Of all the Greek Islands you should visit, Kos is definitely one of the most famous – and for a good reason.
Kos is part of the Dodecanese group, set in the Eastern Aegean just offshore from mainland Turkey. There’s a ton of things to do in Kos, from discovering archeological sites and culture to hiking and relaxing on sandy beaches.
Then there’s all the activities that are slightly more off-the-beaten-path, which are cooler but harder to find. To help you out, we’ve created this guide on the best things to do in Kos, so you can have an unforgettable trip to the Greek Islands!
Top Things to Do in Kos
Check out our recommendations for the absolute best things to do in Kos, before reading on to discover some more of what the island has to offer…
Spend a Day Cruising around the Islands
Enjoy a day-long cruise discovering 3 islands, swimming in crystal clear waters, and exploring traditional Greek villages.
Step into Europe’s Largest Volcanic Crater
Discover the volcanic island of Nisyros and climb up into its crater!
Hit up Bar Street
Bar Street is the place to go for a good drink and an even better atmosphere.
Watch a Sunset on the Beach
Grab dinner at a taverna before catching the best sunset views in Kos.
Check out an Ancient Roman Theatre
Explore a Roman Amphitheatre dating back over 2000 years.
1. Pay a visit to the Roman Odeon
No, not the movie theatre chain – the actual, original Roman-era Odeon built in the 2nd century AD. Recently restored to its (almost) former glory, it’s a stunning amphitheatre with marble seats closest to the action for the rich people, and granite for the regular folk.
Seeing the Roman Odeon is cool, but the underground tunnels are super fun to explore and are often overlooked. If you’re in luck, you may be able to catch a show here during your stay.
- Entrance: Free
- Hours: 08:00-20:00 (Monday, Friday), 08:00:15:00 (Wednesday-Thursday, Saturday-Sunday)
- Address: Leof. Grigoriou V 51, Kos 853 00, Greece
Nisyros is a volcanic island south of Kos that lies about an hour’s boat ride from the port of Kardamena. Just 8 kilometres in diameter, visiting this island is one of the more unusual things to do in Kos because you’ll have the chance to actually walk inside its crater!
The volcano is still active, but it’s closely monitored and groups have been hiking up here safely for years. It’s a good idea to go with a guide of course, just so you can make the most of the experience.
3. Dive into the underwater landscape
In Kos, there’s as much to explore on dry land as there is under water. There’s a whole world to see just off the coast in the Eastern Mediterranean, making scuba diving one of the best things to do here.
Never been diving before? No worries. The spot around Kokina Bay is perfect for beginners – and there are plenty of dive schools and experts who’ll help you make the best of it.
Cycladic culture dates back to 3000BC and is found throughout islands in the Aegean Sea. It’s the lesser-known name of those classic Greek casas you see dotted around, loved for their simplicity and unique charm.
This one is located in Kardamena, Kos, and boasts beautiful sea views over beautiful beaches. The villa sleeps three guests and is fitted with modern amenities to provide a comfortable stay. The town is known for its bustling nightlife, and there are some impressive ancient ruins to explore, including a temple to Apollo.
Outside of Kos town, there are a ton of tiny fishing villages that dot the island. Taking yourself on a village-hopping journey around the island is the best way to experience more of what Kos has to offer.
You’ll get to see the Venetian castle of Antimachia, surrounded by olive groves traditional farm houses. The famous Asklepieion is also on the itinerary, home to the Hippocratic Oath.
6. Stroll along the Agios Theologos Beach at sunset
Visiting Agios Theologos Beach should definitely be on your Greece itinerary. Named after a deserted Church nearby, it’s a popular spot to visit at sunset, especially if you want to spark some romance into your trip.
Try some fresh fish dishes at one of the local tavernas here, watch the sun go down, and enjoy the moment. It’s a great way to spend the evening, and perfect for a date night.
7. Explore the Plaka Forest
As beautiful as they are, there’s more to Kos than just beaches. Located surprisingly close to the airport and not far from Antimachia, the Plaka Forest makes for a stunning escape in nature.
Home to peacocks and cats, the Plaka Forest is one of the more unusual and quirky places to visit in Kos. It’s the perfect location for a picnic, as you can enjoy the shade under the trees.
- Entrance: Free
- Hours: Open 24 hours
- Address: 78910, 27. 06709, Greece
Easily one of the best thing to do in Kos is to spend the day swimming in the crystal clear Aegean, spotting dolphins, and exploring Greek culture. On this boat trip you’ll get to do just that, visiting three islands in one day.
Lunch is provided on the boat, and drinks are available to purchase. All you need to bring is some cash and your beach essentials, and you’ve got yourself an unforgettable experience in Kos.
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9. Go to a natural spa beach
Therma Beach is a natural spa that was discovered in 1934 by an Italian archeologist. The Ancient Greeks might have gone here in the past, but all we know is that this natural area of hot springs is an absolute must-do if you’re in Kos.
Ancient or not, soothing your muscles here after a day of pavement pounding, sightseeing or hiking in the heat is pretty hard to top. The water is also said to have healing properties, and there’s only one way to find out.
10. Discover the Castle of Antimachia
Antimachia is a Venetian castle built by the Knights of the Order of St John in the 14th-15th Centuries. Whether or not you go as part of a tour, the Castle of Antimachia is well-worth a visit during your time in Kos.
Sitting proudly on a hill overlooking Antimachia town, the castle is in ruins but remains impressive to this day. Inside, visitors will find abandoned Venetian churches and remains of old settlements.
- Entrance: Free
- Hours: Open 24 hours
- Address: Unnamed Rd,, 853 02, Greece
11. Take a trip to the Kos Archaeological Museum
Kos is brimming with history. At the Kos Archaeological Museum, you’ll get to see everything from statues to mosaic floors and artefacts found in the Casa Romana.
Set in an old Italian building in the heart of Kos Town, the museum is pretty small but makes for an interesting afternoon out. It’s also the perfect activity for a rainy day.
- Entrance: €3-6
- Hours: 08:00-20:00 (Wednesday-Monday)
- Address: Platia Eleftheria, Kos 853 00, Greece
Aside from warm seas and white sand beaches, Kos has a pretty mountainous landscape. Keen hikers should definitely add Mount Dikaios to their Greece travel itinerary; it’s a rewarding climb with incredible views.
If you’re new to hiking or are put off by the heat (fair enough), there are a number of drivers willing to take you on up. Hop in a jeep and tackle those unpaved roads for a real mountain adventure – and be rewarded with those stunning sea views.
13. Explore the abandoned village of Haihoutes
Visiting Haihoutes is one of the more unusual things to do in Kos, and definitely one of the coolest. All the buildings here are in ruins, as most people had left this village by the 1980s. By 2007, there was just one remaining villager.
Today, a traditional coffee house has been set up to try and revitalise the area. Sip an iced coffee among the ruins and think of what was.
- Entrance: Free
- Hours: 07:00-17:00 (Monday-Friday), 15:00-24:00 (Saturday-Sunday)
- Address: Agios Dimitrios, 853 00 Greece
14. Hit up Bar Street in Kos Town
By far one of the coolest things to do in Kos after dark is to hit up Bar Street. This appealingly named area has a lively atmosphere where you can sip a couple drinks and let your hair down.
You’ll find Bar Street has a nice combination of travelers and welcoming Greeks. It’s a loud and vibrant area, and the festivities literally go all night long.
15. Spend the day at the beach
No Kos guide would be complete without a mention of the beach. There are heaps in Kos, but we recommend heading to Tigaki Beach for the day. It’s not far from Kos Town, and spans 10 kilometres of the coast.
It’s a Blue Flag beach with watersports, sunshades, sun loungers and plenty of room. Pack a picnic, lots of sunscreen, and you’ll have a perfect day out.
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16. Examine the Casa Romana
The Casa Romana is an archeological site located between Kos Town and the Roman Odeon. Having survived from the 2nd Century AD, the Casa displays the Hellenic and Roman architectural style of the time.
Part of the villa, including statues and artwork, are on display in the Architectural Museum. However, visiting Casa Romana itself is the best way to get an idea of the scale and elegance of these stunning houses.
- Entrance: €6
- Hours: 08:00-20:00 (Tuesday-Sunday)
- Address: Kos 853 00, Greece
17. Shop for snacks and souvenirs at Kos Market Hall
Visiting marketplace is a great way to get to know more of the local culture. Kos Market Hall is popular amongst visitors and locals alike, and the best place to come for a little something to take home.
There are plenty of places serving food on the square, and loads of knickknacks to discover inside. The market is famed for its local produce, selling olive oils, liquors, candy, herbs and plenty more.
- Entrance: Free
- Hours: 07:00-22:30 (Monday-Saturday), 10:00-22:30 (Sunday)
- Address: Plateia Eleftherias, Kos 853 00, Greece
18. Find the coolest Churches in Kos
There are a number of churches dotted around the island, each more unique and as beautiful as the next. Kos contains a combination of Orthodox, Catholic and Paleo-Christian churches to discover.
The centre of Kos is where most Orthodox churches are to be found, including the must-see Agia Paraskevi. Agios Nikolaos is a Catholic Church found in town, and you’ll find two picture-perfect basilicas above Agios Stefanos beach.
Where to Stay in Kos
Best Airbnb in Kos: Stylish Apartment in the Best Location
This stylish Airbnb is one of the coolest places to stay in Kos. It’s modern and spacious, sleeps up to 4 guests and has everything you need for a comfortable stay.
The apartment is located in central Kos Town and is just moments from the beach. You’ll also be close to bike and car rentals – super handy for when you want to explore farther afield.
Best Apartment in Kos: Marine Apartments
These bright and spacious apartments are our favourite backpacker accommodation in Kos. Each has its own private balcony or patio with beautiful views of the pool or garden. This charming property is located in Kos Town and is in close proximity to restaurants, cafes and the beach.
Best Hotel in Kos: Antonis Hotel
The Antonis Hotel wins our vote for the best hotel in Kos. Ideally located in Kefalos, this hotel is well-positioned for exploring the village and rest of the island. Restaurants, shops and the beach are just a short distance away. This property has 13 comfortable rooms and a swimming pool and offers a tasty breakfast.
Some Additional Tips for Visiting Kos
- Support the locals. Greece is a beautiful country, but it’s been pretty hard-hit. Staying in independently-owned accommodation and eating at local restaurants is a great way to support the locals, and you’ll get a more authentic experience.
- Invest in travel insurance! You never know what may happen on the road.
- Speak some Greek! Greeks are very used to having visitors around, but they love it even more when travelers make a bit of effort. Useful phrases can be found here.
- Book accommodation well in advance. Greece is a popular destination, and spaces can fill up quickly. It’s best to avoid traveling in Greece’s peak season to get the best deals.
- Bring a good water bottle with you and avoid buying single-use plastic ones!
- Keep an eye out for pickpockets. Every popular city on the planet has to deal with pickpockets and petty theft, but it’s always best to come prepared.
- Find cheap flights. Every once in a while, a killer deal pops up.
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So there you go – 18 of the absolute best things to do in Kos to ensure you have a memorable trip.
It may be small, but Kos is one of those must-see places when visiting Greece. Whether you’re a beach bum or a history fanatic, the island is full of awesome activities to please everyone.
Whatever you get up to, no doubt Kos will leave its mark on your memory.