Spetses

About the island

Spetses, the gem of the Argosaronic Gulf, is a most popular tourist destination both for Greek and foreign tourists, since it combines plenty of natural beauty, lovely beaches with crystal-clear waters and a picturesque, as well as aristocratic, port-capital.  The pine-clad island is also brimming with aromatic plants and herbs, hence the Venetian name Isola di Spezzie, or ‘island of fragrances’, from which its current name is derived.
 

With their enormous contribution to the Greek war of independence from the Turks -thanks to their exquisite maritime experience- the island’s captains and seamen (among them the legendary female captain Bouboulina) have significantly influenced its outcome: with the historical torching of the Turkish flagship during the sea battle of Spetses, the Ottoman fleet suffered a crushing defeat, an event that is annually celebrated with an impressive revival during the Armata Festival (see ‘Worth Seeing’).
 

Today the town of Spetses beguiles the visitor with the reminders of this glorious past, which are everywhere to be seen, from the grand mansions lining the elegant promenade to the historical quarter of Kounoupitsa on the other side.  Dapia, the old fortified port, with the heavy canons and the exquisite -made of pebbles- mosaic ground of its piazza, a gathering place for the magistrates and captains of the 18th century, is still the lively center of the town, while a little further on the sea front, stands imposing the emblematic classical building of Possidonion, a landmark of Spetses.
 

Here you can indulge in wonderful walks, like the one from Kounoupitsa to the old harbour with a lovely view to the coastline of Peloponnese, or from Spetses hotel to Faros.  You can enjoy the same and even more romantic routes riding with the town’s signature horse-carriages.

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Worth Seeing

The ‘Armata’ festival

Spetses is one of eight European cities participating in the European Network of Historical Reconstructions.

Thus, on the second weekend of September each year, the historical event which is impressively revived here is the crucial sea battle of Spetses that took place on the 8th of September 1822.  The vehement naval fight in the island’s harbour ended up in the Ottoman fleet’s crushing defeat by the united naval forces of Spetses and neighboring Hydra and significantly influenced the outcome of the Greek war of Independence against the Turks.

The heroic torching of the Turkish flagship was the battle’s climax, as the event’s spectacular revival in the harbour is nowadays the climax of the Armata Festival celebrations.  These festivities last a whole week and also combine celebrating the Panagia Armata (Virgin Mary of the Armata), the church of which was built in commemoration of the event near Faros a few years afterwards.
 

Bouboulina’s museum

The legendary heroine of Independence Laskarina Bouboulina was the only female in world history bearing the admiral title.  Her 300 year-old mansion is today home to the namesake museum.  The building, in the shape of the Greek letter Π, characteristic of the owner’s importance by the architectural standards of the time, is located in a short distance behind the hub of Dapia harbour.

You can see the national heroine’s personal belongings here, among them her heavy pistol and gold-embroidered head scarf, various collections of fire guns, archives, portraits and other historical objects, as well as marvel at the grand drawing room with the exquisite, wood-carved Florentine ceiling, where her war councils used to be held.

The 40-minute tour includes a narrative of Bouboulina’s life story, from her birth inside a Turkish prison in Constantinople, through her heroic actions during the War of Independence and her invaluable contribution to her country, to her inglorious and tragic assassination.
 

The Spetses Museum

It is housed in the 200 year-old residence of Hatzigiannis-Mexis, one of the island’s leading lords and architects of the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire.

A multitude of valuable exhibits from this historic era, such as the flag of the Revolution, Bouboulina’sbones, collections of fire guns and traditional costumes, portraits, heirlooms and archives are displayed in the mansion’s first floor.  Furthermore the museum accommodates numerous other artifacts and objects dating from the Classic and Proto-Hellenic period to the Post-Byzantine years, covering almost four millennia of the island’s cultural history.
 

Other

On the way to the old harbour it’s worth visiting the historic monastery of Aghios Nikolaos, with its exquisite bell tower and the pebble-paved courtyard.  Here is where the people of Spetses raised the flag of the Revolution against the Turks in 1821.

A permanent exhibition called The House of Spetses is housed within the monastery’s premises and takes us back in older times with the reproduction of a typical old island house.  You can see folkloric collections of traditional furniture and artifacts, local costumes, woven craft and many more. 

Finally, the traditional boat-yards are an important site on the harbour, the place where local boat-builders have been constructing the renowned wooden vessels of Spetses for centuries.

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Beaches

The island of Spetses boasts numerous wonderful beaches, most of which are lined with pine forests and have crystal clear waters.  Almost all of them are accessible by the 22 km circular coast road, or from the sea by a small boat or water taxi.
 

Aghia Paraskevi

On the island’s southwest side, this is one of the most beautiful beaches against the backdrop of a green pine forest.  Organized, with water-sports facilities, it is also connected with the Dapia harbour by boat.
 

 Zogeria

On the northwest side, consisting of a larger and a smaller bay embraced by pines, with clear turquoise waters and golden sand.  There are sun beds and umbrellas on one side.  You can also get there by a small boat leaving from Dapia.
 

Ligoneri

One of the island’s most peaceful beaches, located at the margin of the town of Spetses, west of the Dapia harbour.  Organized, although small in size, it is fringed by pine trees and has coloured pebbles and clear azure waters. 
 

Aghioi Anargyroi

A long beach on the southwest side, organized and very popular, with water-sports, a bar and a restaurant.  This beach is also connected with the Dapia harbour by boat.  While here, it’s worth seeing the beautiful and romantic Bekiri’s Cave, or Cave of Lovers, a short distance off the right end.


Kounoupitsa

The beach at Kounoupitsa, to the left of the harbour, running along the coastal road, is essentially a succession of smaller beaches with either pebble or sand, where one can swim in the town’s proximity, or enjoy a meal or drink in one of the picturesque taverns and bars by the sea.
 

 Anargyrios Scholi (Anargyrios School)

This enormous beach starts from the northwest end of the town and spreads in front of the renowned naval schools, Anargyrios and Korgialenios.
Beautiful, with sand or fine pebbles, it offers a wonderful view to the coast of Peloponnese across.  Aside sun beds and parasols, you’ll find a lovely beach-bar serving food and drink all day long.   As the beach is close to the town, you can also get there on foot, by bicycle or even by a traditional horse-drawn carriage.
 

 Aghios Mamas

To the right of the central harbour of Dapia and on the way to the Old Harbour, this long and picturesque sandy beach also features several lovely sea taverns.  Along with the smaller beach of Aghios Nikolaos next to it, it gets quite crowded during the summer months by locals and those who prefer to swim without leaving the town.
 

 Aghia Marina

Very popular, organized and among the island’s most beautiful beaches, it offers various water activities, a bar and restaurant, as well as an impressive view to the private-owned islet Spetsopoula.
 

 Kouzounos

With crystal waters and fine, coloured pebbles, it is one of the quietest and most natural beaches of Spetses, on the southeast side, across the islet Spetsopoula.
 

 Xylokeriza

Located on the south side, this one is remote and peaceful, although organized.  With blue-green clear waters against a beautiful natural setting, the beach also has a small bar for drinks and snacks.
 

 Vrellos

Beautiful and fringed by pine trees on the island’s northern side, it is organized despite its small size.  It has a beach-volley facility and a cool beach-bar attracting the youth.
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Tips

By car or taxi

You can hire a taxi or rent a car with destination Kosta, which is the part of Peloponnese closest to Spetses.  When leaving the airport take the Attiki Odos with direction to Elefsina.  Once Attiki Odos ends, continue straight to Korinthos.  Alternatively, if you are setting off from Athens and choose to take the National Road (Ethniki Odos), take it southwards to Korinthos.  

Immediately after you pass the Isthmus (channel) of Korinthos, you’ll see a sign EPIDAURUS EXIT B’.  Take that exit and follow the signs to Spetses, you will thus reach Kosta.  From there, to get to the island, you either choose the 15 minute trip by a ferryboat or a small boat (there are departures several times a day) or the 5 minute one by a water taxi (available round the clock).  Private vehicles are not allowed in Spetses, but there is a designated controlled parking space at Kosta.

 

By bus

Kosta is connected with Athens by bus (KTEL).
www.ktelbus.com
 
Telephone Numbers:

KTEL Kifissos: 210.51.34.588
KTEL Nafplion: 27520.27.323
KTEL Kranidi: 27540.21.218
 

By flying dolphin or catamaran

They depart from the Port of Piraeus and the trip lasts 2,5 hours. During the summer months there are departures till the evening, till the afternoon in winter.
 

Boat departures
Tel: 210.41.17.341
 

Port Authorities
Piraeus,  tel: 210.42.26.000-4
Spetses, tel: 22980.72.245
 

HELLAS FLYING DOLPHINS:
Bookings: 210.41.99.000 
Spetses Agency 22980.73.141-2
 

SARONIC DOLPHINS:
Bookings: 210 4224777 
Spetses Agency 22980.72.107

 

Excursions aroung Spetses

You can visit the island’s beautiful beaches by a small boat or fishing boat. There are daily departures from Dapia.
Moreover you can choose from many excursions making the round of the island by sea with stopovers at several beaches.


Excursions near Spetses

From Spetses you can also make trips and excursions to various close destinations, like the ancient theater of Epidaurus, the picturesque town of Nafplion or the beautiful and historic island of Hydra.
 

Activities

In addition to the numerous activities in which you can indulge in or by the sea (from fishing to any kind of water sport), you can explore the island’s beautiful nature by walking, hiking or trekking, even horse-riding.  Moreover there are two beach-volley facilities (at the Vrellos and Kaiki beaches).
Mare Monte Boutique Hotel & Suites
Agios Mamas, Spetses, 180 50, Greece
tel: +30.22980-77122
fax: +30.22980-77123
e-mail: info@maremonteboutiquehotel.com

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