The Old Town of Kos is fascinating. This is where you will stumble upon legendary landmarks like the Tree of Hippocrates, Casa Romana, Platia Elefteria (Freedom Square) with the Agora and swanky cafes, Neratzia Castle, the Archaeological Museum of Kos, the Altar of Dionysus, and many other attractions.
When you stroll through the Old Town of Kos, the charm of the city embraces you with welcoming arms. This part of the island is by far the most culturally rich and diverse of the island.
Castle of the Knights of the Order of St. John
Also called the Neratzia Castle (sometimes spelled Nerantzia), the Castle of the Knights of the Order of St. John is the legacy left by the Knights Hospitaller. Construction works started in 1315 and lasted for over thirteen decades. The castle is a striking sight from the sea and, with its fortress-within-fortress feature, it’s even more interesting seen from within the walls. The Knights Hospitalier used the local stone to build this fortress, but also materials from the ruins of the Asclepeion and the ancient Greek and Roman city of Kos. The museum of the Castle of the Knights located inside the fortress is a must-see attraction in the Old Town of Kos.
Tree of Hippocrates
Not a long stroll from the Neratzia Castle, the legendary Tree of Hippocrates on Kos, with its 12 meters diameter trunk, stands like a wise sentinel to mark the spot where the father of modern medicine once taught his students. Although endangered, the tree endures the ravages of weather and time, and counts as a national monument and a beloved landmark of Kos.
Kos Island Jewish Synagogue
The Kos Island Jewish Synagogue lies close to the Archeological Museum of Kos and it’s an important landmark as it stands as a symbol of respect for the former Jewish community of the island. 1944 was a trying year for the local community: all members were transferred to the Auschwitz concentration camp, and most of them were executed hours after their arrival. Only twelve survived the Holocaust. Visit the synagogue to pay your last respects.
Archaeological Museum of Kos
Continue strolling through the Old Town of Kos to find the Archaeological Museum of Kos, which reopened in 2016, after extensive renovations. It occupies a 1936 landmark building in Freedom Square, which is considered a monument of the Italian occupation era (1912-1943). Its permanent collection showcases the history of the island, covering its most significant periods, archeological finds, personalities, and art.
These are just some of the must-see landmarks easy to access on a stroll through the Old Town of Kos. You can start at the Archaeological Museum of Kos and make your way to the Castle of the Knights of the Order of St. John and its museum. Then, see all these attractions in 2-3 hours. This leaves you enough time to see the Port of Kos, to shop at the Kos Town Market across the street from the Archaeological Museum of Kos, and to dine at a local taverna. Alternatively, return to Astir Odysseus Kos Resort & Spa for sophisticated fare inspired by Koan tradition and international dishes in one of our restaurants.