‘I’m not going up there unless you blindfold me’, said Annette and so we did. Jen and I bounced out of the back of the Jeep on the way down to Kardamena but that was the old days and even then we weren’t put off driving up the mountain to Zia. Anyone visiting Kos for the first time will be offered a trip up the mountain. The road is a bit windy but without the steep drop to the side that many people fear and now the road across the top down into Kos Town or Kardamena is scenic without the scary bits. The route has improved over the years with a proper road surface, no longer just a rough track with pot holes .The views are spectacular at Sunset and if you drive back down the mountain towards Mastichari you will be rewarded with the majestic colour change as the sun lowers in the sky. Rich reds, gold hews and deep mauves. Go armed with a camera, for no matter what time of day you spend in Zia the opportunity for awesome photographs will take your breath away.
Is it touristy? Yes of course it is, it’s a great place to potter around to buy your gifts, herbs and spices, jewellery, pottery or leather and spend a while in any number of the Tavernas and enjoy the food and the view. It smells of pine trees, herbs and BBQ.
If you are fortunate to go up independently and have time to spare then you will be rewarded, for like any place on Kos be prepared to go off the beaten track and nestling behind the main street is old Zia. Follow up towards the water mill and the church and you will feel you’re in another place and time. The last time I walked up here the Priest was painting the church, Jeans, robes, trainers and paint pot in one hand and brush in the other. It’s peaceful, tranquil and can be the start of a long climb upwards for the adventurous or a steady walk back down for others.
Take time to drive back down the mountain and discover the small villages and churches as you climb back down.