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 scenic capital, Spetses Town, is perfect for relaxing Summer walks to explore charming Venetian mansions.  The old town centre surrounding Dapia harbour offers a variety of shops and boutiques, in addition to many cafes, bars and restaurants.  The best way to see the town is to walk, or hire one of the traditional one-horse carriages found by the waterfront.  Spetses continues the use of traditional horse drawn carriages and bicycles, but has created the nuisance of numerous noisy motorbikes.  The old harbour area, called Baltiza, was an important shipbuilding centre during the 18th and 19th century, featuring museums and a lighthouse (pharos) while there's plentiful swimming and sunbathing to be enjoyed at the many beaches along its picturesque coastline.
All the beaches on Spetses are lovely and scenic, providing the perfect places for relaxing family holidays.  Four of the best beaches on the island are the centrally located Spetses Town beach, the very popular Aghia Marina beach, Aghia Paraskevi beach on the Western shoreline and the large Aghioi Anargyri beach on the opposite side of the island, that can be reached by water taxi, bus or taxi.  To get around the island, you can rent quad-bikes, scooters or bicycles.  Motorbikes cost approximately 20 Euros to hire per day, bicycles cost 7 Euros to hire per day, and a bus will cost 5 Euros per person to get to the popular sandy beach at Aghioi Anargyri.  Apart from the coastal road and numerous backstreet of Spetses Town, there is just the one winding coastal road around the island.
Archaeological excavations show that the first signs of human habitation on Spetses are from the Early Bronze Age, about 2,500 BC.  During the 15th century, Arvanites inhabited the island, calling the island Pityousa, from the pines (pity) that covered the island.  The population increased during this period with people migrating from the Peloponnesian Peninsula, but they were unable to create permanent dwellings due to frequent pirate raids.  Only at the beginning of the 17th century were the first real towns and villages established on Spetses, developing a strong maritime and trading tradition that is still evident to this day.
Spetses was the first Argo-Saronic island to participate in the Greek War of Independence. On 13th March 1821, even before the Mani uprising, Laskarina Bouboulina, a naval commander from Spetses, raised her banner on her flagship Agamemnon and led her fleet of eight warships to blockade Nafplio, that was occupied by Ottoman forces.  Hydra and Psara soon joined forces with them, having around 55 merchant vessels which were converted into armed warships.  The firing of the Turkish flagship in the great naval battle from 8th to 13th 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 attacked the Turkish flagship, an act which essenttially decided the outcome of the battle.  A 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 between 1833 and 1834 when his first capital was Nafplio.
Poseidonion Grand Hotel (pictured above and right) 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.  A large bronze statue of Laskarina Bouboulina stands proudly in front of the Poseidonion Grand Hotel in Poseidonion Square, a popular focal landmark of Spetses. 
The Poseidonion Grand Hotel was selected for 'The Gold List 2024' as one of the best hotels and resorts in the world by the editors of Condé Nast Traveller.  The other Greek hotel selected in the European category was the Porto Zante Villas & Spa in Zakynthos.
Spetses Classic Yacht Race takes place at the end of June.  A spectacular weekend of Sailing races, starting and finishing in the narrow straight between Spetses and Kosta.  Over 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 all taking part.
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 Turkish, Algerian and Egyptian fleets 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 (pictured right). 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.  Saturday 14th September 2024.
Spetses Mini Marathon takes place on the second weekend of October.  The main event, which started in 2011, is an international 25kms mini-marathon around the island, later, 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 18,000 athletes took part in the 9th annual Spetses Marathon in 2019. The 2024 dates: Friday 11th - Childrens run and swim event.  Saturday 12th - Swimming events to/from Kosta and 10km running event.  Sunday 13th - 5km running event and the 25kms 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 on the nearby roads 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.
  • The distance from Kosta to Spetses (Dapia harbour) is 1.7 nautical miles / 3.1 kms.
  • From Kosta there are various boats which depart for Spetses island, some costing as little as 3.00 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 25 Euros per journey, irrespective of the number of passengers.  Journey time is approximately 6 minutes.
  • The other economical way would be the large Katerina Star ferry-boat.  Sailing every day throughout the year.
  • From Kosta to Spetses:  06:50 - 08:00 - 10:30 - 13:30 - 17:00 
  • From Spetses to Kosta:  06:00 - 07:20 - 10:00 - 13:00 - 16:30
  • Cost approximately 3.00 Euros per person, one way.  Pay for ticket on the ferry.  Journey time is approximately 25 minutes.
  • The Katerina Star ferry-boat takes Spetses residents vehicles only (no private or rented cars allowed on the island) as well as larger licenced commercial vehicles, motorbikes, bicycles and passengers.
  • Be aware that the last Katerina Star ferry-boat sailing from Spetses to Kosta is at 16:30
  • There is another way to sail across to Spetses, with the Spetses Express I passenger boat.  
  • From Kosta to Spetses:   09:30 - 11:30 - 12:30 - 14:30 - 16:00 - 18:30 - 19:30 - 20:30 - 21:30 
  • From Spetses to Kosta:   09:00 - 11:00 - 12:00 - 14:00 - 15:30 - 18:00 - 19:00 - 20:00 - 21:00
  • Cost approximately 3 Euros per person, one way.  Pay for ticket on the boat.  Journey time is approximately 12 minutes.
  • There are up to 20 daily crossings during the weekends (Friday to Sunday) when the Spetses Express II joins her sister ship, giving a departure every half an hour at certain times of the day. 

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 in Ermioni is opposite Pop's tourist office, next to the kiosk.  Cost approximately 3.50 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.
  • Sailings on most days by AERO Highspeed & Flying Cat, from Ermioni to Spetses direct.  Times of departure and return are limited. Check hellenicseaways.gr/en sailing times prior to departure, or Pop's Tourist office in Ermioni, Tel: +30 27540 31514.  Tickets cost 11.50 Euros per person, one way.  Buy ticket(s) from Pop's Tourist office before travel.  The sea crossing from Ermioni to Spetses is approximately 25 minutes. 

JUNE 2024 - Sailing times with Hellenic Seaways:  

  • 12:20 - 22:15  (Monday-Thursday)                                               15:25 - 22:15  (Friday)
  • 12:45 - 22:15  (Saturday)                                                              22:15  (Sunday)     
  • 06:10 - 13:50  (Monday-Thursday)                                               06:10 - 16:00  (Friday)
  • 06:10 - 14:05  (Saturday)                                                              06:10  (Sunday)

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


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