When we think of small picturesque islands, we likely see them as perfect for romantic getaways but not ideal vacation spots for families or adrenaline buffs.
But what if we told you there is a little island not far from Athens that offers a diverse vacation experience almost all year long?
Spetses is blessed with beautiful landscapes, crystal-clear beaches and a rich cultural and historical heritage. One of the few car-free locations in Greece, its charming port-town invites you to endless promenades around its cobblestone alleys. Here, you can relax on a serene beach, enjoy a summer read at a sophisticated cafe or try a traditional Greek dish at a local fish tavern. Alternatively, you can explore the island’s natural attractions by bus, bike, or hike. Or sink your teeth in local history and culture through the many sites, museums and chapels.
For those looking for an extra reason to visit, Spetses is also home to many cultural and athletic events that welcome thousands of participants and visitors. So, if you are a fan of cycling, running, swimming, sailing, or historical reenactments, why not take advantage of these exceptional occasions.
A Weekend in Tweed: time-traveling in style
What would be more fitting for a throwback tribute to the old-world lifestyle than a car-free island with a timeless cosmopolitan aura?
A Weekend in Tweed is a three-day celebration of retro bicycles, clothing, and attitudes. The event is organized by the Poseidonion Grand Hotel, with the support of the Hellenic Bicycle Museum. During the weekend, participants ride classic bikes around Spetses in vintage attire. They go sightseeing, bike through nature and enjoy chef-prepared English picnics, relaxing tea breaks and other fun activities like the colorful beauty pageant.
Spetsathlon: swim, run, bike, triumph!
Can a small Greek island be home to a world-class multi-sport event? Yes, and Spetses is living proof.
The Spetsathlon is an athletic event where participants can compete in one out of five different races. The Saturday appetizer consists of a 25k cycling race, two swimming events (1k and 3k) and a 5k run. On Sunday, it’s time for the main course. The world-renowned triathlon race comes in a short and a long version, respectively named Sprint and Endurance. Between races, visitors and athletes enjoy a string of social and cultural events where they can talk sports, have fun and make new friends.
Classic Yacht Regata: sailing at its purest
What’s the best backdrop for a classic sailboat race, if not a place with a rich naval and shipbuilding history?
Every June since 2011, Spetses becomes the ultimate hotspot for sailboat enthusiasts from Greece and around the world. The renowned Spetses Classic Yacht Regata is a three-day sailing competition featuring four types of classic and traditional vessels: yachts, caiques, lateens and dragons. It’s a magnificent spectacle that draws thousands of visitors each year and the only event of its kind where such diverse vintage boats race together.
The Armata Festival: history, in replay
The Spetsiotes were the first Greek islanders to raise the revolutionary flag against the Ottoman yoke, and they don’t forget to celebrate it. With a bang!
During the second week of September, locals organize a series of cultural events that build up to the commemoration of a glorious moment in Spetses history. The Armata is a week-long festival full of traditional dances, popular plays, art shows, and live concerts that end with a spectacular reenactment. As a narrator recounts the historical events, the port turns into a battleground where an effigy of the Ottoman Flagship is attacked by fireships until burned to ashes.
Mini Marathon: around Spetses in 90 minutes
Before the Spetsathlon became a big hit with sports fans, Spetses was home to another riveting athletic competition.
The Mini Marathon takes place close to the end of the touristic season, in October, when the island welcomes thousands of running and swimming fans from Greece and abroad. During the weekend, professionals and amateurs may compete in one of six different distances, at sea (1,5k, 3k, 5k) or on land (5k, 10k, 25k). The main event is the 25k race, a half marathon circling the island, giving runners the chance to enjoy a memorable route through the unique Spetses landscape.
So, how about adding a unique Spetses event to your bucket list?