Our holiday to Greece began with an easy flight from Madrid to Athens and meeting James in arrivals. We hopped on a hot, busy bus from the airport to the port of Piraeous, enjoyed a club sandwich and a couple of cokes, before getting on the ferry out to Spetses.
We were travelling with Hellenic Seaways on a 3 hour journey that saw us stopping at various ports on the way. Although we weren’t allowed on deck while the boat was moving through open water, we went out at every stop to watch the boat dock, the marina life of the numerous small and large yachts moored up, and the sun setting behind the Greek Islands. It was a lovely start to the holiday.
It was dark by the time we arrived in Spetses and the port was bustling with people so we stopped for a dinner of huge salads at a restaurant on the pier and then several glasses of wine/ whiskeys as we chatted away, enjoying being together again after a month apart, and being on holiday!
I won’t pretend to have any real knowledge of Spetses after just a few days on the island but would say it is well worth a visit. It’s a small, quiet island with very few cars, and the main ways of getting around are either by scooter or bike. It’s not particularly well known for international tourism but is a favourite Greek holiday island, with a tiny permanent population. It is not a cheap island, which caused problems finding somewhere to stay, and I found the prices very high compared to Madrid! Still cheap in comparison to London though.
What we did: the reason for our trip to Spetses was to go to the wedding of James’ PhD supervisor. The official wedding was last year, but this was their main wedding party as his wife is Greek. The wedding was incredible, at the Kaikos beach club, so it was on the beach at sunset – very romantic!
We did a lot of eating and a lot of dancing. The Greek food was absolutely superb. And we were sat by some guests from Buenos Aires, one of whom had fought against the British in the Falklands War which was incredibly interesting! (He says governments make war, not people. Very true!)
The next day started very slowly as we had been dancing until 4am, but after a club sandwich and a LOT of liquids we rented bikes for €5 each and went for a cycle around the island – only 26km the whole way round although James was really struggling due to being slightly ill and a general hatred of being in direct sunlight. I was loving it though as it was stunningly beautiful!
Other than that our main activities were swimming, reading, sleeping and eating. PERFECT.
The beaches: there are beaches dotted around the island, nestled into small bays. Some with cafes and beach beds, the others little more than a flat, stony area by a quiet bay, with no other people on it. The beaches are generally stony rather than sandy.
The first beach we went to was Vrelos, about a 15 minute walk from the apartment and one of a few nearby by with a beach side restaurant. So we went down there for a late lunch, rented two sunbeds and enjoyed an afternoon relaxing. The food was simple but delicious (there is nothing better than a posh club sandwich and a diet coke by the beach) and the beach was busy but not crowded.
The next day we cycled around the island and found ourselves at Agii Anargiri. This is the site of a famous cave but we were so hot by the time we got there that we just crashed out on some beach beds with a cold drink! Again, there is a cafe and beach beds which cost €4 each. It was very, very quiet, with a big, wide-open, calm bay for swimming.
And finally we spent some time at a tiny little beach just 100m from where we were staying, down some steep steps before opening out into a quiet little bay that we had all to ourselves. I even went for a swim from one bay to another which was great!
The food: the only real town in Spetses is Dapia, a pretty Greek village arranged around the port, with numerous restaurants lining the water’s edge, both at the port and further along the road, behind the beaches. On our first night, as we were tired and with suitcases, we just stopped at the first busy restaurant we saw. It turned out to be a pizza restaurant, where we ate and enjoyed two large salads.
We had a fantastic fish meal at Patralis Seafood, which apparently catches the fish in its own boats – it is a beautiful restaurant with tables set out overlooking the water and we shared a carafe of half a litre of cold white wine.
Then we enjoyed Greek mezze for lunch at Bouboulinos just before our ferry ride home – huge plates of anchovies, moist courgette croquettes, an aubergine dip and so much feta cheese – it was delicious!
And a less Greek meal of a club sandwich and a chocolate milkshake at a cafe overlooking the port – a fantastic spot for people watching!
Where we stayed: in a studio apartment I found on Air BnB. It was cheap for Spetses standards at only £29 a night, and was a ten euro taxi or 5 min cycle from the main town on the island, Dapia, and only 100m from the nearest beach. The bed was a converted sofa bed that perhaps wouldn’t be great if you were really tall, but was absolutely fine for us, and it had a little terrace with the sea visible between the flowers.
There were only a few negative things about it – firstly the electricity went one afternoon so we had no air conditioning overnight and had to shower and go to the bathroom either in the dark or by the light of our phones! Neither of which is ideal but we didn’t really mind that.
The second annoying thing was a text at midnight the night before we were due to checkout saying that the cleaning lady was coming at 9am the next morning to prepare the studio for the next guests. I checked our check-out time and sure enough, it was 12pm. When I pushed back, the owner told me it was fine as we could go for breakfast in town and then come back to pick our bags up before 12. Well no, not fine at all, as I had wanted to go for a run first thing while James had a lie-in, and then we wanted to go to the beach, returning to shower and pack up before 12pm. I complained and we were told the owner would try to ask the cleaning lady to come as late as possible. In the end she didn’t show up until after we’d left, at 12, but it made for a slightly unsettling morning!
Those niggling annoyances aside, Spetses was a beautiful island and a wonderful spot for a wedding, especially due to the incredible sunsets! I can never get enough sunsets…..