Holidays always seem to creep up on me. I set out with the best of intentions, setting aside weeks through the year where I want to go away and then before I realise, those weeks loom large upon me. A few summers ago, I decided that rather than take a trip to the seaside for the day and enjoy a staycation, I would instead look for a last-minute trip abroad. Even though I’d heard much about how these could be one of the best ways of getting cheap holidays, I didn’t quite appreciate just how cheap these could be until I found my summer holiday to the Greek Island of Kos on Holiday Discount Centre.
Things I learned about visiting Kos
Lets get one thing out there before I start. Kos during summer is very, very, very hot! Now I’d visited Greece before so thought I’d prepared myself for just how warm it would be, but I was quite wrong. My most important accessory throughout my holiday turned out to be my Factor 50 suncream, essential for my skin which is rather prone to burning. I soon adapted to the heat and had a routine which consisted of sightseeing in the morning, enjoying the beach in the late afternoon and having a snooze back at my apartment through the heat of the middle of the day. Much of the island closes down during the afternoon for the same reason, much like the Spanish siesta, so it was an easy routine to fit into.
We found that the main tourist activity centred around Kos Town where holidaymakers enjoyed the clubs and resorts. I think if we’d chosen to stay here, we certainly wouldn’t have had as relaxing a holiday as we did but that said, you don’t have to travel far from town to enjoy a more authentic way of life. We stayed in Tingali, a beautiful town on the north of the island. What I loved about the town was that we were perfectly placed to enjoy many of the sights we wanted to visit and could pretty much make our way around by ourselves. We hired bicycles which we found rather cheaply priced and spent our week cycling from ancient site, to white sand beaches and up into the hills. It’s possibly the most active I’d been all year! I would definitely recommend bike hire to get around as the island itself is only 25 miles long and so we found it easy to explore over our week.
Travelling with my Mum, we opted to choose a self-catering apartment, though we were tempted by the all-inclusive packages that were being offered to us. This turned out to be a great decision for a variety of reasons. Firstly, we saved so much money by venturing out to the local store to purchase our food for the week and cooking ourselves. Mum remembered from her trips to Athens how much prices can be inflated for tourists in Greece and was keen to avoid this. Not only this, but making our own meals made the apartment feel like home which is always something I always find important when I’m travelling abroad. We did, of course, venture out for dinner a few times during our trip because we couldn’t visit Greece without sampling some of the local produce but it was nice to have the choice of going out or staying in.
My top Kos experiences
I’ve come home with so many fantastic memories but as with any holiday, there are some which stand out more than others and that I’d recommend for any visitor to this beautiful Greek Island.
1) Learn about Hippocrates- Kos is stated to be the birthplace of this ancient physician and there are a number of sites which tell his story and what he gave to the world. Whilst I enjoyed the Hippocrates Museum, it was a special experience visiting both the Asklepieion, where he himself was taught and the tree where he passed that knowledge on.
2) Relax on Therma Beach- On our third day in Kos, we took an afternoon bike ride to the south of the island along the coastal road. Here we came across Therma Beach along from Paradise Beach, which by late afternoon was quieter than the other beaches we’d visited. Here amongst the volcanic landscape, we could swim in the thermal waters and enjoy the tranquillity of a natural spa. With a bike ride back to our apartment ahead, we didn’t stay until dusk but I’ve heard the sunsets here are utterly spectacular.
3) Take a boat trip out to Nisyros- Departing from Kos Town’s harbour, we enjoyed a fantastic day out to Nisyros where we were able explore the island’s volcano which is still wonderfully active. It’s well worth scheduling the trip here first thing in the morning as the heat from the volcano probably won’t mix well with the heat of the middle of the day! After seeing the volcano, we wandered through the town and enjoyed lunch looking out to sea before heading back to the mainland. For more information I recommend taking a look at nisyros.gr.