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Spetses:
The Island of Bouboulina

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Discover Spetses

The pine-covered paradise of Spetses, situated opposite Porto Heli at the tip of the Argolid Peninsula, is the most south-westerly of the Saronic Islands. Such is the abundance of nature here that the air is filled with the rich aroma of pine trees, jasmine and bougainvillea, which led the Venetians to rename ancient Pityussa the “Izola di Spezzie” (“Fragrant Island”).

The home of the heroine of the Greek War of Independence, Laskarina Bouboulina, is well-known for its naval tradition and the decisive contribution of its fleet to the struggle of 1821. The great power of Spetses in seafaring in the 18th and 19th century brought it wealth, fame, and the magnificent neoclassical architecture that adorns the island to this day.

Spetses has welcomed major Greek personages, prominent members of the European aristocracy, and distinguished artists. They include the English writer John Fowles, who was inspired by his time here to write his celebrated novel The Magus.

In recent years, a number of international sporting events, such as the Spetsathlon, the Spetses Mini Marathon, the cycling Tweed Run and the Spetses Regatta have attracted year-round visitors from every corner of the globe.

5 memorable experiences on Spetses
  1. The spectacular “Armata”, which takes place on the second weekend in September, commemorating the historic Battle of Spetses. The event culminates in a re-enactment of the burning of the Turkish flagship in the harbour, and a firework display.
  2. A walk in Cannon Station Park with inspired bronze creations by the pioneering Greek sculptor Natalia Mela.
  3. A romantic ride in a period horse-drawn carriage along the seafront between Dapia (the new port) and the old harbour.
  4. The view from the top of the 285-metre-high Mount Prophet Elijah, where there is a chapel of the same name and the whole of Spetses is at your feet.
  5. A bicycle ride around the coast. The 26-km path follows a route that takes in beaches and idyllic spots with views of the Argolic Gulf and the Myrtoan Sea.
Beaches of Spetses

The coastline of Spetses is full of beaches and coves with crystal-clear waters. It is worth discovering:

  • Agioi Anargyroi, the largest and most popular beach on the island, with the historic Bekiri Cave (also called “Lovers Cave”) at one end and excellent water sports facilities.
  • The enchanting Zogeria Cove, with its fragrant pine forest and relaxed atmosphere.
  • The cosmopolitan Saint Marina, named after the church of the same name, with its trendy beach bars and restaurants, and views of the private paradise of Spetsopoula.
  • The impressive Saint Paraskevi, with its dense pine trees, blue-green sea, and busy water sports clubs.
  • The untouched beauty of Xylokeriza, with its white pebbles and amazing seabed for diving enthusiasts.
Postcards from Spetses: 10 things not to miss

Spetses Museum
If you choose one of the itineraries to Spetses, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Spetses Museum, where the island’s glorious yesteryear is revealed in a splendid 18th-century mansion owned by the descendants of its first governor, Hadjigiannis-Mexis. The ossuary containing the bones of Bouboulina is displayed here, along with a rich collection of exhibits relating to the War of Independence, such as the Flag of the Revolution, the costumes of Theodoros Kolokotronis and Athanasios Diakos, and portraits of important islanders.  

The Bouboulina Museum
Housed in the family mansion of the legendary heroine of the Greek War of Independence, the museum is dedicated to her life and work. The personality of Laskarina Bouboulina, the only woman in the world to have held the title of Admiral, is brought to life through personal items and relics of 1821, such as weapons, old books, paintings, letters, and model ships.

The Monastery of Saint Nicholas
Architecturally, this historic monastery stands out for its marble bell tower (1805) and ornate pebble courtyard. This is where the Flag of the Revolution was raised, while today, the “Spetses House”, a re-creation of a traditional home, can be found here.

The island’s mansions
The neoclassical architectural heritage of Spetses is a visible symbol of the riches brought by maritime trade and shipbuilding during the 18th and 19th century. Many of the grand mansions of that time, with their wonderfully crafted pebble courtyards, still exist in Spetses Town, and 35 of them have been declared “protected monuments”. They include the legendary Anargyros mansion (1904), with its striking Egyptian motifs, the 18th-century Hadjianargyros mansion, and the Anargyrios and Korgialenios School (1919).

The Poseidonion Hotel
Built at the beginning of the last century, this historic hotel is perhaps the island’s most recognisable landmark. An architectural jewel, with rich interior decoration, it was a favourite residence of iconic individuals of the twentieth century and many celebrity visitors to Spetses.

Bekiri Cave: One of the island’s most beautiful natural attractions is located on Agioi Anargyroi Beach. It is also known as “Lovers’ Cave”, as there is a spring inside from which the miraculous “water of love” flows. According to legend, this will intensify the romantic feelings of anyone who drinks it. The cave was also used as a hideout by fighters in the War of Independence.

Dapia
The famous square in front of the island’s port has views of the old cannon station, Porto Heli and Hydra. It is a popular place for locals and tourists to meet for coffee or food.

Spetses Lighthouse
Built on a pine-covered hill to a height of 27 metres above sea level, this lighthouse began operating in 1837, making it one of the first in Greece. It is among the best places to enjoy the sunset in the Saronic Islands.

The boatyard in the old harbour
One of the most picturesque sights on Spetses and a living museum of its shipbuilding past. The time-honoured shipwright’s art is still practiced here and wooden boats are repaired daily. A handmade miniature of a wooden sailing vessel is a lovely souvenir of a visit to the island.

The Anargyrios and Korgialenios School
This iconic boarding school, with its important archive, was founded in 1927. It is associated with significant figures in the fields of politics, science and the Arts. It is worth coming here via a tree-lined path from Spetses Town, one of the most beautiful walks on the island.

Tastes of Spetses

On Spetses, you can enjoy fresh fish, lobster linguine, and delicious seafood, fried saganaki-style. The island’s signature dish is Fish a la Spetsiota (breaded cod fillet baked in tomato sauce in the oven).

If you fancy something sweet, be sure to try the famous Spetses amygdalota (almond confectionery). The island also produces top-quality pine honey.

Discover the unique flavours of the island by choosing one of the ferry tickets to Spetses.

MAP OF SPETSES
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