There is something about Spetses…an aristocratic aura…and not only because Greek and European royalty often visit the island, having properties in the area of Porto Heli just opposite…
Let me begin with the hotels. During my last visit in June, we had the opportunity of staying at Poseidonion Grand, a luxury boutique hotel you cannot miss when arriving at the new port. The lady (and most courteous Manager) of Poseidonion is Maria Strati, whom we met upon arrival. The hotel is most conveniently located and the interior is reminiscent of the colonial style. The front rooms as well as the terrace (for coffee, drinks & snacks on the one side, breakfast and dinner on the other) offer unobstructed views of the “grand bleu”, the taxi boats back and forth Porto Heli, lots of yachts and sailing boats and some stunning superyachts! The staff is friendly and accommodating and you have the opportunity to taste great food with local produce at reasonable prices at The Verandah. The hotel also features a garden, an outdoor pool and a spa. It has been featured all around the social and other media, so there is definedly a lot of people watching, especially during the numerous events organised on the island throughout the year.
Another very good option is the Orloff resort, located in the inner part of the old harbour. It is a cosy place, where Christos Orloff with his many years of experience in hospitality will make you feel at home. The complex also features a large villa, with many bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms, suitable for families or group of friends. Christos is also the owner of Orloff restaurant at the old port.
You can also try Nissia (meaning islands), traditional style residences, situated on the seafront, five hundred meters from Dapia. It has a nice pool and is suitable for families. I have not stayed there myself, so I cannot comment on the service and other facilities, but I hear they are of a good standard.
What to do – Beaches, carriage rides and shopping
In my opinion, Spetses is an island to visit and stay for 3-4 days. It is also suitable for long weekends since it is easily accessible from Athens (approx. 2 1/2 hours of a scenic voyage by high speed boat). Many Athens residents keep holiday houses here and come often and for long periods of time and they all seem to know each other. I find it more pleasant to visit during the week days or off season, to enjoy some tranquility and also get better hotel rates.
Carriage rides are a very pleasant must! No cars are allowed on the island except for a few taxis. Most people use motor bikes or bicycles to move around.
Do visit the Mansion and Museum of Laskarina Bouboulina who was the descendant of a Hydriot family, the world’s first female admiral and a heroine of the 1821 Greek revolution.
There are a number of beaches, of which i visited twο:
Kaiki and Ayia Marina (see photos below). They are both very well organised, with beach facilities and offer drinks, snacks, lunch and dinner.
- Ayioi Anargyroi
- Ayia Paraskevi
One of the most pleasant activities while on the island is strolling around and doing some ‘light’ shopping! Look for colourful jewellery at Apriati, summer clothing and accessories at Soho Soho and handmade goodies at Magic Wrap. Go to one of the ‘On the Deck’ shops for kaftans and swimsuits , they have a huge variety (do make sure to bargain though, as the original prices are rather exaggerated!). And of course you cannot leave the island without buying some of its famous almond sweets for your family and friends back home!
- Orloff restaurant at the Old port – old time classic
- Tarsanas at the Old port – old time classic
- On the Verandah at Poseidonion Grand – excellent food, view and service
- Nero tis Agapis (Water of Love) at Kounoupitsa – old time classic
- Akrogialia at Kounoupitsa – for the lovely set up on the beach
- Classic yacht Regata
- Spetses Mini Marathon
- Armata – annual re-enactment of the island’s greatest naval victory in 1822
- Tweet run
- Classic Cars Race