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Kos Island


30,000 people live on the island all year round according to the most recent census.

Names of Kos

In the past Kos has gone under different names. In ancient times it was known as Meropis and Nymphæa. Later on Turks referred to Kos as İstanköy (in Turkish); Italians called the island ‘Coo’ and the English ‘Stanchio’.


There are many small and large villages on the island of Kos. How many of the below have you visited?

Antimachia, Asfendiou, Kardamena, Kefalos, Lagoudi, Marmari, Mastihari, Platani, Pyli, Zia and Zipari.


Kos produces many fruits and vegetables. The main crops produced on the island are grapes, figs, olives, tomatoes, wheat and almonds.

Recent History

The Venetians took control of the island from the Byzantines 150 years before the collapse of Constantinople. They sold it to the Knights of St. John, based in Rhodes, in 1315. The Knigts abandoned the island under the threat of an Ottoman invasion in 1523. The Ottomans ruled Kos for 400 years until it was transferred to Italy in 1912. In World War II, the island was taken over by the Axis powers. It was occupied by Italian troops until the Italian surrender in 1943. British and German forces then clashed for control of the island in the Battle of Kos, in which the Germans were victorious. German troops occupied the island until 1945, when it became a protectorate of the United Kingdom, who ceded it to Greece in 1947.


Kos island offers a wide range of activities for its visitors and caters to all tastes. If you decide you’d like to work on anything other than a tan, you can get quality exercise time in by walking or jogging, cycling or trying any of the numerous watersports on offer. There are many seaside clubs which offer training and gear for water-skiing, waterboarding, parascending and kitesurfing (which has become increasingly popular among the locals in recent years). If you get feel adventurous during your holiday you may want to take a course in horse back riding. The island has a couple of equestrian clubs which offer training and occasionally run competitions. Thrill seekers can also choose to go on a jeep safari (sorry no wild animals, maybe a stray goat or a lazy cow!) or go bungee jumping.

If you are interested in archaeological sights, there are many interesting things to see on Kos, an island that is steeped in history. Highlights include The Asclepieion, The Plane Tree of Hippocrates, Casa Romana and the Ancient Odeion. If you enjoy day trips, there are buses and organized coach tours available for all of the island’s villages throughout the day . Ferry boats offer tours around the island as well as sailing trips to most of the region’s other islands daily. Each island offers unique delights. Try Rhodes, the island of the Knights or Kalymnos, the island of the sponge divers. Patmos is known through-out Christianity as the site where ‘The Revelation’ was written. Nisyros pulsates with the strange energy of its volcano. And if you want to try a bit of continent-hopping Turkey and Asia are right across the way.

Finally, during the summer months try to catch any of the festivities (many free of charge) and cultural events which are organized around Kos town as part of the annual ‘Hippocrateia’ festival . These included theatrical performances of the local drama societies, live music and traditional dances.

Interesting And Useful