Spetses is one of the most beautiful islands of the Saronic Gulf and an ideal choice for those who do not want to make a long trip in order to enjoy the beauties of the Greek islands. The cosmopolitan and at the same time minimalist island is traditional and picturesque, without failing to entertain its visitors with its modern elements.
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Walks on historic cobblestones, age-old lighthouses, and old carnations. Walks through flowery yards and fragrant pine forest. Diving in clear blue waters, exploring caves and hills, fireworks in Dapia, and ouzo snacks in the old port. Spetses is full of beautiful and refreshing experiences for travelers who want to put a romantic, picturesque twist to their summer.
Reasons to visit Spetses
Spetses island - credits: greekboston.com
1. It is considered the most cosmopolitan island of the Saronic Gulf and many personalities of the international jet set choose the island to relax.
2. The carriages that exist on the island are ideal for you who want to go with your partner for a romantic ride and see a different side of the island.
3. You will see neoclassical houses, old anchors, and the famous captain's houses since the island has a long naval history and the locals are always willing to tell you.
4. It is a significant part of modern Greek history; something, you will soon realize with a visit to its museums. The museum of Bouboulina is worth a visit. There you will see an exhibition with her personal belongings while in the museum-house of Hatzigiannis-Mexis are kept the relics of the heroic captainess.
5. In Spetses, you can indulge in shopping sprees that will include much more than your typical -and sometimes kitsch- souvenirs. There are shops that host big brands but also Greek designers that are worth a look at.
6. It has both organized and unorganized beaches you can relax and swim in. The most famous beach on the island is Kaiki, however, there are many more that are worth your time. Xylokeriza, Zogeria, Agia Marina and Vrellos, are some of them, but below you’ll find a more in-depth overview of Spetses’ beaches. Let the sun warm your skin as you sip on a refreshing cocktail and let Greece show you what living should be like.
7. Spetses has a surprisingly vibrant and diverse nightlife that caters to all tastes. You can go to a shop for ouzo and meze or relax in the afternoon and go out in the evening for fun until the early morning hours.
8. It is one of the best and most convenient choices for a day trip from Athens.
How to get there
Spetses transport - credits: passionforhospitality.com
There are many ways to get to Spetses depending on your mood, budget, and general needs. Every day from the port of Piraeus there are itineraries to Spetses with Flying Dolphins and Catamaran, which carry only passengers and no vehicles. The frequency of the itineraries changes depending on the time period, as well as in cases of increased traffic. The duration of the trip is about two hours, depending on the stops in other ports.
Additionally, you can reach Spetses from Portocheli. Every day from the port of Portocheli there are itineraries to Spetses, which again carry only passengers. In a similar fashion to Piraeus, the frequency of the routes varies depending on the time period. The journey takes about 15 minutes.
What’s more, you can take the KTEL bus. Daily from KTEL Kifissos, there are routes to Kranidi from KTEL Argolidos, with a response from Kranidi to Costa -the coast opposite Spetses- with another bus that is coordinated with the departure of the ferry boat.
If you have your own car, the journey from Athens to Costa is about three hours. In Costa, there is plenty of parking space to leave your car. Please keep in mind that the traffic of cars in Spetses is prohibited. Costa is the coast opposite the port of Spetses, Dapia, and is only 1.5 miles away. From Costa, you can go to Spetses by Ferry Boat or by sea taxi. Sea taxis operate 24 hours a day and can take you anywhere on the island. You can find them at the port of Dapia, which is their permanent anchorage, or you can call ahead and book them.
If you have a boat you can come to Spetses by sea, the distance from Piraeus is 50 nautical miles. In Spetses there are piers that you can moor, while you can also anchor offshore since the island is characterized by its many wonderful and sheltered anchorages along the coastline. Finally, in Spetses there is a helipad opposite the settlement of Spetsopoulo.
The history of the island
Spetses - credits: Konstantin Sokolov1973/Shuttestock.com
Spetses is perhaps the island with the greatest national recognition for its decisive contribution during the great Greek Revolution since the island was one of the main contributors to the final victory with Laskarina Bouboulina, who is the national heroine of the island along with other heroic fighters.
When the Revolution of 1821 began, Spetses was the first of the three major naval islands -Hydra, Spetses, Psara-, to raise the banner of the Revolution. They formed a local administration and decided to announce the events in Hydra, Psara, and all the places with which Spetses was in contact.
In the following years, the people of Spetses continued the fight for the liberation of Greece until the arrival of Greek statesman, Ioannis Kapodistrias. They excel mainly in the naval battles of Samos, Kos, Gerontas as well as in the struggle of the sea support of the closely besieged Messolonghi.
After the Greek Revolution of 1821 and especially until 1854 the island was in economic and cultural prosperity. However, with the advent of the 20th century, Spetses began to decline and many locals were forced to abandon the island and emigrate.
After the end of World War II, Spetses began to slowly regroup and grow rapidly, due to the tourist wave that began to flood Greece from the mid-1950s onwards, but managed to maintain their traditional character.
Spetses is today one of the top islands in the preference of Greeks and foreign visitors from around the world and so every year it receives thousands of visits, due to its geographical location, history, beautiful beaches, deep blue sea, old mansions, and cosmopolitan character.
The best beaches in Spetses
Xylokeriza beach - credits: greeka.com
Xylokeriza is a remote but organized beach with sand and pebbles, on the south side of the island. It is very quiet, with crystal clear, turquoise waters, located in a very beautiful natural bay. It is an ideal choice for those who want to swim enveloped in luscious green nature and relax on the beautiful sandy beach. Xylokeriza beach can be reached by road -more specifically, by taxi or motorcycle-, through a road that starts from Agios Mamas Square, from May until the end of September. The best way, however, to reach the beach is by boat. The boats available organize day trips, which will give you the opportunity to enjoy the route as much as you will enjoy the destination.
Zogeria - credits: the12events.com
Many people consider Zogeria 'the best beach on the island', and not unjustly. As soon as you arrive at the beach, you will come upon an excellent natural landscape with lush pines and olive trees. Clear green waters and a calm environment combined with the comfort of plush sunbeds, compose the scene in Zogeria and promise an ideal swimming experience. Access to the beach is easier by boat, so highly suggest you prefer it in order to have an overall pleasant experience.
Agioi Anargyroi beach - credits: i-lovegreece.com
The beach of Agioi Anargyroi is the largest one in Spetses. It boasts beautiful pebbles on a sandy bottom. The beach is fully organized with umbrellas and sunbeds, while it also offers a variety of water sports. Regardless, it maintains a calming atmosphere those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life will appreciate. The bus from Agios Mammas stops at the entrance of the beach next to the restaurant that lies there. Agioi Anargyroi beach is also a stop for tourist boats departing from the port of Dapia.
Agios Mammas - credits: athensattica.com
Agios Mammas is a large beach in the city of Spetses, right next to the port. While the idea of swimming next to the port might seem a bit odd, however, Agios Mamas is an easily accessible beach with a sandy beach and clear waters. It is preferred mainly by locals and families with small children. The beach is not organized but behind it, there are many cafes and restaurants. It got its name from the church of Agios Mamas that is located on the edge of the beach. On the beach, a special ramp has been built to facilitate the disabled as well as all people with mobility problems for easy and safe access to the sea.
Agios Nikolaos beach - credits: i-lovegreece.com
Agios Nikolaos is a small beach with sand and fine pebbles in the cove below the homonymous church. It is preferred by the locals because it is easily accessible on foot and is quieter than that of Agios Mamas nearby.
On the wall on the side of the road, you will see "hangers" for clothes and bags. They are especially useful in case a large boat passes and raises waves, making the beach disappear in an instant. The beach is not organized, which means that you will have to bring the essentials with you. Thankfully, at a short distance from Agios Nikolaos beach, either at the Old Port or at Dapia, you can find any supplies you might need in order to spend a glorious day at the beach.
Agia Marina beach - credits: alexandrishotel.com
Just 10 minutes from Dapia, after the old port, you will come upon the beach of Agia Marina. It is one of the most trendy beaches on the island, providing its visitors with water sports, as well as a variety of food and drink options. It is an organized and busy beach on the southeastern side of the island, in the middle of a green cove. On Agia Marina beach, you will find the vibrant Ivy Club beach bar, which serves delicious food and drinks, making your stay on the beach pleasant and comfortable.
Kounoupitsa beach - credits: i-lovegreece.com
Next to the city of Spetses, west of the port and along the length of the road, you can enjoy a refreshing dive, as well as food and drinks by the sea. The beach of Kounoupitsa is rather narrow, and has both pebbles and sand, in combination with shimmering blue waters. Apart from offering its visitors excellent swimming opportunities, Kounoupitsa is also great for leisurely walks in the afternoon in order to take in the authentic Greek island vibe of Spetses.
Kaiki beach - credits: the12events.com
Kaiki beach is one of the most well-organized and cosmopolitan beaches on the island. The beach is fully equipped with sunbeds and umbrellas, while the famous Kaiki beach bar, which has been a reference point of the island for almost three decades, serves as a restaurant, bar, and cafe. Beautiful pebbles and turquoise waters invite you for a swim. Kaiki is truly an amazing beach just 5 minutes away from Dapia, which combines a fully organized setting with a laid-back, unpretentious atmosphere that will make you fall in love. Please keep in mind that the seabed is rocky and access to the sea is easier from the left side of the beach.
Agia Paraskevi beach - credits: tripadvisor.com
Agia Paraskevi is another beach in Spetses that is considered to be one of the most beautiful on the island. The beach of Agia Paraskevi is overgrown with pines that reach the sea, while it has a pebbly coast and crystal clear waters. It is fully organized and has a beach bar. It is also easily accessible and will take about 20 minutes to reach.
Ligoneri beach - credits: greeka.com
The beach of Ligoneri is divided into two parts, and it is quite large. There, you will find pebbles along with a bit of sand. It is known for its rocky bottom and the pine trees that provide shade to those who want it. Above the beach, there is a bus stop. From there, you have to reach the beach on foot. Ligoneri beach is not organized, and therefore visitors should buy everything they might need before going to the beach.
Vrellos beach - credits: greece.com
Vrellos is an organized beach with incredible clear blue waters, white pebbles, and a beach bar. Vrellos beach has evolved into a fully organized beach only in recent years. 10-15 years ago it was a secluded and deserted beach of Spetses. Today, the Ligoneri bus makes its last stop there.
Getting around the island
Couple on a road trip - credits: GaudiLab/Shutterstock.com
In Spetses, the circulation of private cars is prohibited, but that is what makes the island so unique. The distances to the city of Spetses are very short and you can go to most destinations on foot. Your feet can take you on long walks in the alleys of the island, to high-end restaurants, taverns, or cafes, but also to magical beaches and the heart of the island's vibrant nightlife.
Wherever you are in the city of Spetses, you do not need more than 20 minutes to reach your desired destination. However, if you are not much of a walker, there are several alternative ways to get around the island. There are several rental shops on the island where one can rent a motorbike, ATV, or bicycle -please note that renting an ATV requires a car driver's license.
For the more traditional of visitors, and for those who want to enjoy the ride as much as the destination, there are many carriages that can take you around the island. After all, the horse carriages are the trademark of Spetses island. There are two starting points for carriages on the island. One on your way out of the main port and one on the other side of the port, in Poseidon Square. From the first starting point, the carriages start in the direction of the Old Port and Agia Marina and from the second in the direction of the Schools. The prices for the carriages are posted in lists at the starting points.
What's more, on the island, there are taxis starting from the main port, which will take you wherever you want. It might be the most costly means of transport but is also the easiest and most comfortable one. Alternatively, traveling by bus is a very good and economical option. In Spetses there are two buses, the first one starts from Poseidonia square and goes to the Schools ending at the beach of Vrellos and the second one starts from the beach of Agios Mama -300 meters left from the port- and goes to Agia Marina and -via a ring road- ends at the beach of Agia Paraskevi.
Things to do in Spetses
Anargyrios School of Spetses - credits: eleftherostypos.gr
- Do not miss the opportunity to visit the Old Port during sunset. You can get there either on foot or by carriage that you will take from Dapia or by boat. The wonderful colors of the sunset, the low lighting, and the soft music of the coffee bars and restaurants create a romantic atmosphere that cannot be experienced in any other part of the world.
- Pat a visit to the Museum of Spetses, which is housed in the mansion of Hatzigiannis Mexis, one of the first lords of the island. There you will see the flag of the revolution, the relics of Laskarina Bouboulina, weapons, and portraits. Your acquaintance with the legend of history who listens to the name Laskarina Bouboulina is one of your main priorities here. The Museum of the same name is housed in the mansion of the only woman in world naval history with the title of Admiral. It is located a little above Dapia and you will understand it from its bronze statue, which dominates its exterior.
The door opens only to scheduled tours - special timetables are available outside the Roussos cafe and cannons in Dapia - and tours of the venues are carried out by the descendant of the heroine of '21 Filippo Demertzi-Bouboulis. In this building, you will see up close personal items, such as her silk headscarf, embroidered in silver and gold, handwritten letters written by her, the copy of the flagship of "Agamemnon", famous for its speed, and furniture of exceptional style, among others.
- Experience the renowned nightlife of the island! Its heart is at the Old Port, where you will come across a number of bars and clubs. There you will find the nobility, the tradition, the cosmopolitan life and the fun for which the island is famous.
- Take in the heart-stopping view from the lighthouse. Not only will it steal your heart with its beauty, but it will serve as the ultimate backdrop to your Instagram feed. It is one of the oldest lighthouses that operated in Greece and you will find it still standing haughtily to the right of the old port. It was lit for the first time in 1837, illuminating the waters from the top of a small pine-covered hill, 27 meters above the sea.
- Rent a water taxi and take a walk to the neighboring Spetsopoulo, the private island of the famous Niarchos family.
- Admire the annual ‘Armata’ event. It is a big celebration of the island, which takes place every September. In the port, there is a representation of the historic Battle of Spetses of September 8, 1822, and the explosion of the Turkish flagship by the Spetses arsonist Kosmas Barbatsis.
- Take a stroll around Kastelli. If you follow Dapia in the opposite direction from the one that goes to the old port, in less than ten minutes you will be in the city of pre-revolutionary times. Kastelli was the first medieval settlement of the island, whose citadel is today marked by the church of Agios Vassilios. After the tavern of 'Lazaros', follow the road to the right to reach the picturesque church of Agia Triada.
- Get to know the island's hinterland. From the moment you leave Dapia, the scenery becomes awe-inspiring. The flowery pebble courtyards of the island houses gradually give way to the pines. It is no coincidence that in antiquity the island was called 'Pityusa', which means 'pine-covered'. In fact, the Venetians also called it 'Isola de Spezzie', meaning 'fragrant island'. Follow the paths to the forest with aromatic plants, wildflowers, and conifers, which intersect with the only paved road that surrounds the island. The wonderful, panoramic view you will enjoy from the small church of Prophet Elias will leave you breathless.
- Admire the Cave of Bekiris. On the shores of Agioi Anargyroi, hides the famous cave of Bekiris, an old refuge of militants, but also a place where the islanders hid women and children during the Turkish occupation. Follow the path from the right edge of the beach and you will reach the small inland beach of the cave. It is surrounded by stalagmites, where another legend - the one who renamed the place 'Cave of Lovers' - says that any couple that drinks water from its source, will experience eternal love.
- Run, Forest, run. After Armata, Spetses hosts other sporting events that attract people from all over the world. Specifically, every October the 'Spetses Mini Marathon' is organized for children and adults. What's more, in April, the 'Spetsathlon' takes place. It is the largest triathlon race in Greece, with swimming, cycling, and running races throughout the island.
What to eat and drink
The traditional dish of fish 'a la Spetsiota' - credits: dianekochilas.com
It wouldn’t be a destination in Greece if Spetses didn’t have its own cuisine with traditional delicacies that amaze its visitors. Spetses' macaroons, which smell of cinnamon and cloves, are the most famous local deli. The fish ‘a la Spetsiota’, with tomato sauce, originates from here too. What's more, Spetses is famous for its delicious food, pure ingredients, and fresh fish and seafood. If you are a seafood lover, you're in the right place. If not, don't worry! You are guaranteed to find local flavors that will leave you craving for more.
On the island, you will all kinds of eating establishments, from classy restaurants to traditional taverns and fast food shops. At 'Stin Veranda', in a great location in Dapia, you will enjoy high-quality Mediterranean cuisine that offers traditional dishes with a contemporary twist. Try the fish tart salad, the lamb with chickpeas, and the seafood pasta. At 'Clock' in Rologiou Square, you will enjoy juicy burgers, spaghetti, and pizza in a modern environment. You will also find excellent burgers in the neighboring 'Bluefield'.
Don't skip on visiting the fish tavern of 'Patrali' in Kounoupitsa. There, it is worth tasting the saganaki mussels, the shrimp spaghetti, the fried fish, and other cult-classic fish appetizers. Ask the friendly staff for guidance and you won't be disappointed!
Additionally, In 'Nero tis Agapis', with the wonderful view of Kounoupitsa and one of the most romantic sceneries on the island, you will taste high-quality gastronomy in a high-class restaurant made of dreams. There, you will enjoy mouthwatering carpaccio, 'kakavia' fish soup, and other fish recipes of Mediterranean cuisine, along with a variety of wines. What's more, in 'Liotrivi' in the Old Port, you will have the opportunity to try seafood snacks and 'meze' to accompany your ouzo.
Last but definitely not least, f you have an appetite for sweets, all roads lead to 'Politis'. This patisserie has been operating since 1927 and offers its guests perhaps the most delicious macaroons you can eat in the Saronic Gulf. Both the taste and the aroma will make your mouth water!
Our trips to Spetses
Spetses - credits: greeka.com
While Spetses is a relatively small Greek island, its wide variety of things to do and see can make any visitor feel dumbfounded. There is no way to explore the island of Spetses in a thorough and efficient way without asking the help of its locals.
If you want to get the most out of your trip to Spetses and combine it with a tour across the island of the Argo-Saronic Gulf, then our Argosaronic Escapade: 12-Day Trip to Athens, Peloponnese, Spetses & Aegina is right up your street!
During this escapade, you will have the opportunity to get introduced to some of the most beautiful places in Greece, including a couple of its islands and, of course, its historic capital, Athens! Through a number of fun experiences and tours, you will see a side of Greece that is only reserved for its locals!
Spetses island is near Athens, easily accessible, and doesn't require a car. What's more, it has beaches that compare to those of the Aegean sea, while its gastronomy and nightlife are excellent. As a result, the popularity of the island doesn't come as a surprise. What is surprising, however, is that even if the above did not apply, Spetses would still be one of our favorite destinations due to its staggering beauty and sophisticated atmosphere alone. What are you waiting for? Book your tickets to Spetses as soon as possible!