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Spetses Island, Greece 

About the Island  

The island of Spetses is part of the Greek Saronic Islands, and is a small and tranquil island that lies at the entrance to the Argolic Gulf, 2km from mainland Greece. It is the most southern of all Saronic Islands which is 22km2 in area. Despite the population being approx. 4000 and the strong sense of community, Spetses inhabitants take an open and receptive approach to outside influence, which is evident throughout the island.                                    

Spetses’ idyllic and unique landscape is bountiful with hidden coves, clear seas and long stretching beaches. But it is most famous for the distinctive pine trees that cover the island; two thirds of the island belonging to the Anargyrios Trust is pine covered. The name Spetses is derived from the Venetian “Isola de Spezzie” which translates as “Fragrant Island”. Other natural vegetation is plentiful across the island with olives, almonds, figs, pistachios, myrtle, oleander, the Chase tree, and the evergreen Carob all cultivated there. The island is composed of nummulitic limestone, developed from the sea ten million years ago. The limestone has subsequently been eroded to form a series of caves, mainly located on the south side of the island. 

The climate and weather conditions of Spetses are typically Mediterranean, with temperatures usually reaching highs of 26oC. Famous beaches include Agios Mamas, Agioi Anargiroi and Agia Paraskevi, Zogeria, College Beach and Agia Marina. The beaches on Spetses are as diverse as the vegetation, ranging from large pebbles at Scholes on the northern side of the island, to the golden sands of Agia Paraskevi on the south coast. 

Spetses Town is the main settlement on the island which is situated on the northeast coast. It is one of only two providences in Greece that has fewer than five settlements and two municipalities. The town is built around two harbours; Paleo Limani (Old Harbour) and Dapia (New Harbour). The stunning scenery, friendly atmosphere and excellent travel links to mainland Greece makes Spetses a popular retreat for Greek and foreign tourists alike. 

Many famous figures have originated from Spetses including Alexandros Diomidis (former Prime Minister of Greece), Stratigis (poet), and Eleni Altamoura (artist). Spetses was the basis for the fictional island of Phraxos in John Fowles’s 1965 novel The Magus.

Accommodation

There is a very small number of single rooms available which will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. The registration fee for a single room is 1060,00 €. 

Once all of the single rooms have been assigned, accommodation will comprise of twin shared rooms costing 720,00 €. Where stated by both applicants, we will endeavour to meet requests to pair acquaintances/colleagues. Please note that both parties need to name each other if the room is to be assigned to them (i.e. Applicant A names B on their registration, and Applicant B in turn names A on their registration). 

If an applicant does not state who they would like to share a room with, participants will be paired in same-sex twin rooms. 

All of the rooms are air-conditioned and have en-suite bathrooms. The address of the hotel is:

Check-in is available from Sunday 29 September 2019 from 2pm and check-out must be made before 10am on Monday 7 October 2019. 

Travel Information

Registration for the course is on the evening of Sunday 29 September from 1830 onwards. Please ensure that when you arrive in Athens International Airport that you leave enough time to reach the island of Spetses and ensure you are aware of the ferry sailing times.
 
The recommended methods of travelling to the Island of Spetses are as follows:

  • Fly to Athens International Airport (AIA)
  • Travel by bus, metro, train or taxi to Athens harbour (Piraeus)
    • The bus is the cheapest and most convenient option. Full details can be found here com/athens-transportation (correct as of September 2017)
  • Take a hydrofoil (Flying Dolphin), catamaran (Flying Cat) or ferry to the Island of Spetses, please ensure you book in advance. Your ferry can be booked via https://hellenicseaways.gr/en and ferries.greeka.com
    • A hydrofoil journey from Piraeus to Spetses takes nearly 2 hours and costs €38.50 each way
    • A ferry departs every morning from Piraeus and is cheaper, but it takes up to 4 hours
    • Ferries and hydrofoils plying the Argosaronic Gulf route call at the following ports (in sequential order): Piraeus – Aegina – Poros – Hydra – Spetses.
  • Take a water taxi, taxi, bus or walk from Spetses harbour to Spetses Hotel (1km on land).

 

Travelling by Car

Due to its proximity to the mainland, many choose to travel to Spetses overland (approx. 3hrs from Athens airport), parking their cars (€5 per day) at Kosta on the Peloponnese and then crossing over either:

  • On one of the four daily landing-craft ferries (0800, 1030, 1330, 1700, approx. €1, 15 mins)
  • With traditional boats that operate when filled and operate only during the summer months
  • With water taxis that operate 24 hours a day, from Kosta to Spetses and from Spetses to Kosta (approx. €15, 3mins)

 

Public Inter-City (KTEL) buses travel daily from Athens all year round to connect with the ferry at Kosta.

 

Please note that no cars are allowed on Spetses!

 

 

Other Information

It is your responsibility to check your health insurance needs and passport and whether you need any vaccination certificates. Be careful not to step on the numerous sea urchins in the water. The voltage on the island is 220 V.

 

Eating on Spetses

Breakfast and lunch will be provided at Hotel Spetses. Dinner will sometimes be taken communally in tutorial groups, but otherwise the evenings are free. There are many good restaurants and bars on Spetses. More information can be obtained from the various tourist information sources.

 

What to Wear

You do not need to worry about formal clothing. Instead, you should bring casual clothing that is suited to warm, possibly hot weather. It is also beneficial to check the weather forecast one week before the course starts. In case the evenings are cool, a sweater is all that you should need, as long as you don’t engage in water sports, in which case you may need special clothing. Don’t forget to bring a swimsuit!

 

Health and Safety

There will be a doctor on the island to help you with minor ailments. It would be advisable to bring something to treat possible stomach upsets because of the change of diet. Also bring sun cream of an appropriate protection factor.

 

It is worth noting that in the past, there have been forest fires which means that the air was contaminated with dust and pine tree oil traces, which can cause problems for asthma sufferers. Although this may not happen again this year, please bear it in mind if you are prone to allergic reactions and/or asthma.

 

Leisure Activities 

The island’s most popular beaches are Aghioi Anargyroi and Ahgia Paraskevi which are on the west side of the island. A bus and tourist boats run daily from Spetses town during the summer season. An acceptable, if somewhat touristy, self-service restaurant operates in season at Aghioi Anargyroi. The Bekiris Cave at Aghioi Anargyroi, complete with its own sandy beach, is a must see. Access is overland from the northern edge of the Aghioi Anargyroi beach, or else you can swim inside through a very low opening. The cave served as a hideout for woman and children during the Turkish attacks on the island.

 

You are likely to have the opportunity to engage in range of other activities during the limited free time available during the week of the course. These may include mountain biking, sailing, parasailing, and snorkelling.

 

The coastal waters are home to a range of wildlife. Of particular note are the numerous sea urchins, which are extremely painful to step on. For this reason, you are advised to bring along plastic beach shoes.

 

 

Useful Links

Hotel information: www.spetses-hotel.gr/en

About Spetses and some travel info: www.spetsesdirect.com

About Spetses: www.greeka.com/saronic/spetses/spetses.htm

Travel information: santorinidave.com/athens-transportation

Ferry crossings: www.hellenicseaways.gr

Ferry crossings: www.ferries.greeka.com 

Deadlines

  • Applications Opening
    18 February 2019
  • Youth Travel Fund Grants
    15 June 2019
  • Applications closing
    20.09.2019
  • Closing times: 23:59 (GMT)
    December 20

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