A handsome harbour community, fronted by a superb medieval castle and somehow squeezed amid a mind-blowing array of ancient ruins from the Greek, Roman and Byzantine eras, Kos Town is the island's capital, main ferry port and only sizeable town. While some central streets tend to be overrun by partying tourists, most remain attractive. The square houses a fabulous museum and features some extraordinary architecture. The port is lined by cafes and tavernas and its unbroken row of excursion boats, fishing vessels and fancy yachts bob and bristle against each other along the waterfront.
Popular beaches stretch in either direction from the harbour. Long, sandy Kritika Beach, in easy walking distance of the town centre, is lined with hotels and restaurants. Southeast of the harbour the thin strip of sand known as Kos Town Beach is dotted with parasols in summer and offers deep water for swimming.