Greek Guide

Kos Island Greece Guide Kos

Kos Island Greece Greek Holiday Destinations

Kos is one of the Greek Dodecanese Islands located in the Aegean Sea 370 kilometres south east of the mainland port of Piraeus and just five kilometres south of Turkey. It's the second biggest island in the archipelago after Rhodes and can give its larger neighbour a run for its money when it comes to attracting the tourist hordes. The island has 290 kilometres of coastline with a wealth of wonderful beaches most which are smothered with cheek by jowl sun shades in July and August. It's an island of big resort complexes and frantic foam parties. But it's also the birthplace of Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine, and home to the western world's first ever medical school. History and archaeology buffs will delight in its treasure trove of fascinating ancient sites.

The island is well connected with all the other islands in the Dodecanese and with the Greek mainland. There are regular Olympic Airways flights to and from Athens and direct air links with the UK and other European destinations. Piraeus is 12 15 hours by ferry and Rhodes, the Dodecanese capital 92 kilometres south east of Kos, is 3.5 hours. Regular hydrofoils and catamarans connect the island with the other main islands in the group and with Fourni in the North Eastern Aegean.

Huge numbers of international visitors mostly Brits and Scandinavians descend on the island in the summer months, the vast majority hell bent on serious sunning on the beaches by day and serious partying after the sun goes down.

The discerning tourist will dig deeper to find an island steeped in history, a land of castles and temples from antiquity, a place where traditional unspoilt villages cling to the craggy slopes of pine clad mountains. Look hard enough and you'll even be able to find a quiet bit of beach even at the height of the season.

Kos has attracted settlers for more than 5,000 years but it was Hippocrates who really put the island on the map of the ancient world in the 5th century BC. Born on the island in 460 BC Hippocrates pioneered a scientific approach to medicine based on the belief that through education, training and experience doctors could cure various illnesses. His beliefs were a major departure from the previous black magic and witchcraft approach to ill health. After his death in 370 BC a sanctuary dedicated to Asclepius, the god of healing, and a medical school were built on the island, perpetuating the teachings of Hippocrates which made Kos famous throughout ancient Greece. The sanctuary remains one of the island's star visitor attractions and 21 st century doctors still come here to take the Hippocratic Oath.

The island has another rather more mundane claim to fame it's the home of the kos lettuce which is a familiar sight on supermarkets the world over.