Of all the beach resorts on the Greek island of Kos, little Mastichari is the one that stole my heart.
It’s located on the north coast on the corner of a shore that looks out to the neighbouring island of Kalymnos.
For many decades it has attracted windsurfers and kite-surfers (as well as rock-climbers en route to Kalymnos) thanks to its favourable conditions.
Thankfully, Mastichari has managed to retain some of that independent and slightly offbeat atmosphere.
Though it is possible to book package tours to Mastichari, the larger resort hotels are usually situated outside the village itself. At the heart of Mastichari is a couple of blocks of family-run traditional guesthouses and tavernas. Some of these are right on the beach, or only a short walk away.
The beach itself is one of the most beautiful beaches on Kos. The main beach has a NW orientation, slightly different to the beaches at Tigaki and Marmari (there is a north-facing beach too but it’s not quite as nice) – and better for sunset.
It’s a really wide beach and there are several beach cafes right on the sands. Most rent sunloungers and daybeds and have drinks service, wifi, and a charging point available.
Further down, the beach is backed by large dunes. There’s a volleyball pitch, a children’s play area, and a club for wind-powered watersports (there are no motorised watersports here).
When it’s calm, it’s the perfect place to try paddle-boarding.
The only downside is that it’s more prone to seagrass than its neighbouring beach resorts.
The beach cafes in Mastichari are some of the best on Kos. It’s has a chilled-out blissful island vibe. There are a few places open late but overall it’s more of a rock bar/jukebox place than a party place.
You can walk out from your table to the water underneath the shade of some large trees which lend Mastichari a really unique feel.
The sand is very soft and in most parts the water is very shallow. When the conditions are calm it’s popular with families that have small children as it’s perfect for paddling.
On Kos, there are frequent strong winds from the north that batter the sandy beaches along the north coast. The resorts are well prepared for this and windbreaks are usually available, but you may find it more comfortable to head to the south coast for the day.
It usually blows for a day or two and then takes a few days off. I recommend keeping an eye on forecasts at Windguru.
Mastichari is a small port village – ferries to Kalymnos and Pserimos leave from Mastichari, and there’s a working fishing fleet. It’s a purpose-built town so don’t expect any neoclassical buildings or a traditional harbour scenes with wooden boats. The north side of the village is distinctly unphotogenic.
But it’s friendly and unpretentious, and the beachfront area is superb. It attracts a more mixed crowd than the other resorts on Kos, you’ll find families, couples, package holidaymakers, independent travellers, groups of windsurfers, and plenty of older returnees.
But Mastichari also has more of a Greek vibe than Tigaki or Mastichari. And it’s somehow simultaneously sleepy and lively.
There are a few souvenir shops for the essentials (suncream, inflatables, postcards) and a few stores selling jewellery and clothes for tourists.
Fans of traditional fare will be happy to know there are more Greek tavernas than there are restaurants serving international cuisine, although the cafes tend to serve a mix.
The other big bonus of staying in Mastichari is the incredibly short transfer time (it’s a 10 minute drive from the airport).
All of the airport buses run through Mastichari so it also has very regular connections to Kos.
I can definitely see myself returning to Mastichari at some point.
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