At the House of Bouboulina, one of the traditional stone mansions of the island, the family house has such a priceless collection of unique treasures it is like time has stopped and you have become part of the history."Spetses is a lush island that is wrapped around by beautiful coastline, full of pine trees reaching the seaside, with crystal clear waters and narrow cobblestoned streets.
It is one of the well known cosmopolitan destinations, attracting famous celebrities and guests among the international jet-setters. Even when tourism was in its infancy for the rest of Greece, here was already operating an exemplary organised hotel, the most famous Poseidon ("Poseidonion Grand Hotel", as it is called today) a work of art constructed by Sotirios Anargirou, a spetsiotis benefactor of the island. Among its famous guests were, Prince Nikolaos & Tatiana Marry, who chose Spetses for their glamorous wedding in August, 2010.
Spetses, an island boasting a long naval tradition, is famous for its significant contribution to the 1821 War of Independence. It was here that the revolution flag was raised on 3rd April 1821. The island has managed to retain its individual traditional character thanks to its well-preserved grand captain mansions, still bearing eloquent witness to the islandâs glorious past.
Have you ever wondered of any alternatives giving a meaning to what we call quality of life, when we are in a congested metropolis? Did you know that the time is takes to watch a movie, you can catch a Flying Dolphin to reach the island of Spetses?
The picturesque old harbour and Dapia, a tourist and commercial centre where the heart of the islandâs entertainment beats, are the trademarks of its town. Take a romantic trip around the island in horse-drawn carriages and admire the grand mansions adorning the narrow cobbled streets of the island. After all, you are not allowed to take a car to the island. The only means of transportation apart from the carriages are, a few taxis that roam around the few remaining streets, motorbikes for rental, and the most commonly used by visitors water taxis. The best time to visit Spetses is during September, when "Armata", a truly impressive re-enactment of a naval battle has taken place since 1931.
The rich history and naval tradition of the island is reflected on numerous sites that are definitely worth visiting:
- The House of Bouboulina: built around the end of the 17th century, the buildingâs shape indicates the importance of its owner. Bouboulina was a heroine that played a significant role in the 1821 War of Independence. Visit her house, which now operates as a museum to admire its wood-carved Florentine ceiling, 18th and 19th century furniture, interesting collection of old weapons, fine porcelain and rare books.
- The House of Hatzigiannis Mexis: today the house hosts a museum exhibiting relics from the War of Independence, letters written by famous Greek war heroes like Kolokotronis and Athanasios Diakos, a folk art collection and the relics of Bouboulina. The house was built between 1795 and 1798, and is a donation by the heirs of the Mexis family. The objects on display represent more than 4,000 years of the islandâs history.
- Church of Panagia Armata: this rural church was built between 1824 and 1830 to honour the victory of the Greek warriors against the Ottoman fleet.
- Cathedral of Agios Nikolaos: the island's Cathedral is of great historical importance as it was here where the island's Independence flag was raised on 3rd April 1821. It was also here where the dead body of Paul Bonaparte, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte who came to Greece to fight on the side of Greeks, was kept in a barrel of rum for three whole years!
Other sites worth a visit are: the War Memorial of the Spetses Navy, the Clock in Rologiou Square, and the Anargyreios Korgialeneios School. Situated in the area of Kounoupitsa, today it houses the Centre of Environmental Education.
Despite its small size, the island of Spetses is full of sun-drenched beaches; swim in crystal blue waters with a beautiful pine-forest as a backdrop.
Turning left from the port of Dapia, on the way to Korgialeneios School, and after a ten minutes walk, you will see the Kounoupitsa beach. Itâs actually two beaches, one which is well organised, with umbrellas, water sports, beach volley and beach bars, or traditional picturesque taverns. The second is also sandy and less crowded.
Following the road, you will find Ligoneri (a small organised beach), and Vrellos, a beautiful sandy beach on the west part of the island. Surrounded by a dense pine forest, itâs no wonder it is called "Paradise". The beach is also an ideal starting point for following a beautiful walking route towards Profitis Elias, the highest spot of the island.
A dirt road to the right will take us to Zogeria bay. With pine trees that stretch down to the beach and azure waters, the locals consider it the most beautiful beach on the island. Weather permitted, you can enjoy a breathtaking view all the way to Nafplio.
A few more kilometres southeast, and you will get to Agia Paraskevi - a sandy beach situated on the west part of the island, only 12 km away from Dapia. It took its name from the near-by chapel of Agia Paraskevi. Water sport facilities are also available. Or Agioi Anargyroi: one of the largest beaches on the southwest of the island with clean and deep waters. It offers also water sport facilities.
On our way back to the port (the other side of the island) you will find the beach of Xylokeriza: A secluded beach 8 km from Dapia, on the south-eastern part of the island, mainly accessible by boat, but also on foot. Is a beautiful scenery, well organised and with excellent service on drinks and restaurants.
Approaching back to Dapia (2 km south-east) you will find the most famous beach of the island. This is Agia Marina, a sandy, organised beach with many beach bars, and restaurants. Sun lovers as well as water sport fans arrive here either by boat or by bus.
Water Taxis can also be the easy way if you visit any of these beaches. Just ask for the driverâs mobile number, and will be more than happy to serve you on your way back to the port.
- There are flying dolphins departing daily from the port of Piraeus, or nearby islands of Aegina, Hydra, and Poros
- An alternative would be to travel by car to Kosta (in Peloponnese) and get the boat from there to Spetses (the boat trip lasts only 15 minutes), or call for a water taxi.
|House of Bouboulina||22980-72416|
|Horse-drawn carriages (Dapia)||22980-73171|