Regarded by many yacht charter enthusiasts as the entry port to the Dodekanese Islands, the town of Kos boasts a rich and vibrant cultural life but also caters to the tourist with many attractions, lots of restaurants, plenty of accommodations and after dark entertainment. And if you happen to land here in the middle of the summer season, you're bound to catch one of the local music festivals which means Kos should be on the top of your yacht charter Greece priority list.
Otherwise known as Cos, this town is situated on the island which shares the same name, a fact that can be somewhat confusing for some sailors out there. The island is part of the Dodecanese in the Gulf of Cos, near the Turkish coast. The town Kos is the largest of the island and also acts as the administrative center.
The city of Kos is the biggest port of the island and thus is the main gateway for tourists which is why you’ll find it has the most touristic facilities, not to mention the most vibrant cultural life.
Travel & Arrival
The only way to get to Kos on a plane is to get on a flight from Athens or from Rhodes and land at Kos International Airport which during the summer season caters to a wide number of visitors with its charter flights to many locations in mainland Europe.
The other way of getting in is by boat, of course, the main connection to the Greek peninsula being the port of Piraeus, with daily ferry trips. There are also links to several other Dodecanese islands like Lalymnos, Nisyros, Patmos, Leros and Rhodes. Hydrofoils travel to and from Rhodes, Patmos, Leros and Samos.
Avant & Apres Sail
Since the town has been around since early antiquity, it’s only natural that there are a lot of historical sites worth checking out. The Asklepion, the complex of early Christian Basilicas of St. Stephen, the church of St. John the Baptist (Epta Bemata), the Neratzia Castle and the Hippocrates Plane Tree are but a few locations which rank tops on visitor’s to-do list.
In order to make it easy for enthusiasts, the local authorities have set up a small train which actually makes a tour within the town of Kos, passing by all major sightseeing spots. The departure point is located near the harbor and the ride lasts around 20 minutes.
Eating out is not just an option when in Greece, it’s the law so to speak, as the locals consider it a national pastime and it shows in the menus of all the restaurants. The local food in Kos is a mixture of traditional Greek cuisine and international dishes. From the fancy restaurants and the local tavernas and ouzeries, the choices are unlimited, both as far as menu choices and price ranges for all budgets.
As other places in Greece, Kos is a good place to shop for touristy trinkets but also general goods such as jewelry, quality leather products and fine ceramics. The town boasts an impressive number of tourist shops which are open 7 days a week, coming to meet the high demand from aficionados.
The nightlife is anything but dull, as Kos is by far the liveliest place on the island. There is an actual bar scene which is worth checking out, with the famous Blues Brothers in Dolphins Square and the Hamam in Akti Kountourioti being the most frequented by fun seekers. But there are also quieter places, such as the open air cinema Open Cine Orfeas which play recent films, often in English.
Events & Actions
Other than the very popular sunbathing and swimming in the sea, there are several events that make Kos a place sought by the parties. In July and August, there’s the yearly Hippocrates Festival which is a cultural celebration with music and numerous art exhibits. But there are regular events being held throughout the year round the Hippocretes Tree, anything from live jazz music to laser shows.
One Week Sailing Itinerary from Kos, Greece
Get ready to embark on a thrilling yacht charter adventure through the Aegean Sea starting from Kos!
Day 1: Kos to Nisyros
Set sail from Kos and head towards Nisyros, known for its impressive volcanic landscape. Anchor at the charming Pali Harbor and explore the picturesque village. Distance: 25 nautical miles.
Day 2: Nisyros to Tilos
Leave Nisyros behind and sail towards Tilos. Stop at the beautiful bay of Eristos for a refreshing swim before reaching Livadia Harbor. Discover the island's rich flora and fauna. Distance: 30 nautical miles.
Day 3: Tilos to Chalki
Cruise towards Chalki, a small, unspoiled island. Anchor at Nimborio Bay and spend some hours admiring the colorful houses that surround the quaint harbor. Distance: 22 nautical miles.
Day 4: Chalki to Rhodes
Sail to the magnificent island of Rhodes, a historic destination with an enchanting medieval old town. Stop at the scenic Anthony Quinn Bay for swimming before reaching Mandraki Harbor. Distance: 37 nautical miles.
Day 5: Rhodes to Symi
Head towards the picturesque island of Symi, famous for its stunning neoclassical architecture. Make a pit stop at Panormitis Bay to visit the Monastery of Archangel Michael. Moor in Symi's Gialos Harbor for the night. Distance: 25 nautical miles.
Day 6: Symi to Datça (Turkey)
Cross the border to Datça, a Turkish coastal town with an authentic charm. Visit the ancient ruins of Knidos and anchor in one of the many serene bays along the Datça Peninsula. Distance: 28 nautical miles.
Day 7: Datça to Kos
Complete your yacht charter adventure by returning to Kos. On the way, stop at the scenic Palamutbükü Bay for a final swim before reaching your starting point. Distance: 40 nautical miles.
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Enjoy your yacht charter adventure through the beautiful Greek islands and Turkish coast, creating unforgettable memories with every nautical mile!
What are some must-visit attractions for sailors in and around Kos, Greece?
Kos is rich in history with numerous ancient ruins. The Ancient Agora, the Castle of the Knights, and the Asklepion are must-see historical sites. Kos Town offers a charming old quarter with bustling markets. The island is also known for its beautiful beaches such as Paradise Beach, Agios Stefanos, and Tigaki.
What are some recommended marinas or anchorages?
Kos Marina, located near Kos Town, is an excellent choice for yacht charterers. It offers extensive facilities including a range of repair services, fuel, water, electricity, and free Wi-Fi. The marina is also a convenient starting point for exploring the Dodecanese Islands.
What are popular water activities for charter guests?
The clear waters around Kos are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving, with several impressive dive sites around the island. Sailing around the Dodecanese archipelago is another popular activity, as is windsurfing and kitesurfing due to the favorable winds.
What are the local gastronomic specialties on Kos?
The island offers a variety of local specialties such as "pitaridia" (homemade pasta), "katimeria" (fried sweet pastry), and local honey. Be sure to try "posa cheese", a wine-soaked cheese unique to the island, and the local wines. Fresh seafood is abundant and a culinary highlight.
What special events or festivals can visitors experience?
The island celebrates several festivals throughout the year, with religious feasts being the most prominent. The Feast of Saint John in May, with traditional music, dancing, and food, is one of the most celebrated. The Hippocratia Festival in the summer offers cultural, sports, and artistic events.
What are some exciting day trips?
Sailors can explore the Dodecanese Islands, such as Rhodes with its Medieval Old Town, and Patmos, known for the Monastery of Saint John. Nisyros Island, with its active volcano, is another intriguing destination. The beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters of Pserimos and Kalymnos are perfect for a relaxing day trip.
When is the best time to sail in the Dodecanese?
The sailing season in Kos, like most of Greece, runs from April to October. The warmest and most stable weather occurs from May to September. The Meltemi wind can make sailing more challenging in July and August, but offers excellent conditions for windsurfers.
What wildlife can sailors expect to see in the South Aegean?
The waters around Kos are home to a variety of marine life, including dolphins and various species of fish. Loggerhead sea turtles, an endangered species, nest on some beaches of Kos. The island's interior is a habitat for numerous bird species, making it a great spot for birdwatching.