According to mythology, this Greek Island is the sacred land of Asclepius, the god of healing. With its crystal waters, amazing mountain rooftops and even a natural hot spring it’s the perfect place for an escape from the everyday (especially when the everyday is 2020)
Prior to leaving
Before even packing for this trip you need to have filled in a passenger locator form for Greece. Currently needs to be done 24hrs in advance and you get send a QR midnight before you leave. Mine actually came through 10pm. Online check in was disabled so, before even getting airside, BA could check you had the code and avoid arriving in Greece and having to be sent home!
As it’s 2020 things are not the norm for arrival. The rules are ever changing so please check for the latest but as of October for my trip you don’t need a PCR negative test but you are subject to random testing on arrival. This means if you are chosen you will get the results within 24hrs. You are free to continue your holiday but if positive you will be isolating, in Greece. To negate that risk and just because I felt it was the right thing to do I took a test before leaving uk. A very expensive test as NHS is only for those with symptoms but worth every single penny for peace of mind. There’s tons of places online I used this company and they delivered as promised (could even book within 2 hrs!)
Airport and transfer
Arrival was straight forward – two lines one were tested, one not. Pot luck which line you were in as wasn’t clear which was which. We were not and through as quickly as normal times. Airport was very small and note for returning home no food outlets were open so bring a snack as also still no meals served on flights. One very small souvenir shop, so no snow globe for me!
Booked a transfer with Kos Activities who aside no name board were brilliant! Whatsapp message before we even left with a picture of our car and where to find. Welcome message and reassurance of Covid safe. Brilliant!
We stayed at the Oceanis Beach Resort and Spa on the east coast about 10 minutes taxi from Kos town
Booking short notice meant less time for my usual crazy in depth searching for price and Princess perfection but now was more what was available, affordable and still princessy! So full disclaimer that where we stayed was lovely and adults only and also turned out to be a TUI first choice holiday package place which also haven’t done since I was a kid…. oh and it was a billed as a couples hotel. We were not! Lol.
It didn’t start well – the room we paid for wasn’t available till the next day. Told I shouldn’t be upset I was on holidays – clearly they don’t understand that holidays start when you have settled yourself for your stay. Was resolved the next day but not a good first impression.
The rooms were fine and I believe mostly the same inside but many with better trappings and views. If I’d stayed again (I wouldn’t) I would opt for jacuzzi one on the beach front, it’s away from the noise (come on to that) or one with their own mini pools. Not very private but good for those worried about safety … though the place was spotless.
Discovering it was all inclusive was a bonus for the budget! We hadn’t known or booked for that reason and in fact I last stayed at one as a kid. It is different. Firstly it’s inclusive except for bubbles and iced coffee. Weird. But in fairness the pina coladas were good and we had always expected to pay for drinks so was nice to have that worry taken away.
The all inclusive meals…. So there’s one main restaurant called the Yacht Club it was more like a school canteen with sea views.
You can sit anywhere but when we did we were eye rolled that we couldn’t sit where there as clearly someone (the table was set with knives and forks only). So anywhere that’s not set with cutlery then. Doh. Oh and don’t ask for water at breakfast as not allowed to serve it. You’ll find it at the buffet station but they can serve coffee.
All the ‘free’ meals were served there and it was a Covid safe buffet system full of a massive variety of food. But due to lack of atmosphere we only did one dinner on arrival as was late and one lunch as we were on a pool day – we were in an out in 20 minutes for both.
There are two other restaurants on site that are paid for but bonus you get one free meal as part of your stay. (For a newbie to all things all inclusive this all seems such a billy bargain!)
We chose the Culinarium by the pool and our waiter Costus was very kind and sweet and went above and beyond. Food was good and a lot of it but wouldn’t come to the hotel for it if we hadn’t been staying and it was ‘free’.
The pool: busy. Like holiday stories I’ve heard where officially it doesn’t open till 10pm (when you are allowed your one new fresh towel for the day) but by 7am those sun beds were gone! There’s music every day at the pool (which you can hear in your room) including extra loud music for aqua aerobics.
We chose the beach. It’s mostly a pebble beach but the water was crystal, pina coladas served to the waters edge and utter bliss.
Could have sat there forever listening to the waves lapping. There was also lots of insta worthy objects dotted around from the sea swing to a stationary boat to settings for a private romantic dinner. So naturally would have been rude lot to pose for them!
The hotel also had daily excursions organised from the lobby, a couple of helpful shops on site and evening entertainment every night. We tended to go out independently.
Hippocrates was the Father of Medicine and said on the beach was a hot spring was full of healing properties. So it’s no wonder it’s a must do while in Kos.
I had also read that it was a massive disappointment due to its popularity so I was prepared, even in October, for an over populated pool and I wasn’t wrong. But as I was prepared it didn’t matter at all. (Though in normal times and height of summer I dread to think how busy it might be)
We chose not to do organised fun there so we could chose our own timings – as we did for everything. From the hotel to Therma beach was €14 in a taxi and bus €2 and only took 10 minutes. It is a 10-15 minute steep walk down and not great for those with mobility challenges.
The spring, or as I like to call it the fort … looks like someone has built fort in the sea! But it’s real.
And hot it was… 30-50 degrees and they say you should only stay in 10-15 minutes and drink a lot of water after reminded me of the magical properties of the Dead Sea (there was even a beach bar there… where I replenished with a Dead Sea margarita. They are missing a trick not to have a Hot Springs cocktail!!!
Village of Zia
The highest inhabited point on this Greek island in the mountain of Dikaios also known as Mount Oromedon and there’s a rooftop named the same … in fact there are several … I was in rooftop heaven! Click here for full details of them.
It’s not just the rooftops it’s the village vibe and vibrant colours – if the weather is good it’s an absolute must.
You can do it as an organised tour but you are then beholden to their timings and if the weather isn’t great then you are stuck. We just got a taxi €30 each way though if I wasn’t so clumsy I would have hired a vespa!
The best time to come is sunset. It is seriously stunning. There’s several restaurants, bars and the most is visit the adorably cute, colourful insta worthy new favourite coffee stop…
The Watermill which am claiming as a rooftop as it’s on the mountain roof so to speak!
Serving a variety of coffees, I chose a traditional Greek one… a little gritty for me but probably an aquired taste.
The whole village is a vibrant colour palette with adorable souvenir shops though one in particular probably not for the kids! 🙈🤣
We stopped for a local drink called ‘Canellada’ at Olympia which is a rooftop on the left as you enter the village. It’s a soft drink made with Zia’s own cinnamon syrup and soda water, the staff were super lovely and helpful explaining about it.
Olympia was just pipped at the post, by the rooftop opposite Oromedon, for dinner.
Food was as amazing as the sunset. We opted for Greek tapas and a variety of wine! Hands down one of the best rooftops I’ve been to!
I found the town a little more like Costa Del Sol vibe than my last trip to Greece, (Elounda in Crete) but it was a cute harbour town with lots of themed bars and in normal times I imagine busy and fun noisy nightlife. We ate at either side of the harbour finding some ocean view venues obviously …. I could have stayed sat in some for the year!
Albergo Gelsomino set as you come into Kos town this is a stylish boutique hotel with a small terrace serving food to non guests (and the comfiest sun loungers I’ve ever seen). Perfect for a salad lunch.
Right round the other side of the harbour were the other sea fronted restaurants. Agkyra Fish Restaurant claims to provide the best fish in Kos and as it was the only fish I had in Kos, I concur!
Gorgeous setting, a wonderful waitress called Cinderella (well that’s my interpretation of the pronunciation as she was so sweet)
Barbouni was a few door down where, being October, we were able to grab a sea front seat for a delicious dinner without a booking.
Omega Sky Bar … a town would not be complete without an awesome rooftop and most were shut due to 2020 and October being out of season but one, which also doubles up as number 150th, was such a find. Click for video and more info.
So quirky, funky and thoughtful in its cuban style decor and fun frivolous cocktails. I’d be a regular if I could!
From every view point we could see, almost touch Turkey! My friend even had a ‘welcome to Turkey in her phone’ that’s how close we were. I’ve been to Bodrum once before and was so tempted to do a boat trip but it’s not on the allowed list right no. So instead I settled for the views and once when it rained we could hear the thunder in Turkey first!!! Actually bonkers!
Lastly in Kos… the famous insta street … famed for its pretty colourful cute Greekness which with a blue sky back ground would even be more insta worthy than my snap but still a far cry from London in October … not sure why I came home!
For full info on Kos rooftops click here