With its splendid history and architecture, Spetses is a stunning island nestled in the Argo-Saronic Gulf, just a couple of hours away from Athens by ferry.
It offers a delightful blend of tradition and luxury, attracting visitors from around the globe for short getaways and holidays alike.
Whether you’re a history aficionado or a beach lover, this charming island has an array of activities and sights to see, making Spetses a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Greece.
From strolling along the picturesque Dapia Port to discovering Spetses’ rich past in its museums, there’s no shortage of things to do and places to explore.
You can take a bike ride around the island, indulge in gourmet Greek cuisine, and unwind on some of the island’s most beautiful beaches like Agioi Anargyroi Beach and Bekiris Cave.
With its captivating blend of sophistication and local tradition, Spetses promises an unforgettable experience for every visitor.
To help you make the most of your visit, this guide will walk you through Spetses’ key attractions and provide insider tips for navigating the island.
From the best time of year to visit to unmissable events, you’ll find everything you need to know about planning your ideal Spetses adventure.
So, pack your bags and get ready for an enchanting trip to this sparkling gem of the Saronic Gulf.
Getting to Spetses
Travelling to Spetses via ferry is a popular and economical option. Ferries operate from Piraeus port in Athens and make stops at other neighbouring islands on their way to Spetses. The journey typically takes approximately 4-5 hours. You can book tickets online in advance to secure a desired seat.
For a faster and more comfortable journey, you may choose to travel to Spetses by hydrofoil. Departing from Piraeus port in Athens, hydrofoils take about 2-2.5 hours to reach Spetses. Keep in mind that hydrofoil tickets can be more expensive than ferry tickets, but the added convenience and shorter travel time may be worth it. Like with ferries, ensure to book hydrofoil tickets in advance to secure your spot.
If you’re seeking a luxurious and rapid way to reach Spetses, consider chartering a helicopter. Although this is the most expensive option, it offers an unparalleled experience and gets you to the island in about 30 minutes. Helicopter charters usually operate from Athens International Airport, and you’ll need to book well in advance due to limited availability.
Places to Stay
Spetses offers a variety of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. In this guide, we will explore luxury hotels, affordable accommodation, and self-catering options for visitors to the island.
- Klimis Hotel: Located just 20 metres from Agios Mamas beach, Klimis Hotel offers tastefully decorated rooms with free Wi-Fi. This hotel is a great option for those looking for a luxurious stay close to the beach and Spetses’ New Port.
- Another option for upscale accommodation is Poseidonion Grand Hotel. This historic hotel has elegantly designed rooms, a spa, and fine dining options, making it a perfect choice for a memorable stay in Spetses.
For travellers on a budget, there are several more affordable places to stay in Spetses:
- Twin House Hotel: A family-run hotel located in a quiet area, offering clean and comfortable rooms within walking distance of the town centre and port.
- Villa Christina: This charming guesthouse offers cosy rooms with a friendly atmosphere, close to the main attractions in Spetses.
Visitors seeking self-catering options can find a range of apartments and villas available for rent in Spetses:
- Nissia Traditional Residences: Set in a beautiful garden, these traditional-style residences offer fully-equipped kitchens, private balconies, and a shared swimming pool.
- Orloff Resort: This resort offers a collection of stylish apartments and suites with kitchenettes, perfect for visitors who prefer the flexibility and convenience of self-catering accommodation.
Remember to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak seasons, to secure your preferred choice and avoid disappointment.
Spetses is an island rich in history, and during your visit, you’ll find several historical spots worth exploring. One notable site is the Baltiza Lighthouse, which is located on the right side of the old harbour. This lighthouse is one of the oldest in Greece and offers fantastic views of the surrounding area. Additionally, you can visit the various historical mansions on the island, epitomising the traditional architecture of this captivating destination.
When it comes to relaxing on beautiful beaches, Spetses offers a variety of choices for visitors. Some popular options include:
- Agia Marina Beach: A sandy beach located near the town, offering sunbeds, umbrellas, and nearby facilities.
- Agii Anargiri Beach: A larger beach with crystal-clear waters, perfect for swimming and watersports.
- Zogeria Beach: A secluded bay surrounded by pine trees, offering a peaceful retreat for guests who enjoy privacy.
These beaches are perfect for relaxing under the sun, swimming in the turquoise waters, or trying out water-based activities such as snorkelling and sailing.
Spetses also offers opportunities for cultural enrichment through its museums. The Spetses Museum is a must-visit destination, housed in a 200-year-old mansion. With displays showcasing the maritime and cultural history of Spetses, you’ll gain valuable insight into the island’s past and present. Another notable site is the Bouboulina Museum, which pays homage to the legendary Greek heroine Lascarina Bouboulina. Learn about her contributions to Greek independence as you explore her former residence, now transformed into a fascinating exhibition space.
Spetses, a beautiful island in the Argo-Saronic Gulf, offers a variety of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. From water sports to cycling and hiking, there’s something for everyone to experience in this stunning destination.
Spetses boasts numerous opportunities for water sports enthusiasts. With its crystal-clear waters and stunning shoreline, some popular activities include:
- Boat Tours: Explore the island from the sea and discover hidden coves and beaches.
- Gear Rentals: Rent equipment such as snorkels, diving gear, or paddleboards to enhance your aquatic adventures.
- Beach & Pool Clubs: Join beach clubs for an array of water-based activities in a relaxed atmosphere.
Cycling is an excellent way to see the picturesque landscapes and beautiful scenery of Spetses. The island’s terrain is suitable for all levels of cyclist, and bike rentals are available at various locations. While cycling, make sure to visit famous spots like Dapia and the Old Harbour to fully experience the island’s charm.
Spetses offers a range of hiking trails for nature lovers to explore. The island’s diverse landscapes range from coastal paths to wooded hills – perfect for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging trek. Some popular hiking routes include:
- Coastal trails to secluded beaches and coves
- Wooded paths leading to historic sites and monuments
- Scenic routes offering breathtaking panoramic views of Spetses and the surrounding islands
Remember to pack suitable footwear and stay hydrated while out on hiking trips. With all these exciting outdoor activities, you’re sure to create wonderful memories while exploring the stunning island of Spetses.
Spetses offers visitors an authentic and unique culinary experience, with its local cuisine reflecting the island’s rich history and traditions. Greek cuisine is famed for its delicious flavours and fresh ingredients, and Spetses is no exception. Here, you can indulge in local specialities such as:
- Fish dishes: As a beautiful island surrounded by clear, blue waters, it’s no surprise that seafood dishes are a must-try when visiting Spetses. Grilled squid, shrimp saganaki, and fresh fish dishes are just a few examples of what you can expect.
- Pitarakia: A traditional Spetsiot pastry made from thin dough filled with a mixture of cheese, herbs, and sometimes minced meat. These tasty bites can be found in bakeries and taverns across the island.
- Amygdalota: Almond-based sweets are popular in many parts of Greece, but Spetses’ version is particularly delightful. Made from crushed almonds, sugar and rosewater, these sweets are a must-try for dessert lovers.
No matter your budget or culinary preferences, Spetses offers a variety of dining options to suit every taste. From casual taverns and seaside cafés to fine-dining establishments and gastronomic restaurants, the island’s dining scene is sure to impress. Here are a few noteworthy options to consider during your visit:
- On the Verandah: This gastronomic delight overlooks the Spetses Riviera and offers an extensive menu and stunning views. Boasting rave reviews on TripAdvisor, this spot is perfect for a romantic dinner or a special celebration.
- Local Taverns: For a truly authentic dining experience, head to one of the many local taverns scattered throughout the island. Here, you can sample traditional Greek dishes, including meze, souvlaki, moussaka and much more – all at very reasonable prices.
- Beachfront Cafés: After spending a day at one of Spetses’ stunning beaches, like Vrellos or Agia Paraskevi, you can enjoy a meal or snack at a nearby café while taking in the island’s picturesque beauty.
Remember to always use British English spelling and grammar when describing the wonderful culinary delights that Spetses has to offer.
Local Festivals and Events
Spetses, a charming Greek island, offers visitors a variety of events and cultural experiences throughout its calendar. In this section, we will explore some of the annual events and cultural celebrations that take place in Spetses.
One of the main annual events on the island of Spetses is the Armata Festival. This event commemorates a naval battle between Greek and Ottoman ships during the Greek War of Independence. The festivities last for a week, culminating in the reenactment of the “burning of the Ottoman flagship,” which takes place on the first weekend of September. Visitors can enjoy various activities, including music concerts, theatrical performances, and fireworks, making it a must-attend event for travellers.
In addition to the Armata Festival, Spetses is also home to various cultural celebrations. The island’s rich history, combined with the vibrant local community, provides a unique opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in traditional Greek culture.
One example of these cultural celebrations is the island’s religious festivals. Many churches and chapels scattered throughout Spetses host special events to honour their respective patron saints. Attending these events will allow visitors to witness religious processions, engaging local customs, and enjoy traditional Greek foods.
Furthermore, there are several art and cultural exhibitions held at the Spetses Museum, offering visitors a chance to explore the island’s history further, as well as appreciate contemporary Greek art.
In summary, Spetses offers a wide range of exciting and unique events for visitors to experience, providing a fascinating insight into the island’s history and culture. By participating in these annual events and cultural celebrations, travellers can truly appreciate the beauty and charm of this enchanting Greek island.
Travel Tips and Recommendations
The currency used in Spetses, Greece, is the Euro (€). It is recommended to have some cash on hand for small purchases, as not all establishments may accept credit cards. There are ATMs available on the island, but it’s a good idea to exchange money before you arrive as exchange rates can be better at home.
Spetses is a small island with limited transportation options. Cars are not allowed for the most part, which makes walking, biking, and water transportation the primary means to get around. Here are your options:
- Walking: You can easily explore Spetses Town on foot, with many attractions within walking distance.
- Bicycles: Biking is a popular way to get around Spetses. There are several bike rental shops available where you can rent bicycles at a reasonable price.
- Water Taxi: For reaching more remote beaches or visiting nearby islands, water taxis are available at the main port of Dapia.
- Horse-drawn carriages: A more traditional and romantic way to explore Spetses is by taking a horse-drawn carriage ride, which can be found near the main port.
Spetses is considered a safe destination for tourists. However, it is always advisable to follow common sense safety precautions while travelling:
- Keep your personal belongings secure at all times.
- Don’t leave valuables unattended on the beach or in public places.
- Be cautious when swimming, especially at more remote beaches. Check local conditions and follow any safety guidelines provided.
- Be aware of your surroundings and avoid poorly lit or deserted areas at night.
In the event of an emergency, dial 112 for immediate assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to reach Spetses?
To reach Spetses from Athens, you can catch a ferry from the Piraeus port. The transfer is usually made by a high-speed catamaran or hydrofoil, taking approximately two hours to arrive on the island. Several companies offer transfers between Athens and Spetses.
Top attractions in Spetses?
Some of the top attractions in Spetses are:
- Bouboulina’s Museum: A specialty museum dedicated to the heroic life of Spetses’ significant figure.
- Bekiri Cave: A beautiful natural cavern along the coastline, perfect for adventurous visitors.
- Ayia Paraskevi Beach: A pristine and well-maintained beach for swimming and sunbathing.
- Bouboulina’s Statue: A monument commemorating the famous heroine of the island.
- Spetses Museum: A history museum featuring interesting exhibits about the island’s past.
Best time to visit Spetses?
The best time to visit Spetses is during the late spring and early summer months (May to June) or in September. During these times, the weather is comfortably warm, and the island is less crowded than in the peak season of July and August.
There are various accommodation options available on Spetses, ranging from hotels and guesthouses to self-catering apartments and villas. Some popular platforms, such as Booking.com and Airbnb, can help you find the perfect place to stay according to your preferences and budget.
Car required on Spetses?
Spetses is a small island, and cars are not allowed within the main town. Most of the attractions can be reached by walking or renting a bicycle. Taxis and water taxis are also available for longer distances or to visit remote beaches.
Is Spetses a party destination?
Spetses is not primarily known as a party destination. The island offers a more relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, ideal for families and travellers seeking tranquillity. However, there are still a few bars and clubs for those who enjoy nightlife.
Eleni Vasiliadis, a native of the picturesque island of Corfu and co-founder of Greek Island, is a seasoned traveller, accomplished writer, and passionate advocate for Greek culture and cuisine.