Greek Guide

 

Spetses Tourist Attractions Day Trips Greece Greek Travel Guide

If you tire of the beaches of Spetses, which are the main attraction for most package holidaymakers, take time out to explore the many delights of Spetses Town with its grand mansions, bustling waterfront and lovely old harbour.

The main harbour of Dapia, where the ferries and hydrofoils arrive, is studded with cannons dating back from the War of Independence (1821 1822) and is a perfect place for people watching from one of the many bars and cafes which line the waterfront. The islanders played a crucial role during the 19th century uprising against the Turks, dedicating their impressive fleet and many a bold warrior to the cause. The well preserved black and white pebble mosaic on Dapia's main square commemorates the moment during the war when the first flag bearing the motto "Freedom or Death" was raised.

One of the boldest and most colourful characters of the War of Independence was an extraordinary Spetsiot woman called Laskarina Bouboulina. She was the daughter of a naval sea captain and after being widowed by two wealthy seafarers she devoted her time (and sizeable inheritance) to building her own war fleet. She is the only woman ever to have gained the rank of admiral in the Greek navy and on her flagship Agamemnon, the largest in the Greek fleet, she led the warships of Spetses into battle against the Turks. This fiery and passionate woman warrior allegedly seduced men at gunpoint.the only way she could secure a lover, according to catty critics of the time!

You can see the house where Bouboulina lived behind Dapia, just off the port. Guided tours in English take place daily. Her bones, adorned with the revolutionary flag, are kept in the local museum which is housed in an imposing mansion once owned by Chatzi Giannis Mexis who was the first governor of Spetses. The museum contains archaeological finds, figureheads from Bouboulina's ships and various other mementoes of the War of Independence.

The Old Harbour is a wonderful place to explore with its 200 year old mansions and many fine mosaics decorating the courtyards and streets. The harbour is awash with luxury yachts, small fishing boats and the hulls of traditional caiques still being built with much the same tools and methods that were used to construct Bouboulina's awesome Agamemnon.

The Monastery of Agios Nikolaos in the Old Harbour is the oldest church in town with a beautiful bell tower (on which the Greek flag was first raised on the island after the war) and some beautiful mosaics. A plaque at the entrance to the church commemorates Napoleon's nephew, Paul Marie Bonaparte, who died in the war and was pickled in a barrel of rum. The barrel was stored at the church for several years after the war.

Fans of the great English novelist John Fowles will be interested to see the Anargyrios and Korgialenios School, half a kilometre west of Dapia, where the great English novelist John Fowles taught in the 1950s. He used the school as the inspiration of his best known work The Magus.