On our journey from Edinburgh to Athens, we found ourselves with the relatively cheaper option of flying through Kos, a Greek Island in the Dodecanese group. Skyscanner was giving us flights arriving into Kos late at night and leaving for Athens early in the morning, but after finding multiple flights per day from Kos to Athens, we decided to buy two separate flights and spend our first day in Greece on an island!
Since we were arriving late, we opted to stay at an Airbnb by the airport in Antimachia, a literal 4 minute drive away (our host picked us up). If you’re staying in Kos town, buses travel from the airport during the day, but after 7 or 8:30 pm you’ll have to take a taxi.
We were staying at a home in the countryside, so our evening plans consisted of watching episodes of UNHhhh and trying to get some sleep (hard because we were now melting after a chilly week in Edinburgh)! Kos Town might be a better choice for you if you’re looking for some nightlife.
We had a 5:30 pm flight the next day so we had almost an entire day to spend at the beach! You have your choice of sandy beaches on Kos, but it was an easy decision for us: lovely and popular Kardemena beach was very close to where we were staying. Our host very nicely dropped us off at the KTEL bus stop at the airport, and €2 and 10 minutes later, we were at beautiful Kardemena!
Jet lag is weird, so we arrived in town before 9 a.m. Needless to say it was very quiet! Lots of shops and cafes were open though, so it was easy to pick up a pastry for breakfast and a cold drink for the beach. The beach was also very quiet that early, so we were able to snag 2 lounge chairs, with a nice view of southwest Turkey.
We spent the morning beaching and swimming – a pretty ideal way to spend a layover! Once we got hungry, we ambled along the water and around the small town, where there’s no shortage of restaurant options. We went all out for our first Greek meal: massive souvlaki and appetizer plates, complete with moussaka, hummus, tzatzitki, potatoes, dolmades, meatballs, and 2 giant, ice-cold Mythos beers, all for €22 euros.
We didn’t really realize how affordable Kos was until we moved on to Mykonos and Santorini (both are well-known to be extremely expensive, but still). I grumbled a bit when we had to pay €2.5 each for beach chairs, now that it was getting busier and food/drink service had started, but I would soon learn how incredibly reasonable this price was (hellooo minimum €35 for 2 on Mykonos). There were showers and a changing booth right on the beach, which made things easy when we finally had to grab a cab back to our Airbnb to pick up our bags.
We were a little too early at the airport; the counter wasn’t even open yet! If you find yourself with time to spare at KGS, the village of Antimachia is just a 20 minute walk away – it has a traditional windmill and working mill, pretty stone building, and lots of restaurants. Sadly we didn’t make it to town because it was just too hot out to walk!
I could easily have spent more time on Kos. There’s lots more to explore on the island, and I’d definitely take advantage of a side trip to Turkey, since it’s only a 45 minute ferry ride away!
If you’re flying through Kos, you won’t regret extending your stay to spend a bit of time on the island!