Kastri Island: A Postcard-pretty Islet in Kamari Bay
Under intense blue skies, rising from the waters of the Kamari Bay, just opposite the Agios Stefanos Beach, there is an islet: Kastri. Although the bay is officially called Kamari, it appears in many travel guides and articles as Kefalos Bay.
Barren and rocky, Kastri is a picture-perfect eye-candy islet and one of the most photographed attractions in this part of Kos. It is typically a wedding destination, mainly because, although uninhabited, it has a small chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos) on its grounds.
The chapel gives the island its unique charm: a white-washed temple with a blue dome and a blue door. On the place occupied by the chapel today, there was once a temple dedicated to Poseidon – the god of the sea and savior of sailors. Like the legendary Greek Olympian god once, Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors too.
Kasti Island’s other – unofficial – name is Paleokastro because of a former fortress set here in Medieval times to defend Kos against pirates and other attackers. Ruins of the fortress are still visible at the top of the highest rock formation of the islet, some are scattered around it, and others lay under the sea.
Swimming to Kastri Island
Agios Stefanos Beach is just 40 minutes by car driving from Astir Odysseus Kos Resort & Spa. The beach is one of the shortest access points to the islet for swimmers. Although the distance to Kastri island is not long from here – some 100+ meters, there are risks for beginners provided unpredictable underwater currents. More experienced swimmers may also choose Paralia Kefalos – the beach of Kefalos – as the starting point of their aquatic adventure.
If you are not a swimmer, but you still want to step foot on the island, you can take a boat from the port of Kamari or rent a pedalo from one of the rentals on the beach of Kefalos. Once on the islet, follow the path to the church, and ring the bell for good luck. Take in the views of the harbor of Kamari, Kefalos, and Agios Stefanos.
And, if you do want to swim but you were shy to adventure all the way from Kefalos to Kastri Islet, the water is safe close to shore, crystal clear – enough to allow you to observe the colorful seabed. Fans of snorkeling will appreciate this experience as much as swimmers. Scuba diving is another way to explore the waters – in fact, there is a scuba diving center just across the island, on the beach of Agios Stefanos.
Pretty Pictures of Kastri Island
You can take absolutely jaw-dropping pictures of Kastri Island from Agios Stefanos Beach – especially from the ruins of the paleo-Christian Basilica of St. Stephan (Agios Stefanos) that make such a picturesque setting just steps from the sea. And it is always an enchanted experience to watch the moon rising over Kastri Island on full-moon nights holding hands with your beloved.
Watersports Near Kastri Island
Besides the scuba diving center, watersports enthusiasts will discover the Water Club Poseidon, offering boat rentals, jet skis, wakeboards, water skis, sea bikes, canoes, and lessons for beginner jet and water skiers. In addition, Kefalos Windsurfing offers equipment for windsurfing and classes for beginners and children, sailing boats, and StandUp Paddling (SUP) boards and paddle rentals. Going to the Kastri Island on a SUP board can be a fun and novel activity!
Kastri Island: More than a Wedding Destination
As you see, Kastri Island is more than a wedding destination. You can enjoy it with your children, solo, as a water sports enthusiast, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, or with a boat tour. And, if you are an avid photographer, this is a Kos destination you will never forget.