For a fun-filled Greek island holiday in 2019, it simply has to be Kardamena. This unashamedly lively town on the island of Kos wears its party hat with pride. Welcoming couples, families and friends all looking to enjoy Kardamena’s extensive nightlife, this Greek island getaway could never be called sleepy. Away from the buzzing bars and thumping bass of the nightclubs, Kardamena still retains some of the charms from its past.
Once a quiet fishing village, the town has regenerated itself into a holiday hotspot. Welcoming Brits with open arms with the offerings of cheap holidays, expat bars and full English breakfasts nestle alongside traditional tavernas and local cafés. The beautiful stretch of sandy coastline sees the beach lined with colourful sun loungers in the summer months, all waiting to welcome partied-out clubbers and families looking to spend a day by the sea.
The nearby Kos Town is just a 30-minute drive away, with a charming blend of Greek ruins and cosmopolitan shops, cafés and bars, there’s something to keep everyone entertained. Boat trips give you the chance to island-hop and enjoy some coastal sightseeing, or simply pick a spot by the hotel pool and take in the views of Kardamena’s coast.
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A holiday in Kardamena is the perfect base for exploring neighbouring Greek towns, villages and islands. Just a 30-minute drive away is the lively Kos Town and idyllic island retreats are just a boat ride away. Back in Kardamena, the Aquatica Water Park promises endless amounts of fun, with colourful, sweeping slides and pools. If your ideal day in the sun includes lazing on golden sands, then Kardamena has just the thing. It’s home to a 3-kilometre-long beach complete with sun loungers, umbrellas, water sports, and plenty of cafés and restaurants where you can refuel after topping up your tan. Speed things up a bit with a trip to Kardamena’s go-karting track, where you can race against family and friends to post the best lap time. Just outside Kardamena, Antimachia Village is awash with historical ruins to wander through, including a well-preserved castle and some churches.
A holiday to Kardamena and the Greek islands gives foodies a chance to sample some delicious dishes in the sun. Staying in Kardamena means you can also experience some of the recipes that are exclusive to Kos and the neighbouring resorts. No holiday to Kardamena would be complete without sampling some of the lampropites or katimeria – both are types of cheese pie. The cheese used in the pies is made locally and the pies represent a true taste of local cooking.
With a strong community of expats and young British families looking for a holiday in the sun, Kardamena has its fair share of all-day breakfasts and burger bars. If you love your traditional English dishes but are still keen to try some authentic Greek food, track down the family-run tavernas. For a delicious meal with a view, visit the Posidonia Restaurant on the seafront. Tuck into their menu of traditional dishes on one of the outside tables overlooking the sea, for a meal to remember. Skip the Ouzo and Retsina, and try one of the many Greek wines on offer. Hugely under-rated, the excellent wines have been a staple of Greek life for thousands of years.
Beach-loving parents and kids will be in their element on a Kardamena holiday. Miles of soft sand stretch along the shore, inviting families to swim, play and sunbathe the days away. When you’re done with building sandcastles and trying out the water sports, kids will love the twisting slides, and thrills and spills on offer at the Aquatica Water Park. For a day out to ignite imaginations and inspire history-lovers in the family, the nearby Antimachia Village is a historic relic just waiting to be conquered and explored. For petrolheads young and old, the go-karting track is just the place to battle it out and kick your holiday up into fifth gear. For a more sedate family day, mountain bikes are available to hire to discover the dirt tracks and wilderness on the outskirts of the town. There’s a wealth of fun stuff to explore for families on a Kardamena holiday.
Most of the adventures on a holiday to Kardamena take place at the beach. Whether you’re zipping across the waves on water skis, jet skiing along the shore or heading to a nearby island, there are plenty of opportunities to take to the water. Adrenaline junkies can try new water sports including the Fly Fish, a large inflatable pulled along by speed boat. For adventure at a slower pace, pedalos, canoes and kayaks offer a great way to explore the coastline and stop off at secluded beaches. If you’d rather take to the skies instead, parasailing is a fantastic way to get a bird’s eye view of the resort of Kardamena below. To get away from the sandy beach and explore some of the island’s countryside, book yourself on a mountain bike tour. Taking in some of the best of the island’s hills and woodland, you can enjoy the views and burn off some energy before heading back to your hotel for a relaxing swim.
Stretching along the whole length of the village and beyond, the pale sands and clear seas are a haven for beach-lovers. After an evening enjoying Kardamena’s lively nightlife scene, the main beach is the perfect place to relax. With plenty of facilities, including sun loungers, umbrellas and a fantastic range of water sports, this central beach can get quite busy. If you’re looking for a more peaceful spot, head to either end of the beach to avoid the crowds. For a more chilled-out seaside vibe, visit the nearby Laganda Beach. Windswept sand dunes offer plenty of places for a secluded sunbathe.
If you’ve packed your dancing shoes, you won’t be disappointed. A Kardamena holiday really kicks off as the sun sets. The resort comes alive with around 100 bars and a few nightclubs getting the party started. Kardamena really is a party-lovers heaven, with all the action centred near the harbour and the seafront. If all-night raving isn’t for you, there’s still a wealth of entertainment on offer. Karaoke, bingo, pub quizzes and cabaret entertainment can be found in Kardamena’s bars.
If the soaring daytime temperatures mean you’re more likely to be found on the beach than in the shops, don’t worry. Kardamena’s stores open late into the evening, giving you the chance to take a leisurely browse of the souvenirs and gifts before heading off to dinner. To experience Kardamena through a local’s eyes, head to a kafeneía, a traditional café. Here you’ll find locals sipping coffee, or perhaps something a little stronger, while they relax after a busy day and play some hotly contested board games.
At first glance, the bustling and lively resort of Kardamena may not seem like a romantic holiday setting. But with its sweeping coastline and long summer days, Kardamena can be an idyllic romantic getaway for two. Whether you seek out the windswept sand dunes on the more secluded beaches or use Kardamena as a base to island-hop and explore nearby archipelagos, there’s ample opportunity to escape the crowds for some quality time together. Nearby Kos Town has cobbled streets and alleyways to navigate, along with plenty of souvenir shopping. With over 100 bars lining the streets back in Kardamena, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to pre-dinner cocktails. Traditional tavernas are welcoming and full of Greek hospitality, and there’s no better place for couples to share a bottle of local wine by candlelight. A moonlit stroll along the sandy beach after magical food, drink and ambience, is tailor-made for that perfect romantic holiday moment.
Although much of the town has been redeveloped and expanded, a holiday to Kardamena still has cultural sights to enjoy. For historic ruins visit the Temple of Apollo or the remains of the Ancient Theatre. For a glimpse back in time, head out of Kardamena to the nearby Antimachia Village. This ancient settlement has remained virtually unchanged for around 3,000 years. Four kilometres north of the village you can visit the ruins of a 14th-century medieval castle – its external walls are still standing, along with houses from the same era. Inside part of the castle, two ancient churches have also been well preserved.
Back in Kardamena, there’s a thriving ceramics tradition, with many souvenir shops selling locally made pottery. Some restaurants also serve up traditional dishes on hand-thrown pottery made by relatives of the restaurant owners. Each year the summer months see a celebration of cultural events rolling through Kardamena. The festival of Alasarnia, Nautical Week and the Honey Festival see music, games, concerts and colour flood the streets, adding to the ongoing party atmosphere.