General Information & Reviews

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The pine-covered island of Spetses is part of the Saronic Islands (along with Hydra, Aegina, Poros, and Agistri) and is the closest to the Argolic Gulf since it is the southernmost island of the group.
Its name derives from Isola delle Spezzie (meaning the Island of Spices), a name given to the island by the Venetians because of the many herbs growing on its mountains.
Similar to Hydra, Spetses played an important role during the Greek Revolution of 1821. The reverred heroine Laskarina Bouboulina is probably the greatest figure whose name is intertwined with the island.

Spetses is a charming island characterized by a tranquil ambiance despite being a cosmopolitan destination. Wonderful beaches and lovely small bays, impressive architecture, various historical sites, a charming old harbor, and modern facilities comprise the island's profile and explain why so many people tend to come back to it every summer. One of its special traits is that visitors cannot hire a car there. Also, they will mostly spot carriages, bicycles, motorbikes, taxis, and the local bus.

An interesting fact is that Spetses was one of the first islands to attract tourists from all over the world. That is because of Poseidonion Hotel, one of the first fully organized hotels which opened its doors back in1914. Several royals, politicians, and other elite personalities stayed there and, as a result, the island became a high-class destination with a noble flair. Thenceforth, tourist facilities, and accommodations have developed and are now fully equipped and welcome numerous Greek and foreign visitors who chose Spetses for their holiday.

Reaching the island is very easy as ferries to Spetses depart from the port of Piraeus on a daily basis throughout the year. During the high season, itineraries become more frequent (approximately 5 ferry departures a day).
The route also includes Poros, Hydra, Ermioni, and Porto Heli, hence it is possible to get to the island from those places, too.

More about Spetses


18 Reviews
  • lovegr21 07 Oct 2012
    Escape for short vacations
    For a short trip, only a couple of hours from Athens by boat, Spetses sounds like a brilliant destination to relax and take a fresh breath away from the busy centre. Those ten years that I live in Athens, in never really bothered to see not even one of the Saronic islands but after all I have heard for this beautiful island, last year I was very curious to see it myself. I was off work for more than two weeks so I thought I should not spoil not a single day.

    We arrived in Spetses a couple of hours later ready to start our walks in the picturesque town. We actually took the horse carriage to get us to the hotel. On our way, I was surprised by the elegant atmosphere of such a small place, the Neoclassical houses and the traditional atmosphere. Small islands like Spetses is like an embrace, it makes you feel home. There are not many things to do but one time is never enough when visiting the beautiful beaches and the walks in the town.

    The most interesting spot in Spetses is the port Dapia lined up with cannons that were used in the Greek revolution. We sat in one of the great cafeterias there and enjoyed the view to the sea. We also had some lovely meals in the central square taverns and refreshing swims. Spetses is not for long vacations but I will surely remember it as one of my best trips in Greece.
  • patrinlove 11 Jun 2010
    Loved the long walks
    We arrived by the hydrofolis from Piraeus at the port of Spetses called Dapia. The temperature hovered around 26 degrees C and everything seemed set for a perfect holiday. Everything about the island from the pine forests to the horse traps that move about the harbor front lend a romantic and laidback feel to the island.

    Interestingly, cars are not allowed in Spetses, but motorcycles are, and there are a couple of buses to get around. We trudged on foot to most places, and we didn't actually mind the exercise, as it gave us an excuse to gorge on a good meal without feeling guilty. After we had checked into a small hotel in Dapia, we took the main road and headed south up the hill and visited some splendid churches.

    The main square of Spetses is a pretty place. The island has a fine architectural style with its stately mansions built by wealthy islanders who operated a prosperous shipping business. These houses have impressive gardens and courtyards paved with pebble mosaics.

    We had a meal at one of the tavernas on the square. It was good, but couldn't hold a candle to the Patralis Fish Taverna at the seafront of Kounoupitsa. Sitting outdoor, we watched the boats sailing past and the sun disappear under the Mediterranean waters. I can still taste the delicious Lobster Spaghetti, the Mussel Pilaf, Kakavia (soup prepared from the day's catch), and the famous Fish a la Spetsiota.
  • Elena 01 Jan 2010
    Lovely place
    The most impressive fact in Spetses was that we had to travel on donkeys from the port to our hotel. The houses in Spetses have traditional architecture and most are built of stone. No compare with Cyclades and their white houses. The colour that dominates in Spetses is not white but grey.

    The loveliest spot is Dapia, the new harbour with all those small cafes on top of the walls. In Spetses, I noticed that there are not as many gift shops as in other islands. Apart from some in Dapia, I didn't see any other.

    To go to the beaches in Spetses, you take the bus or the boat. We tried Vrellos and Agia Marina. The inland of Spetses is also nice and I was told there was a monastery, but didn't visit it. Also worth is to visit the museum of Bouboulina only 5 minutes walk from the port. It is a good chance to see a traditional house from the inside. She was a local heroine and a fighter in the Greek Revolution.
  • vasilikiang 11 Oct 2009
    Different yet romantic
    The most beautiful part of Spetses is Dappia, the port, with the small canons around and the lovely cafeterias. This is a great spot especially with the soft lights at night.

    No vehicles are allowed on Spetses, except for the public bus that goes around the island, bikes and motorbikes. Be prepared to walk a lot, but it is a nice island for walking, not like Hydra that has a lot of ups and downs.

    The whole town is flat and paved and on the side of the streets, you see wonderful traditional buildings. Spetses is not like other islands, it doesn't remind at all Cyclades. Colours are much different, not white and blue but stony grey. I was surprised not to see many gift shops, except for a few in the port.

    Pay a visit to the museum of Bouboulina, 5 minutes walk from the port. This is the house of a local heroine, constructed in the 17th century and depicting an old house with many nice furniture inside. There is a great tour in Greek but if you ask the tour guide, she will explain you in English what you see.

    Boats leave frequently and go to beaches around Spetses but the beach in the town is also very popular, lately it became organized so you will find umbrellas and sunbeds. It is a pity that it is so difficult to visit Bekiri Cave, it would be a great excursion, but you have to take a boat, leave it in the sea and swim to the cave to go there, so very few people try it.

    When you book accommodation, make sure the hotel is close to the port, otherwise it will be very tiring to walk and drag your luggage in the middle of a hot day. If you want something more traditional, take the horse carriage at the port. Horses stink but it is a romantic experience. Trip fares are fixed (usually about 15-20 euros) and so is the route.
  • rania32 26 Jul 2009
    Take few clothes
    I had heard a lot about Spetses from a friend who has a summer house there and spent a couple of days there in June. As it was early season and the middle of week, we had the island for ourselves. Trip from Athens is easy and very fast by hydrofoil. Do not take much luggage because it may be unconvient for the trip and as there are no taxis on Spetsesyou will have to carry them to your hotel. After all, you will not need a lot of clothes, just a swimming tank and some beach clothes. The town is lovely and very romantic. You will find the best taverns in Dapia. Food is nice, try grilled fish, saganaki (fried cheese) and souvlaki. Mythos Beer is Greek and very tasty, too. Spetses is generally a bit expensive, so stay only for 2-3 days, they are enough. If you want to continue your holidays, take the hydrofoil to Hydra or Porto Heli, they are both too close to Spetses.
  • laurrench 22 May 2009
    Nice cocktail island
    Spetses doesn't have good beaches or strong nightlife. But it has lovely architecture with impressive old buildings and one of the best cocktail spots in Greece. The port of Spetses is called Dapia and is surrounded by beautiful bars and cafes. To have a drink at night in these bars is a wonderful experience. If you are with a boyfriend, it gets very romantic. I loved the horse carriages, they look so traditional, like drawn out of the medieval times. We often took a ride with horse carriage in Spetses. I was only annoyed with the motorbikes. They could get very noisy especially on Saturday night. There are no sights on Spetses, no castles. When I came back, I found that there is a museum in the town about a Greek heroine.
  • oilu243 09 Mar 2009
    A long weekend is enough
    The hydrofoil to Spetses was very fast and accurate but a bit pricey. The island is beautiful, although it was small. There is not much to see, so I would suggest to go for a long weekend or at least no more than 5 days. Beaches are nice but I have seen better in other Greek islands. You go to the beaches by taxi boat from the town. The atmosphere on the island is relaxing and horse carriages make it romantic. The old port is a nice place to enjoy a drink at night and see the small lights of the fishing boats in the harbour. The locals are calm people. Most of them don't speak English, except if they are young, but you will have no problem in communication. Body language and gestures are pretty effective in such cases.
  • alexa23 16 Dec 2008
    Ride a horse carriage
    As I had a few days left before my holidays end, I went for a weekend to Spetses. It was my first time there. The island is small but very picturesque. Old mansions all over the town, paved streets and a lot of horse carriages are the main characteristics of Spetses. Riding a horse carriage is the best thing to do. It feels like you are a princess in the Medieval Times. My favourite place was the old harbour, having a drink there with view to the boats is really relaxing. As for beaches, I can't say because I din't go swimming while I was there.
  • ta55yus 11 Nov 2008
    Picturesque and busy
    Spetses is a small island but it has enough to keep you busy for a week, or at least for a long weekend. Close to Athens and well connected, so you will not face troubles in transportations. The port is very picturesque and I liked it ever more at nights, with the small lights like candles. Best beaches Agia Paraskevi and Agia Marina. Go to the beaches by taxi boats. The special thing is that on Spetses there are no cars, only carriages and bikes for your transport.
  • kirstidwyer2008 28 Sep 2008
    You have to visit
    Spetses is a historical island for Greece.
    The people of the island in 1821 where a a part of the war.
    Every year, in early September, they celebrate it with a festival called Armata.
    One of the very nice parts of the island is Palio Limani, the old port, that's where the night meets the day, beacause all the night clubs are in that area.
    Another place that is nice and my favorite is Zogeria, it's a beach, only open in the summer, but very quite, no motorbikes around...!
    The sea is clean and crystal.
    There are two museams that you must go to as well.
    The thing that you have got to do is going on a bugge ride, do not forget.
    Also you can rent a motobike for a day and go around the island, that way you can have a look at all the beaches and around 7pm - 8pm you will be able to see the lovely sun sets!
    I think that Spetses is a place that everybody must visit.
  • Chrystalla Varnava 10 Sep 2008
    A place to relax
    Spetses is a place where you can relax. It would be better to go by FlyingCat, as Dolphins are not that good. There are very nice beaches on Spetses and reall good fish restaurants by the sea. Xilokeriza was my best beach. It is good to rent a motorbike in order to travel around the island. Spetses has many beauties to see.
  • adelisa245 21 Jul 2008
    Reduce motorbike traffic
    Spetses is a lovely island where we have had many good holidays. We have several Greek friends and we are always made welcome. We do think however that the beaches have become more commercialised with too many sun beds and people pestering you to buy drinks etc. We preferred Spetses as it was a pure quiet Greek island. We also were surprised at the amount of
    up market clothes shops there seem to be and the amount of traffic, i.e. scooters and motor bikes around the town. We were kept awake during the early hours of the morning by young people riding up and down on the seafront on bikes and scooters which does not give a good impression to tourists.
  • heleanatz 30 Jun 2008
    Too much walking
    Spetses is a very small and nice island but I personally didn't like that I had to do so much walking around it. I am used to using cars or taxis,
    so I found it hard to walk from village to village or in the night looking for our hotel in total dark, as in some areas there was no street light at all. We rented bikes for a couple of days, but this was difficult too. However, the vibe of the island is very calm, since there is no noise or car pollution. Go if you want to, but only for a few days. Do not spend all your vacation there.
  • ljilaserb 13 May 2008
    Spetses nightlife
    In Spetses I stayed with a friend whose family has a house there. I didn't like the beaches very much since they were almost all isolate but the nightlife was much fun. Try Socrates and Kalia bars! Very nice music and fun people. Also try fish a la spetsiota in any local tavern, delicious!!
  • olkadrop35 09 Apr 2008
    Move around by horse-carriages
    Spetses is easy to go from Piraeus, Athens. That is what we did and in a couple of hours, we were there! The trip is short and not tiring at all. The island is lovely and looks like living in the old times. The food was ok but I found coffee a bit expensive. The nicer beaches on Spetses were on the back side of the island and you have to catch a boat to go there. Remember that no cars are allowed on Spetses and you can move around by horse-carriages. I suggest you try this special experience, I felt like a princess! In general, it is a pretty island but stay only for a few days, because there is not much to do.
  • Stav 03 Dec 2007
    Easily accessible and friendly people
    What I liked most on Spetses? The fact that there are no cars; easily accessible; friendly people; everything was in close proximity; the horse-and-carriage rides.
    Food was good- except very expensive for coffee and cake. The food prices were fine as the quality was good. Tip for future visitors: Catch the boats to take you to the back of the island were there are nicer beaches.
  • petersonsbbr 09 Oct 2007
    Our discovery of heaven on earth
    Our cruise ended in Pireaus and we wanted to spend 3 days on an outer island before spending our last 3 days in Athens. In planning our 3 days in Spetses we thought we might get bored and considered a day trip to the Peloppenese (ferry or water taxi to Porto Heli, rental car, and touring archeological sites). But we found Spetses to be so relaxing, quiet, and peaceful that we were content to just enjoy our discovery of heaven on earth. We stayed at the Nissia-it is beautiful and the service was excellent. We ate mostly local food and drinks ("fish ala Spetsiota", fried cheese "saganaki", Greek salads, souvlaki, coffee frappe, and Greek wines) and enjoyed it all. Service people were very efficient and friendly. In all, our dining experiences were very positive. Our visit was early in the season and mid week so there were few other tourists and we had Spetses to ourselves.
  • Suzette 27 Sep 2005
    I really liked it
    I really liked the island of Spetses. I liked its traditional architecture, its beauty and its wonderful beaches.

    I liked the studio we rented, the restaurants and the cute little cafes.

    I liked the people and the general atmosphere of the island.

    I can?t think of something that I didn?t liked?everything seemed perfect to me.

    The only town and capital of Spetses was particularly attractive: it had neo-classical houses with coloured walls and superb wooden balconies as well as numerous narrow alleys.

    The vegetation of Spetses was rich. The beaches, even if just a few, are really confortable.

    I really recommend this island, it is a great destination. I don't know haw are the other islands of Greece but for my first one, I really appreciate it.