Tourist holiday reviews of the Greek island of Kos. Holiday reviews of Kos resorts, beaches, apartments, tavernas and all aspects of Kos holidays from people who have visited the island. I welcome all opinions on holidays in Kos.
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Good: Kos, island of the eponymous lettuce, has everything: a fascinating and colourful town of minarets, palm trees, archaeological sites, a knights' castle and a bustling harbour; a varied landscape of attractive mountains and featureless coastal plains; and kilometres of sandy beach.
Bad: Kos has gone for mass market tourism in a big way. The town itself pounds out disco music as loud and as late as on Rhodes and there are scores of big hotel complexes lining the coast.
Good: Its handful of mountain villages are appealing, the tourist infrastructure excellent. . . and swimming opportunities are limitless - virtually the entire coast is fringed by beaches.
Bad: Tourist development imposed on an essentially sleepy, small-scale island economy and a population of only 22,000, has resulted most obviously in even higher food and accommodation prices.
Good: Kos, with its wealth of fascinating antiquities, flowers and orchards, sand beaches and comfortable climate is Rhodes' major Dodecanese rival in the tourist industry.
Bad: Don't come here looking for anything very Greek - the kafenion and ouzerie . . . have long been replaced with fast-food joints and tourist trap cafes. The streets are packed with T-shirt and tatty gift shops . . . in high season English, German and Swedish tourists fill the island's myriad big, self-contained resort hotels.
We had a most wonderful holiday. From Kos airport we were on a ferry to Kalymnos in a matter of minutes. Spent the night in Pothya, up early and enjoyed a ferry trip to Lipsi (saw dolphins), where we chilled for three days. Enjoyed a moped for the day and found some isolated beaches, took a local boat trip around the neighbouring islets and saw a local show of Greek dancing. Reluctantly left for Patmos, but was pleasantly surprised, spent two nights relaxing. Our apartment was out of town but overlooking the port. Then went back to Kos town for the last night (quite a contrast). Everything was so easy! The whole holiday was magical
When you get to Kos you can take day trips to Bodrum in Turkey, which takes 20 mins on a hydrofoil boat, which you should go on, instead of the other boats that take 45 mins. When we arrived in Bodrum and stepped off the boat I didn't even walk 15 yards before there was a line of shops with men shouting at you to go in, trying to grab you to sell you fake boxer shorts and bottles of water.
Then you walk round the port to go through where all the shops, bars and cafe's are, and I am not kidding you, as soon as you get past the first 10 shops, that's when it starts. Men are shouting at you to look in there shops but not in a friendly way. When we just walked past them they gave you the most disgusted, muckiest look you can imagine. They may as well have spat on you, it would have felt better. And they stand there shouting at you ''why you not wanna come in my shop'' - while holding their arms up aggressively. As we walked further on, it never stopped, Turks jumping at you left right and centre.
We approached a toilet and I needed to go, so I paid the 30 cents, to enter and all I can describe it as - 'a sh*t hole' - urine on the seats, marks down the inside of the toilet and on the floor. The smell was gross. A good job I only needed to urinate. We called into a clothes shop on the way to the market and a lad my age who worked there was blatantly checking my girlfriend out in front of my eyes. He asked where I was from when I said Eengland, he hissed! If he'd have done that to me one on one he'd have got the hiding of his life.
The worst bit is the market above the train station that everyone goes to Bodrum for. As you walk in, you just break out into a sweat, there are that many people crammed in there. The lads on the stall go to shake your hand and when you do, they don't let go. They pull you further to the stall. I just snatched my hand away aggressively and walked off. My girlfriend was getting short changed until she confronted the lad. There are men walking about trying to pickpocket you, and they stare at you as you walk past. I stared them out so they just walked off.
There's so much more I could tell you. They even lie to you in the duty free, so it messes up passport control when you get back to Kos. Me and many others nearly got 50 euro fines, but we told them to keep the cigs the Turks said we were allowed to take back. The point of my message — don't go if you don't like any of that.
I think that a lot of the review on your main page is unfair. Kos is a tourist island and therefore does cater for tourists and supply them with what they ask for, hence chips etc. You get chips all over the world, it is a modern day food. If you travel around Kos you can still eat local meals. Roast goat on Sundays is a traditional Kos dish, as well as many other Greek meze bars. I have been going to Kos for over 11 years and I find the Kos lifestyle very relaxed and the inhabitants very friendly.
Kos town has everything on offer. Bars, discos, good restaurants, with plenty of varied shopping. The harbour is lovely but be prepared to be approached by the reps offering boat trips to Turkey, island hopping, scuba diving. We tried all three and for island hopping and snorkeling I would recommend spending a day with the sail boat Eva. It's well worth it.
With clear warm seas the scuba diving is also worth doing. If you are into bartering then take the boat to Bodrum market on a Tuesday. 10 branded T shirts for £10, all genuine! We eat mostly In Kos town and I can recommend the following places to eat: a fish restaurant called the "fish house" which can be found up some steps leading off the main square. Best restaurant for food and hospitality, go and see Joseph at the old river restaurant, at the Lampi end of town. For a quick snack and mouth-watering crepe find "La minute" creperie (near the tattoo shop).
This was our first visit to a Greek island. It was very hot so next time we would not go in July\August. The locals were friendly people, especially in the restaurants and shops. Kos town has something for everyone, and with food and drink at prices and quality you can only dream of in the UK, its well worth going self catering just to try out all the restaurants. The only dilemma we have now is which island do we go to next year.
I have just read some of your reports on Kos and Kardamena. My husband and I live in one of the villages, but we both work in Kardamena. The reports about going to Bodrum are not necessarily true, things have changed quite a lot. Bodrum is not as bad as people make it out to be and going on the hydrofoil is not necessarily the best option. The boat is much more relaxing you see even more dolphins. You also get a guide to give you advice on duty-free and anything else you need to know. Yes, maybe you sometimes have to wait for the boat to leave, but this is Greece. What do they expect?
Kardamena can be very noisy at times, but away from July and August it is a brilliant place to be. There are lots of Greek tavernas and English if you want it. Everybody is made welcome. The island itself is very beautiful. Not so big an island but a very relaxing one - not as much traffic as some of the bigger islands. We have lived here now for seven years and have no complaints. Come and join us everyone, either for a holiday or to live. You wont regret it
Sorry, but I have to say that I thought your review of Kos very unfair. I go every year and have made very good friends with some of the locals. As I always stay in Kardamena, I will say that, in all honesty, every restaurant that I have been to has a well stocked menu chock full of Greek cuisine, all the nightclubs in the area are soundproofed so you don't hear the noise (as per Greek law I believe) and, depending on where you stay, you can't hear the bars.
The apartment I stay in is a 2min walk from Bar Street and I can't hear the music/karaoke. One thing I do agree with you on is the overdevelopment in the area. Due to family commitments, my husband and I missed a year. When we returned, the harbour had been deepened and expanded. Although it looked very nice, when I compared pictures of the new with the old, I couldn't help but be disappointed. The area around the harbour has now lost a lot of it charm and is nothing special.
McDonald's being built everywhere in sight, I mean please! But I will admit that during my last stay there seemed to more locals in there than holidaymakers. On the whole, I would recommend Kos to anyone (and have done frequently) and every one of them has come back saying how much they enjoyed the experience. I feel that there is something for everyone. I am not a clubby person at all, much preferring to hire a motorbike and tour the island and have now probably visited every town and village on the Island.
It is not very often that I venture into Kos Town itself as, frankly, I found the road system terrifying. But when I do go, I enjoy wandering around the market and the harbour. I feel that if you are prepared to put in a little thought and effort, you will have a great time. After all, the tour operators only provide the holiday, they don't organise every single second. Finally, I thought that your review came across as very negative and would probably put off a lot people thinking of visiting the area. After all, what you loathe others will quite enjoy. This is clearly shown by the number of returning visitors to the island each year.
Having just booked a second holiday to Kefalos I've been inspired to write a review! I would have to disagree with many of the views expressed on your website although it may be a generation thing. My partner and I visited Kefalos in August last year, and I can quite confidently say we never ate chips! The cuisine we experienced was fantastic — the Kastri restaurant being a highlight especially with its views over Kamari Bay and Kastri Island.
Staying in the beautiful Hotel Zeus we avoided the very club 18-30 feeling harbour area of the resort which I feel would benefit many people expressing that the resort is touristy. Compared to Islands like Rhodes and many Spanish resorts Kefalos is virtually untouched, no pub crawls marching up and down all night and if you pick your bar carefully you can sit and enjoy the meltemi winds in peace. We favoured the Dolphin Pool bar because it showed movies and served its beer in frozen glasses - very refreshing!
Going down to the beach in the early morning is fantastic, through the haze you can make out the shape of Nisyros. For culture go on a trip over to Bodrum (there was an earthquake whilst we were on the boat coming back!) and look at the architecture. Having driven through many of the other resorts on the island whilst picking up tour passengers I can safely say that Kefalos is the most beautiful of all. Once you have left you experience such homesickness. Please use my comments as some of the ones posted on your site are very unfair.
We found Kefalos a peaceful resort though it is very British and not particularly Greek. There are loads of restaurants, cafes and bars and we went to several and didn't have bad meal. The best ones I thought were Sebastian, Waves, Captain John and Faros. Walk up to the old village. It's very picturesque with houses and shops in pretty colours and fabulous views.
The beach is a bit pebbly but the swimming good and the water very clean. For a change we took a water taxi to Paradise beach, Bubble beach and Wave beach. We hired a car for a few days but ended up on the bus — a lot cheaper and about an hour to Kos town. One tip — use a timetable from the tourist kiosk near the roundabout — it's better than the ones in the bus shelters. Also catch buses from the roundabout not the harbour. We enjoyed a trip to Nisyros island which has volcano and the most picturesque village. Unfortunately we went on an organised trip and only got 20 minutes at the crater.
I have just returned from 14 nights in Kefalos, Kos. Stayed at Jacks II. Single traveller. Basic accommodation: twin beds, balcony, en suite, kitchen with fridge, electric hob, electric kettle, cutlery (need to take own small pan for cooking). Friendly people. All menus in English. English meals if required. Hired a car locally when I got there. Traffic and roads easy to managed if you have not driven abroad before. Bus service needs some explanation when you get there. Kefalos is a bit breezy sometimes. Ideal holiday if you like history, laying in the sun, swimming, walking and peace and quiet. Not much night life.
Kefalos, I think, is a nice quiet base. Where we were was far enough from the more noisier bars... without being in another resort, if you get my drift. We must have visited the Bubble Beach every other day, after our previous week we thought we deserved a bit of a break. In the evenings we ate exclusively in Kefalos, with the exception of the evening we went to Sunset Wave Beach where we were given — for this there was no charge — food to eat while we drank wine there, not like tapas where they charge you for the plates. This was a genuine try the local produce and yes no charge, a first for me!
In Kefalos we were attracted by the specials on the boards outside the tavernas, from local catch of the day to stuffed pork roll. Without exception we enjoyed every meal and only one minor criticism, when we were served a Boutari 2000 dry white at "The Argo", which should have drawing its old age pension two years ago by my reckoning! Our total experience on the whole delightfully positive but then, one afternoon around 5.30pm on the small beach before the harbour near the road, I found a sizeable chunk of broken glass :(. Fortunately, this did not ruin our holiday, but if this beach is not maintained, it could ruin someone else's holiday.
Walk up to the old Kefalos village. It's a bit of a hike but worth it. A few places where you can sit outside perched on the edge of the pavement. It's a lovely village to stroll around. It's been four years since we were there, but there was a little boutique selling the most fab clothes and very reasonably priced too. My sister and I could not believe that such a small shop in a small village could sell such fashionable clothes. You can take a water taxi to Bubble beach. We went there a few times in our two week stay. One day the taxi was full on the return journey, so we were bundled onto a speed boat which was fantastic fun!
Mastihari is a small neat resort with half a dozen bars and a dozen tavernas, minimarkets and a handful of gift shops. The beach is near the village. Big sandy beach backed by dunes but there are rocks along the shoreline so watch your step. It's a bit isolated and one day we got a taxi in to Kos Town — 18 euros each way — but worth a visit for the historical sites and lots of good shops to browse around.
We stayed in the Maritina Mare at Psalidi (near Kos Town). Rating: Kos, very good; Psaldi, nice and quiet. Accommodation: Very good.
The accommodation was basic Greek but very good value for money. In the studio apartment was WC and shower room, two single beds and a small balcony which housed the fridge, cooker, cupboards and sink. The room was cleaned every day ( good maid service) and the pool and bar area were also very tidy. The bar which was next to the swimming pool served drinks and meals at very reasonable prices.
The bar was open from 9am until the last person left, which occasionally was 4am in the morning. My only complaint was that music from the bar was often too loud when trying to sleep. It was very hot at night with no breeze, so sleeping with the patio doors open didn't help with the noise. The only bad part of the complex was the nearest beach which was stone. At the end of the hotel drive way was a small shop and bus stop, which is necessary for getting into Kos Town - 5/10 minutes ride. Buy your bus tickets from the shops, it's cheaper than paying on the bus.
Psalidi is an extension of Kos Town built upon the main road leading to the Therma Springs (well worth a visit). There are sandy beaches in Kos Town but they do get crowded. We found the best beaches on the other end of the island nearer Kefalos which is itself smaller and quieter than Kos town. You will need a car to get to these beaches but don't go there direct. Take a detour into the hills via Pyli to witness some of the island's history. Kardamena was the resort for singles and young couples etc.
Kos town has everything on offer; bars, discos, good restaurants and plenty of varied shopping. The harbour is lovely but be prepared to be approached by the "reps" offering boat trips to Turkey, island hoping and scuba diving. We tried all three and for island hopping and snorkeling I would recommend the sailboat Eva. If you are into bartering then take the boat to Bodrum market on a Tuesday. Ten branded T-shirts for £10, all genuine !!!
We ate mostly In Kos Town and I can recommend the following places to eat. A fish restaurant called the "fish house" found up some steps leading off the main square. For the best restaurant for food and hospitality go and see Joseph at the old river restaurant, at the Lampi end of town. For a quick snack and mouth-watering crepe find "La minute" creperie ( near the tattoo shop).
This was our first visit to a Greek island. It was very hot so next time we would not go in July or August. The locals were friendly, especially in the restaurants and shops. Kos has something for everyone and with food and drink at prices and quality you can only dream of in the UK, its well worth going self-catering just to try out all the restaurants.
Our first time in Kos was in 1992, when we chose Tingaki as our destination. Since then we have returned to the same resort on at least 14 occasions and have spent our time at four different hotels/apartments. Other Greek islands have been visited but we seem to always compare and return to Kos.
Since finding by chance the Marianna Apartments we have had no desire to stay anywhere else. It is clean, expertly run by a very friendly family not all of whom speak fluent English. I read somewhere that this has put us Brits off - but then how many languages can we speak fluently? A big failing of the British is that they think everyone should speak their language. Every time we hear our language spoken overseas we should grateful that someone understands us and be prepared to answer back with a little of the local language . . . but do we?.
Back to Tingaki. We have seen improvements and growth of the town/village since 1992 and have spent many happy hours eating and drinking at a number of restaurants and bars but, to be very honest not every evening was a success. The failures, of course, were not revisited. I think they call this experience!.
Being moderate cyclists we normally hire a cycle from one of the many hire places, Denise's being our first choice. We eat at familiar restaurants and generally finish the evening off at the Rendezvous with Visillas and Chyrssa, now assisted by a Welsh bloke called Colin, who some Brits stupidly think owns and runs the place. Colin actually visited Tingaki a year or so ago, loved the place, the people and the culture and has stayed there -lucky 'B' ~ but he misses his rugby!.
Places change and people change, and this year our favourite Tingaki restaurant of previous years was a dismal failure but one place in our humble estimation (and a number of friends ) remains the same ~ the five star top Greek 'fare' restaurant ( 80% of the taverna's customers are Greek ) is unfortunately not in Tingaki..
You need to cycle, taxi or coach up the mountains to Zia to find it. Just approach the restaurant, ask the patron if he is a 'superstar'. If you get a puzzled response move on until you turn the corner, walk slightly up hill where you will find a taverna on your left. Here you will find him, his wife cooking in a hot kitchen, his staff and his parrot! Try the chickpea or pumpkin patties or the mussels. My mouth is watering as I write this.
How many times have we heard a complaining Brit voice asking "aint you got chips, a Pukka pie and tomato ketchup?" Not where we eat thank goodness. Tingaki is a wonderful place. Search and you will find. Remember though not everyone likes the same things but the choice on offer is more than enough. We have been elusive with this summary as we have found out over the years that we Brits have a bad habit of destroying marvellous places which should remain unspoilt. We hope to return for more excellent Greek fare and fun, staying at the Marianna of course.
Baileys and Drambuie
We went to Tingaki last year and left very impressed. The Marianna Studio apartments look nice and are in a quiet area yet only a few minutes from the beach. The rooms are big and airy and cleaned regularly. The pool is decent size and there are plenty of sunbeds, although the towel curse is upon them (mainly Brits it has to be said not Germans) and a snack bar for nibbles. There is no end of eateries nearby - we liked Rodini on the beach road for breakfast - very cheap, and the Mascot Bar for drinks though it can get lively. For a quiet drink try the Karma Bar. There's a great pizza place by Marianna's (forget the name though).
Tingaki is a smallish resort and if you want a bit more nightlife you can head for Kos Town. The buses are regular and run on time and the taxis are cheap enough. The beach at Tingaki is very pleasant and if you want to strip off there is a nudist area where the dunes start. The water is shallow and ideal for the kids - a bit irritating for adults as you have to walk out a mile before it gets above your knees. The only downside is the price of sunbeds - a bit steep I think.
The town of Tingaki itself is small but very pleasant and it has good bars and restaurants. Some friends of mine were worried about nudists on the beach. The naturist part of the beach is some way off from the main part of the beach. To get to it you must walk past the sunbeds that line the beach from the roundabout until they peter out after about 100 yards. You must then cross a small stream running into the sea. The naturist part is over the stream so if you stay this side you are fine. My friends had young children and were worried they might be affected by nudists. I wouldn't worry too much on children's behalf — they are very adaptable and are likely to give nudists a lot less attention than the adults do.