From Sophia Karagianni*, edited by Nena Dimitriou
This account is part of a series of insider takes on the islands of the Dodecanese. For more on these islands, click here.
I was not born on the island, but due to my mother’s background I moved here 15 years ago. I am a teacher at the high school and live in the center of Kos Town. I am an amateur photographer and almost every Sunday go on hikes with my group. Between 30 and 70 of us get together and we walk around Kos and neighboring islands.
Kos lends itself to walks, hikes and excursions with bicycles. Via the 13km bike path one can begin to discover its beaches. A nice and short, 3km route suitable for beginners is from the town’s marina to the nearby wetland.
Go to Plaka Forest, towards Kefalos, for a picnic. The peacocks that live here are very friendly – they are certain to approach you and, in their own way, communicate with you. An easy walking route is the stone-paved path that begins at Antimachia Castle and ends in Kardamena. Combine your walk with a visit to the castle. Towards the end of the route you will come to Lovemade, a gorgeous cafe that makes a delicious brunch with pancakes and many sweets.
The route to the deserted village of Haihoutes is also pretty, passing through clusters of trees and derelict buildings. In the village there is also a small, traditional cafe for refreshments, as well as a small folk museum. For great views of the island head to Zia, a village full of color. Here, at the cafe Neromylos you will quench your thirst with the most delicious freshly-made lemonade. Coming down from Zia, pay a visit to the Triantafyllopoulos Winery in Zipari.
The swim that I wait all year for is at Cavo Paradiso, on the southern end of the island. A large part of the journey to get there is along a dirt road, but both the trip and the destination are worth the effort. The landscape is very varied; the sand on the beach has reddish hues. There is a small beach bar with music that will have you thinking that you have landed in Jamaica. There are only ten sun loungers and that number is strictly capped. You can also seek shade under the junipers.
We locals often eat at Broadway (36. M. Alexandrou) a restaurant with modern cuisine at good prices. For fish, I go to Votsalakia, (10 G. Averoff). It serves red mullet and other fresh fish and seafood meze in front of the pier. For souvlaki we go to Lambros (21 Psaron and Ierou Lochou) where we have meat skewers served in fluffy warm buns.
For coffee I go to Cup, a small cafe that is strictly non-smoking and which makes a great espresso, whereas for drinks and cocktails I go to Kaseta (4 Akti Miaouli). Around sunset I drive to Mastihari and grab a spot at Aplo.
*Sophia Karagianni is a teacher and has established a very active hiking group. For more information visit www.photographybysophiakaragianni.blogspot.gr.