Here, the history meets nature and tradition. The amazing combination of pine and sea, creates spectacular views of natural beauty. Lacy beaches with golden sand, pebbles and crystal sparkling sapphire waters, give you moments of peace and serenity. At the same time, it maintains features that remain unchanged over time.
The mansions of the captains of the last century with the local architecture, the picturesque Byzantine churches, he historic museums, the streets with the famous spetsiotic cobblestones, the picturesque shipyards and carriages are traditional elements that manage to fascinate the visitors for many decades and beyond. In Dapia, the current port, there were cannons that defended the town. Today around the harbor there is the commercial center of Spetses.
Spetses have about five thousand inhabitants, which multiply every weekend and summers due to the easy access from either Kosta or from Piraeus. There are so many the lures of the island, that it is the preference of Greek and foreign visitors for their vacations.
Spetses is an island with strong cosmopolitan nightlife and all around is beautiful, clean, tidy, the residents are welcoming, so Spetses constitute today one of the most popular destinations in our country.
Touring Spetses Town
From the port of "Dapia" to the "Lighthouse"
The walk along the coast toward the NE end of the town shows many beauties. Starting from "Dapia" which means "reinforced spot" - with many cannons still decorating its walls - we meet first the noisy beach of St. Mammas, terminal of the buses towards other spots of the island, and also the meeting point for coffee, lunch or dinner.
Immediately after and up to St. Nicholas church we find te beach of St. Nicholas and the famous mansions, built in the 19th and 18th centuries. These houses are a sample of the cultural and economical growth of the island at a time.
Well known artists, as Nikos Maraslis who restores the painted ceilings of these residencies, work for the up keep of these houses and other traditional buildings on the island.
The cathedral church of St. Nicholas, the Metropolis, a part of the church building itself, bears in its courtyard the monument of the Heroes, sculpted by Byron Kesses.
St. Nicholas is one of the oldest churches in Spetses of post Byzantine cross style with the extremely finely crafted bell towel where the flag of the Revolution was hoisted in 1821.
Further along we come to the far end of the "Baltiza"(Old Port) passing by the traditional shipyards which are kept up to now transmitting from generation the secrets of the art of caulking the boats. We admire beautiful building - old and new - that keep up the island colour and the architectural tradition.
A most enchanting example is the modern settlement that was built in harmony with the environment called "Pityoussa" with its beautiful square and its popular "ouzene"
"Baltiza" apart from its natural and environmental attractions is also the mooring place for the private yachts as well as commercial ones. Furthermore it is undoubtedly one of the most famous spots for night entertainment.
At the end of the walk is the Lighthouse where one finds the "Panagia Armata" church. The church was built in order to honor the "Virgin Mary" who helped the Greeks to fight against the Turks on her birthday on the 8th of September 1822.
Inside the church we can admire the beautiful painting of the Battle made by I. Koutsis in 1887. Outside the church are two tombstones celebrating the memory of I.G. Koutsis, the captain and the historian Anargyros Hatzianargyros.
At the feet of the lighthouse is the garden of the canon battery - where we find the Hatzigianni Mexis canon batteries restored and the park where are scattered modern sculptures of Natalia Mela - a place of historical memory and relaxation. At the far end we see the bronze effigy of Kosmas Barbatsis, sculpted by Natalia Mela, offered to the town of Spetses and its people by one of the island's lovers, the French Annette Schlumberger.
From the port of "Dapia" to the "Schools"
Taking the seaside direction towards the NW of the island, the visitor will find it most interesting. Starting by the picturesque and noisy coffee shops as well as the "ouzenes"[ouzo bars] of Dapia, we choose for a while the interior road, in order to admire the beautiful architecture of the mansion, at present under restoration, of the benefactor of Spetse, Sotiris Anargyros.
This magnificent building - a jewel for the island with its neoclassical style and the two Egyptian sphinxes dominating the right and the left side of the entrance-, has hosted during its long life. The Town Hall, the Rothschild family and has also been the Cultural Center of the island.
Next to the Anargyros mansion is the "Pefkakia" square with its small forest and the house - museum of Bouboulina, overlooking the place. This lordly mansion with its unique carved ceiling in the big living room, functions as a museum with live guided tours where the visitor can hear about the life and work of Bouboulina and admire her possessions.
We continue our course by the sea road arriving first at the Bouboulina square where all importand fesivities take place, the best known of which is the re-enactment of the battle of Spetses of 1822, better known as "Armata". The imposing statue of Laskarina Bouboulina standing in the middle of the square is the work of the sculptor Natalia Mela.
The historical hotel "Poseidonion" borders the inside part of the square. Sotiris Anargyros had it built at the beginning of this century and since then the hotel has been visited by thousands of well known politicians, businessmen and artists. Its fine architecture and its nicely decorated interior attract till today the admiration of a different architectural view.
Some hundreds of meters ahead we find the old "Daskalaki" cotton mill factory, transformed today into a luxurious tourist compound, keeping and combining at the same time traditional and modern architecture. Further down stands the Town Hall, a traditional building decorated with beautiful pebble designs and a garden.
At the far end of this itinerary we come to Kounoupitsa where we admire the most renowned "Anargyrios-Korgialenios" school, that provided famous scientists, politicians and artists like I. Xenakis, G. Rallis and others, for over fifty years.
These unique installations that have been used for the last ten years are revived by the opening of a special Environmental Center under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, the Directing Committee of the Fountations and the Municipality of Spetses.
From the port of "Dapia" to "Analipsis"
Starting from "Dapia", we first cross the "Clock square", the most renowned square in the center of town, surrounded by all kinds of restaurants and bars. In its NW side stands the Town Clock built at the beginning of the century by George I. Leonidas.
We take the interior road, parallel to the seaside one towards the seaside one towards the Northeast, following the signs "The Spetses Museum" and we arrive at the Hatzigianni Mexis mansion where the museum is housed. Inside this important building, decorated with high arcades and the hero's head sculpted by Byron Kesses, the visitor will see archaeological findings and historical heirlooms of the Greek Revolution.
Continuing our walk we arrive at the triange of St.Eleftherios Church where the road separates in two directions.
To the Southeast [towards the mountain] it takes you to "Kokkinaria" and ends at the Monastery of All Saints and highter up at that of the Panagia the Gorgoepikoos.
The direction to the East comes to "Analipsis" square, where Easter is very traditionally celebrated. From there one road goes to the "Old Port" with its beautiful captain houses, and the other takes you to the Agia Marina beach and the regional road around the island.
From the port of "Dapia" to "Kasteli"
In order to go to "Kasteli" we leave "Dapia" taking the only road that starts where the horse buggies are packed and lead to the south direction of the island over the mountain.
At the height of the "Lazaros" taverna the road separates. To the right it climbs up to "Kasteli"[the island's fort], the region where the first medieval settlement was formed. Walls surrounded the settling and its acropolis was situated where the church of St.Basil is now. At this very place was build the first town os Spetses as well.
Today the visitor can admire this pictursque neighborhood of Spetses with its church of St.Trinity, decorated with a fantastic wooden temple, the church of the Virgin Mary and that of the Archangels. A natural fortification remaining as such up to our days is the torrent of St.George towards the East and that of Kounoupitsa to the West.
The History of the island
According to archaeological findings Spetses was first inhabited during the first Hellenic Era, about 2300 bc. Due to its geographic location and to the numerous wells, the island was used as a provision station for ships on their way to the Peloponesian coasts. Next to the findings from the First-Helennic age lie those from Mycenaenian times and those of the Byzantine age.
After the Francs occupation, Spetses fell under Venetian control (1200-1460). From 1460 to 1821, followed 400 years of Turkish occupation. Since the 17th century, the population increased with the coming og people from the Peloponnesian regions of Lakonia, Kynouria, Argolida and Ermioni.
The first medieval living quarters of Spetses were built on the Norteast side of the island at the place called "kastelli", which means "The island castle". Walls surrounded the settlement and its acropolis was on the hill, where the church of St. Basil is today. The golden era of the island started in the 18th century and continued untill the War of Independence. During that period the navy became important and a strong fleet was built which was kept as such untill 1854.
During the revolution of 1821, the island reached its economic peak and remained there for several years. At the dawn of the 20th century, Spetses' economy became depressed and the two World Wars brought poverty to the island, thus obliging many inhabitants to abandon it.
Spetses is today among the favourite islands of Greek and foreign tourists. It's location (2 hours by road or by sea from Athens), the frequent connections with Pireus and the proximity of the Peloponnese (1,3 miles) make it easily accessible.
Keeping its cosmopolitan style, Spetses recieves hundreds of thousands of visitors every year from all over the world.
The re-enactment of the torching of the Turkish armada's flagship during the naval battle of Spetses (1822), held every yer in the first fortnight of September attracts thousands of visitors and concludes the summer activities on the island.
The contribution of Spetses to the war of independence in 1821
Spetses is a very small island nationally honored for its important contribution to the War of Independence in 1821 and to the liberation of Grrece from turkish occupation. Starting in 1769, Spetses contributed to the revolution of the Peloponnese, better known as the "Orloff Revolt", and suffered its complete destruction when the turks destroyed the town.
The Spetsiots showed their patriotism once again by helping Lambros Katsionis in 1790 which led, of course, to turkish persecution. When the War of Independence broke out in 1821, Spetses was the first of the three navally significant islands (Hydra, Spetses and Psara) to respond to the call for help.
The three islands hoisted their own revolutionary flags aboard their ships from the beginning of the revolution. On April 3rd, 1821, after the church service at St. Nicolas, the Spetsiots took over the Chancellery in the name of the Revolution and installed a local administration immediately, informing Hydra and Psara of their acts, as well as all the other regions they were in contact with.
From the very beginning of the revolution, the Spetsiot navy, under the command of G.Panou and Laskarina Bouboulina, succeeded in cutting of two Peloponnesioan fortresses, Nafplion and Monemvasia. Since it was not possible to take these two fortresses by land, the only way to make these fortesses surrender was a naval siege, cutting their defenses off from turkish supply ships.
Following Spetses, the island of Hydra and Psara joined the revolution. Meanwhile, the Spetsiot navy destroyed many turkish ships in the Aegean Sea and furthered the cause of Independence by blocking off turkish-held ports and transporting arms and ammunition.
In July 1821 Spetsiot ships fought the tourkish fleet out of Samos, managing to bum part of it and, soon after that, held them off at Kitria bay in Mani. On July 23rd Monemvasia fell to the Spetsiot ships and men after the four month siege. In the siege of Nafpion the Spetsiots showed their bravery fighting both at sea, under Bouboulina and on land, under the other captains.
The spetsiots also played an important role during the siege of Tripolis, and on the day of the fall of the town on September 23rd 1821, they were the first to reach the city walls. In July 1822 the Spetsiot navy was sent to Souda, Crete, to fight part of the Egyptian nnavy, which was allied to the turks.
Later that year they fought against Dramalis on land and the turkish fleet off their own shores, while at the same time helping the besieged Greeks at Messolonghi.
After the destruction of the Dramalis' army by Kolokotronis and his men at Dervenakia, the fight against the turks in the Peloponnese took its normal way. Very few fortresses were able to resist the Greeks, one of which was Palamidi at Nafplion. This fortress was being desieged both by Dimitris Ipsilandis on land and Laskarina Bouboulina by sea. The turkish fleet, in a desperate move to rpvide Nafplion with food and ammunition, sailed towards the Argolic Gulf. The idea was to attack Spetses and then Hydra, on the way.
Hatzigianni Mexis and his sons took over the defence of the island, together with more Spetsiots. They set up three cannon batteries on the island. Hatzigianni Mexis sent the women and children to Hydra that was difficult to attack due to its rocky coasts. On September 8th, the enemy ships appeared in front of Spetses, between Trikeri and Spetsopoula. The wind was blowing northeast, helping the enemy fleet.
The Greek fleet under the command of Andreas Miaoulis moved towards the entrance of the Argolic Gulf, thus trying to attract the enemy to a spot where it would be easier to defeat him. Miaoulis even rose the signal flag so as to make the fleet follow him At that moment Spetses remained unprotected. Therefore the spetsiot captains I.Tsoupas, D. Lamprou and I. Koutsis together with the Hydriot A. kriezis disobeyed orders and attacked the turks. Shortly, the other Spetsiot captains joined them in their effort to push off the enemy
The superiority of the turkish fleet in number, ship size and armaments was large. Despite unfavorable winds, more Greek ships follpwed and the battle lasted all afternoon. The noise emanating from the 140 ships that took part in the battle was such that in Hydra people thought the group was moving. The air between Hydra and Spetses was full of so much smoke that the Hydriots thought the island of Spetses was on fire.
That was a crucial moment and although the poor visibility made it difficult to use the fireships, Pipinos, a Hydriot captain, managed to throw his successfully on an Algerian ship. Suddenly the Spetsiot captain Kosmas Barbatsis, fearlessly, holding a knife jumped onboard his fireship, dragging along his crew. In the midst of the pandemonium of the battle he made a dash for the turkish admiral's flagship.
The Turks remained amazed at his courage ans started retreating in front of his crazy act. The turkish flagship burned and sank-according to tradition- at the entrance to the port. A while later the turkish fleet left the Argolic gulf without supplying the fortress of Nafplion, which finally surrendered on November 30th, 1822.
In the following years the Spetsiots continued to fight for the freedom of their country until Kapodistrias came to power(1828). They took part in the battles of Samos, Kos, Gerontas and helped the heavily besieged Messolonghi.
Spetses, besides its wonderful beaches, someone must see and admire the following attractions on the island
The historical square of Dapia at the harbor, place of meeting of captains and rulers in 1821.
Today it is the center of tourism in the capital of the island with chairs and tables of the patisseries to have exploited even the last centimeter of space, next to the cannons used by Spetsiots fighters in the war of 1821.
The house of Xatzigianni Mexi, first ruler and benefactor of Spetses. Here, at this house is the Museum of Spetses since 1939 that serves as archaeological and historical folklore collection, with relics of the Revolution, letters of Kolokotronis and Athanasios Diakos and the bones of Boumboulina.
Behind Dapia, the Mansion of Boumboulina with its unique carved ceiling in the great hall; was renovated and opened as a museum in 1992, with live tour during which the visitor hears about the life and work of Boumpoulina while seeing relics from the Revolution, personal belongings of the heroine and other interesting exhibits.
Also behind the port of Dapia, the exquisite neoclassical architectural stone Manor of the benefactor of Spetses S. Anargirou. This magnificent building on the island with the neoclassical style and the two Egyptian sphinxes dominate at the right and left of the entrance, stands out with the quality of its composition and structure. Today it is housing the Cultural center of Spetses.
The Hotel "Poseidonio" vision of the benefactor of Spetses Sotirios Anargirou, contributed greatly to the development of Spetses. The «Poseidonio Grand Hotel» opened its doors for the first time in the summer of 1914, giving the island its cosmopollitan glamor. Located on the square Boumboulina, where all the big events on the island are being made, including the famous representation of the Battle of Spetses in 1822, known as "Armata".
The Anargyrios - Korgialenios School nearby the hotel "Poseidonio", which was founded in 1927. Its excellent facilities spanning 130 acres with a private olive grove and additional 9,000 acres of private forest. The School comprises of 5 main buildings, of which 4 are designed and operated as a dormitory, while the main building area of 5,500 sq.m. has auditoriums (40-120 seats), conference and teaching room, press room, workshops, restaurant kitchen etc. It also has a classical outdoor theater for cultural events, a beach with water sports and sports facilities (football courts with nocturnal lighting, basketball , etc. ) .
The church of the Holy Trinity, built in 1793, the old metropolis of the island, build to the highest point of the city with magnificent carved iconostasis of the Assumption.
Near the lighthouse, there is the church of Panagia Armata, built after the victory of Spetses, Hydra and Psara against the Turks, on 8 September 1822.
The cave of Bekiris, old haven of militants, in Agioi Anargyroi beach, behind the island, where the old Spetsiots hid the women in the Ottoman period.
The Old Port with traditional shipyards kept up to date by transferring from generation to generation the secrets of caulk hulls. Along the waterfront restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs gives special glamor to night life and cosmopolitan style of Spetses.
Going towards the Old Port, just before it, we found the shipyards of Spetses, where tradition meets art.
Here our ancestors built the famous vrikogoletes, the boats that gave us our freedom, and Spetsiots continue the tradition of building vessels until today. You can admire the beautiful vessels, others tied to piers and other under construction, from small fishing boats to luxury large boats of recreation.
Spetses, which has always been one of the largest shipbuilding centers of Greece, remains today one of the few places in our country which continues the tradition.
In the Old Port operate at least ten shipyards in which you can order from a small boat to a very large traditional wooden boat.
Vaggelis Kobogiorgas 22980-74055
Giannis Boufis 22980-73727
Ilias Sklias 22980-73743
Panagiotis Theod. Belesis 22980-72780
Panagiotis Mix. Belesis 22980-73150
Vasilis Delimitris 22980-72759
Nikos Kalogiannis 22980-73727
Pantelis Korakis 22980-72526
Giannis Klisas 22980-73107
Nektarios Klisas 22980-73935
The Museums of Spetses
The Hatzigianni Mexi Mansion [the Spetses Museum]
The Spetses Museum started as an archaeological. historical and folklore collection of the island in 1939, at the Hatzigiannis Mexis house that had been declared a historical monument in 1924. This imposing building with its nigh arcades hosts objects that represent more than 4000 years of cultural history of the island, such as:
Ceramics of the first hellenic period, Tomb stones/pillars and sculptures of the Roman period, Ceramics of oriental and occidental European origin, brought by the Spetsiot sailors at the end of the 18th century. A collection of post Byzantine and Russian icons, Important heirlooms from the revolution of 1821 [the Spetsiot revolutionary flag, the remains of Bouboulina, guns and portaits of the Spetsiot Captains, rare wooden front ship figureheads.]
Open: 08.30 – 14.00 everyday except Monday - Telephone: (+30) 22980 72994(+30) 22980 72994
Website : odysseus.culture.gr
The best known traditional event in the island, that attracts thousands of visitors, is the re-enactment of the naval battle of Spetses of September 1822.
This is an originall popular festival where hundrends of inhabitants contribute to its realization. The events take place in the first half of September and last for a week, reaching their peak with the blowing up and burning of the effigy of the Turkish flagship, in a pandemonium of fireworks and crackers.
Attention!!! Those that wish to see this fantastic event should book their rooms well in advancedue to the large number of visitors.
Classic Yacht Race
The inaugural event of the Spetses Classic Yacht Race 2011 was held in September 2011 in the picturesque island of Spetses, only 54 nautical miles from Pireus port.
In deference to Spetses’ naval history and tradition, for the first time in racing history, Aegean Classic Schooners raced alongside Classic Yachts. The idea of this unique race was to bring together proud institutions with common heritage and classical aesthetics combined with world-class organization creating a memorable event.
In 2012 the Spetses Classic Yacht Race had more than 50 participants, among them some of the most beautiful classic boats and Aegean Classic Schooners in Greece. Karnagia (shipyards) are an integral part of the tradition and the historical heritage of Spetses island.
In addition, part of the proceeds from the registrations will be donated to the traditional Shipbuilding Association of the island of Spetses, dedicated to enhancing and preserving the continuation of this art.
In Spetses there is car prohibition to the roads. The shop owners, public servants and also the natives can bring their cars, but only for parking. All the above must be provided with a special card from the Municipality, to transfer thrir cars to the island. Municipality phone 22980-20010 / 20020.
Where ever there is a sign or pavement, you cannot park your car, it is prohibited. You can bring your car with the ferry boat from Monday to Friday only with the route of 08.10 and 10.30 from Kosta, while on Saturday, Sunday and Holidays the only route is the one of 08.10. You can take your car outside Spetses with the ferry boat, every day with the schedule of 07.20 a.m.
During the tourist season there are traffic regulations from 19.00 to 02.00, for the mopeds, motorcycles and bikes on the coastal road from Kounoupitsa to the Old Port. The traffic is prohibited
Municipality of Spetses 22980-20010
Port Authority of Spetses 22980-72245
Police station of Spetses 22980-73100
Tourist Police of Spetses 22980-73744
Health Station of Spetses 22980-72472
Health center of Kranidi 07540-2222207540-22222
National Bank 22980-72100
Αlpha bank 22980-75341
Post Office 22980-72228
Telecommunications Organization 27540-21199
Agios Nikolaos Church 22980-72423
Analipseos Church 22980-74336
Agios Antonios Church 22980-73085
Agios John Prodromos Church 22980-73870
Spetses museum 22980-72994
Bouboulina's museum 22980-72077
Nursing home 22980-72408
At Spetses you can moore in two ports, in "Dapia" and in the "Old Port" (Baltiza), spaced about half a mile.
In Dapia flying dolphins from Pireus, ferry boats, sea taxis and traditional boats which carry passengers moore. On piers around the harbor of Dapia, moore the little or big yachts or other tourist vessels visiting the island.
The Dapia port is artificial and consists of two piers with inner depth of 3 meters and 6.5 meters outside. At the base of the first pier a small port is formed having a diameter of 90 meters, inlet opening 40 meters and a depth of 2 m to shallow. This port serves passenger ships, cargo ships and tourist boats with few places. In the port of Dapia there is no security provided with winds NW-NE-E over 5 Beaufort.
In the Old Port (Baltiza) which is located in the SE part of the city, moore most private yachts, from small cruisers to large yachts and cruisers inside the harbor and anchor by tying long headland on the coast.
The bay of Baltiza penetrates approximately 55m. to the South. The North outer portion has a width of 250 meters. and the South within 75m. The axis entering the harbor is 7m. in depth and decreases smoothly until it reaches shallow waters to the cove. The bottom is sandy with algae, solid and has photolabeling with red spark, NE of the port entrance. The port of Baltiza provides security in high winds with all weathers. There are five small piers at the port for the convenience of passengers.
The ports of Dapia and Baltiza are recognized from the distance, when the ships approach. At night the lighthouse is the guide and is located on the edge of the Old Port. The vessels docked at the two ports of Spetses required to pay port dues to the Port Authority.
The lighthouse network around the island, facilitate the safe navigation during the night.
Information: Port Authority of Spetses 22980-72245