Spetses is the southernmost of the five Saronic islands, approximately 53nm (1.5 hours by hydrofoil) from Piraeus, the main port of Athens. Its proximity to the Peloponnese mainland (approximately 1.5nm) makes the island accessible nearly throughout the year, even under severe winds. The visitor can either take a ferry/hydrofoil from Piraeus, or drive/take a bus from Athens to Kosta (2.5 hours) on the mainland, and then take a ferry or sea taxi across.
The pine covered island has a long shipbuilding history, with most of its wealth having come from the sea during the island’s significant participation in the war of independence against the Ottoman Empire, which started in 1821. One of Spetses’ main attractions today is in fact the “Armata”, a spectacular, fireworks-based representation of the Spetses sea battle (1822).
Most of the architecture in Spetses is 19th century-based, which together with the absence of cars (you need a special permit to have one, even so it can only be used outside of the town), makes visitors feel as though they have taken a step back in time. Unlike most places in Greece, people use traditional means of transportation; horses, bicycles and walking (as well as motorbikes) are widely used, to the extent where it does not seem odd for someone to walk for 10 minutes to a destination (hence the title).
The island has a lot of history, and there are many interesting historic places to visit, mainly around the 19th century and the war of independence. There are also a large number of beaches, some of them with umbrellas and sun beds. Waters are clean and calm most of the times, and you have the option to go to a quiet, or a busy beach. From the Old Harbour and Dapia/Town centre you can walk to some of them, or take a bus, sea taxi or a caique to those further away. There is always the option to rent a motorbike.
The Old Harbour is located towards the east of Dapia, and is a short 10-15 minute seaside walk from the centre of town. Ships are still being built in the traditional way at the Old Harbour, and you will probably have a chance to admire the shipbuilders working on a wooden hull. Old Harbour is also home to the best eating/entertainment choices on the island, features a grocery store with a sea view, and is the premier location for a holiday rental in Spetses.
There is a variety of food offered in Spetses, and you can experience both international and Greek cooking, which can be either fresh fish or meat based. Vegetarians will find a lot of the Greek dishes suitable for their diet, and everyone will enjoy a beer, or a glass of wine in one of the seaside bars. Finally, there are two open cinemas (no roof) operating during the summer for those needing to do some movie catch up.
Written by the owner of Property 412232 in Spetses, Greece