Spetses

1. Welcome to Spetses island

Spetses island, Saronic Gulf, Greek islands
Spetses island, Saronic Gulf, Greek islands

The island of Spetses is located on the right side of the entrance to the Saronic Gulf islands, and only 1,5 nautical mile away from the Peloponnesian coast. The island is oval shaped, with a surface area of 22 square kilometers, and a population of almost 4000 people who mostly live in the town of Spetses. The island is 52 nautical miles away from the port of Piraeus, to which there are daily connections. To the south-east of the island, very close by, is the luscious green private island of Spetsopoula. Spetses has its own unique charms. Green hills that slope gently down towards the sea, the highest hill is Profitis Ilias (252 meters) located in the center of the island; there are no bare mountains as there are on the other Saronic Gulf islands. The horizon is open, and various colors of the light shine unembeded, filling the area with life. Spetses town is spread along the whole of the beach, only rising in the center towards Kastelli, which is where the first inhabitants of the island decided to settle. Below Kastelli is the famous port of Dapias, with the amazing raised beach and the cannons which used to protect Spetses from attacks from the Turks during the revolution of 1821. Just behind the port of Dapias are some of the island’s finest villas and just below, close to the center of the giant square on your right stand the large bronze statue of the Greek heroine Bouboulina, who offered everything she could to the struggle of 1821. Bouboulina was the greatest female captain in history, who started off with her ships from Spetses to besiege Nafplion and Monemvasia. After this, charging along on a white horse, she was the first person to enter Tripolitsa as it was being freed from the Turkish yoke. To the south of the port, there is the pretty Palio Limani (old port) with the old shipyards. Some of the Spetsiots still continue the wood crafting as they used to do in ancient years, the old port adds its own small touch to the main town of Spetses. The main town is the main point of attraction for tourists as as well as the beauty the town also offers many beautiful beaches. The large Ayioi Anargiri beach and the wonderful Ayia Paraskevi that is located on the south coast with Zogeria and Vrellos, where the sea takes on the most amazing colors, located on the north coast. This combination, along with the excellent tourist facilities have made the island of Spetses so popular to the tourists in the summer.

Ferries to Spetses

Spetses ships, Saronic Gulf, Greece
Spetses ships, Saronic Gulf, Greece

The most frequent crossings to Spetses are provided by Hellenic Seaways with their hydrofoils called Flying Dolphins or the larger (and more comfortable) Flying Cats. Hellenic have sailings daily throughout the year and only get cancelled in severe weather during the winter, which isn’t too often.

Spetses and the Saronic Islands in general are connected to the port of Piraeus. Your trip to Spetses can be with a flying dolphin or by flying cat. The trip will last approximately  2-3.30 hours.

Ferries from Piraeus to Spetses run all year round  on a daily basis. In summer of course there are more departures to choose from.

PiraeusAeginaPorosHydraSpetses

2. Activities on Spetses

Spetses vacations, Greece
Spetses vacations, Greece

Spetses has a lot to offer. Get to know the island and choose among a series of activities and short excursions that will make your stay even more enjoyable.

Bike Hire. Rent a mountain bike, a scooter or an ATV from the hotel and start exploring the island from Ayia Marina and the Old Harbor to Kounoupitsa and Ligoneri. Take a tour of the island and stop for a swim in one of its beautiful beaches. The more daring can explore the heights; the highest point is the church at Profitis Ilias (258m).

Charming walks from the alleys of Pitiousa to those of Dapia and hidden footpaths leading to the island’s monasteries, the Palaioimerologiton and Ayion Panton.

Water Sports. Ayia Marina 500m, Kaiki Beach 2.0 km, Ayioi Anargyroi 10 km from the hotel.

Scuba Diving * at the coasts of Ermionida and the islets around the islands of Spetses and Hydra.

Fishing by boat *

Excursions * : one-day trips to Poros, Hydra, Monemvasia, the Ancient Theater of Epidavros, Mycenae and Greece’s first capital, Nafplio.

3. Best beaches on Spetses

Spetses, Saronic Gulf, Greece
Spetses, Saronic Gulf, Greece

The island of Spetses boasts numerous wonderful beaches, most of which are lined with pine forests and have crystal clear waters.  Almost all of them are accessible by the 22 km circular coast road, or from the sea by a small boat or water taxi.

 

Ayia Paraskevi: On the island’s southwest side, this is one of the most beautiful beaches against the backdrop of a green pine forest.  Organized, with water-sports facilities, it is also connected with the Dapia harbor by boat.

Zogeria: On the northwest side, consisting of a larger and a smaller bay embraced by pines, with clear turquoise waters and golden sand.  There are sun beds and umbrellas on one side.  You can also get there by a small boat leaving from Dapia.

Ligoneri: One of the island’s most peaceful beaches, located at the margin of the town of Spetses, west of the Dapia harbor.  Organized, although small in size, it is fringed by pine trees and has colored pebbles and clear azure waters.

Ayioi Anargyroi: A long beach on the southwest side, organized and very popular, with water-sports, a bar and a restaurant.  This beach is also connected with the Dapia harbor by boat.  While here, it’s worth seeing the beautiful and romantic Bekiri’s Cave, or Cave of Lovers, a short distance off the right end.

Kounoupitsa:  The beach at Kounoupitsa, to the left of the harbor, running along the coastal road, is essentially a succession of smaller beaches with either pebble or sand, where one can swim in the town’s proximity, or enjoy a meal or drink in one of the picturesque taverns and bars by the sea.

Anargyrios Scholi (Anargyrios School): This enormous beach starts from the northwest end of the town and spreads in front of the renowned naval schools, Anargyrios and Korgialenios.

Beautiful, with sand or fine pebbles, it offers a wonderful view to the coast of Peloponnese across.  Aside sun beds and parasols, you’ll find a lovely beach-bar serving food and drink all day long.   As the beach is close to the town, you can also get there on foot, by bicycle or even by a traditional horse-drawn carriage.

Saronic Gulf, Spetses, Greece
Saronic Gulf, Spetses, Greece

Ayios Mamas: To the right of the central harbor of Dapia and on the way to the Old Harbor, this long and picturesque sandy beach also features several lovely sea taverns.  Along with the smaller beach of Ayios Nikolaos next to it, it gets quite crowded during the summer months by locals and those who prefer to swim without leaving the town.

Ayia Marina: Very popular, organized and among the island’s most beautiful beaches, it offers various water activities, a bar and restaurant, as well as an impressive view to the private-owned islet Spetsopoula.

Kouzounos: With crystal waters and fine, colored pebbles, it is one of the quietest and most natural beaches of Spetses, on the southeast side, across the islet Spetsopoula.

Xylokeriza: Located on the south side, this one is remote and peaceful, although organized.  With blue-green clear waters against a beautiful natural setting, the beach also has a small bar for drinks and snacks.

Vrellos: Beautiful and fringed by pine trees on the island’s northern side, it is organized despite its small size.  It has a beach-volley facility and a cool beach-bar attracting the youth.

4. Sightseeing on Spetses

Spetses holidays, Greece
Spetses holidays, Greece

The ‘Armata’ festival: Spetses is one of eight European cities participating in the European Network of Historical Reconstructions.

Thus, on the second weekend of September each year, the historical event which is impressively revived here is the crucial sea battle of Spetses that took place on the 8th of September 1822.  The vehement naval fight in the island’s harbor ended up in the Ottoman fleet’s crushing defeat by the united naval forces of Spetses and neighboring Hydra and significantly influenced the outcome of the Greek war of Independence against the Turks.

The heroic torching of the Turkish flagship was the battle’s climax, as the event’s spectacular revival in the harbor is nowadays the climax of the Armata Festival celebrations.  These festivities last a whole week and also combine celebrating the Panayia Armata (Virgin Mary of the Armata), the church of which was built in commemoration of the event near Faros a few years afterwards.

Bouboulina’s museum: The legendary heroine of Independence Laskarina Bouboulina was the only female in world history bearing the admiral title.  Her 300 year-old mansion is today home to the namesake museum.  The building, in the shape of the Greek letter Π, characteristic of the owner’s importance by the architectural standards of the time, is located in a short distance behind the hub of Dapia harbor.

You can see the national heroine’s personal belongings here, among them her heavy pistol and gold-embroidered head scarf, various collections of fire guns, archives, portraits and other historical objects, as well as marvel at the grand drawing room with the exquisite, wood-carved Florentine ceiling, where her war councils used to be held.

The 40-minute tour includes a narrative of Bouboulina’s life story, from her birth inside a Turkish prison in Constantinople, through her heroic actions during the War of Independence and her invaluable contribution to her country, to her inglorious and tragic assassination.

The Spetses Museum: It is housed in the 200 year-old residence of Hatzigiannis-Mexis, one of the island’s leading lords and architects of the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire.

A multitude of valuable exhibits from this historic era, such as the flag of the Revolution, Bouboulina’s bones, collections of fire guns and traditional costumes, portraits, heirlooms and archives are displayed in the mansion’s first floor.  Furthermore the museum accommodates numerous other artifacts and objects dating from the Classic and Proto-Hellenic period to the Post-Byzantine years, covering almost four millennial of the island’s cultural history.

Others

On the way to the old harbor it’s worth visiting the historic monastery of Ayios Nikolaos, with its exquisite bell tower and the pebble-paved courtyard.  Here is where the people of Spetses raised the flag of the Revolution against the Turks in 1821.

A permanent exhibition called The House of Spetses is housed within the monastery’s premises and takes us back in older times with the reproduction of a typical old island house.  You can see folkloric collections of traditional furniture and artifacts, local costumes, woven craft and many more.

Finally, the traditional boat-yards are an important site on the harbor, the place where local boat-builders have been constructing the renowned wooden vessels of Spetses for centuries.

5. Villages and settlements on Spetses

The town of Spetses

Spetses is the capital and the harbor of island. The settlement has been characterized preferable. The mansions houses of the captains with their characteristic architecture

The central square of the town
In the right side of harbor

6. The history and mythology of Spetses

Spetses history, Greece
Spetses history, Greece

In ancient times the island was known as Pityousa, i.e. pine-tree Island. The island was inhabited in the Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium BC), as we can see from the findings at Ayia Marina. Older findings have been located in the region of Zogeria, such as a stone tool from the Mesolithic period and Neolithic arrow heads, all of which are now in the collection of the Museum of Spetses. Even so, it appears that the sites at which these artifacts were found were not permanent settlements in these periods, and so these artifacts were possibly left by visitors from the neighboring Peloponnese.

There is very little evidence for the periods which followed. From this we can conclude that the island had few occupants and that it was dependent upon the neighboring cities of the Peloponnese. On the other hand, there are finds that prove that the island was inhabited during the later Roman and Byzantine periods, just as it is also known that the Venetians took over the island in 1204, calling it the Isola di Spezzie, i.e. the aromatic island. It is possible that today’s name of Spetses, or Spetsai, derives from this, but the most generally accepted opinion is that it comes from ‘pitys.’ i.e. pine.

The Turks conquered the Peloponnese in 1460. A few years later the first Arvanites, Orthodox Christians of Albanian descent, began to arrive on the island. They were refugees attempting to escape Turkish persecution. The Arvanites were soon followed by Greeks from the Argolid, Hermione, Kynouria and Laconia, who were fleeing for the same reason. They lived together peacefully. Their common goal was to survive in a place that was free, far from the dynasty. The greatest danger they now had to face was the pirates.

They gathered together, then, on a hill, at a point which could not be seen from the sea, and built Kastelli there, on the ruins of a much earlier settlement.

In the beginning they rose livestock. Soon, however, they realised that the sea could offer them much more. Indeed, this was something that their neighbours on Hydra had already understood. So, they turned to fishing, something for which they needed ships. And in this too they were lucky, as their island was rich in pine trees, providing them · ‘ with the raw materials with which to build their fishing boats.

Spetses island acivities, Saronic Gulf, Greece
Spetses island acivities, Saronic Gulf, Greece

The beginning was made with small boats, and they later progressed to building much larger ones. By the middle of the 18th century, then, Spetses had the second-largest fleet in the whole of Greece, after Hydra. With this fleet the Spetsiots, along with the Hydraiots, were able to control commercial shipping not only in the Greek seas, but throughout the whole. Mediterranean.

In 1768, war broke out between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. The Russians sent Orloff to the Peloponnese in an effort to inspire a Greek uprising against the Turks. The events which took place in Greece at that time are today known as the Orlofika, having taken their name from this Russian noble. In 1770, the Spetsiots came out on the side of the Russians, but the revolt failed and the Turkish reprisals were harsh. Kastelli was set alight and its inhabitants killed or imprisoned.

In 1774, the war between Russia and the Turks ended with the defeat of the Turks and the signing of the Treaty of Kutchuk Kaynarca. The Spetsiots were amnestied; they returned to their island and began to extend their town from Kastelli towards the coast. The Turks were obliged to open the straits of’ the Bosphorus, thus enabling free passage to the Black Sea. The Spetsiot captains took advantage of this, and, with Russian favor, now sailed towards the Black Sea. They shipped mainly wheat, not only to the whole of the Mediterranean, but even to the Baltic countries and America. The wealth began to flow through to the island, and was to increase even more lately as a result of further developments.

The French Revolution broke out in 1769, and later the war between Britain and Napoleon. The British blocked the Mediterranean, but the only people who were brave enough to break through this blockade were the Hydraiots and the Spetsiots. Control of shipping was now in their hands.

We are now at the beginning of the 19th century, and. the idea of a Greek revolution has become rooted deeply in the hearts of the Greeks. The territory had been prepared by the Tiliki Etairia,’ the Friendly Society, a secret revolutionary organisation whose members numbered leading Greek figures, including many Spetsiots. On 3 April 1821, then, Spetses became the first island of the Argosaronic to join the Revolution. Its fleet included fifty large ships and twenty-five smaller ones, all equipped with powerful cannons. Among these ships were those of the heroine Laskarina Bouboulina, her largest ship the Agamemnon,’ in which she herself sailed, leading the Spetsiot fleet. The achievements of this fleet, which united with those of Hydra and Psara under the command of Andreas Miaoulis, were so great that it would require a whole book in which to detail them. Here we shall refer to only the most important.

There were two garrisons in the Peloponnese that were in Turkish hands. These were at Monemvasia and Nafpjion. Bouboulina was charged with blocking these off with her fleet. The blockade lasted for many years, but it was decisive and it was only because of Bouboulina’s efforts that the two fortresses finally fell to the Greeks. Bouboulina did not just stick to the war at sea. Along with her brave, young men, she participated in the siege of the main town in the Peloponnese at the time, Tripolitsa.

Spetses port, Greece
Spetses port, Greece

All this happened in 1821, the year in which the War of Independence broke out. And the achievements of the Spetsiot fleet in the following years were as equally great. In 1822, it chased the Turkish fleet all the way to Souda in Crete; in 1824 it rushed to help the people of Kasos, Psara and Samos; in 1825 came the victorious battle at Kafereus. Also impressive were the occasions when the Turkish fleet was fired upon by Spetsiot fireships, especially the naval engagement that took place on 8 September 1822, and which is celebrated annually on Spetses with a regatta.

The close of the War found the Spetsiots having , used up all their wealth for the Revolution, and they were in very dire economic straits. The island kept up a little marine activity until the mid-19th century, when the final decline set in and the population of Spetses began to fall. A whole century needed to pass before the island could be brought back to life again with the development of tourism.

7. Rent a car on Spetses

If you would like to rent an ATV or a motorbike on Spetses, as private vehicles are not allowed on Spetses, the same applies for Hydra, you can contact:

Ilias rent a car – Spetses island

Contact : Ilias Tziamos

City : Spetses

Phone : + 30 6973886407

8. Useful information about Spetses island

map of Spetses, Greece
map of Spetses, Greece

Spetses is an island that is located on the right of the entrance of the Saronic Gulf islands, and only 1,5 nautical mile away from the Peloponnesian coast. The island is oval shaped, with a surface area of 22 square kilometers, and a population of almost 4000 people who mostly live in the town of Spetses. The island is 52 nautical miles away from the port of Piraeus, to which there are daily connections. To the south-east of the island, very close by, is the luscious green private island of Spetsopoula. Spetses has it’s own unique charms. Green hills that slope gently down towards the sea, the highest hill is Profitis Ilias (252 metres) located in the centre of the island, there are no bare mountains as there are on the other Saronic Gulf islands. The horizon is open, and various colours of the light shine unembeded, filling the area with life. Spetses town is spread along the whole of the beach, only rising in the centre towards Kastelli, which is where the first inhabitants of the island decided to settle. Below Kastelli is the famous port of Dapias, with the amazing raised beach and the cannons which used to protect Spetses from attacks from the Turks during the revolution of 1821. Just behind the port of Dapias are some of the island’s finest villas and just below, close to the center of the giant square on your right stand the large bronze statue of the Greek heroine Bouboulina, who offered everything she could to the struggle of 1821. Bouboulina was the greatest female captain in history, who started off with her ships from Spetses to besiege Nafplion and Monemvasia. After this, charging along on a white horse, she was the first person to enter Tripolitsa as it was being freed from the Turkish yoke.

Spetses island acivities, Saronic Gulf, Greece
Spetses island acivities, Saronic Gulf, Greece

To the south of the port, there is the pretty Palio Limani (old port) with the old shipyards. Some of the Spetsiots still continue the wood crafting as they used to do in ancient years, the old port adds its own small touch to the main town of Spetses. The main town is the main point of attraction for tourists as as well as the beauty the town also offers many beautiful beaches. The large Ayioi Anargiri beach and the wonderful Ayia Paraskevi that is located on the south coast with Zogeria and Vrellos, where the sea takes on the most amazing colors, located on the north coast. This combination, along with the excellent tourist facilities have made the island of Spetses so popular to the tourists in the summer.

If you would like to rent an ATV or a motorbike on Spetses, as private vehicles are not allowed on Spetses, the same applies for Hydra, you can contact:

Details: Ilias rent a car – Spetses island

Contact : Ilias Tziamos

City : Spetses

Phone : + 30 6973886407

Spetses sightseeing, Greece
Spetses sightseeing, Greece

Ferries to Spetses

The most frequent crossings to Spetses are provided by Hellenic Seaways with their hydrofoils called Flying Dolphins or the larger (and more comfortable) Flying Cats. Hellenic have sailings daily throughout the year and only get cancelled in severe weather during the winter, which isn’t too often.

 

Spetses and the Saronic Islands in general are connected to the port of Piraeus. Your trip to Spetses can be with a flying dolphin or by flying cat. The trip will last approximately  2-3.30 hours.

Ferries from Piraeus to Spetses run all year round  on a daily basis. In summer of course there are more departures to choose from.

PiraeusAeginaPorosHydraAngistri –  Spetses

 

USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS ON SPETSES

Spetses Council        +30 22980 74517

Police Station on Spetses     +30 22980 73100

Tourist Police Station              +30 22980 73100

Medical Center on Spetses  +30 22980 72472

Port Authority of Spetses     +30 22980 72245, +30 22980 74416

If you would like to visit the beautiful island of Spetses, you may book your accommodation through our site and get a special discount.  If you need any extra information, then please contact us here information@abettergreece.com or +30 69 34 620 501 / +30 22840 24 879