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Spetses Travel Guide
Spetses Island Name

In antiquity the island was named “Pityonissos” and “Pityousa” from the ancient reek word “Pitys”, meaning pine tree. The name “Spetses” came from the Venetians who used to call it “Isola di Spezzie” meaning the island of aromas (spices).

There is also another version supporting that the name was derived from the Albanian word “Petsa” or “Petza” as an anagram of the ancient name “Pityousa”.

Ancient Years

Archaeological findings in the area of Saint Marina indicate the existence of a Hellenistic settlement on the island dating back to the 3rd millennium B.C.
Agia Marina, Agia Paraskevi and Zogeria are natural harbours which served as a refuge for commercial ships to and from the Argolic Gulf during the peak of the State of Lerna (about 2300 B.C.).

The island of Spetses was mentioned as Pityousa by Strabo in the 1st century B.C. and by Pausanias in the 2nd century A.D.

Venetian Rule and Turkish Occupation

After the division of the Byzantine Empire the island came under Venetian reign from 1220 till 1460, when it was eventually occupied by the Turks.

In the 18th century the population consisted mainly in Peloponnesians and Arvanites, a tribe deriving from Albania, mostly coming from the opposite Peloponnesian coasts, who took refuge there from the Turkish persecution in the Peloponnese. These refugees created the old village of Spetses in the area of Kastelli.

Spetses cooperated with the Russians in the Russian-Turkish war (1768–1774) and, in response to these events, the Turks destroyed the only village on the island in 1770. The island was reoccupied in 1774 after the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca by locals who returned and by new settlers from the opposite coast of Peloponnese.

The island’s commercial fleet used the Russian flag and prospered through the establishment of trade routes with other countries. Gradually the settlement on Spetses began to expand beyond the Kastelli region and the wealth gained by the captains of the island from trade activities also contributed in the funding of the Greek Revolution against Turks in 1821.

Greek Revolution 1821

The island of Spetses along with the islands of Hydra and Psara played a major part in the Greek revolution for independence from 1821 to 1932. The local fleet consisted mainly in commercial ships, which were properly converted into naval combat ships and took part in battleships against the Turkish fleet, blockaded ports and helped in supplies’ transportation. The names of the locals Laskarina Bouboulina, Andreas Miaoulis, Hatzigiannis Mexis and Kosmas Barbatsis, entered the pantheon of the heroes of the revolution of 1821.

Post-Revolutionary Period

For almost a decade after the end of the Revolution, the island’s economy prospered due to its strong commercial fleet. The industrial revolution though brought up the steam engine which overrode the traditional sailing ships. The local population gradually decreased as they migrated to foreign countries for a better life.

An important personality for the island was Sotirios Anargyros, a benefactor who returned from the USA and helped in the island’s further development. On the island there is still the building of the college he founded which bears his name.

Tourism grew in Spetses during the 60’s and 70’s. Today the island is a famous Greek resort attracting medium to high level travelers which are mostly Greeks.


According to mythology God Pan fell in love with Pitys who was a nymph of the mountains. She liked Pan as well but she was afraid of Voreas (strong wind) who was madly in love with her and wouldn’t let anyone else have her. When Pitis embraced Pan, the cold and cruel Voreas took her away and threw her into a gorge. Mother Titan Gaia took pity of her and Pan and transformed her into a pine tree (“pitys” in ancient Greek).

That’s the mythology that wraps the story of the pine tree, named “pitys” in ancient Greek, which overwhelm the island of Spetses.

The lighthouse at the old harbor

One of the oldest lighthouses that ever operated in Greece is located on the right side of the old harbor of the island of Spetses. It first operated in 1837 and is standing in an overall height of 27 metres from sea level on a beautiful hill with pine trees. Since 1986 the lighthouse is operating automatically with electric current.

Mountain paths and trails

On the island there is a network of mountain paths and trails through the pine forest that covers the entire mountain. The visitor will enjoy tranquility into the natural scenery and will admire the view from above.

From the main harbor the road ascents on the hill and towards the mountain. After the settlement borders, a dirt road continues for a couple of kilometres to the top of the mountain. From there you can choose one of the three directions leading to different sides of the island.

Bouboulina Museum

Located just 100 m. behind the harbour of Dapia the Bouboulina Museum is found, housed in a 300 year old mansion. During the tour the visitor will learn the entire story of Bouboulina, a heroine of the Greek revolution and, although a woman, awarded with the rank of the Admiral.

The museum’s exhibits include gun collections, old books, letters and documents from the Greek Revolution, paintings and ship models, maps, portraits, personal items and old furniture.

Museum of Spetses / Hatzigiannis-Mexis Mansion

The Museum of Spetses is housed in the mansion of Hatzigiannis-Mexis one of the lords of the island who took part in the Greek Revolution for Independence in 1821.

The exhibits include findings from an early Mycenaean shipwreck (around 1200 B.C), vessels of the Early Hellenic and Classical Period, sculptures and coins from the Roman and Byzantine years, post Byzantine icons and relics.
Also there are the bones of Laskarina Bouboulina, guns and portraits of local heroes, pictures of ships which took part in the combats.

Eat & Drink
TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Mediterranean & International Cuisine
Location: Old Port

TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Mediterranean & International Cuisine
Location: Kounoupitsa

TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Gourmet & Gastronomic Restaurant
Location: Dapia

TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Old Port

TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Fresh Fish & Seafood
Location: Kounoupitsa

TYPE: Bar,   STYLE: International
Location: Agios Mamas

TYPE: Bar,   STYLE: International
Location: Old Port

TYPE: Club,   STYLE: International
Location: Old Port

TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Old Port

TYPE: Beach Bar,   STYLE: International
Location: Agia Marina

TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Italian cuisine
Location: Dapia

TYPE: Bar,   STYLE: Wine Bar
Location: Spetses Town

Practical info
General Info

The island of Spetses together with Spetsopoula island and Velopoula (uninhabited) islet belong to the same municipality of Spetses. It is located in the Argolic Gulf and, as such, it is included in the islands’ cluster of the Argosaronic Gulf. Winters are cold and wet and summers are hot. Especially during August the weather usually turns windy. The terrain is full of pine trees and its ground produces olives, olive oil, grapes, figs and almonds. The locals are mainly engaged in shipping and fishing.

It is worth mentioning that the island only features one settlement, the one found as the boat reaches the port. This area includes smaller settlements like the Old Port, Kastelli and Dapia.

The national prefix for Greece is +30 if you are calling from abroad.  All numbers in the capital Athens start with the prefix 210 and are followed by 7 digits (e.g. 210-3227400).

The Area Code for Spetses is: +30 22980.

If you wish to call abroad, you have to start by dialing the other country’s national prefix (i.e. 0049 for Germany, 0044 for England etc.) and continue with the area code and the number where you wish to call.

Euro €
Euro Coins: 1 and 2 euro coins (gold and silver color), 10, 20 and 50 cents (gold color) 1, 2 and 5 cents (copper color)
1 euro = 100 cents / centimes.
Euro Bank Notes: Are available in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. It is not always easy to receive change for 200 and 500 Euro Notes.

Getting there

From the port of Piraeus Flying Dolphins and Flying Cats (catamaran) have daily routes to Spetses. The routes are frequent and the trip lasts approximately 2-3 hours. You may also take the ferry, a water taxi or a kaiki (small boat) from Costa settlementwhich is located opposite of Spetses, eastern Peloponnese, if you prefer to travel there by car.

Hellenic Seaways
For accurate timetables and ticket costs visit: http://www.hellenicseaways.gr
Piraeus Agency Tel.: +30 210 4199000
Spetses Agency Tel.: +30 22980 73141-2

Saronic Dolphins
Ticket Reservations Tel.: +30 210 4224777
Spetses Agency Tel.: +30 22980 72107

Spetses Port Authority: +30 22980 72245
Piraeus Port Authority Tel.: +030 210 4226000, +30 210 4147800

You may use a car, a motorbike, or the Long Distance Bus (KTEL) to get to Costa, a settlement located opposite of Spetses, on eastern Peloponnese. There is a parking lot to park your vehicle with a daily charge.
From Costa, which is just 1,5 nautical miles (approximately 10 minutes) away from Dapia, the central harbour of Spetses, you can take the ferry, a water taxi or a kaiki (small boat operating routes during summer).

Long Distance Buses (KTEL) from Athens to Costa
100 Kifissos Av, Athens, Tel.: +30 210 5134588.

Ferry Routes from Costa (Peloponnese) Tel.: +30 22980 73141

Local Transportation

Bringing your vehicle on the island is prohibited. The local itineraries are carried out by buses, taxis, water taxis and by the traditional horse-drawn carriages. There is of course the option of renting a bike or a motorbike but you should also consider walking along the coast or through the picturesque alleys of town.

Two buses operate on the island during the summer season: from Poseidonio Square the routes towards Scholes and Vrellos beach are served and from the beach of Agios Mamas the second bus towards Agia Marina and Agia Paraskevi beach departs. On each starting point the bus routes are posted.
On the island there are 7 taxis starting from the main harbour.
Taxi Routes Tel.: +30 22980 72072
Taxi Service Tel.: +30 6932200240, 6942635656, 6932200204, 6944251945,        6944605784, 6946853253

During summer there are two starting points for the horse-drawn carriages: the one is found at the main port exit and carriages from there go to the old harbor and Agia Marina; the second starting point is located at the Poseidonio square with carriages heading towards Scholes. The pricelists for all routes can be found posted on catalogues at both starting points.

Carriages’ Routes Tel.: +30 22980 73171

The water taxis and the kaikia (caique or small boats) can be also hired and they leave as soon as the passenger’s seats are occupied.

Water Taxi Routes Tel.: +30 22980 72072

Renting a bike or a motorbike is considered the best way to discover and enjoy the magical scenery of Spetses Island. The roads though, are usually narrow, winding and not well maintained, so attention is always required.

Local Services

In the town of Spetses, you can find branches of three Greek banks (National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank).

Banks exchange all major currencies, traveler’s cheques or Eurocheques. Post offices exchange cash, but not traveler’s cheques, and usually charge lower commissions than banks. Travel agencies and larger hotels exchange cash and traveler’s cheques but usually charge a higher commission. Credit cards are accepted in shops and restaurants, however, in local cafes, especially in villages you will probably have to pay in cash.

The Greek post office is called ELTA. Post Boxes in Greece are YELLOW for normal post, usually with 2 slots for INTERNAL POST (meaning inside Greece) and post for ABROAD. RED Post Boxes are rarer and they are used for URGENT mail. REGISTERED mail is always handled and given a receipt for at the POST OFFICE.

Spetses Post Office Tel.: +30 22980 72228

Spetses Police Station Tel.: +30 22980 73100

Town of Spetses, Tel.: +30 22980 72225

Useful Numbers

International Press can be found in the Town of Spetses.

Spetses Health Centre Tel.: +30 22980 72472

Pharmacies are located in the Town of Spetses. The opening hours are posted at the front doors or at the windows of each Pharmacy.
Tel.: +30 22980 72480, +30 22980 72256

Beautiful & popular
Location:Agia Paraskevi

This sandy and pebbled beach is located on the west coast of Spetses, 12km from Dapia. There is a pine forest offering natural shade and it is organized with water sports facilities and a snack bar. Agia Paraskevi beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island and a pole of attraction for travelers due its beautiful colours and the beach facilities it offers. Agia Paraskevi is easily accessible both by road and by water taxi.

A small paradise near Dapia
Location:Agia Marina

Agia Marina is the most visited beach on the island as it is located on the east coast just 2km south from Dapia and it can be accessed by car, by boat taxi and even on foot. It is sandy with pebbles across the shore and organized with umbrellas, sunbeds and water sports facilities. There is also a beach bar and some taverns nearby. There is the homonymous chapel nearby while in the area the excavations brought to light everyday objects and parts of fortified walls that date back to the Early Bronze Age, the oldest samples of human life on the island.

Right on the foot of Spetses town
Location:Agios Mamas

The beach is located right in the middle of Spetses Town and next to the main harbour. It is also called Agios Mamas due to the church found nearby and it is a mostly a pebbled beach with shallow waters that gets quite crowded during summer due to its location and natural beauty. The beach itself is not organized but in the background you will find everything that you need: bars, taverns, accommodation units, mini markets and many more.

The largest coast on the island
Location:Agioi Anargiroi

Agioi Anargiroi beach is located at about 12km away from Dapia, on the west coast of the island. It is one of the largest and most developed beaches on the island with sand and pebbles and deep waters that make it ideal for watersports fans. Various taverns can be also found near the beach while it is accessed quite easily by car or water taxi.

Natural beauty combined with beach facilities
Location:Scholes Beach or Kaiki Beach Bar

Scholes or Kaiki beach is a large beach that has taken its name "Scholes" by the Anargyrios College found above it (a tourism public school-"Scholes: in Greek means "Schools") and the alternative name "Kaiki" by the beach bar found on it. It is located on the northeastern coast, close to the settlement of Spetses at 15-20min walking distance. It is organized with umbrellas, sunbeds and water sports facilities and its coast is sandy and pebbled, surrounded by a beautiful natural scenery with a nice view to the opposite coastline of Peloponnese. On the spot there is the beach bar “Kaiki” and close by some taverns and rooms to let. It is accessible by all means of local transportation.

A pine forest fading into the sea
Location:Vrellos Beach or Paradise

Vrellos is located on the north-western coast of the island and it boasts a beautiful sandy and pebbled coast surrounded by a thick pine forest. It can be easily reached by boat or by sea. If you walk all along the mountain slope through the pine forest you can reach the chapel of Profitis Elias which stands on the highest point of the island, at an altitude of 248 meters from sea level and enjoy the majestic views from there.

A quiet and calm beach

Xilokeriza is located on the south coast of Spetses at about 8km from Dapia. You can walk through the dirt road leading there or take a water taxi. It is sandy and pebbled and there is a tavern on the spot. Xilokeriza is one of the most untouched and calm beaches on the island and during summer you may find some sunbeds and umbrellas. Its emerald waters and light coloured coast combined with its tranquility make Xilokeriza a place that should not be missed!

A cove wearing a pine tree necklace

The beach is located on the north coast of the island in a cove which is covered by a pine forest offering natural shade and a magical scenery. The beach is has sand and pebbles and the waters are deep and clear. It is accessible on foot through a dirt road but the easiest way to reach it is by water taxi.

A small, tranquil cove a breath away for Spetses Town

Ligoneri beach is in fact a small cove found at the borders of the town and although it is quite easy to access it is surprisingly quiet and calm. The place boasts clean and clear azure waters, some pine trees for natural shade and colourful pebbles. Just try it!

Right opposite Spetsopoula islet

Kouzounos is one of the most quiet beaches on Spetses Island and it is found on the southeastern coast with nice views to Spetsopoula islet.  The ambience here inspires total relaxation while you lie on the small colourful pebbles and swim into the crystalline waters. Although pretty calm and not crowded, Kouzounos is easily accessible by car or the public bus.


Local Specialties & Recipes
Fish a la Spetsiota

This recipe is prepared using fish fillet like cod, halibut or red snapper. The fish is marinated in lemon juice, salt and pepper and then placed in a pan. A paste is prepared with peeled and grated tomatoes, tomato paste thinned in water, garlic, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper, and poured over the fish. Thick sliced tomatoes and bread crumbs are placed over the fish which is then baked in the oven.

Traditional marzipans (sweet almond paste)

The local marzipan is a famous delicacy of Spetses. The traditional local recipe does not include butter or eggs but almonds, honey, rose water and sugar. Therefore the marzipans, widely known as “amigdalota”, can be preserved for a long period of time. This suited the commercial sailboats of Spetses which drifted in the sea for a long time.

Local Products

The primal substance for the production of this excellent dark coloured honey is the resin of the abundant pine trees. A distinctive taste with high nutritional value to create sweet or sweet and salty creations.

Other Products

The island produces fruits and vegetables such as currants, figs, citrus, olives, olive oil, tomatoes, and many more, just like any other typical island or area of Greece.


Every September on Spetses the celebration of “Armata” is held in memory of the naval combat which took place on the 8th of September 1822 when the Greek fleet under Andreas Miaoulis defeated the Turkish after Kosmas Barmatsis managed to explode the Turkish flagship. The celebration lasts a week and the programme includes music concerts, art exhibitions, traditional dances, theatrical shows and many more. The festival closes on a Saturday - the closest to the 8th of September - with the representation of the battle in the harbor, where a wooden effigy of a Turkish ship is set on fire and explodes accompanied by a lot of fireworks. It is really an impressive show!

This event is not historically correct as it never took place in reality but Spetses Island celebrates the battleships against the Turks during the Greek Revolution with this simulation of the burning ship.

Bouboulina Museum Cultural Festival

This newly introduced festival is held in late July and beginning of August and its programme includes music concerts, operas, theatrical shows, dances, choreographies, book presentations and many more artistic events.

Religious feasts

Usually the religious feasts that follow the morning church services are accompanied by traditional music, dancing, food and drink till late in the night.
Find below our suggestions so that you enjoy a feast during your stay on the island.

Cycladia Tips
Useful tips for a Pleasant Stay

The sun is very strong in summer and especially in August. Try to avoid the direct exposure to sun for extended periods of time, especially from 11.00 to 16.00 when the sun rays are very strong. You should often use a high factor sun cream or oil to get the maximum protection and get a nice sun tan.

Moreover, you should be very careful when you drive a motorbike because the roads usually are not well maintained and they are often narrow and winding.

Eat & Drink Tips

Do not hesitate to stand and read through the catalogues placed in the restaurants’ entrance because the restaurants’ pricelists are not always low or medium and you might have to deal with unpleasant surprises.

Town of Spetses

Do not miss the chance to walk around the picturesque alleys of Spetses town and the neighboring settlements. They are so graphic and charming that will make you think you are having a tip into the past.

We also suggest that you have a walk during sunset around the Old Port, right be the seaside, and feel the sea breeze and its aromas overwhelm your senses.

Shops & Galleries
Shopping in Spetses

In the main Town of Spetses, including the Ntapia, Kasteli and Old port you will surely find quite a few cute shops selling souvenirs, fashion items, some local sweets or even art objects.