Here’s how I explored the islands best beaches by bike and bus.
Some Greek islands are tricky to explore without your own transport but thankfully Kos is one of the best for non-drivers. It’s possible to cycle the whole of the east coast and a big chunk of the north on cycle paths and quiet roads.
This is one of the most popular activities on the island and there are endless rental shops in Kos Town. I paid €5 for a half day and €10 for a whole day. Many hotels also include bike rental so you might not even have to pay extra. The bikes are self-locking and you’ll find bike stands everywhere.
You’ll find that the traffic on the island is perfectly used to accommodating cyclists – what a breath of fresh air! – even in the busy parts of the city. Kos has also taken e-scooters to heart, you’ll have to keep a mindful eye out for them as they are much quieter than normal scooters.
To reach beaches beyond the cycle paths, regular buses connect Kos Town with the island’s beach resorts.
The only part of the island which really requires a car or ATV is the wild peninsula past Kefalos or the rugged interior. Most of the coastal areas are flat.
Kos can get very windy so it’s worth planning your beach visits around the direction of the wind (use Windguru). If the wind is blowing from the north then head to the south coast, and vice versa.
Let’s get beach hopping!
Cycle Path South of Kos Town
Running south from Kos Town the cycle path travels along a pleasant shady promenade (lots of bike rentals here if you need one) and past the Marina Yacht Club.
Beyond the yacht club there are a number of small scrappy beaches with cafes renting cheap plastic loungers. It’s a quieter part of town than the hectic beach clubs in the north so better if you want some space but the beaches themselves are nothing to write home about.
After a while the coast curves around to form Psalidi. The beach here consists of large pebbles but the water is crystal clear. There are lots of windsurfing and kitesurfing clubs on this part of the east coast. At the end of Psalidi is a wetlands area.
Beyond Psalidi the beach widens and the coast is occupied by a number of very large resort hotels. The road here runs inland rather than alongside the sea until the beach runs out.
From here it’s a short cycle to the south coast where you’ll find the small resort Agios Fokas which is home to a beach of volcanic pebbles, a beach club, and several upmarket resort hotels.
Things get a bit hillier here but you can continue cycling along to the famous thermal springs at Therma Beach. If you don’t fancy hills in the heat then don’t worry, the city buses run along along this road to Therma too.
Therma is as far as you can go on the south coast.
Cycle Path North of Kos Town
The cycle path north of Kos Town is more varied and a more attractive ride. It runs along a main road straight through town and right out the north side.
If you want to visit any of the beaches in the north of town then it’s possible to branch off and park your bike. The northern beaches are a mix of sand and pebbles and home to lively beach bars.
I liked Nissi Beach Cafe and next-door Alibaba for a hearty healthy brunch to power me up. Mylos Beach Bar is also worth a visit for its old windmill setting and Balearic vibes (in fact you could stop here on your way back for cocktails).
The town beach becomes Lambi beach and gets quieter the further north you go (although in the summer evenings it hosts many parties).
But the cycle path itself runs along a commercial strip a short distance inland with lots of car rentals, pubs, and guesthouses.
The northeast corner of the hotel is home to a number of swanky boutique hotels. The beach here is a bit gritty and it’s worth continuing along the north coast if possible. The cycle path ends here but the road has a promenade which you can use. By the time it runs out the road is very quiet anyway, no need to worry about traffic.
The road swerves inland at Aeolos and through flat fertile plains used for agriculture. It’s green and pastoral with long grasses swaying in the wind. You might come across roadside stalls selling fresh vegetables (carry a watermelon??).
It rejoins the coast after a hotel called Byron on the approach to Tigaki and from here the beach is super-soft and sandy. This end of the beach is great if you want space and quiet, as well as shade from the tamarisk trees.
Tigaki has a low-key buzz and is full of beach clubs renting sun-loungers and daybeds if that’s your vibe. Most include a charging point and wi-fi access. There’s a good range of Greek and international cuisine for lunch.
Cycling on to Marmari
If you’re feeling energetic you can to continue on to Marmari then take one of the roads that goes behind the lake, past a few farms and horse-riding stables.
The beach here is similarly fine and sandy, maybe a bit less crowded than Tigaki. Marmari is smaller and has more of a laid-back coupley vibe. There are a few tavernas close to the beach.
The Rest of the Island
It’s possible to keep going and explore the rest of the island by bicycle – it’s relatively flat (unless you head inland) and you will see plenty of serious lycra-clad cyclists doing it. But beyond Marmari and Therma the distances are a big far for the average bear like me. I found Marmari and back was plenty enough for one day.
However it’s definitely worth exploring the beaches on the west side of the island where the scenery becomes increasingly wild and elevated.
Mastichari was my favourite place outside Kos Town. It has a very relaxed atmosphere and has long been popular with the windsurfing crowd – so it expect frequent strong winds.
But if you can time your visit when the wind is blowing from the south then you’ll find calm shallow waters perfect for kids, and miles of soft golden sand, and some of the best beach cafes on the island. You can also hire a paddleboard when the weather is calm.
There are very regular buses to Mastichari throughout the day and it’s close to the airport and is also a port for ferries over to Kalymnos and Pserimos. There was a lot of seagrass on parts of the beach when I visited but it didn’t dent my enjoyment of it.
If you visit one other beach on Kos it should be the vast and sandy Chryssi Akti (which means Golden Shore), one of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches on Kos.
This long beach is the best part of Kefalos Bay and most of it is unorganised and backed by steep cliffs. It’s ideal for those who like their beaches sans sunloungers.
Most people don’t call it Chryssi Akti though, instead smaller sections of it are named after the nearest car park/taverna. So if you visit Magic Beach, Exotic Beach, Markos Beach, and Paradise Beach – but they’re are all part of the Golden Beach.
If you get the bus here then Paradise Beach is your destination. Paradise Beach is the westernmost end of Chryssi Ammos and also its busiest part.
As well as the bus stop and car park there’s a restaurant and a funky beach bar with tropical chillout vibes.The food menu is fairly limited though – expect toasties and pints rather than cocktails and salads.
The sand around here is soft and powdery like ash. It’s possible to walk along the beach to other sections but beware, it’s longer than it looks!
Around the corner, there’s a smaller cove called Camel Beach. I walked along the road between here, Paradise, and Kefalos but honestly I wouldn’t recommend it – it’s hilly and the roads aren’t mean for pedestrians. ATVs and quads are common modes of transport to visit the beaches around here – and I can see why.
There are two cafe-restaurants at the top of Camel Beach and it’s a steep walk down to the beach.
Agios Stefanos Beach
This is one of the most famous beaches on Kos thanks to the ruins of an ancient basilica which sit right on the beach. There’s also a small rocky islet with a blue-roofed chapel. Could you get any more Greek?
It’s definitely worth a visit. There’s a golden sand beach on either side of the basilica and the water is clean, calm, and crystal clear. Unsurprisingly, it’s popular with families.
The beach here is much nicer than at the Kefalos end. If you need food and can stomach a steep walk there’s a fish taverna up the hill.
Kardamena is the biggest and busiest resort outside Kos Town – if you like your beach with a side offering of shopping and nightlife then Kardamena is for you.
There are long stretches of excellent beach on either side of the town and the sunloungers here are cheaper than Tigaki or Mastichari. It’s also usually calmer, wind-wise, here are the summer winds tend to blow from the north.
The buses from Kos Town are less frequent and don’t run as late into the evening.
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