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Explore the Island of Spetses, Close and Yet So Far From Athens

Spetses island.
Boats off the coast of Spetses island. Credit: dronepicr/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Only a two-hour ferry ride away from Athens, the island of Spetses with its picturesque old harbor is a well-known destination for a fabulous weekend getaway. Spetses has an especially elegant atmosphere, mainly due to its many Venetian mansions, which bring to mind a distant place and time.

The scenic capital of the island, Spetses Town, is ideal for meandering and romantic walks, while there’s plentiful swimming and sunbathing to be enjoyed at the many beaches along its shores.

A selection of boutique hotels, sophisticated restaurants, and marinas filled with yachts from all over the world are just some of the more cosmopolitan attractions of this island.

When English novelist and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz first visited the town of Spetses, he described it as “charming, unlike anywhere I’ve visited in Greece, starting at ground level, with mosaics fashioned out of colored pebbles.”

Greece has countless spectacular islands, but this magical place is truly an ideal destination for those who want to relax and unwind close to—yet so far from—the Greek capital.

It’s time to get lost in the enchanting world of Spetses.

Spetses island history

Spetses island
A street on scenic Spetses. Credit: Jean Housen/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

Archaeological excavations show that the first signs of human habitation on Spetses date back to the Early Bronze Age; this is also called the first Hellenic Era, which occurred around 2,500 BC.

The local population increased during the 15th century with people arriving from the Peloponnese. However, they were unable to establish permanent villages or towns there due to the frequent pirate attacks the island suffered.

Only beginning in the seventeenth century were the first real towns established on Spetses.

Once established, Spetses began to develop a strong maritime and trading tradition, which is still one of the trademarks of the island.

The sophisticated, cosmopolitan image of the island of Spetses was initially created by Sotiris Anargyros, a Spetsiot who got rich in America. He first used some of his money to build a road and a reservoir there and then founded a prestigious private boarding school, the Anargyrios and Korgialeneios School, in 1927.

Anargyros also built the first luxury hotel on Spetses, the Posidonio Hotel, in 1914 and financed the conservation and reforestation program of the island’s pine forest.


Spetses island
Spetses island town on the water. Credit: vaggelis vlahos/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

Aside from the main beach in the town, which is lovely in and of itself, there are many other beaches on the island on which to enjoy a day in the sun with all the amenities. Transport to the beaches in Spetses is made easy by bus, or by boat from Dapia, the island’s new port.

All the beaches on Spetses are lovely and scenic, providing idyllic spots for relaxing family vacations. You owe it to yourself to explore the best beaches on the island, four of which are listed below.

Spetses Town Beach

Spetses island
Spetses town beach. Credit: Jean Housen/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

The beach here is centrally located, stretching all along the shoreline of the town. The road to the right of Dapia, the central part of the main town, leads to this area.

The beach has some sand, but it is mostly pebbled, and it has shallow green waters that are great for a relaxing swim.

Agia Paraskevi Beach

Agia paraskevi
Aerial view of Agia Paraskevi beach. Credit: dronepicr /Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

The stunning sandy beach of Agia Paraskevi is found in a sheltered cove on the western shore of the island.

The thick pine forest offers shade, and one can enjoy water sports and the nearby snack bar. This quiet, lovely beach can be reached either by road or by taxi boats which make stops there.

Agia Marina Beach

Agia Marina is Spetses’ most popular beach. It has a gorgeous small pink and white chapel of the same name, which is surrounded by palm and cypress trees, as well as pines, close by.

The beach consists of sand and pebbles, and amenities include a variety of water sports, sun-beds, umbrellas, a beach bar, and numerous tavernas near the water where you can enjoy fabulous Greek food.

Archaeological excavations have discovered evidence of ancient human settlement in Agia Marina, including ruins of a fortified wall, figurines, and clay vessels, which all date back to the Early Bronze Age.

Agioi Anargyri Beach

Septses island
Agioi Anargyri aerial beach. Credit: dronepicr/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Agioi Anargiri is one of the largest and most developed beaches on Spetses. Situated in a lovely cove, it is a pebble-and-sand beach with especially deep waters, which make it perfect for water sports activities.

A number of good tavernas can also be found in the area for a delicious meal after a long day at the beach. Agioi Anargiri Beach can be reached by either a local bus or taxi boat.

What to do on Spetses

Spetses island
A horse-drawn carriage on Spetses. Credit: Jean Housen/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

Apart from the beautiful beaches dotting the island of Spetses, what draws visitors to this island is its undeniable nostalgic charm. Therefore, a must-do when visiting this scenic place is to take a romantic trip around the island in a horse-drawn carriage.

Carriage owners are licensed by the local authority and they own at least four horses that are rubber-shoed at least four times a year. A horse is not supposed to work more than 5 hours a day and must rest the day after work.

The old harbor area of Spetses, called Baltiza, was an important shipbuilding center during the 18th and 19th century and features lighthouses and museums for interested visitors today.

The fascinating historical museum is located in the mansion that once belonged to a local merchant who lived in the nineteenth century named Hatzigianni-Mexi. It includes items that portray the history of the island from ancient to modern times.

Bekiris Cave

Spetses island
Bekiris cave on Spetses. Credit: /Wikimedia Commons/

Although this stunning cave is not easily accessible, it provides unforgettable sights to those who venture in, including a small sandy beach, as well as formations of stalagmites and stalactites. You can reach the cave by boat or via a path from the beach at Agioi Anargiri.

A video of Spetses island can be found below:

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