Spetses is an island sometimes included as one of the Saronic Islands. In ancient times, it was known as Pityoussa, and later as Petses. The town of Spetses with a population of almost 4000 is the only large settlement on the island. Also part of the Municipality of Spetses are the islands of Spetsopoula (very few inhabitants) and Velopoula (uninhabited).
Ferries and high-speed hydrofoils arrive regularly from Piraeus. The new port is known as Dapia and the old port as Baltizar. Trails encircle the island and total about 25 to 30 km; beaches include Agios Mamas, in the center of town, Agioi Anargiroi and Agia Paraskevi at the back of the island, Zogeria, and two beaches close to the town, College beach and Agia Marina, both of which offer watersports.
Tourism grew in Spetses in the 19th Century as a result of the close proximity of a British Navy training ground. Officers would come to Spetses on leave and the large, neoclassical Hotel Poseidonion (still the biggest hotel on Spetses) was built to accommodate them.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the island attracted a number wealthy Greek vacationers from Athens and elsewhere, owning villas or living on large yachts in the port. From the 1980s, these were often supplanted by north European tourists, especially from Britain, who were attracted by the low cost of a holiday.
Since package tours were actively discouraged by the island in the early 1990s, the island’s holiday clientele remains more upmarket and largely Greek.
World record free-diving attempts frequently take place
around the island.