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Kos Island Guide

Kos Island, formerly known as Istanköy, welcomes you with the scent of history and the clear waters of the Aegean. This unique island invites you on an enchanting journey with its distinctive history and natural beauty.

Kos Island Guide

Welcome to an island that dances with the winds carrying the scent of history in the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean – Kos Island, or by its former name, Istanköy. This unique island invites you on a captivating journey with its distinctive history and natural beauty. Situated in the southeast of Greece, not far from the Bodrum Peninsula, Kos stands out with its tranquil beaches, ancient ruins, and traditional architecture.

Kos’s warm climate meets the streets that bear the traces of many civilizations throughout history. From the ancient Greek era to the Roman and Byzantine influences, the island has hosted a rich cultural heritage that has endured to the present day. This heritage tells a story that stretches from ancient theaters to old cathedrals, marked by stone steps and etched into every corner of the island. In this article, we will explore the history of Kos Island, its noteworthy structures, and its prominent features. Are you ready to dive into the mysterious atmosphere of Kos?

Where is Kos Island?

Where is Kos Island

Kos Island is located in the heart of the azure waters of the Aegean Sea, known for its geographical richness. It is situated in the southeastern part of Greece, just a few miles away from Turkey’s Bodrum Peninsula. Getting to this island is quite easy.

The narrow streets and historical texture of Kos Island will take you on a journey back to ancient times, while its crystal-clear bays and tranquil beaches offer perfect places to enjoy a modern vacation. The island’s geographical location appeals to both history enthusiasts and nature lovers. Considered as Greece’s jewel, Kos is a destination where history and nature coexist harmoniously.

How to Get to Kos Island?

How to Get to Kos Island

There are several different options to reach the enchanting atmosphere of Kos Island.

By Air

Kos Island has an international airport and can be easily accessed with direct flights from many European cities. Thanks to these flights, you can easily reach the island and kickstart your vacation quickly.

By Sea

If you prefer a more romantic journey, you can consider reaching Kos Island by ferry. Ferries departing from Greece’s main ports will take you to the island while you enjoy magnificent sea views.

By Land

Traveling to Kos by road is also possible. After a short sea journey by ferry, especially from the Bodrum area in Turkey, you can reach the island from the Greek mainland.

With a wide range of transportation options, you can plan a trip that suits your budget and preferences. The gates to Kos Island are open, waiting for you to have an unforgettable holiday experience!

The History of Kos

The History of Kos

The history of Kos Island dates back thousands of years, and the island’s past has been shaped by the influence of various civilizations.

Since ancient Greek times, Kos has been known for its famous Asklepion, dedicated to the god of medicine, Asclepius. This ancient health complex was a significant center in the field of medicine, and people from all around the world would come here to pray for healing. Hippocrates, who laid the foundations of modern medicine, received his medical education here.

After the Roman Empire, Kos came under the control of the Byzantine Empire. During the Byzantine era, Kos Island was adorned with a series of churches and cathedrals. Throughout the Middle Ages, due to its strategic location, Kos became a place where various cultures and empires ruled.

During the Ottoman Empire‘s rule, Kos Island enriched itself with various cultural influences at different times. This diversity in the island’s history now offers travelers a rich cultural heritage. Kos’s history includes ancient ruins, remnants from the Middle Ages, and traces of the Ottoman era, making it an attractive destination for history enthusiasts.

What Are the Structures of Kos Island?

What Are the Structures of Kos Island

Kos has been influenced by many civilizations throughout history, and this diversity is reflected in the architectural richness of the island. There are many historical structures worth visiting on Kos:


This health complex dating back to ancient Greek times is one of the most important structures on Kos Island. Asklepion was dedicated to the god of medicine, Asclepius, and served as a significant center for health seekers in the ancient world. The area is known for its marble columns, temples, and works related to medicine.

Kos City Walls

The walls that surrounded Kos during the Middle Ages are an important structure reflecting the island’s historical defense strategies. These walls were built and expanded during various periods of different cultures’ dominion over the island.

Kos Ancient Theater

This theater, reflecting the beauty of ancient Greek architecture, is one of the most impressive structures on the island. Although it was used as a fortress during the Middle Ages, today it serves as an ancient monument visited by tourists.

Kos Castle

Located in the center of the island, Kos Castle is a structure dating back to the Middle Ages. Originally built for defensive purposes, the castle now serves as a museum and exhibition area. It bears traces from the Ottoman Empire’s era.

Algerian Hasan Pasha Mosque

Rising next to the Tree of Hippocrates, Gazi Hasan Pasha Mosque was built by Algerian Gazi Hasan Pasha in 1786. The mosque stands out with its impressive cut stone architecture. Unfortunately, the 2017 Kos earthquake caused significant damage to the mosque. The lion statue next to the mosque is a reminder of Gazi Hasan Pasha’s history, where he used to collect tribute from and tame a lion in the past.

Defterdar Ibrahim Pasha Mosque

Located in Eleftherias Square, the Defterdar Ibrahim Pasha Mosque was built in 1724 by Ibrahim Pasha, the Finance Director of Istanköy during the Ottoman era. However, the earthquake that occurred in Kos in 2017 caused significant damage to this beautiful Ottoman mosque. Both the mosque and its fountain suffered serious damage due to the earthquake and, unfortunately, had to be closed for worship. The historical mosque’s current condition is heartbreaking, and hopefully, it will be restored to its former glory one day.

Platani Village (Turkish Quarter)

Approximately 3,000 Turkish citizens continue to live in the picturesque village of Germe, which offers a historic atmosphere on Kos Island. This village, located just 3 km from the center of Kos, provides pleasant transportation options for walking or cycling. Along this route, a Jewish cemetery from World War II and a historic cemetery from the Ottoman era also attract attention.

Platani Village is particularly known for its Turkish restaurants, making it a special attraction for tourists visiting the area. While seafood dominates the cuisine on Kos Island in general, the Turkish restaurants in Platani Village offer traditional flavors for those longing for Turkish cuisine, providing an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

These structures are just a few examples that reflect the history and cultural richness of Kos Island. Each one is filled with traces from the island’s past and offers visitors a journey through time.

What Are the Beaches of Kos Island?

What Are the Beaches of Kos Island

Kos Island is a pearl shining in the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea. Its beaches offer a piece of paradise with their golden sands and refreshing waters. On this island where nature and history embrace, each beach offers unique beauty and tranquility. Let’s explore the beaches…


This coastal town, located 22 kilometers west of Kos Island’s center, is home to the island’s second-largest port. Mastichari Beach is one of Kos’s favorite regions with various accommodation options, delicious taverns, and fun water sports. It also offers an excellent environment for windsurfing enthusiasts.

Kardamena (Paradise)

Kardamena, formerly a fishing village, has transformed into a tourist destination with its kilometers of beaches that attract tourists. Paradise Beach, with its renowned white sand, is an irresistible beauty waiting to be discovered.


Located 10 kilometers north of Kos Port, this beach is one of the most popular and famous coastal spots on the island. Famous for its white sandy shores and crystal-clear waters, this beach is a hidden paradise waiting to be explored.


Located in the southwest of the island, this area has a charming atmosphere with its pure white houses and perfect beaches. You can easily reach the famous Agia Ioannis Monastery from Kefalos Beach for a delightful swimming experience.


The closest beach to the center of Kos Island, located just a few kilometers away, is like an oasis. Lambi Beach offers enchanting beauty with its white fine sand and a coastline of about one kilometer. You can easily reach it from Kos Port with regular buses.


Located only 10 kilometers from Kos Port, Therma Beach stands out with its unique feature: the hot thermal water that flows from the mountain next to the beach. This beach, famous for its natural thermal springs, has become a heavenly destination where warm waters offer a unique sea experience.


Another coastal town with wide sandy beaches on Kos Island is Marmari. In this area, a variety of delicious traditional Greek taverns offer visitors an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

Agios Stefanos

Agios Stefanos Beach is located in the southwest of Kos Island and is one of the favorite stops for visitors with its rows of sun loungers along the shore. Right next to the beach, you can find the remarkable Agios Stefanos Basilica ruins. Swimming among these historical remnants adds a unique pleasure. Across the beach, the blue-and-white charming church on a small island called Nisi Kastri creates a pleasant atmosphere.


Located very close to Kefalos, Lagada Beach is renowned for its clear sea and golden sand. This unique beach promises visitors an exceptional sea experience with its clean waters and golden tones of sand.


Markos Beach is one of the perfect beaches preferred by families. Its shallow and crystal-clear blue sea feels like a paradise corner. When you get hungry during the day, you can liven up your day with delicious snacks at the restaurant right next to the beach.

Agios Fokas (Psalidi)

Agios Fokas Beach in the Psalidi area, very close to Kos Town, has been awarded the Blue Flag and is easily accessible. The presence of many fish restaurants, taverns, cafes, and hotels around the beach increases the number of visitors. Moreover, it is ideal for windsurfing and offers an environment not only for windsurfing but also for experiencing various water sports.

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Summary of a Visit to Kos Island and Travel Tips

Summary of a Visit to Kos Island and Travel Tips

Kos is a treasure trove with its deep historical roots, natural beauty, and cultural riches. This pearl of an island shining in the waters of the Aegean Sea offers visitors an unforgettable experience with its tranquil beaches, historical ruins, and distinctive architecture.

From ancient Greek times to the influence of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, and the Ottoman Empire, Kos has been under the sway of various civilizations, enchanting with historical structures bearing traces from each. From Asklepion to the Kos Island Walls, from the Ancient Theater to Kos Castle, every corner sheds light on the island’s rich past.

Getting to Kos is also quite easy; you can easily reach the island by air, sea, or land. Travelers not only enjoy the sun and the sea but also have the chance to explore in an atmosphere steeped in history.

With its cuisine, warm-hearted people, and historical ambiance, Kos Island is not just a vacation but also a journey of discovery. Strolling in the shadow of ancient walls at sunset, touching ancient ruins, and cooling off in the crystal-clear waters is to truly experience the magic of Kos. If you want to create unforgettable memories and embark on a journey into the depths of history, Kos is an island waiting to be discovered.

Kos Island Guide Map

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