I first learned about Spetses at school: the 1821 revolution and the Greek heroine Laskarina Bouboulina are to be thanked for introducing me to this charming island.
I had never thought of visiting Spetses, since Hydra was my go-to island for a quick escape near Athens. That was until four years ago when an impromptu trip to visit a friend working on this island finally brought me to Spetses. Be it a day trip though, I didn’t have the chance to explore the island properly.
When I met Myrto, a girl born and raised in Spetses, I was so much intrigued by her stories and photos of the island that I felt I had to visit Spetses to find out what was that buzz was all about.
And just like that, me and my friend E. took the Flying Cat to Spetses on a summer weekend with nothing but a bag with the essentials.
I came, I saw and decided to share the top ten reasons why you should visit Spetses too.
1. Spetses’ closeness to Athens
The ferry ride from Athens is only 2 hours, making Spetses an ideal destination for a short trip or a weekend break. Wear your swimming suit and dive into the crystal clear blue waters as soon as you get there.
2. Dapia village
The island’s new harbour is located in a small area called Dapia. Follow the coastal road to the square where the leaders of the 1821 revolution met to organize the revolt against the Turks. It is also where the most cafes, restaurants and bars of the island are located, offering a plethora of options in close proximity to most of the hotels in the island.
3. The view
Santorini’s worlwide famous for its magical sunset but in Spetses you’ll enjoy an equally breathtaking experience watching the sunrise or sunset in a relaxing atmosphere the island’s known for.
4. Bouboulina’s Museum
Spetses honor the Greek heroine Laskarina Bouboulina: from Bouboulina’s square to the tourist shops and her museum, her presence is strong on the island.
The museum was founded from private donations at Bouboulina’s mansion which was repaired and maintained to offer the visitor the opportunity to wander in the house’s large rooms.
The entrance fee costs 6 euros and it includes a very interesting, detailed 40-minute guided tour while in the beautiful garden area, the museum hosts many cultural events like the Salsa & Jazz festival I attended.
5. Horse Carriages
The use of cars is restricted on the island, so you’ll find plenty of carriages waiting for a ride. Spetses is the island of carriages – you won’t find so many choices anywhere else in Greece.
Each of the drivers has its very own style – I really liked the rasta man. If you’re in the mood for a chat, I’m sure they will have amazing stories to share about the island and its inhabitants.
A ride varies from 10 to 60 euros depending on the route.
6. The scenic landscape from Dapia to the Old Port
Grab the opportunity for a ride or a walk from Dapia to the Old Port and thank me later. The smell of the sea, the blue sky and the aristocratic houses by the coast create a romantic scenery, perfect for a stroll with your significant other!
7. The crystal-clear waters
Spetses is famous for its beaches: Ayia Marina and Kounoupitsa are within a walking distance from Dapia while Ayios Anargyros and Ayia Paraskevi beaches are a few kilometres away and both feature clean, deep waters.
If you are at the beach of Ayios Anargyros, you should visit the Bekiri’s Cave, a sandy cave that is said to have been used as a safe haven during the Revolution. Rumor has it that if you’re single and you visit the cave, you’ll get married withing the next year (Say what?).
8. Easily accessible beaches for everyone
The beach of Ayios Mamas is located right next to the main harbour of Spetses and it features a wheelchair ramp making it easily accessible to everyone. I have never seen such a ramp anywhere in Greece.
9. The food
The best breakfast I have ever had in an island was in Spetses. At Roussos cafe, a traditional cafe open from 1968 at Dapia and at a modern cafe named “The balcony”, I had the most amazing breakfast – I was so full that I ate only dinner that day.
10. The nightlife
Τhe first thing the hotel manager tolds us when on the island was “The young people just like you, go out at the Old Port at night– take the coastal road and you’ll be there in 10 minutes”.
Of course we followed his advice and walked to the Old Port to find out where the younger generation goes out at night. Well, for the best Passion Fruit daquiri visit Booze and continue on to Stavento Club and Mourayio if you feel like it.
Spetses has it all: great food, cocktails, scenic view, rich history and romantic carriage rides.
It is a mesmerizing island that will make you want to return again and again. I was lucky enough to see it under the full moon and I fell in love with it.
I suggest you to plan your visit during the annual Armata celebration taking place in the island every September! It is a week-long celebration with cultural happenings and religious ritualsin honour of of the naval victories against the Turks.
When to visit Spetses: All-year round. My suggestion would be to visit the island in May, July or September.
Getting there: Spetses is easily accessible with by boat, Flying Cat or the Hellenic Seaways Flying Dolphin.