Getting to Spetses
The preferred method of travel from Athens to Spetses is by sea from the port of Piraeus. In high season several passenger-only hydrofoils and catamarans of Hellenic Seaways depart the port of Piraeus daily, calling at the the islands of Poros, Hydra and Spetses, as well as the mainland ports of Ermioni and Porto Heli on the Peloponnese. Depending on the ports of call, trip duration from Piraeus to Spetses is between 1 hour 45 minutes and 3 hours 15 minutes. Passenger tickets cost €35 one way.
The daily ferry links Spetses to Piraeus (4,5hours) via Hydra (1 hour), Poros (2 hours) and Aegina (3 hours). In summer, taxi-boats reach Kosta in the Peloponnese in 10 minutes. A ferry effectuates the same trip every day at 7.15 am, 10 am, 1 pm and 4. 30 pm.
Nine daily Flying Dolphins (hydrofoil ferries) link Spetses to Piraeus (2,5 hours), via Hydra (30 minutes) and Poros (70 minutes). In high season (from July until the beginning of September) daily services are operating to Leonidio (1 hour) and Monemvasia (1,5 hours) in the Peloponnese. Winter sees a major reduction in service, with only four hydrofoils daily. These are subject to cancellations when the weather turns nasty.
Only the regular ferry carries motorcycles and bikes to Spetses. Private cars are not officially allowed on the island.
To Do in Spetses
The celebrations of the Panaghia Armata are the highlight of the summer season on Spetses, attracting as many as 40,000 visitors, and culminating in the re-enectment of an 1822 naval battle between the Greek forces and the Turkish Armada. The show includes an attack on the Turkish flagship with a Greek fire-boat, which sets off a fascinating show of fireworks in the harbour of Spetses Town. The week-long celebrations culminate on the second weekend of September each year, and also include concerts and other cultural events. A special mass is held in the church of Panaghia Armata in the Old Harbour, as well as at Aghios Nikolaos, the metropolis of the island.
Easter is also a very popular time for visiting the island. Holy Week traditions are lovingly passed on from generation to generation, with the highlights being the Good Friday mass, where funeral processions from all parishes converge on Spetses Town for a final open-air mass, and the Saturday midnight celebrations of the Resurrection with fireworks (before everyone returns home for the traditional feast that marks end of a 40-day fast). Accommodation during the Easter and Armata weekends can be impossible to find, unless booked well in advance.
Mansions on the road to the Old Harbour
Lighthouse on the Old Harbour headlandA walk to the Old Harbor is considered a must for visitors to the island. The coastal road is closed to vehicles in the evenings during summer season, making it a pleasant outing all the way from Spetses Town, past some of the most spectacular mansions, and on to the marina with all the luxury yachts and cruisers of the wealthier holidaying Athenians, all the way to the little churche of the Panaghia Armata and the Lighhouse--one of the first to be built in Greece, in 1837, and still in use. At a leisurely pace the walk from the new Dapia harbor at the town center to the Old Harbor shouldn't take more half an hour each way. Cafes, bars and restaurants abound in the Old Harbor.
Some of the best beaches can be reached via the boats that leave the harbour each morning during the holiday season.
The best beach on the island is usually considered to be Agia Anargiri on the opposite side of the island from the main town, here there are a couple of good tavernas, and watersports in the high season. Sea entrance to the Bekiris CaveThe island's most popular beaches are Aghioi Anargyroi and Aghia Paraskevi, on the west side of the island. A bus and tourist boats run daily from Spetses Town during the summer season. An acceptable, if somewhat touristy, self-service restaurant operates in-season at Aghioi Anargyroi.
The Bekiris Cave at Aghioi Anargyroi, complete with its own sandy beach, is a must-see. Access is overland from the northern edge of the Aghioi Anargyroi beach, or else you can swim inside through a very low opening. The cave served as a hideout for women and children during Turkish attacks on the island.
The very picturesque Zogeria Beach, on the north edge of the island, is also served by tourist boats from the island and boasts a restaurant, serving its specialty of chicken in tomato sauce with spaghetti or chips.
Other beaches on the island, such as Xylokeriza, Ligoneri and Vrellos are only accessible by private transport (motorbikes or bicycles) or with very expensive sea taxis.