Located in the Saronic Gulf, Spetses is a simply wonderful little island. It's only a couple of hours away from Athens but has kept its traditional style and architecture. Surprisingly, despite the fact that it's small and has kept true to its history and culture, Spetses is a very cosmopolitan island boasting a number of modern bars, clubs and lovely restaurants
It's an island covered in pines trees, mountainous areas, sandy beaches and rocky coasts riddled with picturesque bays, stunning beaches, quaint villages and a varied landscape. All in all it's a gem of an island and the lush backdrop and crystal clear waters make it a very popular year round destination for weekends and longer holidays.
Archaeologists have found signs that Spetses was first occupied around 8000 BC. Spetses has a long history of being used as a place of refuge, whether for ships or people. In 2300 BC Spetses' three natural harbours acted as a refuge for ships carrying goods from the Argolis Gulf. During invasions of neighbouring areas, many people took refuge in Spetses. The refugees on the island built most of the old village of Kastelli in the 18th Century.
The island has been occupied by a number of different people and the Turks, the Russians and the Venetians have all passed through. At one stage the naval force of Spetses was one of magnitude and played a role in fighting off the Turks and the island was the home to well-known heroes.
The Hadjigiannis Mexis Museum is located a short walk from the harbour in an 18th century home that belongs to the Hadjiyannis Family. It's a beautiful setting for a lovely collection of items from the 4,000 year old history of the Island.
Bouboulina’s house Built in the 17th century conveyed the importance of its owners, a leading Spetsiot family. Bouboulina herself was a heroine of the 1821 Greek War of Independence. Visit her house which is now turned into a museum with Florentine wood-carved ceilings, 18th & 19th century furniture, fine porcelain, antique guns and rare books.
The Church of Panagia Armata. This rural church was built between 1824 and 1830 to honour the victory of the Greek warriors against the Ottoman fleet.
The island's Cathedral is of great historical importance as it was here here Spetses’ Independence flag was raised on 3rd April 1821. It was also here where the dead body of Paul Bonaparte, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte who came to Greece to fight on the side of Greeks, was kept in a barrel of rum for three whole years!
Make sure you take a stroll to the Old Harbour in the evening. The roads are closed to all vehicles as dusk falls and you can enjoy the view of the sea from the coastal road and see the beautiful mansions along the way. Check out the Marina with its luxury yachts and don't miss the Lighthouse, one of the first to be built in Greece, which dates back to 1837. Then walk up the Old Harbour past all the cafes and restaurants - although by then you may have worked up a thirst and want to stop for a drink. If you want some stunning views take the steep dirt road to the tiny little church of Prophet Elia.
If you are on the island at the beginning of September you may get to witness the Celebration of Panagia Armata which is the re-enactment of a sea battle against a Turkish Fleet complete with a wonderful display of fireworks.
It's best to avoid swimming at the Town beach. However there are some really good beaches dotted around the island.
There is a good selection of boutique style shops in the main town with items such as sarongs, clothing, souvenirs, local specialties and hand-made jewellery. As with most of the Greek islands it is best to wander around and have a look as something new is bound to be popping up.
With its cosmopolitan culture and close vicinity to Athens, Spetses has excellent nightlife which is concentrated almost 100% in the main town with a number of bars and clubs along the waterfront as well as in the little streets that run just behind the waterfront. The place to be is Palio Limani which means Old Harbour. In this beautiful and picturesque naturally protected bay you will find every kind of entertainment from traditional seaside tavernas, ouzeris, good restaurants, nice little bars and café's and even one or two night clubs.
Built in 1851 by the famous Captain Michail Economou one of the most important Greek Shipowners, this beautifully preserved mansio is situated right on the sea front, a ten minutes walk from the port in the beautiful island of Spetses
Poseidonion Grand Hotel Spetses is without any doubt the landmark of Spetses island, it is where Royalty, movie stars and the high society always stay when in Spetses
3 nights from £619 per person incl flights
Hidden behind stone walled grounds is a charming 19th century family mansion just a few minutes walk from the old harbour of Spetses. The rooms and villas of the Orloff hotel are grouped around a large pool and offer contemporary chic and comfort.
3 nights from £529 per person incl flights
A luxurious collection of well-appointed suites and apartments clustered around an impressive pool, Villa Nika is the place for a calm, relaxing stay on the beautiful green island of Spetses. Located in Agia Marina, close to some of the islands best beaches and watersports, this boutique hotel offers its guests the convenience of a fully equipped kitchen and the proximity to local shops and tavernas. The old harbour is about 7 minutes walk away with its restaurants, bars and nightlife.
3 nights from £599 per person including flights