous and remarkable, the ruins of 'Asklipios", the 'Castle of the Knights'and the huge tree of Hippocrates (trunk diameter is 11,5 meters!).

Kos receives a lot of young people every summer who come to enjoy its beautiful beaches and intense night life but it is also an ideal destination for romantic or family holidays as the island covers the needs of all holiday makers!

kos | cultural INFORMATION


Kos is a real cross road of civilizations – an island inhabited since antiquity where conquerors have left their marks and given the island its multicultural atmosphere.

According to mythology, Kos is the sacred land of Asclepius, god of healing.  Archaeological findings prove that this island was inhabited since prehistoric times. Kos was inhabited in prehistoric times.

Around the 14th century BC, the Minoans arrived from Crete and occupied the island to be followed by the Dorians a few centuries later who constructed the ancient city of Kos around 700 BC which together with Lindos, Kamiros and Ialyssos in Rhodes and  Ialysos on Cnidus and Halicarnassus in Asia Minor they formed the so-called Dorian Hexapolis.

The Persians conquered the island of Kos during the 5th century BC but were defeated by the Athenians (in the battle of Salamina) who took control of the island. In 460 BC, Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, whose name is known throughout the world, since he was the founder of the first school of medicine, was born in Kos. After his death (357 BC) the people of Kos built the famous Asklepeion, in honour of the god Asklepios, which operated as a hospital, admitting thousands of patients from all over the Mediterranean and applied the methods of therapy taught by Hippocrates.

In 335 BC, the island of Kos became part of the Macedonian Empire. After the death of Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies (its successors) took control of the island and of the rest of the Dodecanese. The Byzantine period brought prosperity and wealth to Kos, unfortunately threatened by constant pirate raids of which the most dangerous was the attacks of the Saracens.  Kos became part of the Eastern colony of the Roman Empire after 82 BC. In 1204 AD, the Venetians occupied the island of Kos. The Knights of Saint John, who were established on Rhodes, also took the control of Kos in 1315 AD. A century later, they built the superb fortress that stands today at the entrance of the harbour of Kos as well as other fortifications. In 1522, the Turks took the island and held it until 1912, when the Italian troupes invaded Kos and expelled them. The disastrous earthquake of 1934 destroyed almost all the island. The Germans followed the Italians in 1943 to end in 1945 when Kos came under British rule. Finally, on the 7th of March 1948, Kos was united to the newly built Greek State.


  • The Archaeological Museum – located in the main square, Plateia Elefterias.  
  • Folkloric museum in Antimachia
  • Hani - The cultural center Ancient House Hippocrates Garden is located in Mastichari. It is an exact replica of an Ancient Greek Settlement in the 5th century B.C. It specializes in the revival of the ancient Greek way of life at the time when the great Greek doctor lived.
  • Jewish synagogue

What to see

  • The ‘Nerantzia Castle’ (Kos town) - Situated in the entrance of Kos port on a sight that, in antiquity, used to be an island communicating with the inland through a brigde, that one sees even today (The bridge of the Phoenicians' street). It is formed of two defensive precincts. The interior one has four circular towers in the corners; the southeastern tower forms part of the exterior precinct, which is larger than the first, with massive bastions on the four corners, battlements and gunports. The most important part of the fortifications were built by the Knights of St. John at the end of the 14th century A.D.   It is worth noting that the castle of Nerantzia along with the castle of Saint Peter on the opposite coast of Ancient Alicarnasus (today's Bodrum Castle) controlled the sea way towards the holly lands during Holy Crusades.
  • The ‘Casa Romana’ (Kos Town) – one of the most interesting sights of Kos. The site is a Roman Manor erected between the 2nd and the 3rd century A.D. that comprises 36 rooms and three atriums with beautiful statues and mosaics
  • The Roman Odeon (Kos Town)
  • The Ancient Agora (Kos Town) - The ancient Agora of Kos (commercial, social cultural center in antiquity) is among the largest to have been excavated in Greece to this date.
  • The Asclepeion of Kos Situated 4 km west of Kos town, Asklepeio is the most significant archaeological site on the island and it was one of the most important sanctuaries of ancient Greece.  In antiquity, it served as a sanatorium and it was dedicated to Asclepius, son of Apollo, protector of health and medicine. Many significant people taught and worked here, one of them being the father of Medicine, Hippokrates.
  • Ancient Stadium
  • The Lozia or Plane tree mosque & The Defterdar mosque
  • The Western archaeological zone – a big area with lots of excavations going on still
  • The two early Christian basilicas of St Stefanos (Kefalos) dating back to 469 A.D. and 554 A.D.
  • The ancient castle of Kefalos
  • The Antimachia Castle (SE of Antimachia) – it is a Medieval Age fortress built between 1322 and 1346.  Inside the castle there are ruins of the old settlement of Antimachia, many cisterns and two old churches. The settlement was abandoned in 1840.
  • Temple of Apollo (Kardamena)
  • Castle and Old town of Pyli - The ruins of the old town of Pyli and its castle can be found on a hilltop, 3,5 kms from the modern village of Pyli, approximately 17 kms from the city of Kos. The old town is an abandoned settlement on the foot of a Byzantine castle, built in the times of Macedonian dynasty (9th century A.D. - 11th century A.D). From the castle the visitor will enjoy magnifficent views of the nearby islands of Pserimos and Kalymnos and of the shores of Asia Minor.
  • Zia and Asfendou traditional settlements


  • Hippocrates Plane tree –  Opposite the Neratzia castle and next to the ancient Αgora of Kos a 2300 year old plane tree that Hippocrates, the father of Medicine, taught under. It is a site visited by thousands every year.
  • Therma are located in Aghios Fokas and they are century old hot springs.  Don’t hesitate to take a free natural spa in the small lake created in front of the beach!
  • Don’t miss watching the sunset from Zia ...
  • Take a walk at the Kos marina ...
  • Take a ride with the Green and Blue trains that tour visitors through the historic center of Kos town or around the town of Kardamaina (green train) or aournd Asklepio (blue train).
  • Have a bicycle ride!
kos | Villages

The island of Astypalea has 4 small picturesque villages: Chora, Maltezana (or Analipsi), Vathi and Livadia.

{tab Chora}

Chora is the principal settlement of Astypalea and the main tourist attraction. The Venetian Querini Castle dominates the town as it stands on the hill overlooking the whole village. Within the Castle walls there is one of the most beautiful churches of the Dodecanese islands, the church of “Panaghia tou Kastrou: (The church of the Annunciation) and the church of Aghios Georgios (Church of Saint George). The white houses, which are spread around Querini Castle, with their blue windows, wooden balconies and colorful geranium flowers, give Chora a traditional charm. Over the centuries, the little white houses started spreading outside the castle’s walls until covering the hill and joining with the port of Pera Yialos. On the left of Chora is Pera Yialos and on the right is Livadi village.

{tab Pera Yialos }

Pera Yialos is a small settlement located within a short waking distance from Chora. First, it was the port of the island and welcomed the island visitors, until the new port at Aghios Andreas was constructed. It is quite developed and ideal for a short stay and swimming at the wonderful beach. This is where most tourist facilities on the island are found, from hotels to cafeterias, taverns and beach bars. Today, it serves regural trips to the nearby beaches and sites that attract many tourists. Not to miss the beautiful sunset from Pera Yialos and the caique boats returning from their fishing full of fish.

{tab Livadi }

Livadi is a seaside village located 21km southeast of Chora. Livadi is a rich coastal valley that produces exceptional quality citrus fruits and vegetables and ends upon an excellent sandy beach. The great epic poet, Homer, had described this pleasant valley as the Table of the Gods because of its productive soil and rich fertility. On its western hills, there are large numbers of windmills forming a nice pattern and on the valley there is an artificial lake surrounded by trees and beautiful birds. There are many cafeterias, traditional taverns and local bars in Livadia where fresh fish and good food are served.


Analipsi or Maltezana lies on a small fertile plain on the northern side of the island and it has a beautiful sandy beach. Many fishermen moor their boats here and the daily cruise caiques depart from here. There are many sights to visit including the chapel of Analipsi, at the end of the village and the Agia Varvara chapel built on the site of the ancient temple of Artemis. The ruins of the temple can still be found at the chapel to this date. There are some wonderful mosaics from the 3rd century in the chapel. There is also the Panagia Poulariani monastery. There are some beaches around the village as well, at Vryssi and Shinonta. Makrigialos is a village adjacent to the village of Analipsi. Excavations in the region brought out a Minoan villa. A villa from the Roman period was also excavated in the region.

{tab Vathi  }

Vathi is the smallest and most remote village of Astypalaia. Vathi is a traditional fishing village and has a harbour which offers natural protection from the winds, where ferries dock when the wind is not suitable in the port of Astypalea.

The village of Vathi accommodates beautiful and calm beaches with crystal clear waters. One can also take pleasure in the fresh fish dishes and other local delicacies in the traditional taverns and ouzo bars available. Near Vathi, there are two ancient limestone caves, the Cave of the Dragon with deposits of stalaktites and stalagmites and the other one is the Cave of the Negro.

kos | Beaches

There are beaches at Pera Yialos, Livadi and Maltezana that you can also go to with the local buses. Further away, are the beaches of Agios Constantinos, Tzanaki, Papou, Moura and the wonderful beach of Kaminakia (with a good tavern), that can be reached by road or caique.

More remote are the beaches of Ai-Giannis, Panormos, Pachia Ammos and Vathi, while the daily excursion caiques also take you to the nearby islets of Agia Kyriaki and Koutsomitis.

The beach of Vatses is also very nice – it has a cantine and sun umbrellas whilst on the right and at a height of about 150m is the Cave of the Negro. At the northernmost point of Exo Nisi is the beach of Psili Ammos.


  • Livadi : Sand and tamarisk trees Steno : Ideal for families with kids
  • Shinontas : Large pebbles and nearby taverns. Visit the Monument of the French Sailors which is nearby
  • Aghios Konstantinos : Enjoy swimming in the sea with a view of the Castle.

Easy Access

  • Plakes : Large stone beach with a small sandy beach
  • Karekli : After Schinontas 4 beaches offer isolation...
  • Blue Limanaki : Crystal clear waters, sand and fine pebbles
  • Tzanaki : Nudist beach
  • Psili Ammos : Turquoise waters and rocks carved by the saltiness and wind

To be discovered

  • Kaminakia : Sand and pebbles
  • Vatses : Difficult route with gravel road




General Info

  • Airport
  • Local bus service, Taxis, Car, moto, bicycle rentals
  • Health Center
  • Camping

Telephone Numbers

  • Tourist information (+30) 22430 61778
  • Airport: +30 22430 61410 & +30 22430 61665
  • Port Authority (+30) 22430 61208
  • Police (+30) 22430 61207
  • Health Center (+30) 22430 61222
  • Blue Star Ferries (+30) 22430 61224
  • Olympic Airways (+30) 22430 61588
  • Townhall (+30) 22430 61206
Getting there

Astypalea has air and sea connection. Its airport deserves only national flights. The facility is located nearby the village Analipsis and approximately 12 kms northeast of the city of Astypalaia.

By air: Olympic Air (duration of trip 55’ from Athens Elefterios Venizelos airport). The Astypalea airport connects the island with Athens, Leros, Kos, Karpathos, Kalymnos and Rhodes islands.

By sea: Blue Star Ferries (duration of trip appx. 10 hrs from Pireaus port), from Kalymnos with “Nissos Kalymnos” every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Get around

You can get around by bus or by car or motorbike.

From Pera Yialos a bus travels every 30 minutes in July and August (four times daily other months) to Hora and Livadi (€1), and from Hora and Pera Yialos hourly in July and August (three times daily other months) to Analipsi (Maltezana; €1.50) via Marmari Beach.


Sailing & Yachting

The endless coastline of the Dodecanese islands and the fact that many of them are close to each other are ideal for visiting these islands with your own or a rented sail or motor boat. There are many sailing agencies that offer such options. The only Dodecanese islands that dispose of marinas are Nisyros, Rhodes, Kos, Tilos, Astypalaia and Leros.

Pera Yialos (main harbour): The island’s municipal marina provides secure berthing for around 30 yachts. Water & electricity points installed. Diesel via telephone from the nearby gasoline station via a small truck.

Agios Andreas: The new artificial harbor on the NW side of the island. Max. 5 boats but well protected from winds (except SE winds). Livadia, Vathi and Maltezana are other well protected anchorages.

Yacht services/repairs/yards in Astypalea : None

Festivals & Events

  • Feast of Virgin Mary (August 15th). It is the largest and lasts three days. The first night, there is a feast in the church. On the day, they cook Lampriano (stuffed lamb). Invited are all summer visitors. The expenses are taken care by the municipality.
  • Traditional feast of Panaghia Poulariani (September 8th) in Maltezana.
  • Traditional feast of Saint Pandeleimon (July 27th) in Livadi.
  • The Astypalea Cultural, Music festival (every summer)

Excursions & Sports

  • A special experience is to rent in Pera Gialos a motor boat and take the island tour! No diploma required.
  • There are daily excursion boats departing from Pera Yialos and Maltezana ports that take you to the more remote western beaches of Agios Ioannis, Kaminakia and Vatses, or to the islets of Koutsomytis or Kounoupa. When the weather is good, they run longer round-island excursions. Tickets are bought on the boat.
  • You can enjoy water sports (bike, canoe, windsurfing) at Livadi beach!


Climbing: Astypalea disposes of a very interesting climbing field called “Ftera” with 20 climbing routes that are equipped with stainless steel M10 connectors and relays to an end. The rock is limestone and is generally quite good. The field is easily accessible from the townn of Chora (20 minutes by car in good dirt road).

Trekking: There is an important network of market trails

Caves: for the lovers of speleology Astypalaia has 2 mapped caves. The cave of the Negro, in Vatses with unique stalactites and stalagmites and the cave of the Dragon, in Vathi or else know as “Drakospilia” (recommended only for experienced climbers).

Island Hopping

Astypalea can be combined with the Cyclades islands of Amorgos, Donoussa, Naxos and Paros and the Dodecanese islands of Kalymnos.

kos MAP
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