If you mix together tradition, history, culture, local food, beaches, crystal clear sea, sun, night life and a hint of ancient Greece, what you will obtain is called Kos (Còo), a 50-kilometre long and 12-kilometre wide island.
As in most of the Mediterranean islands, mass tourism rules even here, but if you look carefully you will find each one of the ingredients which are mixed together.
With my inseparable travel companions, I spent one week in Kos to relax and to explore the island. We started from Kardamena, Kos’ second most important town. During the evening we passed beyond the pubs packed with British tourists and entered the small alleys. Among the old buildings we found the elder women seated on a chair in the street while the kids were playing football. Through a young girl acting as interpreter, a women told me how much tourist oriented has Kos become and how difficult it is to preserve the ancient tradition.
The next day we moved to Kefalos. There is not much here: the town is on a mountain peak but the struggle to get there is not worth your efforts, unless you are looking for a hint of true Greek life with its slow rhythms. We did it, and roamed the small alleys framed by decaying houses and local food shops.
What really makes Kefalos an interesting destination lies before the town: on the coastline there are cheap guest houses, flats for rent, hotels and any kind of restaurants. And moreover there is a Paradise Beach, one of Greece’s most beautiful beaches. The best time to get there is early in the morning, before the mass assault of the tourists. The crystal clear water and the white sand are stunning, and you can have a little trip among the rocks at the bottom of the mountains who overlook the sea.
Our next stop has been Kamari, definitely one of Kos’ most charming places, but overcrowded with visitors. There are plenty of bars and restaurants, but the most charming spot is the delightful bay, the only place in the island where you can swim with the fishes.
The most spectacular place to enjoy the sunset, instead, is Zia. Embedded on Mount Dikeo, in the middle of Kos, it has only one main road. Here there are little shops, ‘spa fish’ where small fishes eat up the dead skin from the feet and terraced restaurants.
Once we left Zia, we went to the town of Kos, the ideal place for night life lovers. Although the many signs which enlighten the town during the night, it still keeps it charm. Before entering the town centre we visited the Three of Hippocrates – which disappointed us a bit – and the port, where yacht and boats offer the parties and clubbing on board.
A last thought crossed our mind before returning home: we spotted several connections for Bodrum and asked ourselves if next time wouldn’t be worth it to arrive also in Turkey…