Holidays are so important to us as a family (as they probably are to you as well), we all work hard, be it at school or work and we all look forward to the big summer holiday!
The past few years have involved a trip to the Spanish mainland, a Canary or Balearic Island, as much as we like them we did start to get bored of these and fancied something different. This year we went to Kos! We mainly chose Kos because of it's pretty much guaranteed sunshine in August, as well as good food and awesome sea!
Now we aren't really a family that do adventurous holidays, the girls like an all inclusive holiday that involves relaxing around the pool and not venturing to far, I also love this, but give it a week of being away and I get a little bored, itchy feet and want to venture out!
Usually this is on my own, but this holiday I managed to encourage the girls out the hotel for the day with the promise of a great trip around the small island of Kos!
We booked our holiday with Jet2 and were staying at all inclusive at the Akti Palace hotel, this isn't a review of the hotel, however I will say that it was fantastic and everything we hoped for give or take a few minor points! The hotel was located about 4km outside the town of Kardamena.
It's location is in the centre of the south coast of Kos but I imagine connections around the island are not easy without a car, although I suppose the buses would be relatively easy but you wouldn't be as easy to see as much and when the car hire was only about €50 its a relatively in expensive way to get around.
So let me introduce you to Marjorie the Micra, we hired her through the hotel which was great as it was a flat fee and all insurances covered! I will come on to were we went but one tip for you, and this is not an extensive list, but that tip is check the headlights! Unfortunately I didn't check them and driving back at night with only 1 dipped headlight wasn't ideal, luckily the main beams worked fine!
As I said our hotel was located in the south side of the island, on the opposite side of Mount Dikaios to Kos Town. The roads to Kos Town, which was to the north of us are the other side of the mountain so we decided to head to the west of the island and make our way across the north coast of the island to see what was around.
I did a little bit of research of things we might want to see before we left.
My tip here for you - If you are researching a road trip or an area you can make your own map on google maps and save dropped pins etc
So here are the places we visited:
We started at Plaka Forest, if I am honest this was not the first thing I expected we would want to go and see, however on the promise of peacocks and tortoise it peaked enough of our interest to go and visit! Now holidays are all about spending time with each and learning about each other, I now know the wife is petrified of Peacocks! Hence she remained in the car whilst Katy and I went to explore! The forest was reasonable cool under the trees which was welcome! There were a lot of peacocks, some interesting graffiti but we didn't manage to see any tortoise at all, now we are not sure if this is due to the time of year or not! There were however loads of cats and an eccentric old man looking after them!
Agios Stefanos Beach and the Ancient Basilica - The route from the forest to this beach took us passed a number of other great beaches that you might want to visit, especially Paradise Beach which is rumoured to be one of the best on the island. Agios Stefanos Beach was a pretty large beach on the south of the island, with the availability of sun loungers for higher as well as peddle boats to enable you to peddle over to the nearby small island of Kastri. Also located here is an ancient basilica (Prime photo opportunity here) with stunning views of the sea and beaches beyond, with some ancient mosaics still visible on the floor as well as the floor plan and columns it is well worth the visit.
Mastichari - Next was time for us to head to the north coast and stop for a drink and perhaps a small snack in this small coastal town! This place was truly amazing, the best beach we see, although the sea was not as calm as the south side, the beach was proper sand and less stone! There were a number of restaurants along here with beach beds available to use as well as a water sports centre!
Kos Town - Time was getting away from us and we wanted to visit Kos Town. The plan was to visit one of the ancient castles (tagged on the map) but rumours that some were still closed following the earthquake in 2017 and not wanting to get to our next stop to late we decided to skip these. Kos Town was very picturesque around the port area and some of the side streets etc but if I am honest it is like many a port town in greek islands or Mediterranean locations. We had a great lunch at one of the port side restaurants, parking seemed to be a little bit of a nightmare so consider this if you plan a visit!
- Zia - This was the one place that every member of staff at the hotel told us was well worth doing. This is a small village up Mount Dikaios. It wasn't necessarily the town itself that is worth the visit but the view, it is fantastic especially at sunset! We were advised by the car hirer lady to get there early as it gets very busy, and this was possibly the best advice we received! Zia is very popular, especially at sunset. We arrived for 4.30pm and it was reasonably quiet with a view tourists there but none of the coach trips had arrived as yet! We had a walk around some of the tourist shops which there are plenty, so a great place to get the little treats for friends and family, a lot of tat as you would expect but some nice local bits as well as tomato sweet and a cinnamon drink! Another tip for you, book a table early, we booked a great table at the aptly named Sunset Balcony Taverna to guarantee we had a really good view at sunset! We chose this place because as it was local cuisine, but I also highly recommend you check out the folks at The Zia Watermill Cafe, the whole vibe with this place is excellent and very welcoming especially the homemade lemonade!
This was our Kos Island in a day whirlwind tour, I hope you have checked out the pictures in the gallery under each point, and that you find the map useful. If there are any places you know of that should be on there feel free to drop me a note in the comments below!
We are now on to planning our family holiday for next year, but where to go?? We are looking at a number of options including another greek island, Cape Verde or Turkey! Also considering hiring a villa instead of going all inclusive!
Until the next time!