My name is Michael and welcome to my guide on the best things to do Spetses. I grew up in Spetses and spend most of the year on this beautiful island. It’s one of those places you can come and go all year round.
I’m passionate about technology and gadgets, especially drones and drone photography. Spetses has the perfect landscape for drone photography as the island includes beaches, lots of greenery, ports and picturesque roofs.
Spetses is a small island of just 22.2 km². You only need a couple of days to explore the whole island. This destination is famous for its hidden beaches, paths leading up to mountains, beach bars and spectacular sunset spots.
History of Spetses: The Island of Captains
Spetses is known as ‘The Island of Captains’. It has a wealth of history, both in recent years and in the past. In fact, it was the first island to revolt against the Ottomans who occupied Greece from the mid-15th century until 1821. Merchants and captains led the way in assisting the revolution.
One of those leading figures was Laskarina Bouboulina. She is considered one of the great local heroines of Spetses for her epic contribution to the Greek War of Independence. Many streets in Greece are named after her.
The second wave of recent history began in the 20th century when visitors consisting of royal families, international jet-setters and famous celebrities all started travelling to Spetses. They enjoyed the seclusion and privacy of this island in comparison to other popular Greek Islands like Mykonos.
Top 10 Things To Do in Spetses
Spetses is located just a stone’s throw away from Peloponnese. The island is famous for its historic old town, rolling hills, pine forests and secluded beaches. There is a lot to see and do here – especially for those who love history, art and a good party. Below are my top ten things to do in Spetses.
1. Visit the Fascinating Bouboulina Museum
Bouboulina Museum is one of two local museums in Spetses dedicated to the female heroine of the Greek War of Independence of 1821. Until recently, Laskarina Bouboulina had the honour of being the only female admiral in world naval history. She is extremely popular throughout Greece.
Learn all about Bouboulina’s life in the beautiful garden area of the museum. A guide will narrate her story in Greek which can be translated into 21 languages including English, French and Spanish. Afterwards, you will head inside the mansion to learn more about this historic figure.
2. Relax at the Pebbly Ligoneri Beach
Ligoneri Beach is one of the best beaches in Spetses. It’s located near a small cluster of villas which tend to be occupied by Athenians as summer homes. The beach itself is pebbly with a little bit of sand and a rocky seabed. There is also a shaded area produced by a large pine tree.
You can spend the day here swimming in the sea, reading a book in the shade under the pine tree and having a picnic in the sun. At the far end of the beach you will also find a diving platform. This is the perfect spot to practice your diving skills. Ligoneri is a popular beach with locals.
3. Swim at the Peaceful Kouzounos Beach
This beautiful beach is located 1.5km from Agia Marina on the way to Agii Anargyri. Here you will find a quiet beach with crystal-clear waters and colourful pebbles. Take a dip in the refreshing sea and relax on the shore. For those without a motorbike, you can arrive by bus from Agios Mamas.
4. Discover Bekiris Cave on Anargiri Beach
Anargiri Beach is the longest beach in Spetses. It offers sunbeds and water sports on the uninhabited side of the island. You can access the beach by motorbike, bus ride or take a boat from the main port of Spetses. This stunning beach is also famous for the impressive Bekiris Cave.
The cave is accessible by following a 150m long path that leads to a small entrance between rocks. You can also swim into the cave through a sea entrance which ends up on a tiny sandy beach. A natural spring inside the cave offers a beautiful sight of hanging stalactites from the cave roof.
Lots of myths surround the story of Bekiris Cave. One includes a myth about mermaids. However, these stories can actually be traced to seals who visit the cave in winter and leave tracks from their tails on the floor.
5. Celebrate the Spectacular Armata Festival
The second week of September is a big deal in Spetses as it celebrates the island’s stand against the Ottoman Fleet during the Greek War of Independence. Spetses prominent role in this war is celebrated with week-long events that end in a spectacular fireworks display.
These events include traditional dances, theatrical performances, various exhibitions and re-enactments of historic battles. One of those key battles was the naval battle which occurred on September 8th of 1822. Dramatisations of this victory are on full display with the use of real ships!
6. Enjoy the Various Sporting Events of Spetses
Spetses Marathon and Spetses Triathlon are the two major sporting events that attract athletes from Greece and all over the world. The island is accessible by road all around and it’s ideal for running, cycling and swimming (close proximity to the mainland allows for open sea swimming).
These events normally take place in the spring and autumn seasons. If you are a sports person then that would be the ideal time for you to visit Spetses to either watch the events or participate in them yourself. It certainly adds a different dimension to your vacation in the Greek Islands.
7. Go Sailing with Spetses Yacht Club
Go sailing with the Spetses Yacht Club in a renovated Rhodes 19 – a 19-foot-long (5.8m) sailboat designed by Philip Rhodes. This is a genuine sailing experience on one of the most beautiful boats in the world. Up to three people plus the skipper can join each individual sailing trip.
8. Have a Cold Beer or Cocktail on Kaiki Beach
Kaika Beach is also known as “College Beach” as it’s located by Anargyrios College. This organised beach has crystal-clear water and beautiful natural surroundings. Here you’ll find sunbeds, umbrellas and a lively bar that is active in summer. Enjoy cold beers and cocktails with your swim!
9. Party with Young People at Vrelos Beach
Vrelos Beach is a party beach popular with young people. This small natural bay has a club atmosphere and vibrant social scene. There are plenty of hammocks to relax in and a beach bar to order some drinks. They even have live music which adds to the overall atmosphere of the beach.
10. Revel in the Literary History of Spetses
My last recommendation is for all the literary fans out there. Whoever has come across the best-selling book The Magus by John Fowles will know about an imaginary island called Phraxos. Try not to give away the secret but Phraxos is actually based on the island of Spetses in Greece.
The author lived here in the mid-20th century while teaching at the Anargiros and Korgialenios College (a famous boarding school). Perhaps give Agia Paraskevi Beach a visit while you’re reading the book and you might be able to decipher the scenes from The Magus.
Best Restaurants and Bars of Spetses
Another highlight of Spetses is the food. Fish is a big part of the cuisine here. The best place to enjoy fresh fish and seafood is undoubtedly Tarsanas Fish Tavern located in the heart of the Old Harbour opposite the traditional boat shipyards. This family run business is a real treat!
To start the day, though, head to Roussos Cafe for coffee and breakfast located in the new port. If you’re feeling super fancy or nostalgic you can always stop in at Poseidonion Grand Hotel for brunch. Later in the evening, visit Votsalo Cocktail Bar for a refreshing cocktail.
Then head to Spetsa Bar! Here you can find the purest drinks, no cocktails, music from the 60s till the 80s only on CDs, no Wi-Fi and, as advertised, probably the bar with the worst view on the island. What makes it so great? Costa, the 70 year old bartender who has run the bar since 1987.
Important Tips for your Visit to Spetses
Accessing Spetses by land is much easier from Athens as you drive down past Corinth, Epidavros, Porto Heli and Costa. From Costa you take a short ferry ride across the sea to Spetses. Boats from The Port of Piraeus are also an option but driving down relaxes your time schedule a bit.
Remember though, cars for private use are not permitted on the island. You will have to park on the mainland. On Spetses you can walk, rent a motorbike or electric bike, and even ride a traditional horse and carriage!
There are plenty of fantastic hotels and airbnbs to choose from on the island, as well as smaller studios and larger villas. Your accommodation really comes down to your budget and how far out you want to be located from the centre of town. Thanks for reading my guide on Spetses!