Spetses, an island boasting a long naval tradition, has managed to retain its individual character thanks to its well-preserved grand captain mansions, bearing witness to the island’s glorious past.
Named “the island of aromas” by Venetian merchants for its position on the spice route, Spetses features pine-covered hills, secluded beaches and horse-drawn carts. The town of Spetses (pop. 4,000) is the only large settlement on the island.
Since private vehicles are not allowed on the island, the most common modes of transport are walking, horse-drawn carriages, bicycles, mopeds, and motorcycles. Trails encircle the island and total about 25 to 30 km.
Beaches closest to the town of Spetses include: Agios Mamas in the center of town; Kaíki beach 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) to the northwest and Agia Marina 2 kilometers (1 mile) to the south, both of which offer water-sports. Public buses serve beaches further outside town, including Zogeria, Agioi Anargiroi, and Agia Paraskevi.
Thanks to its proximity to Athens, Spetses has long been a favorite cosmopolitan getaway destination, as reflected in its smart cafes, high-end restaurants and stylish boutiques.
Things to Do
Take a Stroll
Since the use of cars is restricted, horse and carriage or walking remain the preferred means of getting around on Spetses. So be sure to take a romantic evening ride in any of the horse-drawn carts that operate on the island, passing the picturesque Old Harbour, Agios Nikolaos and back to the main town, Dapia.
Follow local legends
The neoclassical captains' homes and cannons from the revolution of 1821 tell a story that is unique to Spetses, which can also be glimpsed at the Spetses museum.
Don’t miss the Bouboulina Museum, where the War of Independence female naval commander’s personal items are on display.
Enjoy the swanky scene
There’s no end to the festivities in the cosmopolitan neighbourhood of the Old Harbour. Candlelit tables, jetties and romantic terraces, gourmet dining and fine wine, soft music and lively conversation.
Spetses is an ideal place for those who love riding bicycles or scooters. Rent one from the numerous rental agencies available and ride around the island to see the beautiful beaches and hidden gems.
// By ferry from Athens
There are frequent departures of Flying Dolphin and Catamaran from the port of Piraeus to the port of Spetses. The trip lasts about two hours.
// By car from Athens
Driving through the Peloponnese to the seaside village of Costa takes about three hours. A 15-minute water taxi ride connects Costa with Spetses.
// Event Transportation
Event participants arriving on opening day will have the option of private transportation, arranged directly from Athens airport via a chartered boat. The return to Athens will be arranged by water taxi and buses.
// Island Transportation
There are no private vehicles allowed on Spetses. Event participants can rent horse-drawn carts, scooters or bicycles. Venues are in close proximity and walking is advised.