The Greek island of Kos is the third largest of the Dodecanese islands. Famed for its stunning sandy beaches, picturesque harbors, and ancient ruins. Whether you choose a luxurious all-inclusive hotel or opt for a smaller traditional villa, you’ll be sure to have a relaxing stay full of sun, sea, and sand. The island’s landmark municipality, Kos Town, is great if you’re looking to do a spot of shopping or to explore the town’s fortress. If relaxation is more your thing, you can’t beat Kardamena.
Where is Kardamena?
Just a 10-minute drive from the airport. Kardamena plays home to quaint cafes, long stretches of sandy beach and enough bars and restaurants to fill endless evenings around the harbor. With a number of direct flights from across Europe. This is a popular destination for travelers, particularly between the high season months of May – October.
Lying on the southern coast of the island, Kardamena’s beaches boast perfectly still blue waters making it ideal for family holidays with children of any age.
If you’re not staying at a hotel with a private beach, fear not, Kardamena has a range of coves and beaches that sprawl along the coastline so you’ll be sure to find a patch to call you own. Many sections of the beach are run by the restaurants that lie slightly inland. They often allow you to use their sunbeds in return for purchasing food or refreshments throughout the day. This is a pretty good deal as an ice-cold frappe or a can of Mythos will be just what the doctor ordered come midday!
For a livelier beach scene head down to the east of the harbor for music and water sports. From parascending to stand-up paddleboarding, there are activities for every water baby and adrenalin junkie out there! Alternatively, don your snorkeling gear just before the sun starts to go down. When you do this be sure to look out for hundreds of fish as they gather around the rocks to feed.
Things to do
Apart from swimming in the warm Aegean Sea, there are a number of other activities available in and around Kardamena to keep you occupied. Just out of town lies the Aquatica water park. The park is open daily (in high season). You can also enjoy horse riding, quad biking and even boat tours around the rest of the island. When you’re not filling your days with activities, simply wander around the charming streets of the village looking for local handicrafts and souvenirs. Why not enjoy a cake and a coffee at Lovemade in the center of the village too?
For the history buffs among you, you may be interested in learning that there have been a number of archaeological excavations over the years which have brought to light much of the village’s history. Built on an old Alasarna settlement, Kardamena features temple ruins, traditional stone objects and even the remains of four basilicas. Although not a lot of this can still be seen in the village today, you can get a taste of what life used to be like during the 2nd century BC. For more historical sites, head towards Kos Town. In Kos Town, you can see the famous Asclepeion and the statue of Hippocrates.
A great option for sunset is to hire a car or moped and head up to Antimachia Castle. Whilst there you can watch the sky turn golden and red as the sun dips below the horizon.
After dark, walk along Kardamena’s picturesque harbor to see what culinary delights take your fancy. Whether you opt for a tasty cocktail before dinner at a bar or choose a traditional Greek taverna for a mix of meze plates, you’ll have an evening to remember. The locals here are always friendly and welcoming. With freshly caught fish on the menu throughout the summer, you’ll know you are savoring a taste of the Mediterranean each time you dine.
For those looking for an extra nightlife hit, head to ‘bar street’. Here you will find fishbowls, shots, and beers galore. Then make your way to one of the village’s clubs. Although Kardamena’s 18-30s nightlife scene has quietened down a bit since the early 2000s. Regardless, in the height of summer, there is enough going on to ensure a wild night out.
Many visiting Kardamena choose to hire a car, moped or quad bike to explore further afield. Antimachia is known for its picture-perfect windmill in the center of the village. You also have Mastahari which is home to a wilder coastline. Thanks to the winds on this side of the island, Mastahari is great for kitesurfing which creates a fantastic silhouette against the backdrop of an orange sunset sky.
Even further into the island lies Zia, a quaint village high in the mountains with absolutely spectacular views. Although a car is required for the zig-zag journey up the mountainside roads. The effort is definitely worth it when you look out across the island all the way to the ocean.
Kardamena is fantastic for a week’s beach retreat. If you have extra time though you can easily fill two or three weeks. There is an idyllic combination of good food, stunning scenery, warm seas, and cultural sights.
Best Time to Come?
Although you can visit out of season, planes and ferries will be few and far between. This makes travel somewhat more difficult but not impossible. If you do then you may have to transfer through Athens if traveling at this time. The best time to visit Kardamena is between May and October with July and August being peak months. Temperatures are often well over 30 degrees at this time. If you’d rather travel at a cooler time, September and October are fantastic months to visit. You will find the sea temperature remains warm and the beaches are quieter.