Kardamena is a sleepy, happy town with enough bars and restaurants that I don’t think anyone would get through them in 1 holiday. Even if you eat out for every meal every day and only went to eat restaurant once, it would take a month to get through them.
During the day, all the shops, bar, restaurants and cafes are open in the little streets leading off of the main bar square. You are never short of somewhere to sit a relax with a cold drink, even when you walk along the seafront, you are greeted by hosts from each establishment. This can be a little annoying but just say that you are just out for a walk or you have just eaten and they will leave you alone, that’s what we did.
A lot of the restaurants menus are aimed at the English, they have Greek dishes but then they will have a lot of English dishes and pizzas. There’s not many that don’t do a full English breakfast, fish and chips or a big mixed grill. A lot of the menus that we were given were huge with a lot of dishes so be prepares for a wide range of food to choose from.
The bar square and the main big street leading from the top of it is basically the high street of Kardamena. If you start off from the harbour and start walking up the square is surrounded on all sides by bars as the name suggests. There is a street leading out of the top which has shops and tour operators but if you carry on up this road, you will find The Pub which is a great English pub with a traditional big oak bar from a London pub. It’s great for any English people who get a bit homesick. Carry on and you come to an ice cream/cake parlour called Special and across the road is Louis’ which is a supermarket.
To the left is roads leading back round to the seafront through some shops if you keep to the left. To the right is some more shops and the bus stops. This is also the main road in and out of Kardamena by car.
There are lots of little streets leading off all along the main high street with shops, bars and restaurants. We found that the closer to the bar square you were, the more expensive the bar or restaurant was so if you are watching the pennies, try to go on the outskirts a little.
In October, everyone is slowly winding down to close for the winter. It starts from the outskirts and works inwards. As we were near the outskirts, we noticed it a lot as it got closer to the end of our holiday. The smaller bars and restaurants near us were suddenly packed up and closed so if we wanted to go out for drinks or something to eat, we would have to go along the seafront.
The locals are so welcoming and happy to chat to you. We felt like family everywhere that we went because they were so happy to see us. We like talking to locals as they know the best places to go.
A lot of the hotels near the beach don’t have swimming pools but they do have a section of the beach with sun loungers that you can use. Plus, hotels with swimming pools usually do a deal with people who aren’t guests that if you buy drinks from the bar, you can use their pool. We did this at 2 of the Cleopatra Hotels (Kris Mari and Superior), by just buying some drinks and a few times we got food, we got access to their pool for the day. I thought it was great as we didn’t want to go in the sea everyday and enjoy swimming in a swimming pool but our hotel didn’t have a pool.
Bars along the seafront that had beach in front of them did the same, you buy drinks and or food and you can use their sun loungers for the day. It’s a great idea for anyone that hires a holiday apartment instead of getting a hotel as well, this means you aren’t going to miss out on having a pool or the beach.
With the tour operators, you will notice that they all do the same tours but on different days and the price might be a euro out compared to others. I got talking to a lady in Harriet Travel and got on so well that we used them for our day trip to Kos Town and the Three Island Boat Trip. As it was coming to the end of the season, she was doing deals for everyone on trips. We got Kos Town for 6 euros each (cheaper than getting the local bus) and the boat trip was 45 euros for the pair of us instead of it being 30 euros each. I would suggest looking online at the trip prices or having a wonder round each of the tour shops picking up the leaflets so that you can compare the prices. A lot of the boat tours go from Kardamena so you won’t have to wake up really early for the pick-up but so like the three island tour and Bodrum go from Kos Town so you will have a long coach trip ahead of you. For our three island trip, we were on the coach for nearly 2 hours before we even got to Kos Town. So big tip there is to make sure you ask where the boat is leaving from.
If you want to go off exploring yourself, there are plenty of places to hire a car, scooter, quad bike, etc so that you can get around. We kept saying about hiring a car but didn’t in the end.
You won’t find any all-inclusive hotels in Kardamena but there are plenty on the outskirts. We were speaking to one of the locals and he said that people buy land in town in order to build an all-inclusive hotel but don’t get permission to go ahead. They either build a self-catering or bed and breakfast hotel if they decide to go ahead with the build or sell on the land to someone else. Considering how cheap it can be to eat in Kardamena, I’m not surprised that people don’t mind going self-catering. We did look at going all inclusive like on our first holiday to Kos but found that we spent more time in Kardamena so stayed in the town this time and we are glad we did.
One of the biggest all-inclusive hotels is the Mitsis complex which has 4 hotels in the complex, Blue Domes, Narida, Summer Palace and Family Village. The locals call it “The Prison” but don’t let this put you off, it is just because there is a wall around it and security at the main gate. We have stayed in 2 of the Mitsis hotels and had brilliant stays in both.
If you are English and miss a good old fashioned roast on your holiday, go to Ellie’s. They only open on a Sunday and it is just like being back home and having a proper home cooked meal. We went there both Sundays that we were on holiday as the food was that amazing.
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