Kefalos is not always what comes to mind when you think of Kos. People always tend to think of the same two places. Kos Town and Kardamena. Next time you are thinking of heading to the island why not head down to the western tip and discover the sights of Kefalos? This area has a whole host of activities to enjoy. With both a bay and quaint village to explore as well as plenty of ancient ruins. You can comfortably spend a week or two here.
Where is Kefalos?
Located at the very western side of Kos, Kefalos lies 42km from Kos Town. Kefalos is a small region mainly known for its beautiful sandy beaches. There is some public transport to Kefalos but it is probably best to hire a car so that you can freely explore without the constraints of bus times. The main route from Kos Town to Kefalos passes through the towns of Zipari and Antimachia. These are worth exploring if you fancy a day trip during your holiday. Once you reach the western side of the island some of the more main roads start to peter out so traveling by car is preferable to moped or quad bike. This will enable you to access all of the coves around the bay giving you much more freedom to explore and enjoy these secluded inlets.
History of Kefalos
Kefalos was actually thought to be the original capital of Kos when it was known as Astypalaia. This was before the consolidation of the island’s settlements in 366BC when the administrative center changed to what is now known as Kos Town.
What remains in Kefalos today tells a story of the range of settlers and pilgrims that inhabited this area over the years. From castle ruins to ancient basilicas you’ll be sure to learn about the history of Kefalos during your visit. Pick up a guide book before you go so you can really discover the town’s history.
Over the years Kefalos has experienced quite a lot of tourist development. However, it still remains a fairly quiet place to visit. With some of the larger hotels having closed down some beaches will be relatively tourist-free.
Ayios Stefanos Basilica
There are plenty of things to do in and around Kefalos. For those looking for history and culture start at the remains of the Ayios Stefanos Basilica. This is located on the eastern outskirts of Kefalos. It is situated on the beach of the same name so makes it easy to find! Historians believe there were actually two basilicas on the same complex dating back to the 5th century AD. All that remains today are some of the intricate floor mosaics and two of the marble and granite pillars which have been restored.
Moving on from Ayios Stefanos towards the sea you will come to the Bay of Kefalos. On the edge of the bay, there are more basilica remains this time of the Little Basilica of Kefalos. Again, mosaic floors can be seen here. These remains were discovered by H. Balducci in 1935.
As both of these basilica remains are located near the coast you can take wonderful photographs with the sea in the backdrop.
After exploring these archaeological sites head down to the beach for a spot of sunbathing. You can hire sunbeds so you can really set up camp. The clear blue waters will be calling you in for a swim too! If you are a particularly strong swimmer, you should swim out to the island of Kastri. On this island out to sea lies a small traditional Greek church and a large rocky outcrop which you can climb for fantastic views of the bay. Located approximately 200m from Kefalos Bay you can often walk halfway when the water level is low and then swim the rest.
When you get there, explore the church and climb up to the top of the hill.
Things to do in Kefalos
It is not just the beach and the things around it that make this area exciting. If you head north for about 1.5km you will enter the village of Kefalos. As the village lies on the top of the hill you will get great panoramic views of the bay. Here you will find a traditional house which gives cultural tours of early 20th-century life. You can also visit the windmill of Papavasili which towers over the landscape. There are also the remains of the Castle of Kefalos. This castle was used when Kos inhabitants were forced to flee the main town during the Turkish invasion of 1457. The castle was not as well fortified as Antimachia Castle though, so not much of it is still visible today.
Further on from Kefalos village are a few other harbors and villages to explore. Kamari is a quaint little fishing village to the south with plenty of colorful boats. It also has great sandy beaches as an alternative to the Ayios Stefanos beach. The nearby village of Limionas on the northern edge of the island is home to a natural harbor. This is a lovely spot to enjoy some fresh seafood in the little cafes and restaurants.
Best time to visit?
The main areas of Kefalos village and bay can be visited year-round. The best months to enjoy to coast are of course the summer months of May-October. During the low season, some of the smaller dirt track roads may become inaccessible so it’s best to speak to the locals before you travel.
Have you been to Kefalos? Let us know if you liked it.