At a glance
“There is no pleasanter land under the heavens than Kos, and viewing its lovely scented gardens you would say it is a terrestrial paradise.” So wrote the French diplomat François Pouqueville in the 1800s, and although much has changed on the island since then, its eternal charms lure travellers back year after year.
Kos is the island of Hippocrates, where the father of modern medicine was born and taught, and where generations ever after have set the world to rights under the shade of the ancient plane tree. It is the island of imposing medieval ramparts, green valleys and billowing banks of bougainvillea. The island of jaw-dropping beaches, covering two-thirds of the coastline and offering activities from sponge-diving to kite-surfing; the island of bicycles, with an exceptional (for Greece) network of cycle lanes reaching out from Kos Town along the coastline, used by residents and tourists alike; the island of trade (due to its strategic position) and multiculturalism, where influxes of different peoples over the centuries have left their mark on cuisine, architecture and local history, from the Dorians of Epidavros and the Knights Hospitaller to today’s immigrants making their way across from the Turkish shores.
It’s hardly surprising, given its natural beauties and hospitality, that Kos is proud to call itself the fourth most popular tourist destination in Greece.