Spetses, is the “last” island of the Saronic Gulf, that you will reach starting from Piraeus Port. It is so cosmopolitan, with a reputation that has gradually spread in recent years, as it is preferred by domestic and international jet set celebrities.
A green island, with beautiful beaches, a picturesque town, interesting architecture and high-quality services for its visitors, Spetses “wins” in all areas. We have never found someone who went to the island and was disappointed.
An Overview of Spetses
On the contrary, the frequent ferry connections from Piraeus and Porto Heli, make Spetses an ideal destination. Initially, Dapia, the city center of Spetses, wins everyone over with the beach with the big square and all the shops that are there and in the surrounding alleys. A center for both food and shopping for traditional folk-art products, one will rarely see Dapia empty of people. It is usually busy and full of life. In the restaurants and patisseries of Dapia, mainly, the visitors try the local specialties. Such as the Spetsiotiko nougat, but also fish ala Spetsiota.
However, the walk to the old port is mandatory, as well as the tour of the alleys of the island. They hide real “treasures”. Rologiou Square, the historic building / hotel Poseidonion, the carriages that move as if it is completely natural and expected and not a tourist “attraction”, the bicycles, the beach of Agios Nikolaos and the old shipyards, create a very interesting ensemble. The old mansions, two-storied, with tiled roofs, with wooden, narrow glazed windows – most painted blue – and whitewashed stairs, are a strong reminder that Spetses was a strong naval force of the modern Greek state. For decades played a leading role in its affairs and the country’s economy.
The Heroine of Spetses
The most famous lady from the island is none other than Laskarina Bouboulina. She was the heroine of the Greek Revolution, who gave her soul in the struggle of the Greeks for liberation. Today, visitors to the island can enter its mansion, which has been converted and functions as an extremely interesting museum. Moreover, a statue of her exists outside the famous Poseidonion. In the Museum you see the furniture of Bouboulina, all made in Florence, the wood-carved ceiling of the main hall and the Mongolian sword of the Tsar of Russia Alexander I, adorning her collection of weapons.
Mansions All Around
Another mansion in Spetses has been turned into a museum. It is none other than the Hatzigianni Mexis Mansion. The architecturally impressive building, with the atrium and the pebbled courtyard, is today the Museum of Spetses. With exhibits from the rich history of the island, enjoy the exquisite displays. At the exhibition of marine archaeology on the ground floor, visitors have the opportunity to see findings from the oldest shipwreck in the world, that of the island of Dokos.
Kounoupitsa is the neighborhood of Spetses with the most neoclassical mansions and beautiful gardens, while there is also the legendary Anargyreos & Korgialeneios School of Spetses.
Beaches with Clear Waters and Trees to the Sea
Spetses is also famous for its beaches, which are scattered throughout the island. Most of them with pebbles have the advantage of being surrounded by lush nature with trees, mainly pines, that reach the sea. The most famous beach of the island is the one that “starred” in one of the most successful films of the old Greek cinema, “Jenny – Jenny” and is none other than Agii Anargiri, where Bekiris Cave is located.
Other popular beaches, Agia Paraskevi, Zogeria and Vrelos, while closer to the city is the organized beach of Agia Marina, from where bathers enjoy the view of Spetsopoula. It is worth noting that in Spetses one cannot travel by car. Therefore, for traveling on the island, we recommend a bicycle for the more active. For the ones who want to be more relaxed there are plenty of sea taxis and boats. Note that all reach all the famous beaches of the island.
Events Not to be Missed
In addition, it is a real pity to miss the opportunity to visit Spetses in early September. That is when the legendary Armata takes place. It is a “representation” of the Battle of Spetses of 1822. Armata really gives a sense of that time, through fireworks, ceremonies and many cultural events for all visitors.
Spetses Mini Marathon
After Armata, Spetses continues its events, this time with a sporting event that attracts people from all over the world. Specifically, every October the Spetses Mini Marathon is organized for children and adults. Furthermore, in April, the Spetsathlon is organized, ie the largest triathlon race in Greece, with swimming, cycling and running throughout the island.
The Historic Poseidonion
For more than 100 years, now, a “beacon” of Greek hospitality and a landmark of Spetses, Poseidonion Grand Hotel dominates Dapia with its traditional architecture, inevitably catching the eye of the visitor as it approaches the island. The historic hotel is part of the vision of the national benefactor Sotirios Anargyros. He envisioned contributing to the “transformation of the beautiful island into Bethlehem of Hellenism and cosmopolitanism”. The French Riviera was the inspiration for the hotel’s emblematic design. Due to the creativity, knowledge and talent of the Greek architect Panagiotis Zizilas. From the very first moment it welcomed its visitors in 1914, it became a pole of attraction for the cosmopolitan public of the time. They consisted of wealthy Athenians, important international politicians and artists, but also members of royal families.
At its inauguration, on July 6, 1914, at the beginning of the First World War, the then Prime Minister of Greece, Eleftherios Venizelos, traveled to Spetses. Venizelos arrived on the island in a Navy boat with his close associates. They inaugurated the hotel together with the great patriot and father of Poseidonion Sotirios Anargyros. His vision was to create a hotel that would host the elite of Europe and the emerging elite of Greek society. And this is exactly how it is.
According to legends of the time, Venizelos, in the excitement of the moment and climbing the stairs of Poseidonion, turned to the general director of the Ministry of Finance who accompanied him and said: “Today, at this symbolic moment, I order you to create an office of exhibitions and hospitality as a supporter of this strategic goal of the Greek state “. This verse supposedly was the first seed for the creation of a prototype National Tourism Organization. Nevertheless, it took shape much later, in 1950.
Renovation of Poseidonion
The renovation process lasted 5 years. Emphasizing on the modern infrastructure but also preserving the original architectural design of the building, the renovated Poseidonion Grand Hotel reopened its doors. From the summer of 2009, The Poseidonion welcomes all visitors. It consists of two buildings that have luxurious rooms and impressive suites. Most with a private garden or balcony. At the same time, offering a unique view of the port of Dapia and the sea. It is definitely an additional reason -if not the primary- for someone to visit the island.
Satisfy your Appetite with Greek flavors
Do not forget to try – and bring back with you – the sweet-smelling nougats. Produced in a traditional way on the island, you will thoroughly enjoy them. Furthermore, enjoy fish “a la spetsiota” (cooked in tomato sauce). On the island you will find many romantic, cosmopolitan, but quite upscale restaurants as well. However, you will also find traditional taverns with equally amazing food.
Where Should you Eat
At On the Verandah, in a great location in Dapia, you will enjoy high-quality cuisine and flavors such as salad with fish tartare, lamb with chickpeas and pasta with seafood.
Located at the main Square, you will find Clock where you can enjoy a modern environment with very nice burgers, spaghetti and pizza.
At the fish tavern of Patralis in Kounoupitsa taste saganaki mussels, shrimp spaghetti, red mullet, fried fish and other classic fish appetizers.
Nero tis Agapis, is a superb restaurant. With a wonderful view of Kounoupitsa it is one of the most romantic sceneries on the island. Explore its sought-after gastronomy if you decide to include a more secluded night out in Spetses. Beyond the beautiful scenery, enjoy the nice carpaccio, kakavia, fish recipes of Mediterranean cuisine, risotto and a satisfactory variety of wines.
In Liotrivi in the old port, you will enjoy meze appetizers with seafood delicacies and ouzo.
Greece Inisders’ Travel Designers
For an itinerary that includes the cosmopolitan island of Spetses, contact us and one of our experienced travel designers will get in touch and send you tailor-made suggestions.
Feature Image by Marco Verch