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Second largest of the Dodecanese islands, Kos has something for everyone. Epic ruins line the horizon in one direction, in another there are secret, rocky coves and towering hillsides, and if you turn your head the other way you'll find traditional looking harbour towns with clear azure waters. And of course modern resorts lining sandy bays too. So Kos is an easy Greek island choice. The hard choice is deciding which of the best places to stay on Kos is the one for you!
Approximately 110kms of long, sandy, gently caressed coastline is what attracts many visitors to Kos now, but many visitors to ancient world Kos were coming for the Asklepieon, a healing centre, academy and temple founded near to where Hippocrates practised.
The excavated ruins of the temple are on a hill just 4kms from Kos Town, and are a pilgrimage destination for lots of health professionals. And of course anyone with an interest in the ancient world. Hippocrates himself is said to have practised under the plane tree north of Kos Town's ancient agora.
So the healing power of a visit to Kos isn't solely something the tourist brochures promise, its rejuvenating powers have been recognised for about a thousand years. And it's not just the fresh air, fresh water and good food. To partake in one of the historic heals, visit the natural hot springs at Therma Beach.
As well as the ancient Greeks, Kos also has remains from Turkish, Roman, Persian and Byzantine era inhabitants. The main sights are probably
- the ancient agora, which has the ruins of a 3rd-Century BC stoa on one side, and a 5th Century basilica on another;
- the Castle of the Knights, separated from Kos Town by a moat, built at the same time as the castle, in the 14th Century;
- and the wonderfully preserved mosaics of the 3rd Century House of Europa.
But there are any number of sights and sites of archaeological value dotted all over the island, including an abundance of well preserved Roman era mosaics. Regular earthquakes between the second and sixth centuries means there's been plenty of interesting excavation work to do.
If you're interested in the island's history you'll also want to visit the archaeological museum, which is pretty well populated with treasures by Dodecanese standards.
Those are just the man made treasures. For a peek at some of the natural ones take the two hour boat trip out to volcanic Nissyros and see the unearthly crater of Stephanos, which bubbles with mud, or the wonderful views from the cape of Agios Fokas.
Kos isn't just for R&R, or history buffs, if you want to blend in some activity, then maybe consider exploring the island by bike? It's pretty flat, so it's a civilised rather than challenging ride.
- For the best of both worlds which typifies Kos, stay at the Aqua Blu Hotel & Spa in Kos Town. It's a modern construction right on the sea front, but its gorgeous sea views and traditional spa treatments can't be far from what Hippocrates would have ordered. Easily one of the best places to stay if you're looking for a beach holiday with a bit more!
Best Hotels in Kos
Kos Aktis Art Hotel 42 rooms from $117Kos, Kos
This modern hotel on the island of Kos, enjoys a stunning seaside setting. The minimalist rooms are chic and boast fantastic views from their balconies. Spend the day relaxing on the beach or exploring the fascinating town of Kos before returning for delicious Mediterranean cuisine. A coastal gem.Romantic Break - With stunning sea views and luxurious rooms, it's perfect for a romantic break right on the coast of Kos.Sights nearby - Sights of interest nearby include the Muslim Shrine Lotzias and the Tree of Hippocrates.Local markets - Browse the local markets of Kos and pick up the cream of local produce.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.
Aqua Blu Hotel & Spa 53 rooms from $219Lambi Beach, Kos
An idyllic hotel on the sea front. Gorgeous rooms and suites in contemporary chic style with private balconies, some with private pools. Fantastic restaurants, luxurious spa, and sun trap pool area. A romantic choice for glamourous sun seekers.Romantic BreakHoneymoonsBeach LifeViews - Great views from hotelRecommended by - Tablet, Small Luxury Hotels