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About city What to see Gallery Where to stay

Due to its flat and green surface, Kos is sometimes called the Floating Garden. It’s one of the most popular and tourist-frequented islands of Greece, and even though it's quite small – just 40 km long – it’s still an important historical and now also a tourist place. Kos is home to over 30,000 people. Holiday-makers have grown fond of this island partly thanks to the inexpensive holiday packages offered by travel agencies and airlines.

The island’s capital of the same name is an important centre – these days it’s a small, bustling harbour city with plenty of entertainment venues for tourists. From here you can also comfortably reach the other Greek islands. The pier of Kos, opened around a decade ago, has become the heart of the Dodecanese archipelago, and is held to be the best place for yachting and sailing. What's more, the island is quite close to Turkey, so reaching Bodrum, Marmaris and other famous Turkish resorts will not be a problem.

Beach in Kefalos on a Greek island of Kos
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Beach in Kefalos on a Greek island of Kos

Even though, internationally, Kos is mostly known as the birthplace of Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, it is also mentioned in myth. In the famous Iliad by Homer, the soldiers of Kos fought on the side of Greece during the Trojan War. According to Roman myth, the island was visited by the half-god Hercules himself.

Over the ages, owing to its geographical location and advanced civilization, Kos was ruled by many different rulers: it was ruled by Alexander the Great, Egyptian lords and Persians; due to its friendly ties with Rome, it became a free city, and was home to the region’s library and a number of health resorts. In the Middle Ages, the island belonged to the Byzantine Empire, and later it was conquered by the Republic of Genoa, the Empire of Nicaea and the Turks. After that, Kos fell into the hands of the Christian Hospitaller Knights. In the 16th century, the island was conquered by the Ottomans, who ruled over it for around 400 years.

Kos cityscape at night
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Kos cityscape at night

At the beginning of the 20th century, Kos saw a new wave of change. In 1913, the island was taken over by the Italians. During the Second World War, it was a background of battles between the Italians, Brits and Germans. For two years, it was ruled by Germans, but as the war came to an end, it went to the British. Only in 1947 did Kos finally become a part of Greece. The island is worth visiting for its turbulent history alone.

Apart from several architectural monuments, Kos also has a number of museums: the Kos, Folklore, Archaeology, Medicine and Maritime museums will occupy you for days!

As the wars and reorganizations came to an end, the economy of Kos became dependent on tourism. The island is known for its wines, and farmers here grow olives, almonds, figs, tomatoes and grain. The cuisine of Kos is dominated by fresh meat, fish, vegetables and cheeses, dressed with locally-made olive oil.

Octopus hanging out in sun near tavern on Kos island
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Octopus hanging out in sun near tavern on Kos island

Apart from the city of Kos, we recommend you also visit the charming Zia village, situated on the high Mt. Dikeos. From Zia, which is surrounded by green trees and waterfalls, you’ll see a majestic panorama and some truly breathtaking sunsets.

After you get acquainted with Kos, we recommend you also visit some of the other islands of the Dodecanese archipelago – the largest one is Rhodes, another well-known resort. And if, for some reason, you ever get bored with Greek culture, you can always head for the exquisite coastline of Turkey.

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