A lovely island of the Saronic Gulf, Spetses island is a popular weekend destination due to its closeness to Athens. In the Medieval times, the island flourished with trade and the locals constructed elegant mansions that survive till today. When the Greek Revolution of 1821 broke out, the local commercial ships were turned into military ships and contributed to setting the country free. The Town is large and ideal for long promenades. Many beautiful beaches are found around the island, accessible by boat or bus. A large festival takes place in Spetses Greece on the second weekend of September, the Armata Festival, that peaks with the burning of a boat in commemoration of a naval flight between Greeks and Ottomans.
Live a lavish lifestyle on the Argosaronic island of captains, kings and VIPs. The Armata, the Greek heroine Laskarina Bouboulina, the Old Port, the aristocratic ambience. This cosmopolitan island near Athens will make you want to return again and again. An ideal destination for a quick retreat year round, Spetses has the ability to make you feel unique, special, exclusive. Enjoy a leisurely coffee in Dapia, taking in the view of Kosta and Porto Heli across the way.
Visit the Clock Tower Square, the well-kept captains’ mansions below Agios Nikolaos monastery, the boatyards, Bouboulina’s museum and the Mansion of Hatzigianni-Mexi. Experience the ambience of the legendary Poseidon building, which has hosted royalty, politicians and VIPs. Horse-drawn carriages, bicycles and walking will be your only modes of transportation. This island has forever been a favourite destination for high society, as reflected in the smart cafes, art stores and stylish boutiques that populate the Old Port. Luxury and local tradition coexist on this beautiful island.
What to do in Spetses
Since the use of cars is restricted on the island, horse and carriage remains the preferred mode of transport. Live like the luminaries and nobility that arrived in such coaches at the world-renowned Poseidon. Take a romantic evening ride in any of the 33 horse and buggies that still exist on the island, passing the picturesque Old Port, Agios Nikolaos and Dapia.
Admire the local architecture: neoclassical captain’s homes and cannons from the revolution of 1821. This island is steeped in 5,000 years of rich history, and locals are eager to tell the tales of their nautical victories and local heroes. Archaeological finds on the island date back to 3,000 B.C. Don’t miss the Bouboulina Museum, where a plethora of her personal items is on display. The Mansion of Hatzigianni Mexi (the first governor of Spetses) is another must-see, as it’s one of the most spectacular stately homes.
A swanky scene
There is no end to the festivities in the cosmopolitan neighbourhood of the Old Port, where the rich rub shoulders with the locals. Here wealthy Athenians moor their yachts, and socialise with their international neighbours. Candlelit tables, jetties and romantic terraces, gourmet dining and fine wine, soft music and lively conversation. As the evening progresses, there are plenty of bars and clubs to choose from, promising stylish holidays on this lively island in the Argosaronic.
The magic of Spetses
Wander around the neighbourhood of Kounoupitsas and don’t miss the legendary Anargirio and Korgialenio School. Take a stroll in its manicured gardens and admire the beautiful neoclassical buildings on this side of the island. Did you know that, among the English teachers that taught here, was the award-winning writer John Fowles, creator of The Magus, based partly on his experiences on the island?
See you at The Armata!
Thousands of visitors descend upon the island to experience the annual Armata – a week-long celebration (starting September 8), in honour of the naval victories of Spetses, Hydra and Psara against the Turks in 1822. In addition to the impressive fireworks and religious rituals, it is a week filled to the brim with cultural happenings, feasting and festivities.
Hidden gems of Spetses
The old boatyards
Did you know that Spetses was the second biggest shipping centre in Greece? In the heart of the Old Port, the sight of old boatyards is sure to impress you. You can still watch the builders work a craft in time-honoured fashion. At the end of your stroll at the old boatyards, under the lighthouse, you’ll find the sculptures of Natalia Mela, gazing out at the Argosaronic.
The name Sotirios Anargyros means a lot to the locals of Spetses, since he is the one that financed, among other things, the building of the historical Poseidon. His house is located behind Dapia. Built in 1904, it is one of the most beautiful neoclassical homes in Greece.
Agia Marina, Kouzounos, Ksilokeriza, Vrelos, Scholes, Zogeria … crystal-clear waters, secluded beaches with pebbles and sand, shaded by pines are all just walking distance away. And at the beach of Agio Arnargyros, you’ll discover Bekiris Cave, one of the island’s most beautiful natural attractions.