The joy of travelling solo means you can pretty much do what you want to, when you want to and it also means that a trip tends to be geared up to exactly what you want it to be. My trips centre around walking – a passion of mine, sightseeing and finding unusual places to visit, along with eating in vegetarian/vegan eateries. Kos was to be no exception and I had done my research well beforehand – after hearing about Plaka, I knew I had to make a visit there and it was worth the walk.
I was on the bus early and the usual driver asked where I was heading – he said he could drop me at the junction where the road (then track) would lead down to Plaka, which, true to his word, he did. The walk into the forest – very loosely named as it is actually more a small woodland area set in a valley, doesn’t take long really and just a handful of cars passed by me. You really cannot get lost on foot as one road heads directly there and soon you’ll start to see the odd cat wandering about, so you know you’re on the right track.
West from the airport on the way to Kefalos, Plaka Forest is an attraction for nature lovers and there are areas where you can picnic with bench tables provided. It’s free to go there, but make sure you take some cat food and a few Euros for the couple that care for the feral cats and peacocks – yes you heard right, there are peacocks randomly roaming about, very inquisitive and quite friendly, as are the cats. I’m not a huge cat-lover but the kittens are very sweet and one decided that my bag was the ideal resting place – I very nearly cat-napped him. They do have fleas so be warned just in case you find some new buddies attached to your clothing!
The walk from Plaka continued along the same road but this time onto and towards the airport, where I know I could get a bus back to my resort. The downside is that once you get off the Plaka road, you are then walking on the main island road, so it is a lot busier (but not dangerously so) and not so pretty, plus you may well get the odd plane flying low above you as they take off from the airport. Once at the airport, the services run in all directions, albeit not that often.
Day 4 and I had decided yet another walk was called for and the driver obligingly dropped me at the end of the road that led up to Pyli village and Old Pyli Castle. The road seriously went on and on, and then on some more – so my intention at this stage was just to head straight to Old Pyli Castle as there is not much to see at Pyli Village itself. The road gets quite steep the nearer you get to the Castle summit and I found myself stopping every few turns to catch my breath – mental note to self, always remember to take a bottle of water!!! The views though across to the salt kale near Tigaki and beyond are spectacular, as is the eventual sight of the Castle.
When visiting Old Pyli Castle (https://www.kosinfo.gr/history/countryside-monuments/old-pyli) please remember it is somewhat “weathered” and could easily pose a hazard to small or unattended children or those not so sure-footed. Wear decent walking boots or shoes and if you are scared of heights, like myself, be prepared to stick to the lower levels – sadly the heights were too much for me so I only could venture a little way up but I got the feel for it, all the same.
After seeing the Castle, I backtracked down towards the main road, stopping by the Old Pyli Taverna, where I got some water for my onwards walk. Once back at the main road, I crossed over and headed down towards Marmari and then took the road along to Tigaki to try and see the salt lake up close. To be honest the walk had taken its toll on my feet and some 10 miles later, I decided to make do with seeing the lake from a distance and catch the bus back to Kos town for my connection onto Kefalos.