Five Things to Do on Kos Island
Kos embodies the essence of Dr. Hippocrates’ vision for a healthy environment as described in his treatise, “On Airs, Waters and Places.” This tranquil island spans a mere 124 square kilometres, flaunting idyllic sandy beaches, lush plains, and formidable mountains. Situated in the Aegean Sea, it rests circa five kilometres off the coast of Turkey and approximately 225 kilometres southwest of Athens.
The sun in Kos shines with undiminished strength and purity, unobstructed by air pollutants, much like it did in the time of Hippocrates. As per Koan tradition, the advice to wear hats remains relevant, as the fresh mountain air tempers the solar heat. The surrounding water is ideal for swimming and snorkelling, still reflecting the pristine “wine-dark” sea described by Homer. The sacred medicinal spring, which once formed part of Kos’s water supply and was recommended by Hippocrates, still flows.
Explore the ancient pathways of Asklepieion
Hippocrates’s office, though now unoccupied, stands as a charming square near the harbour. The office furniture is an immense plane tree, its gnarled and aged limbs reaching out to bask in the sunlight. Below these limbs, it is said that the physician received patients and students. The medical centre, known as the Asklepieion (or Asclepieion), was a testament to Hippocrates’s teachings, rejecting the notion of a disease as a divine punishment and instead attributing illness to natural causes.
The Kos Asklepieion, constructed around 500 B.C., once drew crowds, and was praised by the poet Herodas in the second century A.D. Over time, the centre fell into obscurity, only to be rediscovered and partially reconstructed by English and German archaeologists in the 1900s. The site, built on the foothills of Mount Díkaios, offers a stunning view of the sea separating Kos from Turkey. The inscription “Death is Forbidden to Enter Here” above the main gate encapsulates the island’s spirit, extending beyond the Asklepieion.
Embark on a thrilling jeep safari up Mount Díkaios
Among the most exciting adventures on Kos Island, jeep safaris navigating rugged, unpaved tracks count among the tourist favourites. Take the opportunity to venture off the well-trodden tourist paths, immerse yourself in lush greenery, encounter local wildlife, and be treated to breathtaking vistas at every turn in a jeep safari up Mount Díkaios. Upon reaching the peak, step into the charming chapel of Christos, capturing stunning panoramic photographs of the surrounding islands. Survey the glistening Aegean Sea below and relish the refreshing mountain air that envelops you, then conclude your excursion with a delightful traditional tavern lunch in a nearby village, where you can indulge in authentic local cuisine and engage with the warm and welcoming locals.
Sunbathe on the enchanting Tigaki Beach
Tigaki Beach nestles on the idyllic north coast of the island and boasts over three kilometres of soft, powdery white sand, flanked by a picturesque two-lane shore road. To the east, this pristine stretch of coastline narrows, at times only a few meters wide, while to the west, a sprawling 200-meter dune landscape graces the backdrop where Tigaki Beach meets the Alikes Tigaki salt lake, with the estuary marking the boundary to the neighbouring Marmari Beach. The panoramic vistas from Tigaki Beach encompass Pserimos Island and the distant Turkish mainland coast.
The central section of Tigaki Beach, which adjoins the heart of Tigaki, is thoughtfully managed by neighbouring restaurants and beachfront tavernas and bars, offering a range of amenities. Visitors can rent sunshades, sunbeds, and beach beds for a nominal fee. Many of these designated areas also provide showers and, in some cases, changing rooms, restrooms, and Wi-Fi. Certain sections have windbreakers for blustery days. However, for those seeking a more secluded spot, particularly in the western part of the beach near the dunes and salt lake, ample space awaits, often affording a touch of seclusion. In the eastern expanse, the natural shade beneath the trees provides a serene respite.
The gentle, shallow entry into the crystalline waters of Tigaki Beach, almost entirely free of stones, renders it ideal for families with young children, seniors, and novice swimmers. While lifeguards are only stationed in select areas, typically from late May to early September, numerous water sports providers enhance the aquatic allure. There are abundant opportunities for aquatic adventure, from pedal boats, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards to exhilarating jet skis and water skiing. For land-based activities, the beach and its environs offer extensive walking paths, several beach volleyball courts, and a popular cycling route along the shore road.
Discover the inner workings of a 19th-century windmill at the Traditional Windmill of Antimachia
Greece’s iconic landmarks date back to pre-industrial times, displaying a remarkable sustainability model while meeting the essential need for bread. In the 12th and 13th centuries, windmills emerged across Greek landscapes. Among them is the traditional windmill of Antimachia, also known as the priest’s windmill or Amallou windmill, which boasts a rich history tracing back to the 19th century.
Restored following the earthquake of 1933, this windmill stands today as one of the few fully operational and productive windmills in Greece. Inside, visitors can witness the windmill’s workings and explore a collection of ancient artefacts. An on-site souvenir shop offers delectable products crafted from the windmill’s flour, including timeless favourites like lemon and cinnamon cookies, which not only tantalize the taste buds but also come at a reasonable price.
This historical site offers guided tours of one of the few remaining original windmills still operating today. Ascend the narrow steps to delve into the windmill’s rich history, presented by the owning family. Witness the manual operation of the windmill in real time and savour the breathtaking sea views from its windows.
Bathe in the healing waters of Empros Thermi
The renowned Kos healing waters, also known as the Thermes (Empros Thermi) by locals, are situated approximately 12 km from Kos town and 14 km from the Astir Odysseus Kos Resort & Spa. These therapeutic waters are a magnet for both tourists and residents. Empros Thermi is nestled in Agios Fokas and can be accessed by bus, rental, or private transportation. Upon arrival, visitors will embark on a 20–30-minute hike along a rocky trail from the bus stop to Therma Beach, a journey that rewards them with breathtaking sea views along the way.
The healing waters of Kos hold a storied legacy and are considered one of the must-see attractions on the island. Discovered by an Italian archaeologist in 1934, these waters surged in popularity during the 1960s and 70s, remaining a prominent draw for visitors today. Enriched with sulfur and beneficial minerals, Kos’s thermal spring offers many advantages for the body.
As a result of its size and allure, the beach tends to draw sizable crowds, particularly during peak seasons when visitors flock to savour the rejuvenating properties of the healing waters. These waters are known to promote cellular oxygenation, stimulate the intestinal tract and liver secretions, bolster the immune system, induce physical and mental relaxation, and aid in treating injuries and skin conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis. It is worth noting that the pungent scent of sulfur pervades the air, and the water temperature typically ranges from 30° to 50° Celsius. To find the ideal bathing spot, one can follow the lead of local patrons, most of whom favour areas where the water is pleasantly warm rather than scorching hot.
For 2024, Astir Odysseus Kos Resort & Spa has curated a selection of exquisite destinations, each carefully chosen to offer a blend of rejuvenation and adventure. These timeless locations have been thoughtfully selected to provide guests an unparalleled experience, whether seeking tranquil relaxation or captivating escapades. Their undeniable value unites them all, promising unforgettable moments for those seeking a well-deserved getaway.