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The noble "island of aromas"

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Spetses: The noble "island of aromas"

When coming to Spetses, this cosmopolitan island of the Saronic Gulf, the first views you get are postcard-perfect: you will be impressed by the dazzling mansions, the horse-drawn carriages wandering around Dapia with the pebbled mosaics and simple houses with particular architecture that blends island and continental elements.

Ancient Pityoussa seems to have taken its current name from the Venetians, who called it "Izola di Spezzie" ("Island of Aromas") and indeed, the island is full of pine trees, bougainvilleas and jasmine, that create an intoxicating, romantic setting. This picturesque image is preserved thanks to the absence of vehicles, as everyone moves around on foot, motorbikes or ATVs, buses, taxis, bicycles, and water taxis.

Spetses became an important naval and shipbuilding force in the 18th and 19th century. This power played a decisive role to the Greek War of Independence, along with the contribution of its glorious shipowners and captains, such as the legendary Bouboulina.

Routes & Attractions

As soon as you reach Spetses by boat, you are in Dapia, the old cannon station above the port, which is a meeting point and the centre of the island's life, with shops and bustling cafes. Marvel at the building of the Chancellery (the City Hall of the Revolution) that stands well-preserved as well as the magnificent Poseidonio Hotel of 1911, an architectural jewel, and the residence of the aristocracy of the 20th century. Follow the road to the east to reach the old harbour, where the statue of Laskarina Bouboulina dominates the Poseidonio Square.

Spetses is famous for its impressive neoclassical mansions; 35 buildings have been characterized as "listed monuments". Among them, the Anargyrou mansion (1904) with the imposing Egyptian motifs, the Chatzianargyros mansion (18th century), the Anargyreios and Korgialenios School (1919). The pine-fringed path that leads to these two Schools is one of the most beautiful routes on the island.

The family manor of Bouboulina is now operating as a museum dedicated to the great heroine of the Greek Revolution, who was the only woman in the world with the admiral’s title. Here you will see relics of 1821 (weapons collections, old books, paintings, letters, ship models), personal items and old furniture.

The Hatzigianni - Mexi mansion (first lord of the island) houses the Spetses Museum, whose collection includes important relics such as the Flag of the Revolution and the ossuary with the bones of Bouboulina.

Visit the historic Monastery of Agios Nikolaos, with its marble bell tower dating back to 1805, and the elaborate pebbled courtyard. Here you’ll find the “House of Spetses” which represents a typical island residence.

Experience the panoramic views at the peak of Prophet Elias, at 285 meters above the sea, and visit the homonymous chapel.

To admire the sunset, walk up the pine-covered hill with the Lighthouse of Spetses, one of the first in Greece, that began operating in 1837. There is also the Grove of Panagia Armata, with the chapel built in 1846 and monuments dedicated to the freedom-fighters of the revolution. Moving towards the Old Port, you will find yourself in the Grove of the Cannon Station, with the inspired bronze sculptures (mermaids, artistic representations of animal forms) of the pioneering Greek sculptor Natalia Mela, who also created the statue of Bouboulina.

At the shipyards of the Old Port you will find handmade wooden miniatures of ships, to buy as a souvenir of your journey to Spetses.

Beaches & Activities

Deep waters and a combination of sand and pebbles await at the largest beach of the island, Agioi Anargyroi, 12 km west of Dapia. It’s an organized beach and particularly popular among water sports enthusiasts. On its right is the historic "Cave of Bekiris" or "Cave of Lovers" where, according to the legend, a spring gushing out the "water of love" promises to strengthen a couple’s love for life.

If you are seeking serenity, but also the comfort of an organized beach, you should visit Zogeria towards the north, in a natural small bay with pine trees, olive trees and crystal-clear deep waters.

Experience the cosmopolitan air of Agia Marina, with its homonymous chapel. A fully organized beach, with bars and restaurants overlooking Spetsopoula.

12 km from Dapia, on the west side of the island, is Agia Paraskevi, a very popular and organized pebbled beach with snack bars and water sports facilities. Enjoy its turquoise crystal-clear waters against the backdrop of the lush pine forest offering natural shade to visitors.

White pebbles, turquoise waters and pine trees that reach down towards the sea create an exceptional scenery at the large, organized beach of Xylokeriza on the south side of the island. The beach is ideal for moments of relaxation and a certain isolation.

Tastes of the island

Buy exclusive cheeses from the women's Monastery of All Saints (Agion Panton), which operates since 1830 and where the nuns have developed a great cheese-making tradition.

On the island you will find the famous Fish a la Spetsiota, (fillet of large white fish, usually cod, breaded with breadcrumbs and baked in a tomato sauce in the oven), lobster spaghetti, seafood saganaki and fresh fish.

Try the rich and intensely aromatic local pine honey, as well as the fine almond sweets of Spetses from the traditional pastry shops.

Traditions & Events

Every September, the popular events of "Armata" take place, culminating in the representation of the famous naval battle of Spetses during the Greek Revolution of 1821, with the burning of a Turkish flagship in the port of the island accompanied by impressive fireworks.

The Easter celebrations on the island are also very popular, with crowds gathering to watch the Epitaphs meeting in front of Poseidonio Hotel, as well as the traditions of the Resurrection and Easter Sunday.

Don’t miss…

Discover the island by hiking, taking a sea taxi or the locals' favourite means of transport, the bicycle; follow the 26-kilometre path that goes along the entire coastline. If you love mountain biking, explore the path that crosses the hinterland to the top of Profitis Ilias, for magnificent views of the neighbouring Costa and the mountains of the Peloponnese.

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