The Old Boatyards

Just before the Old Harbor of Spetses, the old boatyards (the karnagia, as they are known in Greek) resemble a singular open-air museum where tradition fuses with art. Several of them are still in operation, building gorgeous caique boats and repairing old ones, so here you can admire a range of vessels, from small fishing boats to large luxury recreation boats, and stroll among worn, as well as newly-hewn well-polished hulls exuding the intoxicating scents of wood, paint and glue.


Renowned for its seafaring history, Spetses has long shined in the art of shipbuilding and is one of the very few places in Greece to carry on this age-old tradition. The boatyards were oblong constructions, with a semi-circular vaulted roof and some small openings. During the island’s zenith in the 18th and 19th centuries, the ships that were built here sailed all over the Mediterranean Sea as merchants and were commissioned by both Greeks and foreigners during the 1800s. In fact, by 1868, it boasted the second largest ship production in the whole country after Syros, the reason behind this lay in the abundance of lumber from the local pine forests, which made it possible to build strong boats, able to transport considerable amounts of cargo.

It was here that nearly half the fleet that bolstered the Greek War of Independence was hand-crafted, including the renowned brig “Agamemnon” which belonged to the famous heroine Bouboulina, the first woman to attain the rank of naval commander.