Spetses, Greece

As the boat brings you in to Dapia’s docks, clock the palatial hotel, the yacht-lined harbour and the impossibly white terracotta-topped houses cascading down the hillside. Much of the town’s cash came courtesy of local benefactor Sotirios Anargyos, who planted palm trees and founded a Harrow-inspired boarding school. His love for the Egyptians led him to build his very own neoclassical mansion guarded by no less than two sphinxes. The Spetses beach scene suits both watersport lovers and sand huggers; windsurfers and snorkellers should head to Agia Marina, a perfect spot for catching the breeze and seeing those underwater sights. Just want to soak in the sun? The Spetses coast is lined with sandy beaches: try Zogeria to the north or the Aghioi Anargyroi on the west coast. The Old Harbour, with its 19th century lighthouse and many moored yachts, is a short stroll up the coastline – treat yourself to the local speciality of little almond cakes, sprinkled with icing sugar.

When to go

If you come during the July-August summer season or over the Easter weekend, you’ll be sharing the town with holidaying Athenians, so visit in April or September if you prefer things cooler and quieter. The hydrofoil service dries up between November and January.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Most people fly to Athens (www.athensairport-2001.gr) and hop into a taxi or onto a bus to Piraeus (the port of Athens), from which the hydrofoil – otherwise known as the flying dolphin, or the faster flying cat – goes to Spetses. Athens International Airport serves many European cities including London (British Airways) and Paris (Air France).
  • Boats

    With no airport on the island, most people fly to Athens before jumping onto the hydrofoil from Athens’ port of Piraeus (€35 euro each way), which can take two to three hours depending on the number of stops it makes (www.hellenicseaways.gr).
  • Automobiles

    Private cars are not allowed on the island and taxis are rare, but you can hire bikes or motorbikes. In the summer there are also horse-drawn buggies available to ferry you around.