This summer, my family was invited to Spetses, Greece for my cousin’s wedding. (I know, GOALS). After not seeing some of my extended family for over 13 years, we decided to make it to the wedding and create a long vacation out of the opportunity. Our first portion of the trip began in Spetses, Greece for one week. With dinners, boat trips and many get togethers planned with our entire family, I was able to see so many things Spetses had to offer.
Something I really loved about Spetses was that it wasn’t as touristy as more popularized or well known islands, such as Santorini, Mykonos, Crete or Rhodes. Spetses isn’t as brought to attention as these other islands, so the tourism, I personally felt, was a lot calmer. Santorini is a much larger, busier island than Spetses with high tourism, which makes sense when the overall population lies at about 15,000. Spetses, on the other hand, understandably has a smaller tourist flow due to how small their population is; about 4,000.
The island of Spetses was stunning and small enough to feel like home. In just a week, I felt like one with the locals – as if I could give newbies directions anywhere. It truly was beautiful and had the best mix of small town shopping, restaurants, beach days, and late nights out. As my new favorite island in Greece, I recommend it to anyone traveling there. Here is a mini guide when traveling to Spetses. In the following, you’ll find things to keep in mind when prepping and planning and some must stops to make on your trip.
Prep and plan your stay correctly.
1. Choosing a place to stay.
We booked an Airbnb to stay at, called Arolithos. An Airbnb (the bnb standing for “bed and breakfast”) is basically an apartment, home or room, etc. you rent from a “host” and they can provide certain amenities while staying there such as breakfast, laundry and room cleaning. At our bnb, Arolithos, we were given incredible service from our host. We had a cozy sized room with a small balcony, clothing line, mini fridge and extremely nice bathroom, compared to ones I have used in past trips to Greece. Each morning we were welcomed with a tray outside our door of a delicious and quick breakfast: hard boiled eggs, cheese and deli meats, muffins, croissants, toast, and fresh fruit. Additionally, find a place that washes your towels and cleans your room daily. For those who have traveled in the past know that vacation time usually doesn’t consist of worrying about the cleanliness or tidiness of your room. Arolithos considered this, and washed our towels and cleaned our room daily. This was such a relaxing thing to come back to after a long day at the beach. But above all, the best reason to stay at Arolithos? The roof top. We took our breakfast trays to the roof, and with an incredible view of the ocean and surrounding homes, it was the perfect way to start each morning.
2. Pick a place that’s in walking distance of the shops and a beach.
Consisting of roughly 4,000 people, Spetses is a very small island, about 15 miles around (I know because my uncle decided to run the entire thing one morning – crazy). The setup of this small island was something I loved the most. We got dropped off at the port and from there, could walk right into the main part of town. Little shops, bakeries and restaurants lined the walk through the town. If you walked an extra 5-10 minutes (max), you would arrive at Arolithos, other surrounding homes, another bakery, and a few more restaurants. Our place was the perfect distance to town, and the beaches. We could walk over to a small local beach called Kyra Eleni, only five minutes away and afterwards, right to the bakery for a bite to eat.
Kyra Eleni beach
3. Buckle up for the WIFI issues.
I’m going to be real honest. Basically wifi on all the islands in Greece absolutely sucks. That’s just how it is, you’re really not going to get good wifi on the islands unless you are at a locals home who actually invested in some great wifi. (Shout out to my uncle and their wonderful wifi). There are some plans you can pay for on your phone, or head to the local tech store, Spetses had one right off the port, and buy a SIM card, or just simply deal with it. Overall though, you’re in GREECE. You don’t need your phone at all. The only reason I wanted wifi at times was to Snapchat my closest friends and post a picture on Instagram. Other than that you should not be sitting on your phone when you’re in the most beautiful place on earth. Please, don’t be THAT person.
4. Buy water shoes.
Something I was not at all expecting was that the beaches in Spetses were rock/pebble beaches. I was so used to all sand beaches, and years ago when I visited Ios, they had sand beaches as well. Here though, it was rocky. And it HURT. I never really understood the reason people actually went out and bought water shoes until getting on the beach and cringing as I walked in the water. If you had sandals, people would walk to the edge of the water with them, kick them off, and then go in. Right away my old pair of sandals I brought with became my beach sandals.
Things to do
1. Rent ATVs.
By far the best money spent in Spetses. The island is so small that there is almost no cars, and the few they do have can only fit on certain roads, because the roads were made much too tight. Rent an ATV or Vespa and get ready to see some unbelievable parts of the island. You could always take a taxi or bus to the beaches, but the best part was being able to hop on an ATV and see the entire island quick and easy with no restrictions. We purchased ours from a little rental place right next to Arolithos, for 30 euros a day. Our one day rental turned into a five day rental – they were amazing. We beach hopped each day and visited almost every public beach on the island. My favorite beach was Agia Paraskevi; the beach was almost empty when we were there and the restaurant on the beach was delicious. When we wanted to head to the next beach, we just tossed our backpacks over our shoulders and hopped back on the ATVs. The convenience of the ATVs was perfect for our group heading to each and every beach. We fit two on each, swerved through the sharp turns in the roads and overlooked the entire ocean through the whole drive. (Be careful because the driving in Greece is insane, so be cautious). One of the best drives, was on nights we headed to our uncle’s house for dinner. We weaved in between the small roads that lined the stacked like houses. It was incredible, seeing little bakeries or shops hidden in the back of the town, the beautiful homes and detailed architecture.
Agia Paraskevi beach
No better time for a Corona than by the sea.
Some goats we spotted on our way around the island.
Zogeria beach! The beautiful destination of my cousins wedding.
2. Stop at Artopoieio Tasos bakery.
My cousin swears it was her favorite on the island and I can’t argue. Warm chocolate croissants and tiropitas (feta cheese filled filo bread) in the morning – delicious – as well as late night ice cream trips coming home from a night out at 4AM. YES, they were open. I could smell the fresh baked items they were starting for that morning. Its unbelievable to think of all the work the locals go through to satisfy people like myself for the entire day.
3. Head over to Bikini for a night out.
Something I liked about the island is how one main side is the restaurants, shops and more relaxed areas. Yet if you walk about 20 minutes from Arolithos, which is yes, a little far but a very simple walk, then you get to an area that has all of the bars. It’s the side of the island that’s a hub for nightlife. Bikini was definitely one to come back to; being right on the water, tables covering the patio – it was cute and small. Get there quick though because it gets packed fast.
4. Grab a gyro ANYWHERE.
Gyros are a gift from God, people. When in Greece, get them every time, and not once will you be dissatisfied. What I love about Greece, in general, is that sometimes the quick stops for food and not the nice sit downs, can actually have some of the best and most tastiest foods. The most mouthwatering gyro I had in Spetses – and trust me I had eaten a few in this week – was from a little gyro stop that makes gyros like you would order a sub at Subway. Gyros are basically the quick subs of Greece. The place which I sadly can’t recall the name of, whipped up a gyro in just a few minutes and my family and I walked and ate as we loaded onto our Ferry boat on our last day heading back to Athens.
5. Get a morning Frappe every morning.
I am not a coffee person at all. But for those who are, my cousin, mom and sister were both obsessed with frappes while in Greece. Frappes are a daily in Greece; I’m talking they’re ordered morning to night, multiple times a day, and for someone who doesn’t like coffee, I’ve taken sips of everyone’s and they actually are really good. Greek frappes are a coffee lovers dream.
6. CREPES. NUTELLA. DESSERT.
Crepes are a personal must in Greece. Dessert every night, is a must. Nutella crepes with a scoop of ice cream was the best end to a night out. Overall, the dessert in Greece was mouth watering and never disappointed my obnoxious sweet tooth. So enjoy some of these to die for pictures.
7. And if you’re at all able to, see a wedding go down in Greece, because it was an absolute dream.
It’s always important to prep early for a trip. When we headed to Greece this year, I was reading blog post after blog post on the islands we were going to visit so I knew things to expect, and made a list of places I absolutely wanted to stop at. Try it out for your next trip, it will help you plan and prepare, but you also may learn a few new things about the place you’re headed.