A weekend in Spetses, the Jasmine Island

Spetses, one of the Saronic islands, will welcome you as soon as you arrive with the good smell of its jasmines. You can stroll through its narrow streets dotted with colorful bougainvillea. A somewhat twin island of Hydra to which it is physically close, it nevertheless has its very own character.

Here are some practical tips (where to sleep, how to get to Spetses, how to get around) and a suggested program for a weekend.

In preamble: how to move on the island of Spetses?

We would find it difficult to characterize Spetses as a pedestrian island because it is still crisscrossed by scooters and mopeds whose engine noises can be unpleasant. However, it is not essential to rent one and join the concert of petrolettes to enjoy the treasures of the island. The time of a weekend to move on foot is enough. But for those who wish to explore the island further, it is also possible to rent bicycles (electric!) and quadsto ride in a carriage or take a Taxi on the Haven.

Suggested program: Spetses day 1

Spetses is an island where it is pleasant to walk both on the seafront and on the land side.

When you are facing the port, you can go to the left in the direction of Ligoneri and stop for lunch at Kounoupitsa. A 10-minute walk from the large crowded terraces of the port, you can lunch with your feet in the water at Akrogialaa welcoming tavern with fresh fish and traditional mezes.
Take the opportunity to treat yourself to a dessert at the pastry Αρτοποιείο Τάσος, nearby. We tested the ice creams on the right and they were… to die for!

The Akrogiala Tavern
© Severine C.

If you continue to walk along the sea you will come across Ligonéri beach and further on that of Vrelos. If you are looking for an equipped beach, you can go to Kaiki Beach. Expect to take out your wallet, parasol/deckchair sets are offered at 15€, prices go up to 30€ for sofa beds. Another option for an equipped beach: Paradise Beach.

For the evening, we recommend the atmosphere of the old port located 15 minutes walk from the port. With the bonus of a charming walk by the sea. We enjoyed our dinner at Tarsanas restauranton the terrace over the water, where the service was meticulous and the waiters attentive.

If you want to eat on the port, Orloff’s restaurant is very good. Book a table on the pier, the pleasant setting. We like too Nero Tis Agapi Restaurant.

For night owls, we recommend these 2 atmospheric bars:

Eclipse bar : Bar outside, club part inside. Good musical atmosphere, rather international music. Entrance fee (10€ with 1 free drink)

Guzel Spetses : Another atmospheric bar (around €10 for a cocktail), good Greek music.

Spetses day 2

The next day, start a walk to the tip of the lighthouse where you can enjoy a superb view. You will cross a pine forest and even if access to the lighthouse is impossible because it is closed for security reasons, a small path allows you to go and admire the waves which come up against the rocks below.

land sidethe beautiful residences of the surrounding district also allow you a nice change of scenery far from the noise of mopeds.

Not wanting to reach a private beach, we went looking for a small cove and “stumbled” (it was not exactly the result of chance because the indications were few, we thank Google Maps) on Garifallos beach. A small, very quiet pebble beach relatively easy to access thanks to steps. It is 10 minutes walk from the old port and well preserved.

Another very pleasant beach but a little further away: Paralia Kouzounos. It is located after the beach of Agia Marina. A discreet passage leads there.

Garifallos beach in Spetses
Garifallos Beach
© Severine C.

We would have liked to tell you about Bouboulinas Museum major attraction of the island according to the guides. Important local figure, Laskarina Bouboulinas used her fortune to help fight for Greek independence. However, since the museum is only accessible by guided tour, when we went there, tours in English were no longer available due to the influx of groups of Greek tourists. Visiting hours are posted outside. Unfortunately, you will have to wait for the exact time to find out if an English tour will be available or not. And if necessary try your luck again at the next one by crossing your fingers that it takes place.

As a consolation prize, a playground in front of the museum will help you wait for those with young children.

Where to sleep in Spetses?

We spent the night at the margarita hotel and are very happy with this choice. The British landlady who has been living in Greece for 40 years will be at your disposal to facilitate your stay. And she can advise you on your travels. The hotel, well located 10 minutes from the port, offers a free shuttle service upon your arrival on the island. Big plus, it has a swimming pool. It takes 60€ for a double room with breakfast included.

You will find many accommodations in Spetses on the websites Airbnb and Booking.

greek island spetses
© Severine C.

How to get to Spetses?

from Piraeus : fast boats 4 to 6 times a day which take 2h30 and cost around 30€. You can book boat tickets online and check timetables on the Ferry Hopper website (in French).

by Costa (2h30 drive from Athens):
– pedestrian boats every 2 hours. The crossing takes 20 minutes and costs around €3 per passenger.
– Taxi-boats for a shorter crossing and 8 people maximum at a cost of 23€.
In both cases, you will leave your car at the port of Kosta (5€/day).

Or why not go to Spetses by sailboat or catamaran, with or without skipper according to your needs? Athenian Yachts offers one-week cruises departing from the ports of Athens (Alimos or Lavrio) which will allow you to discover the different Saronic islands. More info in our article Rent a boat with Athenian Yachts.

We opted for a boat from the port of Kosta located 2h30 by road from Athens. You follow the Saronic Gulf by a winding road that crosses magnificent landscapes. But be careful, you will have to exercise caution if you want to admire the magnificent landscape. Because the impatience of the local driver will most often force you to turn right!

Severine C.

And if you plan to go to Spetses in September, don’t miss the Armata celebration.

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