Spetses is a beautiful island relatively close to Athens with great history and architecture!
If you are visiting Athens, Spetses is a perfect choice to spend 1-2 days and know better this historic island!
We visited last year at the end of September, planning to stay initially for 2 days but we stayed for 5!
In this post, you will find out:
- Where is Spetses island?
- How to get to Spetses from Athens.
- When to visit Spetses.
- The best beaches
- Where to stay in Spetses.
- How to move around the island.
Update: Due to Coronavirus, this summer might also be “special”. We wrote an article (more information here!) to explain the current measures and situation, and we will update it as often as possible!
Where is Spetses?
Spetses is the southernmost island of the Saronic Gulf, with its long history and the privilege of national recognition for its invaluable and decisive contribution during the Great Greek Revolution.
How to get to Spetses from Athens?
The great advantage of visiting Spetses is that you can get there by ferry or by car/bus through the Peloponnese! What do we mean? So, there are 3 choices:
- By ferry from Piraeus port (~3 hours by a dolphin)
- By car from Athens to Porto Heli (2.30 hours) and then:
By boat, 15-minute trip (cost €2 per person). This is what we chose!
By water taxi, 5-minute trip (cost €20 per route, up to 8 persons per route)
By ferry boat, it costs €1.5 per person along with the bike
*Since private vehicles are not allowed on the island, cars may be safely parked at specific parking areas at Costa.
3. By car from Athens to Ermioni (2.30 hours) and then by boat (20′).
From Spetses you can visit as well some other islands like Hydra, Poros, Aigina, Agkistri. You can find the routes on the Ferryscanner platform, which is a Greek startup with a great interface and many routes!
When to visit Spetses?
The season lasts from April to October. We visited the island at the end of last September, and we totally enjoyed it!
The weather is quite warm, as you can see from the below table. Note that except July and August, that gets very busy as every Greek Island, also the weekends can be quite crowded during summertime as many Greeks have houses there and they visit this beautiful island quite often.
Tip: A special experience is the celebration of Armata that takes place every second week of September. It is to mark the battle in the area between Spetses Island and Costa during the Greek revolution of 1821. A few weeks before the festival starts, local boatbuilders set to work making a wooden boat that will be used as an effigy of a Turkish boat in 1821. The Turkish boat is constructed in the old harbour a week before the festival.
What to do
#Strolling around Dapia and old Harbour
Dapia is one of the first things you will see and at the same time one of the main attractions. You will find it in the port of Spetses. Historically it was the old cannon of the island, with the many cannons you will see around to witness it. Here, in fact, was the gathering place of captains and lords during the Greek Revolution of 1821.
Today, Dapia is where the boat and the ferry arrives. From here, a coastal road begins that goes east to the Old Port and another one that goes west to the Schools. It is also an ideal place to start your walk on the picturesque streets to the island’s interior and the southern beaches. In other words, from here, you will start your days and walks!
Walking along the old harbour, I think it is one of the highlights in Spetses. You can walk any time of the day, but especially at night, it gets quite picturesque and romantic! In the old harbour, you will find plenty of bars and restaurants as the nightlife in Spetses can be quite interesting!
#Rent a Bike / scooter and move Around the Island
There are no cars allowed on the island apart from a few taxis and some other exceptions. However, there are plenty of scooters (sometimes too many!) and bikes that you can move around and discover the island! If you like biking, consider renting a bike and going around the whole island as the road is 29 km in total! The island is green, and the scenery can be fantastic!
There are many beaches that you can have a stop while you are biking. You can look below at our recommended beach list and on the map at the end of the post!
#get to a “horse-carriage” car
Personally, I didn’t do it myself, as I am not a huge fan of this kind of horse carriages, but it can give you another perspective on the island!
#Visit the Bouboulina’s Museum
The museum is located in the centre of the town in a 300-year-old mansion that once belonged to Bouboulina, one of Greece’s naval heroines (find the exact location here!). She was one of the most important figures in the Greek War of Independence, and she was the first woman admiral of the Imperial Russian Navy, at least according to Wikipedia!
Bouboulina’s parents came originally from Hydra island, but they moved to Spetses when she was a child. It is well known that she donated her fortune to arm ships and took on Spetses’ men to fight the Turkish fleet. It is not a coincidence that Spetses was the first island to deploy the flag of the revolution in April 1821! You can feel the historical role of the island in the Independence War in the pebble streets around the town centre.
With your ticket, there is a guide included inside the museum (~ 40′). Also, at the harbour, you will find a statue of Bouboulina, and generally, you will identify her name in different places around the island.
#watch a film at the open-air cinema!
Personally, I love open-air cinema, and when I visit a place that has one, I try to visit. In Spetses there is the historical Titania open-air cinema from 1960!!
#Enjoy the beaches
Spetses has some nice beaches but probably not as spectacular as other Greek islands.
Agios Mammas: This is the beach inside the main town of Spetses. It has a long, sandy beach and shallow waters and is preferred by families with children. Not one of my favourites, to be frank!
Agios Nikolaos: Another beach inside the town if you don’t want to leave the city!
Agia Marina: This is one of the most famous beaches of Spetses, but to be frank it is not my taste! It is located close to the Ntapia (the centre of Spetses), and you can go there by bus or taxi boat. It is well organised with bars, restaurants and water sports!
Kaiki / College beach: This is another famous, pebbled beach with blue waters and a wonderful beach bar (on the expensive side).
Agia Paraskevi: I think this might be one of my favourites with its crystal and clear water and its magnificent setting as a nice pine forest shades it! It is a sandy beach with a bar, and it is accessible on foot /bus and by boat. (~ 10km from Ntapia)
Ligoneri: This is a sandy and pebble beach, not organised, and it is perfect for relaxation!
Zogeria: One of the most beautiful beaches in Spetses. The pines that reach almost to the water and the turquoise waters will enchant you. Ideal for those looking for more relaxed moments!
Vrellos: The beach is mainly pebble stones, relatively small, organised with a nice beach bar!
Agioi Anargyroi: It is the largest and perhaps the most popular beach on the island. It is located in the west and has sand, clear blue waters, umbrellas, and you can do water sports. There is a path from the beach that leads to the beautiful cave of Bekiri.
Xylokeriza: It is located in the south of Spetses, and it is organized with umbrellas. It has pebbles and a rocky bottom that is suitable for diving.
Where to stay in Spetses
On Spetses you will find accommodation for all tastes and budgets.
There are some old and beautiful mansions, luxury hotels but also some affordable rooms.
Here, we will present you with three of our favourite hotels and mansions, but you can find here our dedicated post about the best hotels and apartments in Spetses island!
None list with the best hotels in Spetses cannot start without Poseidonion Grand Hotel. It is a truly iconic place, and it feels like you are staying at a traditional old mansion! The breakfast is really delicious, and I strongly recommend getting a SPA treatment, as all staff members are very professional and know their job! All members of staff are very professional and helpful. Location-wise, the willingness of staff to guide around the island and the feeling of the place makes this hotel quite special! More Information Here!
This is a quiet and comfortable hotel, which is very close to the restaurants of the old port, though a longer walk from the bustle of the new port (20′ walk and 3′ motorbike). Architecturally a very nice little resort, in a magically landscaped garden with neat decoration and a nice pool! The hotel also offers a free shuttle for arrival and departure at the port! More Information Here!
This is just a wonderful place to stay! The mansion has been built around 170 years ago, but the rooms are stunning and in excellent condition for a building built in the 1850s! The enclosed courtyard feels very special with a lovely pool! The hotel is quiet yet only 5-10′ on foot from the main town. The breakfast is so good, and the menu changes often, and the breakfast is served inside and outside by the pool (at least in the pre-covid era!). More Information Here!
How to move around the island?
Transportation to the island is mainly by foot, city buses and boats that operate as sea taxis. Only permanent residents with a special permit are allowed to travel by car. Spetses also has several hotels and rooms for rent. However, it would be good to book your stay well in advance, as the island is a trendy summer destination.
Here is a detailed map with all the above-mentioned places and beaches!
If you want to ask us a question or share your experience, please leave us a comment below!
If you have any question, or you want to share your experience from the island, just leave a comment below!
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