Kos Town, the capital city of Kos Island, serves well as a base for exploring the island's sights. Be sure to visit the fairly well-preserved Asklepeion Sanctuary, 4 mi/6 km west of Kos Town. The guide may tell you Hippocrates practiced there, but it was built in 357 BC, 20 years after he died. Plan an hour to tour the site. Also see the Casa Romana (mosaics), temples of Aphrodite and Dionysus, and the Palace of the Knights of Rhodes, an impressive medieval structure with double walls and a moat—it's also called St. John's. Other attractions include a museum, Turkish mosques, the Roman Odeon and fountains, Roman baths and the enormous Plane Tree—some say it was planted by Hippocrates, but it is at least 2,000 years younger than the doctor.

If time permits, visit the ruined Byzantine fortress and 14th-century church in Palio Pili (14 mi/22 km from Kos Town) as well as the medieval castle at Antimahia (about 19 mi/30 km from Kos Town); shop for pottery or swim at Kardamena (on the coast about 22 mi/35 km from Kos Town); or relax in the hot springs at Thermes (7 mi/12 km from Kos Town).

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