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Kos island news and views

Kos lies in the middle of the Dodecanese chain of Greek islands that follow the Turkish coastline between Rhodes, in the south, and Patmos, in the north. Kos holidays are hugely popular with the British and Kos is one of the best for a typical beach holiday. As well as the nightlife of Kos Town and a plethora of sandy beach resorts, Kos also offers some of the best archaeological sites in the Mediterranean.

Toddler Ben went missing on Kos
Kos toddler

Search resumes for missing Kos toddler. Police on the holiday island of Kos have started a new search for the remains of British toddler Ben Needham who went missing on the island more than 20 years ago. Specialist police officers from the UK are in Kos to excavate a mound of rubble close to the home where Ben's mother, Kerry, and his grandparents lived when he went missing. They are supporting Greek police are following a new line of inquiry into the disappearance of Ben who vanished from the spot in July 1991, aged nearly two. The search operation which includes a forensic archaeologist and specialist search dogs is expected to last a week to 10 days. Ben's disappearance made headlines for a number of years, similar to the case of Madeleine McCann, who vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal in 2007. Blond, blue-eyed Ben vanished on July 24, 1991 while his grandparents Eddie and Christine Needham were looking after him along with his mother Kerry's younger brothers Stephen and Daniel. Kerry, then 19, was working at a hotel on Kos as a waitress. Ben's disappearance is one of the longest-running missing persons cases in British history. The official website for the 'Help Find Ben' campaign has posted artist impressions of how Ben might look now, 20 years after his disappearance on Kos island.

Tingaki beach on the island of Kos
Kos holiday plea

Kos holiday plea as tourist numbers tumble. The people of Kos have been urged to show restraint in dealing with visitors on holiday in Kos if the Greek island is to survive the current economic turmoil. The warning comes as holiday bookings to Kos take a tumble in the wake of harsh austerity measures imposed on Greece in return for a bailout of Greece's faltering economy. Greek Island hotel owners have been forced to to slash prices in a bid to fill the empty rooms and Greece goes to the polls on June 15 to try and elect a stable government just as the summer holiday season gets under way. A letter to the editor of the Kos Explorer from a Kos mother-of-four, Tracey Sekallris, born in England, warns that tensions must not spill over and hit the Kos holiday trade. She warns: "On the local Kos front we have the taxi drivers, bus drivers and now the boat owners all screaming and shouting at each other and really not helping the tourist industry in Kos." She adds: "These people are destroying the image of Kos, not helping themselves, their families or the island of Kos and the beautiful Greek holiday destination that people once loved." The Greek Islands have been badly hit by a 12% drop in tourist numbers this year as visitor concern grows over Greece's growing debt problems and the economic and political turmoil. Tracey reports of a rise in anger and tension in the Kos population as the Greek austerity measure hit hard. She claims that Kos holiday visitors are feeling the brunt as tensions rise. Che cite examples of behaviour that could affect the tourist trade on Kos such as bar workers trying to drag people of the street and into their bars and restaurants and angry rows breaking out in the street betweem rival restaurant owners. Tracey claims this is done in "total desperation" but visitors are already complaining and have said it has put them off ever coming to Kos again. She added: "Anger and tension is felt everywhere you go. The sorrows and despair of hotel, shop, restaurant, beach owners hangs heavy in the air." Kos hotel owners have already been warned that a major tour operator is insisting that new contracts include a clause to cover any losses caused by a devaluation of any new currency. The tourist industry is one of Greece's biggest money earners and a drop in holiday visitors could have a major impact on the economy. Tracey is a freelance writer and blogger who has lived on Kos for many years after meeting her restaurant owner husband while on a visit to Kos.

Mastichari beach on Kos
Kos offers the best

Kos – Island that offers the best of both worlds. Nestled in the South Aegean Sea is Kos, a small island that offers both peace and tranquillity with a party atmosphere at night. If you're looking at last minute holidays there can be no finer choice than Kos to escape the cold winter days. There is a pleasant temperature throughout the year, and whilst the temperature does cool through the winter months, any rainfall is interspersed with lots of sun so you'll still benefit from the glorious Greek weather. Kos is easily accessible by air with direct flights from the UK available, as well as connections from Athens if you want to explore Greek's iconic capital city first. Being a Greek island and lying just 2.5 miles from Turkey, Kos has a wealth of gloriously sandy beaches and you have the pick of places to stay. Tingaki, which is not far from Kos Town in the north of the island, is a highly recommended place to stay with its abundance of beach and shallow sea which makes it a haven for families as well as individuals. You can also stay in small hotels as well as self catered apartments. At night, the bars and tavernas near to Tingaki come to life and the atmosphere becomes electric. Wherever you do decide to stay, Kos has a wealth of places to visit. As with many of the Greek islands, you must visit the Ancient ruins of Kos which are scattered across the island. Those closer to Kos Town are very impressive indeed so make sure you take in the Gymnasium of Xystos, the ruins of the Odeon and Casa Romana which are all located fairly close to one another. In Kos Town you'll also find their picturesque harbour and their market, which was the biggest in the Ancient world. The island is also the known as the birthplace of modern medicine as Hippocrates was born here. You can visit the ruins of Asklepieion where Herodicus taught Hippocrates medicine and also the Plane Tree of Hippocrates which is where he himself taught. If you wish to simply take in everything that Kos' culture offers, look into cycle hire and take to the roads to explore. The flat tree lined roads are perfect for cycling and there are many hills to climb which provide stunning views of the island. Amongst the hills, you'll find many small villages filled with iconic whitewashed buildings where the friendly locals will welcome you with open arms. Be sure to try some of the local produce to sample some of the finest grapes, figs, olives and tomatoes you'll ever eat! Once you've climbed the hills and drunk in the scenery, it's time to take the easier route back down and head for the beaches. All white sand and sparkling blue waters, but each with something unique to offer. For the ultimate relaxation, head to Thermes which has coves to explore and hot springs to immerse yourself in, whilst the beaches on the northern side of the island also offer windsurfing and other watersports. Natalie Likness' love of travel was introduced to her from an early age due to a trip abroad to Greece before she was even born! Having close family and making friends across the world, she has continued to travel ever since.

Toddler Ben went missing on Kos
Kos boy case re-opens

Kos holiday boy Ben case re-opens. Greek Police are to re-open the case of the missing boy Ben Needham who disappeared 20 years ago on a Kos holiday. Ben's mother Kerry Grist has talked to top Greek detectives and prosecutors about Ben, who disappeared on the holiday island of Kos when he was 21 months old. Ben's disappearance is one of the longest-running missing persons cases in British history. The Kos island case never received the publicity that followed Madeleine McCann's 2007 disappearance in Portugal. Ben vanished as he played outside a farmhouse that his grandparents, Eddie and Christine Needham, were renovating on the Greek island of Kos in July 1991. A retired Greek doctor came forward last July to say he recalled speaking at the time to a blond child who told him his name was Ben. The doctor connected the case to gypsies. "I feel at last that someone is going to help me. I went home for the first time feeling that Ben is not forgotten," Kerry said yesterday at her home in Sheffield. "I know he is out there, not necessarily in Greece but somewhere in the world. The Greek doctor claims he saw Ben in 1992 in Larissa on the Greek mainland. He says he saw the boy again a few months later with a woman from a gypsy camp. He recognised her as a former patient who could not have children. He reported the sighting to the Greek police who did not follow up the lead. He has now reported the incident again and Interpol has become involved. The official website for the 'Help Find Ben campaign has posted artist impressions of how Ben might look now, 20 years after his disappearance on Kos island.

Popular Psalidi beach on Kos
Kos attack

Kos holiday couple attacked in street. Visitors on holiday in Kos have been warned to take care when out walking at night following an attack on a British couple. The young couple were attacked by youths while returning to their Kos hotel in the Psalidi holiday resort after a night out in Kos Town. Both needed hospital treatment following the attack near Jimmy's Supermarket on the main road to Psalidi. Kos police say the couple were close to their apartments when they were set upon by the gang of youths. The couple were punched and kicked in the attack. The man was treated in hospital for a cracked jaw, cracked ribs and the woman treated for severe bruising. The attackers ran off when noise attracted the staff from the nearby Iris Hotel in Psalidi who rushed out to help the couple being attacked and called the police. Several youths of Turkish and Bulgarian nationality have been charged with offences relating to the incident and will appear in court on Kos later this month. A police spokesman said: "We advise everyone to be extra vigilant when walking alone late at night and to take a taxi or other transportation where possible." The Kos holiday resort of Psalidi is about 3km to the south of Kos town. Psalidi is one of the main holiday beach resorts on Kos and popular with couples who enjoy beach holidays by day and head for Kos Town for the nightlife.

Mastihari beach on Kos
Bumper holiday month for Kos

Bumper holiday month for Kos. Kos island Greece is celebrating a bumper month for tourist holiday visitors in August 2011. The number of Kos holiday visitors landing at the island's airport topped 190,000 in August compared with 160,000 in 2010. Tourism officials say the rise of nearly 18% in Greek holiday tourist traffic this year has caused 'justifiable euphoria' among Kos island hotel and tourist managers. A Kos island tourism spokesman said: "The August increase pushed tourism rates through the roof, continuing the success of previous months." Germany and the UK provide the biggest numbers of holiday visitors with nearly 34,000 arrivals in August this year, a rise of 6% on last year. Germany accounted for 38,000 August visitors – up a massive 27% on last year. Italy is next for Kos holiday arrivals in August with 24,000 flying in, a rise of nearly 15% on last year, while the Netherlands came fourth with 16,500 visitors, up nearly 11% in 2011. The August holiday figures were even better than those for Rhodes, which has let the way in this year's Greek island holiday revival.

Ryanair may axe winter flights
Cheap flights

Cheap flights to Rhodes may be axed. Tourism leaders are alarmed at reports that cheap flight airline Ryanair could axe out-of-season flights to the Greek holiday islands of Rhodes and Kos. Rumours of the suspension of late season cheap holiday flights to the Greek islands resorts have triggered turmoil in the tourism sector on both islands. Ryanair has dismissed the rumours as 'speculation' but fears that the airline could drop cheap flights has prompted a political row on Rhodes where hopes have been running high of attracting more winter tourists. Political opposition leaders blame the Greek government for not pumping in cash to subsidise the routes which form a key plank of a campaign by tourism leaders to extend the holiday season on Rhodes well into the winter months. Rhodes hotels and tavernas have been encouraged to remain open to tempt more Rhodes holiday arrivals beyond the normal summer season. Now political leaders warn that 'possible disruption of flight operations of Ryanair would undermine the efforts to extend the tourist season and convert Rhodes to an all-season tourist destination.' Greek Tourism Minister Giorgios Nikitiadis is to visit Ryanair headquarters in Dublin later this month but he said the government had no contract with Ryanair to subsidise cheap holiday flights to Rhodes or Kos. "The government has not signed any contract with any low-budget airline," he insisted. There has been a big rise in Rhodes and Kos holidays arrivals this year with tourist visitors up more than 30%. It follows a big advertising campaigns to attract more holidaymakers tot he islands and it comes as numbers of people taking Greek island holidays surged 10% overall in the first six months of 2011. From November to April in 2009-2010, holiday arrivals on Rhodes flying Ryanair cheap holiday flights totalled about 8,000 and another 5,000 flew in for holidays on Kos using the cheap flight airline. Tourist leaders fear that cutting these flights this year would result in a severe blow to their all-year holiday campaign.

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