Spetses island, a horse carriage tour

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The island of Spetses, located in the Mediterranean Sea, was first occupied during the Mesolithic Age, in around 8000 BC. During that period the island was connected through an isthmus to the island of Argolida, now named Costa. Pieces of flint from that time were found near the part of the island named Zogeria, containing a water source probably available since that time. Other archaeological finds were located in the area of Saint Marina, which contained the first Hellenistic settlement to be found on the island and dates to the 3rd millennium BC. At least three natural harbors of Spetses (Saint Marina, Saint Paraskevi and Zogeria) served as a refuge for ships carrying goods to and from the Argolis Gulf during the peak of the State of Lerna (about 2300 BC).

The Poseidonion Hotel was built by Sotirios Anargyros, descendant of a great 18th century Spetsiot shipping family. His branch of the family had fallen on hard times and he emigrated as a young man in 1868, when Spetses was declining as a maritime center. In 1899 he returned from the USA, now a wealthy tobacco tycoon and started to transform the island of his youth. He built an impressive mansion and met with the rich Athenian hunters who visited Spetses from August to October, to hunt the turtledoves and quail migrating between Africa and Europe.

He saw the need for a comfortable hotel and built the Poseidonion in the style of its models, the Carlton in Cannes (1911) and the Negresco in Nice (1912). The hunters could now bring their wives and children to enjoy the comfort, the spa, the donkey rides, dancing to the orchestra in the evening and mixed bathing on the beaches across the channel. The Poseidonion rapidly became the favorite vacation spot for high society, royalty and the rich Athenians who came to enjoy a small slice of the grand life.

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. Some had children who became students of the Anargirios School. Although some hotels were present, tourists often stayed in purpose-built holiday homes. From the 1980s, these were often supplanted by north European tourists, especially from Britain, who were attracted by the low cost of a holiday.

Package tours to Spetses declined and eventually ceased during 1990s; nowadays the island’s holiday clientele remains more upmarket and largely Greek

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