GREECE: Bodrum to KOS, Greece

Bit of background:

Having moved out of our apartment in July, we opted to spend a month near(er) to the beach as we waited to depart. So in August 2022, we spent our time in the in BODRUM area of TURKEY! We were trying to soak up all the sun and beach time we could before we move to a landlocked state in the USA! (*spoiler* As this is published, we have yet to make that big move to the USA…)

If you are interested in the Bodrum Peninsula, check out our COMPLETE GUIDE to SUMMERING IN BODRUM, TURKEY! As well, I have a whole post dedicated to our first time we visited Bodrum! Most things are still the same (I did updated it a bit since visiting this summer). Check it out for all the BODRUM CITY GUIDE.

Now on to the island of


If you have never been to Greece then Kos, one of Greece’s Dodecanese islands, is a great ‘taster’ island. This harbor town gives you your choice of sandy beaches, Greek and Roman landmarks, 15th-century Neratzia Castle, Ancient Agora ruins, and 3rd-century Casa Romana villa has lavish mosaics.

Kos in Greece is the second most popular island of Dodecanese, after Rhodes, drawing in almost 1 million tourists every year! And just like all the others vacationers to Bodrum, we had to take a day trip over to the Greek Island of Kos!

By the way, this isn’t our first our first Greek island visit from the coast of Turkey! Check out our other articles and videos of our Greek Island visits:


Where is Kos?

Located on the South West coast of Turkey, Bodrum is a province(or state) in Turkey. As well, within the province of Bodrum there is also a city named Bodrum.` `And another quick 30 minute ferry boat ride from Bodrum city gets you to the Greek island of Kos!

The third largest of the Dodecanese islands, after Rhodes (READ OUR GUIDE, Kos island is fairly small – only 11 km wide and 40 km long, highest point of 843m (2,766 ft) with a mere population 34,000 (2011).

Kos Greece Island
Kos Greece Island

Little bit of history

Now that you have learned the location Kos, Greece just off the coast of Turkey, let’s chat about its history.

Kos island has a 5,000 years long history, but archaeological findings prove that the history of Kos starts from the prehistoric times. The Minoans settled on the island around the 14th century BC, followed by the Achaeans and, a few centuries later, the Dorians came and built the ancient city of Kos.

According to Greek mythology, Kos is the sacred land of Asclepius, the god of healing. 460 BC is the year during which Hippocrates, the father of Medicine and founder of the first School of Medicine, was born.

It has been influenced by many cultures, such as the Ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Venetians, the medieval Knights, and the Ottomans. It actually follows a bit of ancient history similar to Bodrum’s. The Byzantine period brought prosperity and wealth on Kos which also brought on constant pirate raids. The Persians conquered the island of Kos during the 5th century BC but were defeated by the Athenians who took control of the island later.

The same Knights of Saint John, who established on Rhodes, also took the control of Kos in 1315 AD and built the fortress that stands today at the entrance of the harbor of Kos. In 1522, the Turks took the island and held it until 1912. Then the Italian troupes invaded Kos and kicked them out. The Germans replaced the Italians in 1943 during the World Wars and was a very dark period for the inhabitants of Kos like most during this time. Thankfully, the nightmare ended in 1945 when Kos came under British rule. Finally, in 1948, Kos got united to the rest of Greece!

A huge part of this island history is the massive earthquake in 1933, destroying many of the island’s traditional buildings, but also, at the same time, revealed various archaeological sites. Some of the ancient sites have ongoing excavations taking place and are well kept. But other have become hidden and almost ‘abandoned’ like the Agora in Kos City.

I’ll share more about WHAT TO SEE and DO in a few sections below!

Top 7 sites to see in Kos, Greece!

Supposively there is a historic trail around Kos Town that you can take on foot, but we didn’t find any info on it. This town area is flat which makes rental bikes an enjoyable way to explore the sites. Another option is supposively a train that makes its way around the city, but we didn’t see one! No matter, we were able to walk and explore as we went long without any issues. It was all so close!

You can also watch our day tour of Kos here:

1. See the Neratizia Castle!

Ironically, I’m tell you to check out these first couple of sites you should see that we did unfortunately did not get a chance to see! Perhaps the umimpressive, not so imposing height of the Castle of Neratizia deterred us a bit too (compared to the towers of Bodrum’s castle!). Oh, and you need to walk around the Bay Area to get to it! Regardless, it seems that this 14th century castle, sibling to the crusaders Bodrum Castle, went for surface area when being constructed.

2. Plane Tree of Hippocrates.

Interesting fact – Kos is the island of Hippocrates, aka. the Father of Medicine. Hippocrates who was born in 460 B.C. supposively would, as ‘legend has it’ sit under the shade of the tree, teaching his students. I can’t promise that this tree is truly that old but the plane tree of Hippocrates is most certainly ancient, needing help of scaffolding frames supporting its gnarled branches. Over the years, these branches have climbed and twisted out of so many different angles, the trunk can we hard to locate!

3. Shop your way through Kos Old Town!

This habour town is small, walkable, easy to navigate with just enough nooks and alleys lined with shops to keep you wandering the streets for the whole day if you like. In the tips section below, I mentioned some items popular to get here.

Eleftherias Square is a great place to sit for lunch or coffee and people watch. After the 1933 earthquake, the Italian fascist party started to rebuild this area in traditional Italian layout.

WATCH our day tour of Kos below.

4. Casa Romana

Our first main stop after walking inland through Kos Old town was the Casa Romana. In total, it probably 15 minutes from the ferry port.

Similar to the buildings found in Pompeii, the Casa Romana, which means the Roman House, is a beautiful 2nd century mansion that shows the architectural style that dominated on the island in the Hellenistic and the Roman Times.

The partially restored 2 floor Roman villa with its 36 rooms and a group of 3 atriums, shows off a collection of art, including mosaics, frescoes & sculptures. Thankfully the museum does a wonderful job explaining the findings and the excavations they have done. A walkthrough takes roughly 30 minutes to an hour.

5. Ancient Roman Odeon of Kos

Just a 5 minute walk east from the Casa Romana and the entry is free!

Romans built the ancient open-air Roman Odeon of Kos in the 2nd-3rd century, with restored marble seating & galleries. Found in the early 20th century, this theater along with the Gymnasium and the Roman baths, all are in generally good condition. After scaling this smaller 18-row theater, make sure you check out the walkway underneath it and see a couple of pathways used in the past.

6. Western Archeological Zone city Ruins

Walking across the street from the theater back towards Kos Old Town, you will find yourself wandering through the western Archeological Zone. One of the main advantages of this complex is its proximity of many important places like the gymnasium, old market, homes, and church – so much to the point that they can be comfortably visited during just one walk, without having to travel across distant points. Best part? It’s also free and you don’t waste any extra time traveling to see it.

If you do have a bit more time, I suggest checking out the Archeological Museum in Old Town which hold all the islands ancient treasure found here!

7. Spend time at a nearby beach!

Let’s be honest, some of you would rather do just a bit of shopping then move on to the beach to relax! Our other friends did just that.

There are lots a beaches to go to on the island of Kos, but there are even a few beach clubs in Kos town that you can pay a fee for the day and get a chair and umbrella. Our friends when to one of the closest locations, Sophie’s Restaurant & Beach but they said, ‘Beware of the loud music!’ cause they can be loud! (Maybe we are just too old I guess!)

Another option is to rent an ATV and drive up the coast to another, possibly more serene beach for your swimming and relaxation needs.

Our other tips for this area:

Couple of extra notes:

  • Euros are accepted here. Either grab them before you leave Turkey or upon arrival. I thought we would need it more, but most people were happy to take our credit cards thankfully.
  • Museums are closed on Monday (same in Turkey!).
  • What to buy? There are lots of Kos tea towels, trinkets and other souvenirs galore. Leather is a popular trade too – shoes, purses , and belts. I am still regretting not buying that leather purse! Oh, don’t forget the olive wood items.

Getting There:

  • For our road trip, we drove in our own car from Izmir to Bodrum. See more about how to get to Bodrum via our GUIDE to BODRUM.
  • From Turkey, we booked tickets online via the Turkish Sealines website. Just make sure you are on the first fast ferry of the day (8:45 am) so you can be in the front of the 2 (YES ONLY 2) passport lines! We were on the first one and we still waited FOREVER! (Check out our video!) You will need to arrive at leave 45 minutes early with all the lines (and multiple ferries), checking in and getting your ticket, and especially passport control! The lines for all the ferry merge at passport control and it’s madness!
  • Going elsewhere from Kos? I learned that Kos actually has 2 ports! Kos is also connected by ferry with the other nearby islands of Rhodes, Patmos, Leros, and Kalymnos. Patmos is the closest island to Kos and the ferry route between those two destinations takes 2 to 3 hours. There are also some ferry routes that link Kos with Bodrum in Turkey.
    • You can also travel to Athens from here by boat (but I would probably take a flight!) Kos by ferry from Piraeus port in Athens, run about 4 times per week but take approximately 11 hours!
    • Want to fly? Just 24 km from Kos Town, Kos International Airport “Hippocrates” runs domestic flights all year round mainly to and from Athens. Less frequent (perhaps more seasonal as well) flights from Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Heraklion and Astypalea can be found, too. 


  • Since we only went over for the day, we unfortunately have no personal recommendations! But I can recommend using for ease of check-in/check-out and Airbnb for more unique stays. I would suggest looking near Diagora Square.

When to go to Bodrum:

  • Since it’s just off the coast, Kos is like Bodrum, which has a Mediterranean climate, is actually a town that can be visited in all seasons. Winters are warm and rainy, and summers are very hot. And perhaps a bit windier in all season just do to the sea breezes! In short, it may be more accurate to determine the season according to your needs and when you are able to travel.

In fact, the first time we ever visited Bodrum was in the wintery off-season. And even in off-season, it was still a wonderful place to visit (you can read out here).

Cute shops:

  • Not a shop but don’t forget to take your pic in front of the I LOVE KOS sign by the Bay Area!
  • Olive Wood Shop – All the handmade olive wood items you could ever want. Gosh I wanted to buy so many things. I did come away with a small puzzle for Sofia and few salad serving utensils (one for me and a couple for gifts!

What to eat:

  • Greek Frappe – Enjoy this traditional cold drink made from whipped Nescafe and sugar until it’s frothy – add water and ice and wallah! What differentiates a Greek frappe from a simple iced coffee is the thick, creamy froth that forms as you make it.
  • Feta Saganaki – “Saganaki” refers to various Greek appetizers, which are prepared in a small, two handled heavy bottomed frying pan, itself called a saganaki or sagani. The most common traditional Greek recipes cooked in that kind of pan include cheese saganaki, mussels saganaki and shrimp saganaki. So of course we went with the cheese one. Imagine this delicious cheese in a crispy fried crust all soft and melting on the inside. Drooling just thinking about it now.
  • Pork Gyros – Basically the Greek version of a Turkish Döner but with pork. Why pork? Because we live in Turkey, and it’s not an option.

Restaurants we enjoyed: 

Since we were only here during the day, I don’t have too many recs. I will put the *** by the ones we personally went to. All others were on my list of potentials!

  • ***Bianco Nero – This is one of the first places after the long walk from the ferry. It did not disappoint! We loved our omelets with bacon and delicious cappuccinos. After breakfast (or brunch) we were ready to take on the rest of the day! (See our video for the food and atmosphere!)
  • *** Ambrosia Meze Restaurant – Of course, eating some local food (especially pork) was on our list! This little place is located in the cute Diagora Square. The flowers were all in full bloom, climbing over every inch of arches providing shade for customers. It was truly delightful to just chill and eat in the shade!

This website could be a good guide if you have a few more days to spare or have a very empty belly!

If you have more time:

Man, I wish we could have stayed the night! It’s always fun to see how a place is on the edges of the day- the evenings and mornings. But alas, we just were not able! There is so much more to explore on the rest of the island too! Check out this website for more sites to see on the island!

Overall, Kos is a fun day trip and a bonus country for those visiting Turkey! I loved seeing some similarities and differences from Turkey to Greece even though they are so close!

Don’t forget to check out our KOS TOUR via video and BODRUM PLAYLIST on YOUTUBE!

Comment below and let me know about some of the questions below:

  • Do you want to travel to Kos, Greece now?
  • Have you traveled to Kos before?
  • If so, what did you love? What did we miss?!

Don’t forget, you can explore all of Bodrum, Turkey with us over on our Following The Funks YouTube Channel via our Bodrum Playlist videos.

As, well check out some of our other Greek Island Guides!