An update from Kos for travellers to/from Symi

An update from Kos for travellers to/from Symi

 

Kos Airport is due for complete reconstruction. How far this process has got I’m unsure as I’ve not been there this year. So this posting is based on 2017 airport information.
The airport is small, much too small for the volume of traffic that uses it. As a survival technique, the staff have developed a very slick baggage return system and travellers get their bags back surprisingly quickly. There’s no room in baggage reclaim for anything but the conveyor belts and a tiny customs area for non-EU flights, and as soon as you go through the exit door, you are standing outside the terminal.

From there, taxis are straight ahead, across the dropoff zone, and buses are to the left, using a very small bright orange bus shelter.
Taxis are reasonably plentiful, and in season there is a taxi controller on site, who can radio call for extra cars as needed. There are often more taxis parked round a corner out of sight, which move forward as necessary. Fare to Kos Town was €35-38 in 2017, depending on where you want to be dropped off. These taxis take up to 4 passengers.

Buses are not frequent, at least officially, the timetable shows up to 9 a day in absolute peak season. You’ll always see the current timetable at www.ktel-kos.gr and the single fare is €3. But there are two quirks of the Kos bus system that you need to be aware of. One is that the bus stop at the airport doesn’t just serve buses to Kos Town, but also those to Kardamena and Kefalos – so ask the driver! The other is that at busy periods, instead of increasing the frequency of the buses, several buses depart Kos Town on the same advertised departure time. At least one bus will follow the official route which is via Mastichari, others may go direct to the airport and points beyond via the main road to save time. These extra buses then need to return to Kos Town, and quite often they simply depart when ready, without waiting for one of the advertised times. So you’ll find not just the timetabled departures to Kos Town, but unscheduled extras as well. The buses take you to the Bus Station in Kleopatras Street, a few hundred metres inland from the harbour, far enough to be irritating if you have bags to carry.

Assuming your flight time gets you to Kos in time to catch one of the afternoon Dodekanisos Seaways sailings to Symi (check your date – these don’t go every day) or arrive very late on a Tuesday or Thursday so you can use the overnight Blue Star sailings which leave Kos in the early hours of Wednesdays and Fridays, you can go direct to the port. The ferries you want leave from a point alongside the castle. A taxi will take you directly there, if you are walking, simply walk up the left hand side of the castle, next to the harbour. Watch out for the uneven and cracked ground surfaces, caused by last year’s earthquake. You will pass the earthquake-damaged port terminal building, fenced off due to structural damage, then a set of temporary toilets, before coming to the replacement ticket hut. This is operated by Exas Travel, who are port agents for both Blue Star and Dodekanisos Seaways. You can purchase tickets for immediate travel, or collect tickets booked on line (bring your booking confirmation). Right next to the ticket hut is a cafe with a shaded outdoor seating area, and a large temporary building used as a waitig shelter for passengers. This has seating,and is airconditioned.
In fact these temporary facilities are rather better than the permanent ones they replace. The port terminal building had a cafe and toilets, there were ticket huts, but the waiting shelter was airconditioned only by having no sides…

For those who are island hopping or even countryhopping, ferries to and from Turkey now use facilities on the opposite (north) side of the harbour, by the Costa Palace Hotel. Walk along the harbour side keeping the Costa Palace hotel on your left, until you see a street on the left, the hotel frontage continues along this street. Follow it, and immediately before you arrive at the Achilleas Hotel on the right, also on the right is a car park entrance. Walk through it to reach the ticket booths for boats to Turkey, and Passport Control.

The Panagia Spiliani, which shuttles between Kos Town and Nissyros, and Kardamena and Nissyros, uses a mooring point directly outside the Costa Palace Hotel.

Kos’s fleet of day trip boats moor along the town side of the inner harbour. You’ll probably find that one of these will take you to Nissyros as well, but they only go if there are sufficient passengers, so can’t be relied on. Finally, there’s the new boy in town, the Iris Jet. On my visit to Kos yesterday, she was moored at the old hydrofoil pier, about 300 metres south of the castle, off the shore road.

Derelict Kos Sea Terminal building
Ticket office and cafe – Kos Port
Earthquake damage to Kos quayside

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