Fasten your seatbelt. A trip to Spetses; the cosmopolitan of the Argosaronic is about to start!
A few words
Spetses is the most cosmopolitan island in the Argosaronic Gulf. The island of the woman “Legend” is just two hours away from Piraeus (with the hydrofoil) and 10 minutes from Costa. Because of the distance from Athens, Spetses makes for a summer destination ideal for short excursions. For everyone else, it is yet another wonderful trip to island Greece. But it is a different journey in time for everyone. At Spetses (in the summer), use of cars is prohibited and transportations happen with the traditional carriages, with bikes, taxis and motorcycles! Life on the island goes by beautifully, with the traditional mansions, carriages, emerald beaches and vivid night life allowing nobody to feel bored.
The “Legend” that we mentioned above, of course, listens to the name of Laskarina Mpoumpoulina! The heroine of the 1821 Revolution adorns with her imposing aura every corner of the island, an island with a very long nautical history. Spetses is also known as the island of Aromas, due to its aromatic plants that are everywhere!
Spetses will be a trip you’ll never forget…
Info Spetses a) Did you know that Spetses were Greece’s second naval center? b) The real surname of heroine Laskarina Mpoumpoulina was Pinotsis and she was originally from Hydra. c) Laskarina was born in the prisons of Istanbul. d) Dapia is not a natural port, it was constructed to serve small tourist boats and cargo vessels.
1) Museum of MpoumpoulinaThe door of the Museum of Mpoumpoulina opens only for scheduled tours, which are conducted by the descendant of the heroine of ’21, Philippos Demertzis-Mpoumpoulis, and by other qualified tour guides. A short but full-of-history tour will offer you much information on the life of the leading female figure of the Greek Revolution!
2) Cave of Mpekiris or Erotospilia The Cave of Mpekiris, or for many known as Erotospilia (Love Cave), is an excellent source of aquatic exploration and natural beauty. Access is not that easy, but the images and crystal-clear waters will compensate you. Greek actors Tzeni Karezi and Andreas Mparkoulis must had known something, since they picked the cave during the filming of “Tzeni-Tzeni” to shoot the famous love scene!
3) Dapia Port Drink your coffee and spend a few moments of relaxation at the amazing port of Dapia. It is the busiest spot in Spetses, with countless passers-by throughout the whole day. With a clear atmosphere, from the port you can see Costa, Porto Heli, the island of Dokos, as well as “Lady” Hydra.
4) Spetses Old PortIt is the most beautiful route on the island, about 1,8km long (25 minutes on foot). Walking along the sea, you will see churches (the most important one being this of Saint Mamas), mansions and small ports, while you will end up at the old shipyard and reach up to the mermaid and the cannons.
Mini tip: The walk should take place ideally during the sunset. See the route HERE
5) Ride with one of the 28 carriagesA carriage ride in Spetses is one of the most wonderful and interesting things you can do. The routes are plenty, as well as the carriages! Pick a ride across Pityousa, if you want to avoid the tourist-crowded coastal route.
Quick tip: Search for the driver named Yiannis (with the ponytail) for an unforgettable ride..
6) Poseidonio Square
At the Poseidonio square you will find the island’s most beautiful building, the Poseidonion Grand Hotel, as well as Mpoumpoulina’s imposing statue. The immense square hosts events, while it is the ideal place to relax while enjoying the view in the company of an amygdaloto (almond treat) of Spetses (what else?)!
7) Walk in Pityousa The neighborhood of Pityousa is the Kolonaki of Spetses and it is located close to the old port. A walk around the flowery streets of Pityousa is the best option for anyone who wants to escape the tourist crowds and get lost in the island’s picturesque essence.
8) Armata & SpetsathlonArmata and Spetsathlon are the two biggest events on the island! Armata happens on the first Sunday of September and reenacts the Battle of Spetses through a fantastic show with firework dance. On the other hand, Spetsathlon takes place in early May and it is one of the biggest sports events in Greece (triathlon)!
9) Kounoupitsa The district of Kounoupitsa is the one with the lowest visit rates on the island. It starts at the Poseidonio Square and stretches over to the opposite side of Dapia. Many restaurants, cafés and various other shops have upgraded the area. It is worth taking a walk around and enjoying a glass of tsipouro.
10) Dive in the crystal waters of the Argosaronic The crystal-clear waters of the Argosaronic Gulf invite you to dive in any moment of the day. Wherever you are on the island, even inside the town, do not miss the chance to enjoy a swim in the island’s warm seas. The island’s most well-known beaches are those of Ayioi Anargiri, Ayia Paraskevi and Vrellos (with an organized beach bar).
11) Spetses on two wheels The island’s limited landmass favors two-wheeled vehicles, of any kind! Bicycle, segway or motorcycle will transport you to any corner of the island fast and easy. While you are on the two-wheeled vehicle, different images will follow one another, while your nose will receive smells from the various aromatic plants of the island.
✅ Tip: If you do not want to get tired, prefer the option of the motorcycle, as there are many uphill routes!
12) Outing at the Old Port
The heart of the night life in Spetses beats at the cosmopolitan neighborhood of the Old Port. The area’s bars pick up the baton from the buzzing –during the day- Dapia and hold it high until the first morning hours!
13) Open-air cinemas The Ciné Titania & Marina open-air cinemas are the alternative source of entertainment for summer nights in Spetses. The cinemas play –relatively- new movies from the American and European film industry, as well as cartoons to satisfy our young friends.
14) Museum of Spetses The Museum of Spetses is housed in a 1924 listed building. Inside you will find objects of the island dating 4000+ years of cultural history. If you have sufficient time, do not miss the chance to visit it.
Food SpetsesAs a nautical/fishing powerhouse, Spetses could not but serve fish! Food in Spetses revolves around the sea, with the many fish taverns stealing the impressions and meat coming to second or even third place, as salads are an integral part of the table!
Fish, as it is well-known, has a high cost and especially so when it is accompanied by a beautiful view, like the one that most coastal restaurants have. This is the reason that a meal with wine at Spetses costs around 30€ per person. Apart from fish, of course, you will find more economical options (mainly at the Clock Square), such as pasta, pizza and the classic souvlaki.
These are the best restaurants in Spetses..
Ο Argyris: Rough dishes, generous servings and approachable prices are everything Argyris offers. You will find him at the Clock Square…Must-eat!
To Pahni: In a beautiful courtyard –not central- you will taste delicious meat options, with the beef steak and lamb chops standing out from the menu.
Patralis Fish Tavern: At the tavern you will find fish “a la Spetsiota” and other dishes from the sea! Prices are a bit high, but reflect the quality of the food.
Cockatoo: Cockatoo serves fast food of good quality and reasonable –for the island’s standards- prices. Try the tasty chicken souvlaki.
Tiramisu Sweets & Coffee: Essential stop for tiramisu, cheesecake, pasta flora and other fresh desserts.
Vanilia: For traditional amygdaloto of Spetses all roads lead to Vanilia. Good quality-price ratio and quality of materials.
Transportation SpetsesAccess to Spetses can be achieved only by sea. If you are in Athens or close to it, you must go down to Piraeus and then reach the island with the hydrofoil (2 trips: 3 & 2.15 hours, Cost: 40€). You can also drive to Porto Heli and from the port of Costa reach the island via ferry boat (consecutive trips, 10 minutes, Cost 2€).
In Spetses transportation happens only on foot, by bike, motorcycle, taxi, ATV and bus! Distances inside the town are pretty short and can be covered on foot, which does not apply to trips to the beautiful beaches! To go there, you must rent a motorcycle or, if you are really fit…bike (there are many uphill spots).
Accommodation Spetses The cosmopolitan of the Argosaronic could not but offer beautiful and polished options for accommodation, inside and outside of the town. The number of sites is not very big, thus prices are slightly high. For a double room you will have to pay 100-130€/night (during high season).
These are the best hotels in Spetses
Villa Marina: A friendly accommodation site in the heart of the island with a wonderful cobbled yard and approachable prices. Accommodation cost 50€-60€ / High Season
Spetses Hotel: It is a renovated hotel in the heart of the island, which offers plenty of amenities. Its price is relatively high. Accommodation cost 60€-70€ / High Season
Poseidonion Grand Hotel: A hotel with a very long history and unparalleled aesthetic, the Poseidonion Grand Hotel is the most luxurious option for accommodation on the island…at the respective cost! Accommodation cost 300€-370€ / High Season
Orloff Resort: The minimalistic Orloff resort offers a wonderful stay with a lot of style and comfort…at a pretty high price. Accommodation cost 120€-150€ / High Season
Alexandris Hotel: A VFM hotel which offers beautiful rooms and direct access to central locations of Spetses, in pretty reasonable prices. Accommodation cost 100€-120€ / High Season
- The water taxis at the port of Costa leave right away but the trip costs 23€. It is beneficial to use only if you are 5+ persons.
- The best season to visit Spetses is early September.
- Museum of Mpoumpoulina: There are special boards with the schedules outside of the Roussos café, as well as at the cannons of Dapia. Times change constantly…!
- The most beautiful beach on the island is Spetses Beach (you will find it (HERE)
- Car: For 5€ a day, you can leave it at the fenced parking, next to the port of Costa.
- Stock up on mosquito repellents! The blood-thirsty flying creatures ravage!
- For your fast and comfortable transportation, rent a scooter.
- Helmets are an unknown kind on the island. You should have your own and be very cautious because roads and infrastructure are not sufficient for the number of motorcycles running around!
- The weather is suitable for swimming until late September.
- Most restaurants at the old port are not worthwhile. They either serve food of mediocre quality or they are of very good quality with sky-high prices!
- The island’s largest celebratory event is the one of Armata. It takes place on the first Sunday of September and it is totally impressive. Do not miss it..
- At Costa they lift cars that are parked on the streets around parking facilities. Be careful where you park them.
- To be there at the Armata celebration you must have booked a room at least two months in advance. (Be prepared for inflated prices.)
- Transportation by buses is pretty hard, as they are never on time, while routes are also not frequent.
- For motorcycle renting there are other prices for rent per day and other for 24 hours. Say that you will return it on the shop’s opening (early in the morning) of the next day, so that you do not get charged for 24 hours. Extra tip: As a guarantee, mention the hotel you are staying!
- You will find cheap, fast and good food at the Clock Square.
- If you want to avoid the tourist route during the carriage ride, tell the driver to take the ride in Pityousa…They will understand you came well-read!
Spetses: a trip to the cosmopolitan of the Argosaronic (the ultimate guide)
A beautiful church in SpetsesCoffee at the amazing port of DapiaThe beautiful mansions of Spetses The colorful narrow streets of Spetses Karnagio