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Greek Island Holidays

Five reasons to visit Kos

Ag Ioannis Thymanos

Photo: Paradasos

Why we think Kos is a Greek island holiday winner.

With it's pleasant climate and many sandy beaches Kos is always a popular choice with British holidaymakers. Most resorts are right next to the beach, and its combination of diverse food, rich culture and value for money make it an ideal choice for the family holiday. In this article Andy Cornish looks at five reasons why Kos is a great choice for a Greek Island Holiday.

Beaches for everyone

There are some excellent easily accessible beaches in Kos, although they are very much defined by the coast on which they lie. The northern coast features long wide beaches and are likely to have waves. Beaches such as Masticahri or Tigkaki are fairly exposed but idyllic stops nonetheless. Families should be aware that gradients are fairly steep on northern coast. Start paddling and you're soon up to your waist.

Also accessible, the beaches on the South coast are ideal for bathers and regular bus routes can make getting your towel down a doddle. Specifically, paradise beach is pretty with clear shallow water (part of a 10km bay). Be weary in peak season though, there are period where you can't see the beach for the sun loungers.

Indiana Jones wannabes might want to take on Kos' western coast where one can find beautiful and deserted beaches assuming you can handle a 4x4. The south western corner of the island is truly stunning but getting to these remote parts is not for the faint hearted.

Historical culture

Kos is steeped in history with many features to delight the cultural sightseer. The famous physician Hippocrates was born on Kos and in the middle of the town is the Plane Tree, a magical elderly tree supported by scaffolding where according to tradition, Hippocrates taught his pupils. Nearby is the International Hippocratic Institute and museum which are both worthy of a visit.

The castle of the Knights of St John the Baptist was built in sfsdf and remains Kos' main tourist attraction. At only €3 per person it is well worth a visit even if you're not really into Greek history. The views alone make this a great way to spend a day. If you're taking small children be sure to keep hold of them as there are a number of sheer drops and uneven steep staircases.

Direct flights

One of the main reasons for the popularity of Kos, is the fact that unlike many other smaller islands, Kos features it's own airport. Built in the 60s, Kos International Airport is located near to Andimachia village and is also the second closest airport to Bodrum after Milas-Bodrum Airport.

Budget carrier Ryanair will fly you direct into Kos from many European cities including London. One can often hoover up some excellent deals if booking in advance, and once in Kos travelling to other islands is simple and cheap.

If you like ferry hopping around the islands, Kos is also a convenient ferry hub where you can jump between Kalymnos, Rhodes, Patmos and many other ports. Bear in mind that the ferry system tends to be geared towards the needs of islanders rather than tourists so many of the key routes fan out from mainland ports such as Rafina and Volos.

Family friendly

If you stick to the southern beaches, Kos is certainly one of the most family friendly of all the Greek Islands. Beaches are covered in soft sand and shelve gradually into the sea making them safe for small children. As with all hot beaches, remember to pack flip-flops to prevent children burning their feet on the sand.

Resorts tend to be situated close the beaches so no long walks in baking summer heat to contend with. In the evening there are a number of places where kids can be supervised. We recommend the Friends Cafe, where for only a few euros, children can play on the various attractions whilst mum and dad using the wifi or have a coffee.

Kos boat trips are a popular option for families as they are not too long and take in some fascinationg scenery which will be popular with children. A particular favourite is the exciting trip to Nisyros which includes its own mini volcano. As you make your way to the crater steam and boiling sulphur erupt from the ground. It really is quite a spectacle.

Good food

Although most of the popular Greek islands feature good restaurants (especially seafood restaurants), few offer the variety and quality of Kos. For traditional Greek dishes head to a traditional taverna. All will provide you with the Greek stables: moussaka, pastitsio and tzatziki. Most fish restaurants offer an exceptional variety of freshly caught produce, and in more recent times many good international cuisine establishments have been springing up offering spicy dishes and traditional Indian, Chinese and Mexican food.

Here is a pick of some of our favourite Kos restaurants:

Otto E Mezzo
An Italian restaurant in Greece? Yes, maybe not overly authentic, but the garden is a true delight and it's in the heart of the old city. Forget beige forgettable pasta, this is Italian food as it should be, fresh, rich and tasty.

The reputation of this restaurant has spread far and wide, book early to avoid disappointment. Interestingly the name comes from its historic location, close to the Plane Tree of Hippocrates. Sit down to some fabulous Greek cooking with stunning panoramic views.

If you don't fancy spending all night in a restaurant, Aylogyradiko is a great choice. Situated next to Freedom Square its open everyday from noon through until late. Try Greek gyros with pork or chicken, all served with delicious potato salads.

Old River
On Baltaki beach you will find the Old River tavern, a great place for all the family with tasty Greek and Turkish dishes, views over the sea and very competitive prices.

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