A tour in Spetses, the “fragrant island” of the Saronic Gulf
In antiquity, the island of Spetses was called “Pityoussa”, which means “covered in pine”. Later on, the Venetians named it “Isola di Spezzie”, which means the “fragrant island”, due to its numerous aromatic herbs and flowers. It makes perfect sense…
An overview of Spetses island…
The journey to Spetses from the port of Piraeus only takes 2 hours by hydrofoil. Both its beauty and its proximity to the mainland make it a perfect destination for every season!
The island’s unparalleled sophistication and elegance fascinate all visitors. The moment they enter the picturesque cobblestone alleys and walk through the beautiful Neoclassical buildings, the florescent house yards and balconies… they are mesmerized!
Spetses is a car-free island, which creates a feeling of calmness and relaxation to the visitor. Bicycles are the ideal means of transportation for a tour around the island, whereas the traditional horse-drawn carriages are preferred by the romantics.
The history of Spetses is long and its past is glorious. The Spetsiot navy played a leading role in the Greek War of Independence in 1821, under the command of Laskarina Bouboulina and Andreas Miaoulis.
The island of Spetses experienced great economic prosperity during the 17th to 19th century, evidence of which one may witness even today: the magnificent captains’ mansions, with their unique architecture, adorn the town of Spetses, adding to its unrivaled cosmopolitan aesthetics and charm.
Walking around the town…
Dapia is undoubtedly the signature spot of the town, with its scenic little port and the charming cafés, restaurants and pastry shops that attract crowds of visitors. The absolute favorite spot for endless leisurely strolls!
Not far from Dapia, lies the historical Bouboulina square, with the imposing statue of the Spetsiot heroin and an iconic building that stands out: it’s the Poseidonion Grand Hotel, with its stunning architecture and its impressive interior. The hotel first opened in the summer of 1914 and, ever since, it has hosted great personalities from all over the world.
Walk down to the bustling Clock square, which was named after the tall tower clock that was built in 1915. The central market of Spetses used to be here, with its retail shops, small handicrafts industries and tavernas. Today, the Clock square features a number of hotels and restaurants.
The old harbor of Spetses, with the traditional shipyards and the wonderful buildings, is not to be missed. Savor a delicious meal in one of the area’s fine restaurants that lie by the sea and continue to an atmospheric café or lively night club for endless fun and entertainment.
Walk up to the breathtaking Kasteli, the island’s fort and highest point of the town, which resembles a village. The stunning panoramic views from the historical church of Agia Triada (St. Trinity) and the church of Profitis Ilias will fascinate you. Close to the lighthouse, you will find the Panagia Armata church, which was built after the Spetsiots’ victory against the Ottoman Turks.
Take a journey through Spetses history, visiting the island’s museums: the Museum of Spetses, housed in Hadjiyannis Mexis house, and the Bouboulina Museum which is housed in the former home of the Greek heroine.
The legendary Armata…
Every September, a memorable experience awaits all visitors of Spetses, the greatest event of the island, the famous “Armata“, featuring a spectacular re-enactment of the historic naval battle in Spetses, amid a mind-blowing feast of fireworks and firecrackers!
Where to swim…
Most beaches on Spetses island are organized. Relax and enjoy the crystal clear waters at the beach of Agia Marina or Agios Mamas, at Kounoupitsa beach or in Agioi Anargyroi, while those who seek quiet and secluded places to swim, may rent a boat and explore the paradise small coves and hidden beaches in Spetses.
The Spetses traditional crushed almond confections with the addictive cinnamon and clove flavor, called “amygdalota”, as well as the island’s savory specialty, “fish ala Spetsiota”, are famous local delicacies that are not to be missed.