Yes, after a long break we are back again in one of the Greek islands. For years – for whatever reason – we could not come to the island of Kos which is just next door to Bodrum and finally we made it (we had stopped by on our way to Leros for a couple of hours but that does not count). We decided to come here on a nice autumn day after all of the holiday people returned back to their homes and everything became rather quiet.
As usual my wife did a lot of research on the internet before coming here and gave me the essential information. Therefore we new what we were going to encouter. The programs which we watch on TV or the internet are not very satisfactory and especially the ones on TV are too much commercial oriented. The travel blogs on the internet just lists you the places to go and see and for me these are just informaton to be kept in mind. Yes there are interesting places to see but when we travel we prefer to improvise and have nice surprises. We do not let other peoples ideas influence us.
Because of this we were not sure if we would spend a night here and we did not make any hotel reservation and we said that we would decide according to how it goes. But after we arrived and toured around some and we decided to stay one night.
Let me first talk about the travel to Kos. Last time we went to Leros we had taken the ferry from Turgutreis to Kos then from Kos to Leros, but this time we decided to take the one from Bodrum. From Bodrum there are two possibilities: One from the pier where the big ships moore and the other from the center of Bodrum from the marina.The former leaves at 08:30 am and the latter at 09:30. The first one being too early we decided on the second one and since being autumn we arrived at the port at 09:00 and bought our ticket and made the boat on time. At this point I would like to mention that on the internet although the travel time is indicated as 45 minutes our boat was a little bit slow and it took one hour on both ways. The surpise of the morning was the Russian woman who was constantly speaking. We climbed to the upper deck of the boat and this woman who was the double of my size was standing at the center of the deck on the corridor between the seats facing two young men and she was having a conversation. Actually she was talking like a machine gun and these two poor guys were listening without making a sound. After a while a woman sitting close to them erupted and asked her to go away and talk somewhere else and they went to a far corner but she kept on talking. She was still talking when we arrived at Kos, while coming down the steps, in the passport que, after the passport que and on the street 😊.
Well finally we were at Kos and we started wondering around like idle tourists. We were going to the usual places looking around and passing time. Meanwhile we decided to spend the night and booked a room at The Maritina hotel which was very close to the center. This hotel is quite economic and very simple. Don’t expect too much it is a place for staying one night. Clean, has decent breakfast, rooms not bad. You can read my detailed comments at TripAdvisor. Inıtially we were planning to stay at a B&B in one of the small villages but a shop owner whom we met and who was of Turkish origin told us that we would not find such a place in these villages – he also gave us a lot of good advice about Kos – so we decided to stay in Kos city. I asked this guy how was the business. He said that after the economic crises people from Turkey suddenly stopped coming but since the last two weeks he was seeing tourists from Turkey. I think people got used to the crises – including us…
In my opinion the most famous place in Kos city is the Hipocrates Tree and after touring in the center we went to see it. Just next to this tree there is the Hasan Pasha Mosque. During the earthquake last year, which we also felt quite strongly in Bodrum, this mosque and also St. Paraskevi church in the center was heavily damaged. The dome of the fountain next to the mosque had collapsed completely. The Hipocrates Tree is a very big one but not very interesting, but you should see it once. Next to this place is a very big area called the Old Agora. There are ruins left from sometime B.C. and since we have a lot of them in our country it was not very interesting for us and we skipped it. At the main square you will see the Defterdar Mosque and just next to it there is a small road parallel to the Agora which leads to The Tree. On this road there are many restaurants and clubs. I assume in summer nights this place is very lively
The collapsed fountain next to Hasan Pasha Mosque.
The Hipocrates Tree and the other fountain next to it.
Just next to The Tree there is a café and we sat down and had a coffee and afterwards as I mentioned above we went to book the room at the hotel and the found a place to rent a car. For €25/day we rented a small one. The people at the rental place – which was a travel agency as well – were very polite and helpful. Here I would like to say that I have not seen a place like Kos where you have so many car rental places. These do not rent only cars but bicycles, motorcycles, beach buggies, quads you name it. In all the small villages we visited there were at least two of them. As Kos is quite flat we saw many people riding bicycles. I am sure that during summer they do very good business. Even now we saw many couples riding on beach buggies.
At this time of the year still there were many tourists, mainly Germans. I think Russians and Turks come next.
We took the car and started our journey towards the southwest of the island. If you look at the map of Kos you will see that it is a narrow long island situated on a northeast – southwest orientation. On the far southwest corner there is this large town called Kefalos. Our target was this town.
On the way we stopped by the two small villages by the sea – Tigaki and Marmari. These are mainly summer places with long sandy beaches and there were some people enjoying the sun and the sea. I can’t think of these beaches during summer…
After about half an hour we finally arrived at Kefalos. This town is situated on a hilltop but it has a beach full of hotels and also a port. We continued to the center of the city on the hill and found a parking place and the started wondering in the narrow streets of Kefalos.
As I mentioned in my previous travels to Greece and Greek islands actually this country is poor. The houses in the streets, the distorted buildings without a taste indicate a humble life. Their luck is that the population is not very much and the aid they get from EU. The population of the island is about 35,000 – about 2000 is Turks – it is quite empty, the villages small. As they told us in Leros during winter this island is a ghost island. They are poor but they still maintain their pleasure. In Kos city after 2 pm most of the shops are closed and you do not see any of the locals on the streets until 4 – 5 pm. They told us that tourists who do not know this, sometimes they leave the things they buy at the shop to pick up later in the afternoon and before leaving to their boat come to the shop and shocked to see it closed and leave without getting their goods😊.
Whatever. Let’s talk about Kefalos. While strolling the streets we came upon a place on top of the hill called Mylotopi. This is an old but restored windmill with a restaurant, autentic house and a bakery built around it. I think this is the most famous place in Kefalos. It is quite well looked after and very beautiful. It is overlooking the bay and the port and has a magnificant view. We started wondering around and wanted to see the inside of the windmill but a man stopped us and said that we had to pay €5 per person to visit the windmill, the autentic house and the bakery. This is what is aclled a rip-off! However not to spoil our mood we paid the money and started with the windmill. The wind outside was very strong and the mill was turning quite fast which made me think “they have really restored it so that it is turning without a noise and very efficient” and I appreciated it. However when we entered inside I saw a big electric motor with a reductor turning the shaft!!! In any case it was interesting to see a working old windmill and how they used to grind the wheat to make flour. After this we visited the bakery and the autentic house and sat at the retaurant to have a coffee. We had a cheesecake with our coffees and I would like to say that it was one of the best cheesecakes we ever had. So I strongly recommend it if you ever go there.
Windmill at the Mylotopi
The electric motor which drives the windmill 😊
After our visit to Kefalos we decided to take the road to the north which leads to a place by the sea side called Limnionas. There is a winding and narrow road to this place. We were expecting a small town but it turned out to be a place with a shelter for fishing boats, a small beach and a restaurant. This place has an interesting nature. It is open to northerly winds but the sea has carved a small bay which is protected naturally by the rocks surrounding it and therefore calm and you can safely swim here.
Going down to Limnionas we saw a small church up in the hill. I would like to mention about these churches. The majority of them are painted in white and blue and some are yellow and white – like the one we saw in Kefalos. This white-blue combination is very beautiful. I presume the state is funding these churches heavily.
A Blue -White Church
We did not spend much time here and we started our journey back to Kos and we decided to visit the beaches on the southern shores of Kos which we saw the signs coming here. The road between Kos and Kefalos is up on the hills and these beaches are way down so you go on steep roads down to them. First we wanted to visit Camel Beach but we saw the road was dirt and we did not like it very much and turned back and headed for the next one The Paradise Beach. The road to this one was nice and we went all the way down. Since this part is on the south and closed to norherly winds the sea was very calm and many people were enjoying the autumn afternoon sun. In summer these beaches would be packed.
We started again on our return journey and we decided to visit the “ Robinson Club” which we had seen the sign coming here. We followed the sing and arrived here but the guard at the gate didn’t let us in and said that the visitng hours was the next day. And we turned back to the main road.
Now our destination was Zia – famous for its view at dusk. Going there I inadvertantly took the road to Kardamena which made us see other places. This made us reach Zia from Kardemena using the back roads which go through the mountains. Zia is situated on the high slopes of the mountain and a small touristic place with full of restaurants, cafés and shops for tourists. You can view Kos’s northern shores and the Aegean Sea from the distance. We wondered around the back streets which leads to the church on the top of the hill and sat down on one of the café’s on this road and had lemonade which were supposedly very famous but it was plain lemonade nothing special. In summer the sun sets towards north and I can imagine that the view would be very beautiful but being 2nd half of October the sun has moved towards south and no longer sets in the sea but the slope to your left. Therefore we decided not to wait for it and headed back to Kos. I would like to say that I am sure the sun set at Yalikavak in the Bodrum peninsula is nothing less than here.
The main square at Zia
View of the Aegean Sea from Zia
After arriving to the hotel we had some rest and then went out for dinner. Our friends had suggested two restaurants: “Barbouni” and “Nick the Fisherman”. Being off season we did not book a table and just went. Barbouni is by the seaside but it had closed one day before for the winter and we ended up in “Nick the Fisherman”. As you can imagine it was not crowded and the weather being very nice we sat outside – we had our coats in any case – like all the other customers. There were two waiters working both of them Turkish origin- Mr. Enver and Ms. Arzu. Both of them were very polite always smiling and taking their jobs very seriously. The service and the mezes were very good. Now I want to mention a mistake we made. In Turkey we are used to the mezes coming in very small quantities and assumed the same here and ordered too much of them. However in Greece the portions are quite large – as we experienced in our previous trips – and we could not finish all of them. We should keep this in mind in our future trips to Greece. The prices were very reasonable.
I found the opportunity to have a chat with Mr. Enver about the economic situation of Greece. According to him the islands feed mainland Greece. If it were not for the tourists coming to Greek islands mainland Greece would be worse economically. After the 2008 crisis especially the conditions of the retired has worsened. His fathers pension was €2000 before the crisis now it is €800. He said that if his father didn’t have his own house he would starve. Because of this the people in the islands love the Turks which spend a lot but that has decreased after the economic crisis in Turkey. So they shall see what will happen in the future.
Night view of Kos harbour
The next morning we decided to tour the Kos town a little bit more and found ourselves in the “Old Town”. This is a cute area with narrow streets, cafés, restaurants and as always shops for the tourists. We wondered around and tried to target a good restaurant for lunch and then returned to the car and began our exploration of the other side of the city Kos. When I say the “other side” I mean the part on your right when you face the sea at Kos. There is a road going that way and we took it. After about 20 minutes the road climbs up a hill and abruptly ends. At this point we saw a parking place with many cars parked and a small restaurant. In front of this restaurant there is a dirt steep road going downhill to the sea side. Initially we said that going down is easy but climbing up would be tough so we sat down and had a drink at this small restaurant. However we saw that many people with their swimming suits were going down and also coming up from the road. So our curiosity won and we decided to walk down the road. Surprisingly we found out that this place is called “Therma” and is a place where hot springs came out of the ground just where the land meets the sea. Down by the beach there was another small café and many people were inside the hot water benefitting from this healthy spa. The beach has a natural swimming pool where the hot water emerges and is quite nice. However there are no shower facilities and if you want a shower you have to climb up the hill to the first restaurant and have a shower usng a hose.
The road to Therma
People using the spa at therma…
Another view from Therma
This was a nice surprise for us and we climbed the road back to our car went back to the “Old Town” had our lunch and coffee in the café on the main square which is operated by the Woman’s Association – all waiters are woman. Then we returned the car baxk went back to the port and took our ferry back home.
An intersting installation at the “Old Town”
Main square at the Old Town
This was again a nice short trip for us which we enjoyed quite much and hope that in the future we shall have more of these nice journeys.