Situated at the entrance to the Argolic Gulf, opposite Kosta,
Hermionida, from which it is separated by a narrow channel 1.3
nautical miles wide, Spetses is the southern most island of the
It has been inhabited since the Early Bronze Age (2500-2000 BC),
as attested by the remnants of defensive walls, figurines and
clay vessels found at Aghia Marina.
During the Ottoman period the Spetsiotes built up an important
fleet and were protagonists with their neighbours in Hydra in
the Greek War of Independence.
The attractive town of Spetses is one of the most elegant and
dignified island capitals. It has an ambience of the “good old
days”, which is created by the Neoclassical houses and is
enhanced by the absence of motor vehicles and the circulation of
horse-drawn carriages. The heart of the small town is the
historical Dapia Square with the cannon, emplacement that brings
to mind the struggles against the Ottoman Turks. Here, around
the picturesque harbour, are the old coffees hops, many
restaurants, patisseries, shops etc.
To the left of Dapia, in the direction of the old harbour, are
numerous Neoclassical houses and the metropolis (Greek Orthodox
cathedral) of Aghios Nikolaos. Standing in a lovely setting, the
church was once the katholikon of a monastery. There are quaint
shipyards beside the old harbour and beyond these is the chapel
of the PanAghia tis Armatas. Built on a densely wooded hill with
a wonderful view over the whole town, it commemorates the
Spetsiotes’ victory in September 1822.
A short distance away is the lighthouse. To the right of Dapia
Square is the imposing building of the old Poseidonion Hotel and
a monument dedicated to Bouboulina, the most important woman
protagonist in the Struggle of 1821. Further on, in the area of
Kounoupitsa, are the impressive premises of the
Anargyrion-Koryalenion School, founded in 1927. Mansions worth
visiting in the town are those of Bouboulina, Botasis and
Chatziyannis Mexis. The last now houses a museum of memorabilia
of the 1821 War of Independence, archival and folklore material,
paintings etc. (tel. (22980) 72.994). At the highest point in
the town is the Holy Trinity church, built in 1793.
On the west coast, near Aghioi Anargyroi, is the Bekiris cave in
which the 1821 freedom fighters sought refuge. All the island’s
beaches can be reached by bus or caique: Aghioi Anargyroi, Aghia
Paraskevi, Zogeria, Vrellas, Aghia Marina, Xylokeriza. Spetses
has an excellent tourist infrastructure and there are plenty of
hotels, pensions, entertainment centres, restaurants etc. There
are ample opportunities for sea sports and many night spots.
The annual festival, the “Anargyria”, is held in August. In
mid-September there is a reenactment of the naval battle of the
Armada, which sets off from the chapel of the PanAghia tis
Armatas, near the lighthouse of the old harbour. The events
include athletics contests and folk dancing. To the SE of
Spetses lies the privately-owned, verdant islet of Spetsopoula.
Spetses is an ideal base for making excursions to Kosta, Porto
Cheli, Kranidi, Nafplion and the archaeological sites of the
Argolid opposite. In the summer there are theatrical perfomances
in the ancient theatre of Epidaurus. There are fuel and water
supply facilities for private vessels in the harbour of Spetses.