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When I visited Kos before, I wrote a post about things you can see and do on this large Dodecanese island. I hadn’t had the chance to visit the Knight’s Castle on Kos before, so imagine my delight when I visited recently and took time out of my busy schedule to pay it a visit!
Knight’s Castle – Kos
You can’t really miss the Knight’s Castle, Kos. Known locally / in Greece as the Castle of Neratzia,(sour orange tree), it’s located right by the harbour entrance so that when your ferry pulls up on your Greek island hopping holiday, you’ll be greeted by this grand monolith. It’s actually on a small little island, connected by a bridge. But don’t think island out at sea…think dried up moat around it.
Why ‘sour orange tree’? Well, the Knight’s Castle Kos dates back to the 14th Century and at this time, many sour orange trees (neratzia) were planted on the island at this time. Kos, during the late 14th and early 15th Century, was known as Neratzia, hence why the Castle’s name has stuck.
Frequent visitors to Greece will have seen these trees all over the country.
Once you’ve paid your €4 Entry Fee (correct at time of writing – 2017), then you can slowly meander around the interior and up onto the walls, making your way to the four circular towers, still in tact – offering eye watering views out to Turkey in the distance. Well, take a look for yourself.
Where to stay on Kos
So you’ve decided to come to visit this large island and sightsee, including the Knight’s Castle, but where can you stay? If you’re anything like me, I am not a fan of package holiday/all inclusive hotels which, unfortunately, seem to blight Kos.
And let me let you into a little secret (or maybe it’s not a secret, who knows?): A lot of these hotels don’t employ local staff, so no money is going back into the Greek economy. Personally I want to try to help the Greek economy, hence why I went on a hunt for the smaller, family run establishments. And it is possible to find – as you’ll see in a minute.
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The exception to the All Inclusive
There is an exception to the ‘All Inclusive’ chain on Kos, a gorgeous Greek consortium with 30 luxurious properties across mainland Greece and the islands; Grecotel. The group also looks after the Agreco traditional farm and line of products from Crete and the Danilia traditional village and museum in Corfu, making it a truly luxurious Greek connection. I will be writing about my Kos Grecotel experience in due course.
During my Kos visit, I stayed at the lovely family run Hotel Afendoulis. Located literally a 10 minute stroll away (along the seafront) from the Knight’s Castle Kos, whilst not actually along the harbour/seafront, it is down a quiet side road and the family run establishment offers breakfast up until midday (I know right?!), takes credit cards (unusual for a small place) and breakfast is none of this packaged nonsense…expect fresh bread from the bakery with homemade preserves (quince, sweet tomato being just two examples of a choice of many, even the famous neratzia). And as the family are there throughout the day (mum, dad, grandpa, daughter and son-in-law), if you happen to be around at lunchtime when they’re cooking up a wee bite to eat (OK, this is Greece, not so ‘wee’!), they’ll pull up a chair for you to join them. You are assured of feeling like you’re staying at home. Indeed for me, Hotel Afendoulis is a home away from home.
I hope I’ve tempted you with Kos. It is a ‘package holiday’ destination, no doubt about it – but it’s possible to get away from it all.