If you like romantic and peaceful holidays this picturesque historic island with the pine trees will excite you! According to some sources the name Spetses derives from the Italian phrase “Isola di Spezzie” and was given to this island during the Venetian occupancy. This island is known for its battles during the Greek War of Independence in 1821. It was the first island which raises the flag of the revolution in 3rd April 1821. Even today you might see some boats with the blue and the red flags of the revolution. The blue color symbolizes the freedom and the red symbolizes the blood in coherence with the phrase “Freedom or death” which was the motto of the Greek War of Independence and important part of the Greek culture and history.
Walk around the captain mansions of the past century and feel the cool breeze of this island, which has the perfect climate for the travelers. According to traditions, whenever a storm hit this area the women of the island poured some oil from the monasteries into the sea in order to calm the sea and protect their loved ones.
In Spetses cars are not allowed and that makes this island ideal for walking and biking. Except bikes there are also buses, taxis, traditional carriages and even water taxis that will help you to visit every possible place of this island you might want to explore.
In the island you could choose among luxury hotels, traditional pensions and rooms to let. In addition in the island there is a variety of restaurants and cafes. The most famous products are the local olive oil, grapes, figs and almonds. Don’t leave the island without tasting the local almond sweets called “amigdalota” and the fish with tomato sauce which is a local specialty. Except agriculture you might encounter locals occupied with fishing and shipping which are the main activities here besides tourism. The cosmopolitan atmosphere and the nightlife are also a good reason to visit this place with the popular café bars and nightclubs.
The island is situated in the Argosaronic Gulf just across the Costa port (near Porto Heli). From Costa port there are ferries that transfer you in 15 minutes to Spetses on a daily basis. Also from the port of Piraeus there are ferries that transfer you to the island in two hours.
The traditional settlement of Spetses with the signal architecture is of course a sightseeing itself. The Ntapia, is the modern port of the island. Around the port is developed the trading center of the island.
Northwest of the Ntapia port, you will find the Mpoumpoulina square, which took its name from Laskarina Mpoumpoulina, the famous Greek heroine of the Greek War of Independence. You will find an imposing statue of the heroine in the centre of the square. In the island there is also the mansion of Mpoumpoulina, which is transformed into a museum where you could learn everything about the life and the battles of this great warrior. The two main features of this mansion are the woodcut ceiling which amazes every visitor and the Mongolian sword which was a gift from the tsar of Russia, Alexander the First. In the square take place all the important festive occasions of the island, including the representation of the Spetses battleship in 1822. This feast is called “Armata” and takes place during the second weekend of September. If you are on the island during this time you will attend the spectacular events of the representation with the fireworks.
Close to Ntapia harbor, about 500 meters, there is Kasteli. Kasteli was the first medieval settlement which had a citadel on the hill where today stands the church of St. Vasileios. From this place you could take the chance and hike across the pine forest, enjoy the natural beauty and admire the view of the Argosaronic gulf.
Another square that you will encounter wandering on the island is the one with the clock. From here you can follow the signs that lead you to the Museum of Spetses, which is housed in the mansion of Chatzigiannis Mexis, a benefactor of the island. Here you will see the findings from the ancient shipwreck of island Dokos, relics from the Greek War of Independence, busts etc.
One of the most important monuments in the area is the lighthouse of the old harbor. This lighthouse of 11 meters height starte to operate in 1837 and is considered one of the oldest in Greece. In the beginning the lighthouse was guarded by lighthouse keepers and used petroleum. In 1986 the lighthouse became automatic and was operated by electric power. Walk towards the hill with the pine trees in order to reach the lighthouse. Near the lighthouse there is the chapel Panagia of Armatas which was built in 1822 after a victory of the residents of Spetses, Hydra and Psara against the Turks.
The church of Agia Triada was built in the highest point of the city. The church was built in 1793 and offers a beautiful view. Inside the church you will see the wood carved iconostasis. The cave of Bekiri is the famous hideout in the back side of the island, which women and children used as shelter during the Ottoman occupancy.
In the old harbor you will see the shipyards which continue to operate and carry on the great tradition of the island in shipbuilding.
Except the history and the signal architecture, one of the main great reasons to visit this island is of course the wonderful beaches. In the island you could also find boats which transfer visitors to more secluded bays.
At the northeast side of the island there is the Agia Marina beach. It is a popular organized sandy beach with beach bars, taverns and water sports.
One of the most popular is the large beach of schools. It is an organized beach covered by sand and pebbles. In this beach you will find a beach bar, a restaurant and beach volley net. Also water sports are available here. In order to reach this beach you could take the bus, a taxi, a water taxi or even the traditional carriages of the island.
Passing the port, on the right side you will come across Agios Mamas beach. Even though the beach is quite close to the port, the crystal clear water of this beach attracts plenty of travelers. This place offers a lot of options to drink a coffee or eat your meal. Towards the edge of this beach you will find the homonym chapel Agios Mamas.
Near this area, there is Agios Nikolaos beach. This is a small sandy beach ideal for those who seek some peace. Around the settlement you will see some of the known mansions of the 18th century.
On the left side of the port there is Kounoupitsa settlement. In this settlement which was created right after the Greek War of Independence, you will find a seaside street and the homonym beach of Kounoupitsa. Here there area many traditional cafes and restaurants which you could visit after swimming in this sandy pebble beach.
Kouzounos beach is a peaceful pebble beach which can be visited by the frequent transportation.
Towards the south part of the island you could visit Xilokeriza beach, an organized beach with pebbles and sand. The natural beauty of this bay will excite you!
About 10km southwest of the main town of the island there is the beach Agion Anargiron, an organized beach which attracts many water sports enthusiasts. Beside the water activities you can also enjoy your coffee or your meal here and maybe visit the cave of Bekiri.
Around 12km away from the town of Spetses there is Agia Paraskevi beach, the sandy pebble beach. Here you will enjoy the crystal clear water and the water sports while admiring the natural beauty of this beach.
Last but not least, you could visit Zogaria beach, a sandy beach with turquoise water surrounded by pine trees and one of the best in this island.
Here the visitor can enjoy hours of swimming in the beautiful beaches with the crystal clear water. Fishing and water sports are also great activities for the people who come here. Some of the water sports someone could practice in this island are water ski, wind surfing, canoeing, Jet Ski, wakeboard and more!
While you are in this island you will definitely spend some time walking or biking around the traditional settlements and the seaside streets of Spetses. Another great option is hiking upward the hill of Profitis Ilias.
From this island you could arrange cruises around Spetses and Spetsopoula, a small island across Spetses. Also day trips to Porto Heli, Ermioni, Poros and Hydra can be arranged from this island.
Traditional carriages exist in the island and transfer you around Spetses offering the opportunity to admire the beautiful settlement in a more traditional way!