All the information you need to get around the Greek island of Kos. Includes getting around by bus, rental vehicle, taxi, tours, cruises and bicycles!
Kos island in Greece
Kos is a famous Greek island in the Dodecanese group – and there’s lots to do! This travel guide on how to get around Kos will help you decide how to explore this popular destination.
Depending on where you are based and what you want to see on Kos, you may be able to get around on buses. However, if you want to go all around the island, you will need your own transport.
Here is how best to explore Kos town and the rest of Kos island in Greece.
Things to do in Kos Greece
Kos is a destination that appeals to most types of tourists. It attracts budget travelers, beachbums, nature lovers, party animals, families, but also people who are after luxury hotels and all-inclusive accommodation.
Some of the main attractions in Kos are the beautiful beaches, combined with the evening buzz of Kos town and certain beach resorts. Yet, despite its reputation, Kos isn’t only suitable for the party crowds.
There are several impressive historical sites, dating from the Ancient Greek and Roman times. There are also lesser visited landmarks all around the island, where you might even find yourself on your own.
Before you choose how to get around Kos, it’s important to make a rough plan of what you want to see and do. This will also determine the best area to stay on the island.
How to explore Kos island Greece
In a nutshell, here are the main ways to see Kos island:
- Walk around Kos Town
- Cycle in Kos Town and the nearby areas
- Take the mini train in Kos town
- Use the public bus services to get to the most popular areas
- Hire your own rental car, scooter or ATV and explore Kos at your own pace
- Take an organized tour
- Enjoy one of the numerous excursion boats and sailing tours
- Use the occasional taxi
Here are all the ways to get around when visiting Kos island Greece.
1. Walk around Kos town
Kos Town is the main port town of the island, and it’s located on the northeastern coast. Visitors enjoy the ancient sites, the cafes and tavernas, the vibrant nightlife and the nearby beaches.
It’s worth spending at least a couple of days in Kos Town if you want to explore the main sights:
- The Ancient Agora, which stretches through the modern town
- The Archaeological Museum on the main square
- Neratzia Castle, the impressive fortress which dominates the town
- Hippocrat’s plane tree
- The Odeon and the small museum underneath
- The Casa Romana, a restored Roman house
If you like walking, you can comfortably visit all these sites on foot. Make sure you wear good shoes, preferably with thick soles, to avoid hurting your feet on the cobbled streets.
Don’t forget to bring a hat and plenty of water with you, especially when you visit the castle.
2. Cycle in Kos Town and the nearby areas
Kos is a relatively flat island, so a bike is an ideal way to explore. People who like cycling will be thrilled to know that, unlike most areas in Greece, there is a strong cycling culture here. Who would have thought!
Bicycle paths extend from Kos town to the nearby areas. A popular path follows the coast all the way to Psalidi beach, to the east, and Tigaki beach, to the west.
Serious cyclists will be able to enjoy many other cycling routes, some of which would involve some uphill or mountain biking.
There are several bike rental offices in Kos town, and other main island villages and resorts. Many hotels also offer bikes to their customers with a minimal daily fee, so it’s worth asking at your hotel reception.
3. Take the mini train in Kos town
An alternative way to go around the capital is the mini train. Departing from the port, this little train takes you around the main historical sites.
This could be a fun activity, especially if you are traveling with young children. However, recent reviews indicate exactly the opposite, so read them carefully before you decide!
4. Use the public bus services
The public bus services are an inexpensive and convenient way to get to the most popular beaches and resorts in Kos. Ticket prices range from about 1.5 to 5 euro, depending on the route you are taking.
There are two bus companies in Kos, each serving different parts of the island.
These local buses serve Kos Town and the nearby areas. This includes the beaches on the east, like Agios Fokas beach and Thermes beach with the lovely natural spa.
There is also a bus service to Asklipieio, the wonderful ancient site which was Ancient Greece’s most important healing centre.
There are two kiosks in Kos Town where you can buy your bus tickets. One ticket booth is on Dolphin Square, and the other one is close to the Police Station on Akti Miaouli St, across the street from the plane tree. Some hotels inside town sell tickets as well.
If you don’t have a ticket before boarding the bus, you can buy one from the bus driver, with a small surcharge. If possible, try to have some small notes or coins, as the bus drivers won’t be impressed if you hand them a 50 euro note.
Note that you can only buy your bus tickets in cash – cards are not accepted. For more information, check their website: Urban buses Kos.
The other bus company in Kos is called KTEL – an acronym used for sub urban buses all around Greece. They connect Kos Town with some of the main resorts and villages to the west of the island.
These island buses stop at Tigaki, Marmari, Mastichari, Kardamena, Antimachia, Zia, Pyli and Kefalos, and the areas in between.
KTEL buses also operates Kos airport services to and from Kos City, Mastichari, Kardamena and Kefalos.
You can buy tickets on the bus itself. Again, it’s a good idea to have small notes or even exact change if possible. As bus schedules change often, make sure you follow the latest information: KTEL bus Kos.
Are the island buses the best way to get around Kos?
While the island buses are a cheap and convenient way to travel around Kos, some routes can get crowded in summer. Moreover, they will typically take much longer than a private vehicle to get you to your destination.
If you want to explore the whole island, it’s probably best to hire your own transport.
5. Hire a rental car, scooter or ATV / buggy
Many visitors choose to rent their own vehicle and drive around Kos. There are all sorts of vehicles, including normal cars, scooters, 4WDs and different types of ATVs.
If you want to explore the off-road areas in Kefalos area, a quad would be a fun way to do it. Just be prepared for lots and lots of dust!
Where to rent a car, ATV or scooter in Kos
You will find dozens of rental agencies everywhere on the island, including Kos Town and the airport. Unless you are going during peak season, you should be able to rent a last-minute car or scooter.
Prices vary widely, and depend on the type of vehicle, time of year, and how long you need it for. Booking the vehicle for several days will usually work out a little cheaper.
Tips on driving in Kos
Most of the roads in Kos are in good condition, and you will enjoy exploring the various sites and beaches in your own time. If you are staying in the main town, ask if your accommodation has its own private parking.
Whatever type of vehicle you end up renting, make sure your driver’s license is up to date and valid for Greece. Here are some more tips and information about driving in Greece.
6. Take an organized tour in Kos
Another option if you want to explore some more of Kos is to take an organized day trip with a tour operator. Most of these tours include a visit to Zia village, which is a famous (and often busy) sunset point.
Here are a few of the most highly rated tours in Kos:
7. Enjoy one of the numerous excursion boats and sailing tours
A fun way to see some of the coastline in Kos is to take a boat trip in the Aegean Sea. Several excursion boats depart from the port on a daily basis.
Some of them visit nearby islands like Nisyros, Kalymnos, Pserimos and the uninhabited Plati.
In some cases, you could book your trip once you’ve arrived on the island. However, here are a few day trips and activities that you can book in advance:
8. Use the occasional taxi or private transfer
Finally, you can also get around Kos on taxis or a private transfer. While this is not the cheapest form of transportation, it might be the most convenient one, especially if you are traveling in a large group or if you’ve had a long flight.
How to get to Kos island in Greece
Kos has a newly refurbished international airport, named after Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. During the tourist season, dozens of direct flights arrive here from airports all around Europe.
If you are thinking to travel to Kos in winter, you will need to fly into the Athens International airport, and then hop on a short onward flight. Aegean Airlines / Olympic Air and Sky Express cover this route.
As a rule, the earlier you book your tickets, the more inexpensive they will be. If you are traveling in July or August, it’s best to book many months in advance.
You can also reach Kos by ferry from Piraeus port in Athens. There are several connections with the neighboring islands in the Dodecanese, such as Rhodes, Nisyros, Kalymnos, Leros and many others.
You can check ferry services and book your ferry tickets on Ferryscanner.
Getting to Kos Town from the airport
Kos International Airport is located in the middle of the island, a half hour’s drive from Kos Town.
There are four ways to get from the airport to Kos Town or wherever else you are staying on the island: KTEL bus, taxi, pre-booked private transfer and car rental – or other type of vehicle.
The bus fare to Kos Town costs 3.20 euro, and there are also services to Mastichari, Kardamena and Kefalos. You can find all airport bus timetables here.
A taxi or pre-booked transfer is more expensive, but they will take you right to your hotel door.
FAQ about getting around Kos island
Here are some of the questions people visiting Kos Greece often ask:
Is it easy to get around Kos?
There are several ways of getting around Kos. Apart from buses, taxis and rental vehicles, the island has several miles of cycle paths!
How long does it take to get around Kos?
Unlike some other Greek islands, Kos has some very good roads. It would take you about an hour to drive from Kos Town, which is located on the northeastern coast, to the Kefalos peninsula, on the southwest of the island.
How much are buses in Kos?
Bus fares in Kos will only cost you between 1.5 and 5 euros. The exact price depends on the route you are taking.
How far is Kos town from airport?
Kos town is about 24 kms (14.9 miles) from the airport. It would take you roughly a half hour to drive in a rental vehicle or a taxi.
Can you island hop from Kos?
Island hopping from Kos is very easy! The closest islands are Nisyros and Tilos to the south, Pserimos and Kalymnos to the north.
More guides about the Greek islands
I hope you’ve found this article useful! Check out these other Greece travel guides:
Hi! I’m Vanessa from Athens, and I love traveling around the beautiful islands in Greece. I’ve been to about half of them now – still many more to go! I drove all around Kos, so if you have any questions, leave a comment below, and I’ll get back to you. Follow me on FB and Instagram for more tips and information about Greece!