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 stylish and attractive. The port is the most appealing area of all, lined by cafes and tavernas and with an unbroken row of excursion boats, fishing vessels and fancy yachts bobbing and bristling against each other along the waterfront.

Popular beaches stretch in either direction from the harbour. Long sandy Kritika Beach, running northwest and 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. Both beaches fill with guests from adjacent hotels.