As I sit down to write this, outside the wind is blowing and it’s pouring down with rain. It's hard to believe that only a few days ago, on really hot summer like days, my husband and I decided we needed a short City-Break and opted to retreat to Spetses.
This popular and easily accessible southernmost island of the Saronic Gulf is known for its rich vegetation, secluded emerald bays, numerous architecturally stunning two-storey neoclassical captain’s mansions (archontika) and mosaic-paved alleyways . . . as well as its historic significance, considering its pivotal role in Greece’s 1821 War of Independence.
On earlier trips to Spetses, we had always chosen to travel to the island with the hydrofoil that arrives at the island’s new port, Dapia (which means fortification) in 2 ½ hours from Piraeus. This time, however, we drove from Athens via Epidavros to the seaside port of Kosta (also in about 2 1/2 hours) and took the Express ferry over to the island (just over 15 minutes sea ride at €6.00 per person).
Upon arrival in Dapia, we were greeted by a gusty sea breeze and a charming view of a town alive with the hustle and the bustle of both locals and visitors alike . . . as well as the friendly driver of the ORLOFF RESORT mini bus who got us to our hotel of choice, for this trip, in just a few minutes.
The ORLOFF RESORT Boutique Hotel lies in a short walking distance from the island’s old harbor where, according to the hotel’s website, the island’s nobility and historical tradition beats. The hotel’s creators say they wanted to build a place of tranquility that was relaxing on the eyes and calming to the senses . . . and I have to admit the place lives up to its promises and I loved the atmosphere!
I had booked a deluxe studio with a built in double bed in a space integrated with the living room and a small kitchenette. It was quite comfy, however on hindsight, I think I would have preferred a bed accessible from both sides!
The swimming pool area is truly inviting and the few times we used the pool, we had it all to ourselves . . . a real treat which we thoroughly enjoyed!
Apart from swimming, I loved the breakfast by the pool, served from 08.00 – 11.00 am, that included lots of tasty local products.
Also, if you get hungry during the day, the hotel offers a limited snack menu which you can enjoy by the pool or in your room/balcony. On one occasion we ordered a simple Greek salad for lunch that was lovely.
On another occasion, after a siesta and a refreshing swim, we enjoyed freshly made coffee and delicious home-made sour cherries spoon sweets by the pool that were truly outstanding and just what we needed to get us going until the evening!
I guess my only big disappointment during this visit was the ORLOFF Restaurant where we dined on our first evening in Spetses.
Housed, since 1991, in a classical building that originally housed the island’s first port authority in 1802, this restaurant has everything to make it a real jewel! Its seafront location with stunning views and lovely sunsets is ideal spot for a romantic dinner for two or any special occasion with friends and/or family . . . if only the food and service were more to my liking!!!
I will refrain from commenting about our very disappointing main courses as I always try to write about the good things in life and focus on our starter, a rolled up Feta cheese pie with sun-dried tomatoes, drizzled with thyme honey (seen in photo) that was truly outstanding and saved the night’s meal!
After dinner, I would recommend taking an invigorating 2 km a stroll to the new harbor with beautiful scenery . . . and if you are up for it, enjoy after dinner drinks or a cocktail on the terrace of the imposing Poseidonion Grand Hotel with its uncanny likeness to the Carlton Hotel in Cannes and Hotel Negresco in Nice where, where as a child, I spent a few happy summer holidays!
From the terrace, actually right in front of the Poseidonion Hotel, you can see the statue of Laskarina Bouboulina, the island’s legendary heroine who devoted her fortune, her trading ships and her life to the revolution against the Turks. Her mansion, a far cry from the typical Greek island dwelling, with its inlaid wooden ceilings, period paintings and fine porcelain collections is now a museum and well worth a visit.
Now, if you are not up for a walk and since cars are not allowed on Spetses (except a few local cabs), take a ride back to your hotel on one of the island’s many horse-drawn buggies and enjoy the scenery! The ride from the Poseidonion to the Orloff Resort cost us €10.00 but should you want an extended ride, get ready to dish out the double amount . . . or €20.00.
During our stay in Spetses, we wanted to check out some of the beaches we hadn’t been to on earlier visits, but it was so windy that after making a short stop at the Kaiki beach, one of the closest beaches to town, we opted for great long walks, swimming at our hotel and a bit of shopping and . . . lots of indulging on local delicacies.
My top marks, on this trip, for an outstanding traditional dish with an innovative twist goes to a light meal we had at the Poseidonion Grand Hotel terrace; grilled Octopus with Fava and a yellow lentil salad. It was simple, tasty and well presented . . . . just the way I like it!
My husband who has a really sweet tooth, loved a huge piece of Ekmek Kataifi (shredded pastry drenched in syrup and topped with vanilla custard and cream - see photo in collage - last on right side) and I a pretty decent ice-cream . . . and later a piece or two of the renowned, locally produced Amygdalota (almond pastries covered with icing sugar) that are enchanting . . . but oozing with calories!
Oh well when you are on a short holiday . . . take in the scenery, indulge and enjoy!
All are intoxicating . . . especially in Spetses!
As I get ready to upload this website post . . . . it's still raining and a storm is on its way! I sure hope this doesn't continue into October as this is the time of year I love to travel in Greece!
Coming soon our stay in Epidavros . . . . on our way back to Athens . . . from Spetses!
Until next time . . . .