Kos & Nisyros sailing holidays

Kos - Κως lays at the mouth of the Turkish Gulf of Kerme (Turkish: Gökova Körfezi) which cuts deep into the coast of Asia Minor.

The island was separated from the Bodrum Peninsula by the collapse of a rift valley in the Pliocene period, which explains the range of limestone hills, rising to 846 m in Mount Dikaios, that runs along Kos island for almost its entire length.

It is the largest island in the Dodecanese after Rhodes and, unlike most other Aegean islands, Kos has a population that is increasing in numbers, and is a more important charter base for yacht rental companies than Rhodes.

The ruins of the early Christian Agios Stefanos basilica, and Kastri islet in the background with the chapel of St. Nicholas at Kefalos bay on Kos island.

Previous islands: Leros and Kalymnos ↑

Sailing map of Kos and Nisyros - Yacht charters in Greece
Pserimos, Kos and Nisyros
Approximate and disputed borderline coordinates between Turkey and Greece:
1   36° 57.760' N    27° 16.189' E
2   36° 57.012' N    27° 24.158' E
3   36° 47.417' N    27° 21.943' E
4   36° 43.158' N    27° 18.162' E
5   36° 41.895' N    27° 17.979' E
6   36° 35.520' N    27° 19.951' E

Next island: Astypalaia ↓

Visit the caldera of the Nisyros volcano: you will experience that these fumaroles are true solfataras!

Yiali or Gyali - Γυαλί meaning “glass” is an obsidian island, which houses an ugly pumice quarry.

The origin of this pumice is the volcanic island of Nisyros - Νίσυρος (a big strato-volcano, which was built up above sea level about 66,000 years ago). It was occasionally active in the Middle Ages but now manifests itself only in the form of solfataras. Pumice from the eruptions may be found in 100m thick beds on the higher parts of the island and is exported.

You might want to look now at the Glossary of Volcanic & Geologic Terms.

Nisyros is a green and well-watered island, with fertile soil which is cultivated on laboriously construced terraces on the outward-facing slopes.

Yet, Tilos - Τήλος (Italian: Piscopi or Episcopi) is a bare and rugged island, which is less frequently visited by tourists and yachties. Near Livadia, the island's port, are the ruins of a Venetian castle and the Kharkadio cave, in which the bones of prehistoric dwarf elephants were found.

British Admiralty Charts 1055, 1531

Tilos - yacht charters Dodecanese.
Tilos island

History of Kos and Nisyros

Kos has been well populated since Neolithic times.
About 700 BCE, together with the five other cities of the Hexapolis (Knidos, Lalysos, Lindos, Halikarnassos and Kamiros), Kos was an outpost of the Dorian League of cities on the Carian coast and the neighbouring islands.

The island was celebrated for the oldest cult site of the healing god Asklepios and for a medical school of which the most famous representative was Hippokrates (5th c. BCE). The Sanctuary of Asklepios on Kos was distroyed by an earthquake in 554 CE.

Kastri islet with the chapel of St. Nicholas in Kefalos bay on Kos island. Visit via the small Kamari port.

The Byzantines were succeeded as rulers of the island by the Knights of St John (1306 – 1523), who in the 14th c. established the main seat of their Order in the island's capital Narangia (now the town of Kos).

Kos was captured by the Ottomans some years earlier than Rhodes. Occupied by Italy in 1912, during the Balkan War, it was returned to Greece in 1948.

Nisyros was originally settled by Dorians from Kos and Kamiros. In 1312 it was occupied by the Knights of St John, and later became a fief of the Assanti family. It was taken by the Turks in 1533.

The old port of Kos - with palm trees, mosque and Venetian castle - is distictly more attractive than Kos marina.

Kos port

The old port of Kos is located in a large shallow bay; in the approach the north cape should be kept at a distance.

The west side inside the harbour is mostly for charter or local yachts only. The east side - under the Castle of the Knights (1450-80) and matching palm trees - is the mooring area for visitors, but only if you are fortunate enough to find a berth here in the lovely surrroundings of the old port.

Kos town is full of bougainvillea, jasmine and exotic whiffs of the middle east.

Kos port - sailing holidays Dodecanese islands
Old port Kos

Kos marina

The bland utilitarian Kos marina has its merits for the yacht charter companies and is still within walking distance of downtown Kos. Note that there is a wide variety in quality of the offered yachts.

Except for severe weather forecasts try to get a berth in the pleasant old port first.

Upon approach contact the Kos marina office on VHF 77

The marina offers all-round shelter with 250 berths, you will use a permanent mooring. The harbour master will meet you near the entrance in a RIB and assist you towards your spot.

Fuel quay is located south of the Kos marina.

Kos marina.

Tilos port

Yacht charters Tilos, Nisyros and Kos
Tilos port map

Tilos has been one of the best-kept secrets in the Dodecanese for some time, with good unspoiled beaches, friendly people and wonderful walking country: a tranquil antidote to Kos town.

From a distance it looks arid but it shelters groves of figs, almonds, walnuts, pomegranates and olives, all watered by fresh springs.

Yacht charters Tilos and Kos
View towards the north-east: the small but sheltered Tilos port
Yacht charters Tilos and Kos
View towards the north of Tilos port


In Mandraki – the capital and port – life revolves around the cafetaria on the quay and despite tripper boats from Kos, this higgledy-piggledy town retained its charm.

Further along the coast is Pali or Palon, a lovely fishing village with excellent shelter. Masses of pumice stones can be found bobbing in or near the harbour. Interesting beaches all around the island in various colours are ideal lunch stop anchorages. Near Mandraki itself you can explore some ancient walls – 5th century BCE – which were part of the acropolis of the island.
Rent scooters to visit the caldera!