A popular, upmarket escape for Athenians, SPÉTSES had brief fame and a vogue as a package destination, largely thanks to John Fowles, who lived here in the early 1950s and used the place, thinly disguised, as the setting for his cult novel The Magus. But the island never developed the mass infrastructure – or the convenient beaches – to match. Today, the town is much the biggest in the Saronic islands, with apartments and villas spreading for several kilometres along the northeast coast, while the rest of the island remains almost entirely uninhabited, with pine forest inland and numerous excellent small beaches around the coast.

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