Monday, 30 July 2018

Ten Things We Loved About Kos: 7. Kos Town

Kos Town Harbour

In Kos Town see the Neratzia Castle (from the outside only as apparently it has suffered major structural damage and remained closed to the public since the earthquake in 2017) - on the harbour side of the castle, don’t miss the collection box to provide food for the local cats; the harbour itself; wander around the ruins of the ancient Agora; the legendary (even if unlikely to be historically authentic) Hippocrates Plane Tree; and the narrow streets of the old town for more tat shopping along with some nice restaurants and bars – these streets were cooler than other parts of the town too.

Neratzia Castle

A plane tree by the harbour side of Kos Town Castle

Cat at Kos Town Castle

View of the ancient agora (market) in Kos Town

The supposed plane tree under which Hippocrates sat

Cafe life in the streets of the Old Town Kos

Monday, 23 July 2018

Ten Things We Loved About Kos: 8. The village of Zia

A stereotypical photo opportunity in Zia
The village of Zia, despite burgeoning with bus loads of tourists, and being end-to-end with tat shops – I think the official line is that these are “local handicrafts” and there are some nice things among it all - is still a pretty village with some lovely cafes – and spectacular views. There are buses, or you could visit as part of the Island Tour.

Wall-to-wall local handicrafts in Zia

Tourists in Zia

A nice cool and tranquil cafe in Zia

Spectacular view from Zia

Monday, 16 July 2018

Ten Things We Loved About Kos: 9. Papa’s Beach Bar

View to the sea from Papa's Beach Bar
Papa's Beach Bar on Lambi Beach, according to Tripadvisor, is the #1 thing to do in Kos Town. We can't really say as we only stopped there for a drink while on a walk to investigate the beach, but this time we will be close to this beach and plan to spend more time there. Even on our short stop though, we agree with what one reviewer said: "It has a wonderful relaxed atmosphere and feels like it has its own tranquility."

Lambi beach looking north

Lambi beach looking south

Monday, 9 July 2018

Ten Things We Loved About Kos: 10. Agios Stefanos Beach

View to Kastri Island from the Basilica of Agios Stefanos

Ruins of the Basilica of Agios Stefanos

Basilica of Agios Stefanos, Agios Stefanos Beach, Kefalos

It's a fair way from Kos Town being right up the other end of the island, but I was glad to get there to see it. We drove there independently. There are also public buses. Another way to see this area is on a Kos Island Tour, which might be easier.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Countdown to Kos

A last coffee before leaving Kos in 2015
Later in the year we're going back to Kos and looking forward to it very much. Last time we were there was in 2015, right in the middle of the refugee crisis that the island was facing. Unlike some selfish Daily Fail reading types, our holiday was not ruined by the presence of these people (I was moved to the odd tear of frustration, being unable to offer any meaningful help), but we were impressed by the immensely humane reaction of the majority of the people of Kos. It endeared me to the island and to its people.

Refugee tents on the front at Kos Town in 2015
We only came across one person, a cafe owner where we were eating lunch, who began saying nasty things to some tent dwellers opposite his premises. We're pretty sure he only did so because he - wrongly - assumed that we would be bothered by their presence. We did stay out at night. The tent city was right opposite our hotel and the police station just up the road. We didn't see or hear of any untoward incidents.

Originally, I'd researched Kos as a potential alternative location to live when leaving Tenerife. Someone (who should have known better) had tried to tell me then that it was awful and I wouldn't like it, so of course I had to see for myself.

And, of course, they were completely wrong!

Having fallen in love with the island, it touched us too to hear that the island had suffered in the 2017 Aegean Sea earthquake. We are also eager to go back and see how the island is faring and what repairs have been able to be made.

So, over the next 10 weeks, I'm going to write about the 10 things we most liked on Kos.

But before I start, here are a few items that didn't quite make the top 10:

Just a glimpse of some of the delicacies at Special.
Coming in at a close number 11 is Ice Cream shop: Special

Do I need to explain why ice creams and cakes get on the list? Thankfully, it's further away from the more central hotel we've booked this time, which will limit temptation!

Other stuff we recommend, but only if you have time:

Crater in Nisyros

This was a fascinating day out, but it was all day, much of it travelling on coach, ferry, coach, ferry ... so if you have limited time, you may not think this is the best use of it. 

A view of the Asclepeion complex

It could be argued that the Asklepion (or Asclepeion), the healing temple on Hippocrates' home island, is the whole point of Kos. It's a question of time and priorities again.

Archaeological Museum on Eleftherios Square

Things we didn’t do before, but plan to do this time:
  1. Roman Odeon
  2. Kos Archaeological Museum
  3. Triantafyllopoulos Vineyards  

A few things we wouldn’t recommend:
  1. Kardamena. Only saw this town whilst getting on and off the ferry to Nisyros and I can’t think of any other reason why one would wish to go there.
  2. Kos Mini Trains. Just not great value. For most people, everything on the Kos Town route, which isn’t particularly long, can be easily and better reached on foot.
  3. Car hire. Quality of the vehicles is decidedly hit and miss. May have been source of some fraudulent credit card activity.
  4. ATM machines. If not skimmers, very bad rates. Get cash from inside the bank.