One week on Greek islands. The itinerary is more for nature lovers, despite Kos's reputation as a party island, with a little island hopping you'll have a very chill vacation with cool nature spots.
EuropeGreece8 days / September 2021
Highs & Lows
The natural hot spring in the sea - you should go in the night! The volcanic crater of Nisyros - not a typical scene at all.
Cities in Kos are very touristy, try to opt for staying as much as possible on smaller islands.
This trip is for people who love to be in a chilled out atmosphere and discover beaches, viewpoints and some wonders of nature. You can do all the touristy activities on the island of Kos, but if you prefer some small places and hidden gems, jut hop on a boat like we did, and enjoy the hospitality and kindness that surrounds you when you meet greek people!
This was a one week trip with a friend at the end of the holiday season in Greece. We landed on Kos island at the airport, but we headed off right away to a small island called Nisyros. We went to the village of Kardamaina by a taxi and got on a boat to Mandraki village on Nisyros island. We got on a tourist boat by chance (they went for a daytrip, but we asked them to bring us only one way without the tour) we learned, that the last ferry left in the morning, but there's a good chance you'll find a boat that takes you to the island.
Officially, by ferries you can get from Kos city port to Nisyros (Mandraki port), but to reach the port of Kos city you'd have to take a one hour ride from the airport or a bit longer by bus. In this case you can stay there check out Kos city as the first destination.
About Nisyros: I would extend the stay here for 3-4 nights! If you like places which are not too busy and perfect for just wandering around the narrow streets among old white stone buildings with the added bonus of some interesting spots in nature, this is the place.
On the first day we checked out Mandraki (the biggest out of the four villages on the island. The beach is rocky here, and is an amazing spot to watch the sunset. You can quickly go up to the monastery and have a nice view on the village too.
The next day we rented a scooter in the center, and went on to discover the island. The first stop was the Stephanos Crater, it's a volcanic crater (protected area, there's a small fee to get in) it still has hot mud and gas emission, and you can see sulfur crystals on the ground.
Then, we visited the villages and checked out some viewpoints. The highlight was Church of St. John the Theologian, it is approachable by scooter and it looks like something out of a fairytale. We also found a nice abandoned beach on the east side of the island.
All in all, great place, I'd stayed more.
To be honest I am not a fan of touristy towns, and Kos is definitely one of them, the old town is nice, full of restaurants and shops, it’s a nice dining spot and it’s good to enjoy a city vibe here. The port is a bit too much for me, plenty of agencies selling daytrips, of course it is useful, because it’s the biggest port of the area, you can get to any island nearby and you have an option to go to Turkey as well (Bodrum port), because it’s very close.
My favorite place was the Therma Beach near the town. It’s approximately 13 km, we went by bike, but renting a scooter/quad might be better. The beach has some shops that close for the evening, but the beach itself never closes, and I highly recommend going for the evening. We got some early lunch and went to the sea, which was warm and a bit sulfuric due to the hot spring. Once the sun set, it was very pleasant to stay in the warm water and luckily we had a full moon to brighten the area (there are no lamps it’s a natural beach, also no shower). The location is like a dream, I think we would have stayed till midnight if we wouldn’t have to bike 13 km back 😊
Kefalos town’s center is nice and has a beach, but the most beautiful beaches are more remote. We rented a quad and visited the area that was amazing.
Beaches: Paradise Beach, Camel Beach and Volcania were all very nice sandy beaches. The Problem was: on the day we visited them, the wind was so strong, we couldn’t enjoy the sea, only the views. But on a calm sunny day they must be awesome.
We went to the Plaka Forest as well, it’s a mediterranean forest, so the vegetation is not so wild, but there are peacocks and cats living in the forest. It’s fun to check out especially with kids. We also found a local honey manufacture: Melissa Honey Factory. They have a shop near the Plaka Forest, and if you ask them they take you into the small factory and give you a tasting of the different honeys they have. Apart from honey you can find other natural products made of beeswax, honey, almond oil, and olive oil. Apart from the beaches this was my favorite spot near Kefalos.
Q & A
What would you have changed?I'd shorten the stay on Kos island and make it longer on Nisyros or maybe visit another smaller island (Kalimnos for example) for 2-3 days.
Packing tips?If you find remote beaches bare in mind that there are no showers, so if you'd like to get rid of salt bring an extra bottle of water or wetwipes.
Transportation Tips?Once you are on an island, don't stay in the town or city. Rent a quad/scooter for at least a day and discover the area. Greek islands are especially amazing when you stumble upon less visited places.