What to See in Marmari on Kos Island
Marmari has the best of two worlds: the sea at its feet and the mountains proud, like a crown, at the top of its head. If you plan to visit Marmari when you stay at Astir Odysseus Kos Resort & Spa, here are some of the top things to do and see.
Marmari Beach (Paralia Marmari)
This coastal resort’s main attraction is the beach – Paralia Marmari – a long stretch of fine white sand with enough room for beachgoers of all ages.
The center of Paralia Marmari is right in the heart of the seaside resort. This is the beach’s organized part: it has loungers with umbrellas for rent, showers, and some beachside tavernas serving comfort food and refreshments. There’s also a shopping area on the main street before you reach the beach – you can buy beach essentials and snacks here.
If you are relatively frugal and prefer not to spend on loungers and umbrella rentals, the unorganized side of Marmari Beach has enough room for you to sunbathe on the beach towel or sun chair you brought from home. Many locals prefer this option – especially those coming to the beach in larger groups and families with young children.
There’s room to play beach volleyball, and for the most daring of the beachgoers, there’s a surf school. Paralia Marmari is well-known for its excellent conditions for windsurfing and kitesurfing. Sailing is another favorite pastime at the beach, and if you favor other watersports, you will find pedal boats, kayaks, and SUP boards for rent.
Although there are no lifeguards at Marmari Beach, high waves are rare, and the swimming conditions are safe.
On the more romantic side, Paralia Marmari has a lovely seascape dominated by small dunes and offers delightful views of Pserimos Island.
Last but not least, when you are in Marmari, go horseback riding. Several family-owned horse farms have stables not far from Paralia Marmari. Riding sessions for inexperienced riders are available, of course, but the most exciting activities may be those where you get to swim with the horse and see the sunrise or the sunset.
Igroviotopos Alikis (Alikes Salt Lake)
Smack between Marmari and Tigaki; you will find Igroviotopos Alikis, a saltmarsh that produced salt for domestic consumption until the late 1980s. The lake is now a protected natural area of exceptional biological value. Some 70 species of birds use the marshes for nesting and feeding. Birdwatchers will observe mallards, ruddy shelducks, little egrets, herons, kestrels, and falcons, among many others. The most spectacular sightings attract tourists from all walks of life, not only birdwatchers. Many people visit Igroviotopos Alikis in the winter and spring – the seasons when the greater flamingos stop on Kos on their way to Africa.
The area around Igroviotopos Alikis attracts hikers and horseback riders too. The landscape is pleasant but not spectacular: unless you want to observe the birds, there’s nothing much to see. If you hike, beware that vipers live in the wetlands (although sightings are rare). Watersnakes are more common. Mosquitoes tend to give hikers a hard time, too, so come prepared with insect repellent.
Fort of Vokkolia
A historical landmark south of Marmari, the Fort of Vokkolia lies in ruin today. In the 15th century, built sometime during the Knights Hospitaller rule, the castle was either a military camp or a fortified residential area. The fort’s name comes from the ancient bukolia, meaning oxen herd – probably because the locals used the ruined fortifications as stables for their animals in the past.
While not a spectacular sight, the fort is noteworthy as a testament to the Knights Hospitaller’s presence in the area as guardians of Marmari and Pili. The ruins make for an inspired backdrop for photography – and since this is not a touristy landmark, you will discover a part of Kos on the island’s less-traveled paths.
In 2000, a 7 km2 (740.37 ha) area south of Marmari, between Asfendiou, Zia, Agios Dimitrios, Zipari, Tigaki, Linopoti, and Lagoudi, was declared a protected wildlife refuge. If you like mountain hikes or just being close to nature, Asfendiou – Pyliou Dimou Dikaiou Nisou Ko is another place to consider when you visit Marmari.