Spending Easter on Spetses is no simple matter, as the island is jam-packed with visitors. Mopeds, quad bikes, horse-drawn carriages and pedestrians try to coexist in the town of Spetses, while it is also crowded on the beaches, which in turn are surrounded by numerous yachts. The crowds notwithstanding, you will experience a lively Easter here, with typical island traditions as well as cosmopolitan vibes.
On Good Friday, the lights are not switched on in Posidonio Square. The lit candles held by all members of the procession look like fireflies in the dark, as the Epitaphios from the churches of Aghios Antonios, Aghios Ioannis, Aghios Nikolaos and Analipsi, adorned with white flowers, meet in front of the historic Poseidonion Hotel. Its towers and columns, and its Neoclassical architecture in general, was inspired by the resort hotels of the French Riviera.
In the evening on Holy Saturday (also known as Anastasi, “Resurrection” in Greek), a boat is set alight in Analipsi Church, redolent of the Armata Festival (a popular event in September that involves the burning of a model of the Ottoman flagship), while on Easter Sunday, an effigy of Judas is burned in Kounoupitsa Square.
Short and long wanderings
Spetses is like a spring flower; the warmer the weather, the more it blooms. Should you travel to the island during this time, you really should explore the countryside. Rent an electric bicycle or motorbike (no vehicles are allowed on the island), and take a tour (approximately 1 hour), so you can see the island’s expansive pine tree forests. Along the way, there are benches with views over beaches and the neighboring Spetsopoula island.
Hikers can explore an extensive network of footpaths. Though largely forgotten, the island’s paths were rediscovered by the locals during the quarantine. It includes 19 routes, covering a total of 65km, and is a wonderful way to explore the island’s geographical makeup – boasting relatively low inclines (the highest peak is 290 meters), as well as a thriving Mediterranean natural landscape. You can find more information on the “Greek Paths of Culture Spetses” Facebook page, and on the Anavasi maps application.
Another walk worth taking is a coastal route north of the Old Harbor, where an installation of animal statues by Natalia Mela is located. Take in the goat with her kid, two metallic billy goats feeding on olives, and of course, the mermaid with hair made of thick chains, bidding the sailors farewell with her raised hand. Returning to the port, head to Roumani Hotel and the complex that houses the Kafenion, for a look at the series of artworks and retro signs crafted by the great ceramist Panos Valsamakis (1900-1986), many years ago. This is a rare example of art in public spaces.
The same applies to the numerous pebble mosaics, featuring images of fish, dolphins, octopi and mermaids, that adorn the public squares and the entrances to various residences. This type of public space art is not the result of a single artist’s work, but of the entire community of local artisans.
Those planning a post-Easter excursion to the island take note: the Spetsathlon 2023, an athletic event that includes swimming, bicycle and running events, will be taking place May 12-14.