Kos, the West

After passing the sparsely populated area of Kos, we find ourselves in front of a roundabout. And after it there is another one. This is the village of Andimáhia, the largest transportation hub in this part of the island. There is also the airport here. The main attraction of Andimahia is a picturesque windmill standing in the center of the village.

Click the images to enlarge them.

The road to Mastihári starts at the first roundabout. This is another resort of the north coast with a sandy beach. There is the harbour here, from which on a daily basis the scheduled ferries ply to the island of Kálymnos, the outlines of which are visible on the horizon. On the square in front of the harbour there is a monument of Poseidon.

The road to Kardámena starts at the second roundabout. This resort lies on the southern coast of Kos and is considered the center of nightlife in the island. We remember here the big supermarket near the parking area, where we bought food several times, once we even came specially. There is a harbour here too, from which the ships, this time sightseeing ones, go to Nísyros Island.

Before reaching Andimahia, before the first roundabout, the turn to the left from the main road goes to the dirt road. It leads to the Andimáhia Fortress, built in the XIV century by the knights. At the entrance is a wide round tower. The walls of the fortress fairly well preserved; the wonderful views of the uninhabited neighborhoods, covered with shallow gullies, open from the walls. From the rear side, at the distance, the sea and Kardamena are seen. There are two small churches in the fortress: Saint Nicholas of XVI century and Saint Paraskevi of XVIII century.

We return again to the Andimahia village and continue our journey to the west along the main road. It goes around the landing strip of the aerodrome and goes further without any sharp turns, allowing you to pick up speed.

Somewhere here there is a right turn on the old road towards the forest called Pláka. In the forest you can park your car under the trees and stroll among the principal inhabitants of the forest - peacocks. There are many of them, they are not afraid of man and eat from your hands. Though, I would not recommend feed them so - they have rather big beak and they can greatly bite. Unfortunately, all those peacocks that we have seen here and in Rhodes, no one ever raised before us its magnificent tail.

After passing through the forest, we come again on the road. On the left, to the south coast, there are a number of exits from the road that lead to a chain of beaches: Kserókambos, Polémi, Magic, Sunny, Marcos, Lagádes, Paradise. Although, rather it is one very long sandy beach, which is very popular with tourists.

We pass the isthmus to the peninsula in the western part of Kos, and the landscape changes immediately. The plain gives way to the hilly terrain, the straight road gives way to the winding descent. Almost at the end of this descent we turn left towards the sea.

Here on the rocky shore there are the remains of the marble early Christian Church of Saint Stephen, built in V century. The foundation, somewhere with the lower parts of walls, fragments of structures, a column standing alone are all that remain.

At the sea, 200 metres from the shore, there is a small rocky islet of Kástri and a little Church of Saint Nicholas on it.

The sea and the island form here the Gulf of Kéfalos, on the shore of which there is a resort settlement of Kamári. A long sandy beach begins from the ruins of Saint Stephen, turning then in a rocky section of coast with a picturesque embankment. In the end there is a small harbour, from where, as in Kardamena, sightseeing boats go to Nisyros.

On the hill there is the village of Kéfalos. At its edge, over a precipice, a small fortress overhangs, covered with sand. From there, as well as from the nearby parking area, a wonderful panoramic view of the neighborhood opens. Between the hill of Kefalos and the gulf there is a small hill; our apartments "Kefalosbay Residence" and found just on it.

Among other attractions of Kefalos, I note the old mill on its outskirts and a large church in the center.

The church painted in pink, what stands out among the numerous other churches in the neighborhood. Their colors are blue and white, as in Cyclades. However, this coloration depends on the mode and can quickly change. Here's an example. The Church of the Annunciation in Pylí: the photo on the left of Manos Mas made in March 2007, the photo on the right made by me in October, 2009.

The road to the north of Kefalos leads to a closed bay with a beach Limniónas on the north coast. Not far away there is a wind power station.

The road that goes south leads to the unpopulated area of the peninsula. There are several interesting places there, and in those of them, which can be reached by car, we will go.

It was written, that somewhere in these places there are the ruins of the ancient capital of Kos (V century BC) under the name Astypálea. However, we did not find any guide signs on it.

We reached the crossroads and turn left. The road leads us to the Monastery of Saint John, located on the hillside. Descending from the parking area, we find ourselves in front of a church and a huge, looming over it plane tree. Nearby is a square with concrete tables and benches, on the other hand - a belfry.

To the south of Kamari there is a hill Ziní. At its southern its slope the dirt road passes, which leads towards the eastern shore of the peninsula. A guide sign at the road side locates the cave Áspri Pétra (White Stone). To get to the cave, you need to walk up the hillside to the rocks, to that point where they form a clearly visible gap in its massif. The cave is located just in front of this gap. It is a horizontal cleft in the rock, rather narrow at the entrance and slightly expanding in the depth. There is nothing interesting (stalactites, etc.) inside. However, the cave is perfect for the human habitation, which it was, I think, in the past more than once. Now the room is free; so if they turn you out of the hotel, welcome! And a lot of grazing goats will rescue you from hunger.

After the cave we went down the dirt road, hoping to reach the coast. However, letting down almost to the end, the road got spoilt completely, and we had to go back. As compensation, we got the view of picturesque cliffs.

Let us return to the crossroads and turn right (looking from Kefalos) towards the west coast of the peninsula. Along the way, there are bright blue-white churches, the same type of architecture. The turn from the road leads to another one church, but there is a square with tables and benches.

At the end, the road leads to the coast of Ágios Theológos (Saint Theologian) with a row of rocky beaches, there is also a cafe. Passing a little along the coast, we find ourselves near another blue-white church; a bridge and a juniper tree remarkably complement its appearance.

Thus, the description of Kos Island is completed. After spending a week on it, October 4, at the Election Day, we packed our things, said goodbye to Konstantinos and his great apartment, drove to the port at the opposite end of the island, and at 8 pm boarded the ferry Blue Star (1 or 2) that goes to the island of Léros.

But first, as promised, I will tell about the islands, which we visited earlier.



Nísyros is the volcanic island of circular shape 20 km south of the Kos. Area - 41.6 sq. km, population - 948 people. According to legend, during the war of gods with giants, the god Poseidon tore off a piece of Kos and threw it to the giant Polibot (Polivotis). This piece, which later became the island of Nisyros, pressed the giant, but did not kill him. Breathing and other signs of vitality of Polibot become apparent in the form of volcanic activity on the island.

Island map

There are excursions from Kos to Nisyros, which sail in the morning from the harbours Kamari and Kardamena. We planned our trip in the last but one day of our stay at the Kos. The day before we stopped at a car rental office in Kamari, offers not only cars, and also the excursions to Nisyros. Price - 25 euros per person, departure from the nearest to us Kamari harbour at 9.30 am.

At the appointed time we arrived to a small boat, which was to take us to Nisyros. Unfortunately, the sea started to storm, it was the only time during our stay in Kos, the trip canceled! We went to the office again. Making a phone call to Kardamena, a car hire man told us that the trip to Nisyros from Kardamena already set sail, despite the storm. The ship there is a little larger, and size, as it turned out, does matter. We agreed to go to the trip from Kardamena on the next day; since the ferry that takes us away from Kos departs at 8 pm, and the trip returns at 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

The next day in Kardamena everything went according to plan. The ship "Captain Andonis" actually is larger than what was in Kamari. After loading, the ship sailed southwards.

Between Kos and Nisyros located Yalí Island, which we had to skirt around, and therefore we went pretty close of it. The island consists of two equal-sized parts, separated by a thin isthmus. The hills of the island are open-pit mining for pumice; there are also reserves of obsidian.

Soon we came to Nisyros. On the shore to the left of the harbour Mandráki is a place Páli. Perhaps this is the only beach resort on the island and the only place where you can rent an apartment for a short time, less than a week. During the arrangement of our trip, as one of the options, a stop for a couple of days on Nisyros considered. A suitable alternative was found only in Pali.

An hour after departure, we arrived at the harbour Mandraki. Disembarked from the ship, all of us headed to the bus. Individual tourists like us were given cards before entering. Tourists, completely filling all the vacant seats on the bus, divided into two categories: organized German majority and disorganized minority (mostly Russian). These categories were under unequal conditions - the first had a guide, and I suppose that a good guide. A woman, most likely Greek, freely and much spoke German at every stop of the route, gathering the crowd of attentive listeners. What a pity that none of us know German!

The bus climbed the slope of the volcano to the summit of caldera, where the village Nikiá. Passing through the narrow picturesque streets to the main square of the village with hohlakia pavement, our group climbed the stair in no less picturesque Church of Mother of God. And then our guide had a long and informative lecture, from which we can not understand a word.

I walked through the village. With its edge overlooks the crater of volcano, located far below. On a hill above Nikia, the Church of Saint John the Theologian rises.

The locals at that time voted in the elections (a polling station was somewhere near the Church of Mother of God) and held the political conversations in a cafe on the central square. After the lecture all the tourists who were in the church, were handed out a piece of rich bread. Hereon our stay in Nikia ended, and the bus took us further.

Next stop is the crater. It is a plateau of circular shape with a diameter 3.5 km, somewhere flat, somewhere covered with low hills. It surrounded by high hills of caldera. On its territory there are craters smaller. The most interesting phenomena occur at the bottom of the largest of them, Stéfanos, a diameter of 200 m, round and with a flat bottom. You can go down there by a path. In some places there are holes with lazily gurgling mud. In many places there are holes in the ground, the edges of which are plastered with bright yellow thin crystals. Gas hydrogen sulfide burst with the noise from these holes, its odor smells everywhere. Unlike the black and red-brown volcano of Santorini, here the predominant colors are white and yellow.

On arrival at the place, the group went to a large pavilion. It was read another interesting lecture with demonstration of maps, charts and photographs. Then, who wish descended into the crater Stefanos. Before departure, it was a chance to sit in the outdoor cafe, located near the bus stop.

All-round panorama from the volcano (1)

All-round panorama from the volcano (2)

The bus returned to the harbour. Prior to departure at 15.00 it was still a couple of hours for sightseeing the village Mandráki, the capital of the island.

By works of a local artist, a small open-air museum constructed close to the harbour by the road, there are the objects of the traditional life of the islanders, a mosaic portrait of an old sailor.

Then we split off from the rest of the group of tourists, and continued observation by ourselves. And there are things to observe there. Mandraki, perhaps, is one of the most beautiful villages in the Dodecanese (along with Symi in Symi and Hora in Patmos). The narrow streets and neat houses, somewhere decorated with greenery, hohlakia - all this impress. Here we bought a jar of tomato jam.

The village sets against a rock with its far end. Rounding the rock by sea, we get to the pebble beach. A fortress of knights crowns the rock itself. And inside the fortress, at a height of 30 metres, is the Monastery of Panagía Spilianí (Virgin Mary of Cave).

About 1400, a local resident found in the coastal cliffs the icon of Mother of God and took her to a church. The next day she vanished. Everyone thought that the icon was stolen, but a few days later she was found in a cave on the rock and was taken back. Soon after the icon disappeared again and was found again in the same place and was taken back. After the third time the residents of Mandraki decided to build a church in that place on the cliff where the icon all time returned. Later the monastery arose there.

We could find a passage to the monastery not immediately. This is a narrow gap between the houses, behind which a staircase begins. On the way there are puppets from the past life in small glazed caves. Coming upstairs, we get to the churchyard with a belfry; a panoramic view of the Mandraki opens from here. Inside the cave church there are several icons, and our Virgin Mary of Cave among them, hanged with plates of precious metals. The icon is a miracle-working, healing infertility.

We finished our tour by return to the harbour and by the sea passage on "Captain Andonis" back in Kardamena.


Attribution-No Derivative Works (CC-BY-ND) by Andrey K.