Spetses Island

SPETSES - 30 minutes drive from Ermioni to Kosta
                    Short sea crossing from Kosta to Spetses
                        25 minutes by sea from Ermioni to Spetses  (limited service)                                                     
Spetses is a beautiful island, with a very picturesque old harbour East of the town centre, lined with old Venetian mansions. The town centre surrounding Dapia harbour offers a variety of shops and boutiques, in addition to many cafes and tavernas.  Spetses continues to encouraging the use of traditional horse drawn carriages and bicycles, but has created the nuisance of numerous noisy motorbikes.  The best way to see the town is to walk, or hire one of the traditional one-horse carriages found by the waterfront.  To get around the island, you can rent quad-bikes, mopeds or bicycles.  Motorbikes cost approximately 15 Euros to hire per day, bicycles cost 5 Euros to hire per day, and a bus will cost 3 Euros per person to get to the popular sandy Aghioi Anargyroi beach.
 
Spetses was the first Argo-Saronic island to participate in the 1821 War of Independence, Hydra soon joining forces with them, having around 55 merchant vessels which were converted into well armed warships.  The firing of the Turkish flagship in the great naval battle on 8th September 1822 prevented the Ottoman fleet from bringing supplies to Nafplio, which then surrendered to the Greek besiegers at the end of November.  The retreat of the enemy fleet, superior in numbers, is attributed to the courage of Kosmas Barbatsis, the daring man who fired the Turkish flagship, an act which essenttially decided the outcome of the battle.  A large bronze statue of Barbatsis stands within a gun-enplacement overlooking the sculpture park, near the famous lighthouse (pharos) of Spetses.
 
Two of Spetses elegant old mansions are still the property of descendants of Laskarina Bouboulina, who was the courageous lady admiral, whose warships vanquished the Ottoman fleet during the Greek War of Independence, she is still one of Greek history's greatest women.  Bouboulina was tragicaly killed on the island of Spetses, following a family dispute, and her bones are kept in the Spetses Museum nearby.  Bouboulina's Museum is located just behind the harbour front.  The museum offers daily guided tours of the large pebble-paved courtyard and the mansion interior, with its lavish decorations, wood carved Florentine ceiling in the great hall and a few mementoes of the heroine herself, including a large scale model of her 1821 flagship, the 'Agamemnon'.  Along the waterfront, there is a large bronze statue of Laskarina Bouboulina in Poseidonion Square.
 
The remarkable mansion of Hatziyannis Mexis, one of Spetses' most powerful statesmen and the first governor of the island, houses the Spetses Museum (open from 8:30 to 16:30 daily, closed Mondays)  This museum houses the archaeological, historical (mementoes of the Revolution) and folklore collections of the island.  King Othon, the first king of independent Greece, stayed as a guest in this mansion during the period when his first capital was Nafplio.
 
Poseidonion Grand Hotel (picture above) has been a landmark on the Spetses skyline for over a hundred years with its exceptional architecture.  The hotel first opened in 1914 and was the brainchild of Sotirios Anargiros, who was responsible for much of Spetses’ early development. The hotel represented the cosmopolitan face of the island and quickly became a favourite destination for international high society, royalty and wealthy Athenians.  The Poseidonion reopened its doors in 2009 following a meticulous five-year restoration, which has brought it up to date, while carefully preserving the original style and architecture of the classic building.
 
Spetses Classic Yacht Race takes place in June.  A spectacular weekend of Sailing races, starting and finishing in the straight between Spetses and Kosta.  50 yachts took part in a recent Regatta, with categories for 'Vintage' (built prior to 1949), 'Classic' (built between 1949-1975) and 'Spirit of Tradition' (built after 1975) as well as Aegean schooners and open boats.
 
Anargyri Art Festival takes place during August on Spetses, with the focus on performing and visual arts.
 
Festival of Armata (Armada) takes place on the second Saturday evening of September, starting at approximately 22:00.  The special event is a reconstruction of the great sea battle against the Ottoman Turk, Algerian and Egyptian fleet in 1822, that took place just East of the original old harbour of Spetses.  For the build up, there are marching bands, stage music, song and dance in front of the Poseidonion Grand Hotel, followed by a torchlight procession to the Dapia harbour.  The highlight of the evening is the re-enactment of the attack and fire-bombing of the Ottoman Turkish flagship by the local hero, Kosmas Barbatsis.  As the Ottoman flagship explodes, burns and slowly sinks, there is a grand pyrotechnics firework display for the finale, lighting up the dark starlit sky. 
 
Spetses Mini Marathon takes place in October.  The main event, which started in 2011, is an international 26kms marathon around the island.  In 2014, a 10km race was added to the programme.  Swimming races of 2.5km and 5km as well as a childrens 1000m run and swim race are also part of the 3-day programme of events.  Over 15,000 runners took part in the 5th annual Spetses Marathon in 2015. The 2017 dates: Friday 6th - Childrens run and swim event.  Saturday 7th - Swimming events to/from Kosta and 10km running event.  Sunday 8th - 5km running event and the 26kms Mini Marathon.
 

How to get from Ermioni to Spetses:
 
BY CAR (including a short sea crossing)
 
  • A 30 minute drive to Kosta, along the scenic coastal route or on the main Kranidi by-pass via Porto Heli.  There are many parking facilities at Kosta, either by the roadside or in official, secure, shaded car-parks, which cost approximately 5.00 Euros per day.
  • Please note: Only Spetses residents, with valid permits for their cars, and licenced commercial vehicles are allowed to cross over to Spetses by ferry.  Tourist hire-cars are not allowed onto the ferry although motor bikes and bicycles are allowed.
  • Be aware that the Police occasionally issue parking tickets for vehicles parked on the final straight stretch of road leading down to the port, particularly in the high Summer months. 
  • From Kosta there are various boats which depart for Spetses island, some costing as little as 2 Euros per person one way.
  • The quickest way to reach Spetses would be to catch a fast water taxi, direct to the Dapia harbour.  Cost approximately 20 Euros per journey, irrespective of the number of passengers.  Journey time is approximately 5 minutes.
  • In the high Summer months and festivals periods only, you could consider taking one of the traditional motor caiques, which sail throughout the day as soon as they are full.  Cost is only 2 Euros per person, one way.  Journey time is approximately 10 minutes.
  • The other economical way, would be to catch the large Katerina Star ferry-boat sailing at 06:30 - 08:00 - 10:30 - 13:30 - 17:00 from Kosta.  This ferry-boat takes Spetses residents vehicles only (no private or rented cars allowed) as well as commercial vehicles, motorbikes, bicycles and passengers.  Cost approximately 2 Euros per person, one way.  Journey time is approximately 20 minutes.  The last Katerina Star ferry-boat sailing from Spetses to Kosta is at 16:30.

BY BUS (including a short sea crossing)

  • Catch the bus from Ermioni to Kosta from 09:30, via Kranidi and Porto Heli, Monday to Friday only. The bus stop is opposite the Pop's tourist office.  Cost approximately 3 Euros per person.  From Kosta you have a choice of which boats to catch for the crossing. Check with the bus driver for the return journey times from Kosta to Kranidi/Ermioni.  Last bus from Kranidi to Ermioni is at 13:10.
  • Taxi from Kranidi to Ermioni costs approximately 15 Euros.
BY SEA
 
  • Sailings on most days by Flying Dolphin & Flying Cat, from Ermioni to Spetses direct.  The times of departure and return are limited. Please check hellenicseaways.gr/en sailing times prior to departure, or contact Pop's Tourist office in Ermioni, Tel: +30 27540 31514.  The sea crossing from Ermioni to Spetses is approximately 25 minutes.  Tickets cost 8.00 Euros per person, one way.  

SEPTEMBER 2017 Sailing times:    

  • From ERMIONI to SPETSES:
  • 18:05 - 21:15 (Monday-Thursday)                 10:05 - 22:15 (Friday)
  • 18:05 - 21:15 (Saturday)                                10:20 (Sunday)     
  • From SPETSES to ERMIONI:
  • 06:10 - 10:30 - 19:15 (Monday-Thursday)     06:10 - 13:50 (Friday)
  • 06:10 - 10:30 - 19:15 (Saturday)                    06:10 - 10:50 (Sunday)

Always check sailing times prior to departure, especially during public holidays, as Hellenic Seaways can cancel or change sailing times without notice. 

Location

Spetses
Argo-Saronic Island of Spetses
Greece
37° 16' 2.2764" N, 23° 9' 20.4948" E
Picture Gallery
The ferry-boat is the economical way to travel The water-taxis are the quickest way to reach Spetses In the Summer months you can sail on traditional caiques Hotels, shops, cafes and bars along Spetses harbour front Cafes and shops leading to the stately Poseidonion Grand Hotel The ferry-boat behind the traditional one-horse carriages Cafes and bars around the historic Dapia harbour The 'Flying Cat' which arrives from Ermioni and Porto Heli The traditional way to get around Spetses town There are many one-horse carrages available for hire The entrance to the Bouboulina Museum Guided tours are available at Bouboulina Museum The 19th Century terrace in the Museum The detailed wood-carved Florentine ceiling in the great hall A place to have a swim near Aghia Mama's The small beach which is close to the town centre Wander around the narrow streets of Spetses town You'll find a number of interesting antique and gift shops Art and craft shops line the many back streets Take your time to find a bargain After shopping - have a coffee or cold beer Take some time to explore the interesting town The upper part of town has a traditional style Old and new houses of the local residents in the town Venetian buildings leading to the old harbour The old harbour offers a different character of Spetses The picturesque charm of Aghios Nikolaos Sit at one of the numerous waterfront cafes or bars Many traditional tavernas available en-route to the old harbour Most tavernas offer sea and harbour views The Limani old harbour and boat-building yard in the background The Limani old harbour leads to the sculpture park and lighthouse The silver mermaid at the park overlooking Aghios Nikolaos Bronze statue of Kosmas Barbatsis - hero of the Armata battle The lighthouse (pharos) at the end of the park peninsula The picturesque bay and beach at Paraskevi One of the many bays and beaches around the island The beach of Aghioi Anargyri on the opposite side of the island Church of Aghioi Anargyri on the beach alongside tavernas Return on the 16:30 ferry-boat to Kosta Armata Festival: Hellenic Navy ship 'Adrias' visiting Spetses Armata Festival: Repro Ottoman flagship awaiting destruction Armata Festival: Hellenic Navy band matching through Spetses Armata Festival: Ottoman flagship explodes after fire-attack Armata Festival: The grand firework display begins Armata Festival: Colourful display next to the burning flagship Armata Festival: Grand finale explosions Armata Festival: Ottoman flagship burns and finally sinks