Spetses is a Saronic Gulf island not far from the mainland Peloponnese. Comprised of just one historic main town, it offers great nightlife and restaurant options along with plenty of accessible beaches. Many affluent Athenians have made Spetses their second home.
The greatest treasures of Spetses are its pine groves and architecture. The island has always been lined by pine groves although many trees were used to build the island’s fleets of fishing, commercial, and military vessels.
Early 20th century philanthropist Sotiris Anargyros bought more than half the island and replanted the slopes with pine trees. The 19th and 20th century neoclassical mansions are a sight to see and are owned by descendants of shipping magnates or rich Athenians.
Spetses Town, on the east coast of the island, is its only main town. The small town is divided into districts. Kastelli, the oldest quarter, is marked by the 18th century Ayia Triada church, the town’s highest point. Kounoupitsa, the area along the coast to the north, is a residential district. Dapia is the modern harbor where ferries arrive. The waterfront is packed with tourist shops and cafes.
A popular sight in Spetses Town is the Bouboulina Museum, located in the home of ship commander and fearless fighter Laskarina Bouboulina. Considered a Spetsiot revolutionary, she was the captain of the warship Agamemnon. Visitors can take a 45 minute guided tour of the house that is now run by her fourth generation grandson. Another museum in town is the Spetses Museum, which holds articles from the War of Independence including representative pieces of furniture and household items from the period of the Greek Revolution and portraits of the island’s founding fathers. The museum is housed in the old mansion of Hatzigiannis Mexis, the island’s first governor.
In September, Spetses celebrates the Armata celebrations, a weeklong festival of performing arts dedicated to Panagia Armata. The week of concerts and exhibitions lead up to the harbor-front reenactment of a War of Independence naval battle complete with costumed fighters and burning ships.
Outside of Spetses Town the island is comprised of just one simple circular road around the island. It was made for biking. If you stray off the road, be sure to bring a map. You can rent a bike from the bike center located behind the fish market in town. Bikes are available for all ages and they also offer baby seats.
Ayia Marina is the best town beach, a 30-minute walk east of Spetses Town. West of town is Ayii Anaryiri, one of the best sandy beaches that you can only reach by water taxi. No matter what beach you choose to visit on Spetses, be sure to get there early because they are jam packed by mid-day in high season.
The nightlife on Spetses suits all tastes. There are plenty of bars, discos, and clubs. You can find a place to enjoy if you want to dance to Greek music until dawn or if you just prefer to relax and watch TV.