It’s the crown jewel of the Saronic archipelago, and the ideal island break for anyone combining it with a trip to Athens, as it only takes two hours to reach. As far as serene landscapes go, this pine-covered paradise is utterly unspoilt and maintains the sort of low-key luxury that one yearns for but seems to be rare and rarer to find these days. Smells of throubi (a rosemary and thyme hybrid herb) and lavender on every corner, warm-hearted Spetsiots proud to share a bit of the island’s history, gorgeous pebble-mosaics lying on the alleys around Dapia -so gorgeous in fact that one has got to be kindly reminded to keep her gaze up instead of constantly down!
What’s fantastic about Spetses is how delightfully easy it is to get acquainted with it from the moment you arrive. Depending on the time of the year, there’s also a true abundance of events and activities to look out for, from the Spetses Classic Yacht Regatta towards the end of June, to the super impressive Armata Festival celebration in early September --the latter being a commemoration of a historic Greek Revolution naval battle that actually goes to fully on reenact the burning of the enemy flagship right by the harbour! Speaking of the Revolution, a guided visit to the mansion of one of Greece's most celebrated seafarers, the heroine Laskarina Bouboulina, is well impressive in providing a basic historical backdrop for the island.
Any average day in Spetses can start with a walk tour around the Lighthouse via the Spetses Old Harbour. Spending some time by the dockyards and watching boatbuilders work on beautiful wooden ships feels almost meditative. It also begs for utmost respect to observe these talented makers sustain a dying craft. Make sure to make a quick stopover for some famous Spetsiot amygdalota (almond pastries) from Politis or Klimis. The strolls can continue on to the whitewashed neoclassical mansions of old sea captains in a little alley street near Agios Nikolaos, all the way to the promenade right by Poseidonion, a 1910's landmark and the island’s most iconic hotel.
|Bonnie & Klein, Beautiful City, 2016|
With every picture-perfect stop around the island, the forest overlooks secluded beaches with glistening waters under the searing Greek light. And the waters are bluer than blue, especially if you swim to the Bekiris cave from Agioi Anargyroi beach. Towards dusk, you can hear distant orthodox church processions as you watch horse-drawn carriages work their taxi fares up and down the road. Swayed by its undeniable beauty and truly unhurried pace, you’ll know Spetses is a timeless island, the kind you’ll want to come back to again and again. Now you are in the know too.
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