Great Day Trip for All Ages. Great area for all ages. An authentic Greek village founded by sponge divers from Greece. Enjoy a scenic boatride on the Anclotte River or hand-feed sharks and rays at the Tarpon Aquarium. The food is fantastic, of course, and you get tons of food for very little money. Recommend Plaka's Restaurant where the gyro meat is the only place home made on the premises....fantastic. Plenty of shopping; everything from upscale clothing boutiques to hand-made soaps to imported linens to fabulous fudge. And you can't leave without an authentic, from-the-sea sponge....great for every use. Plan to make it a day. You won't be sorry.
great atmosphere... great food.... A wonderful little place to spend about a half a day. Very nice local folks. Gives you the feeling of being in a little Greek village. Authentic food that is priced right. Everyone is friendly. Prices in the shops is just what you would expect them to be... a bit pricey but not too expensive to enjoy. You can park for free a couple of blocks away but for a small fee you can park right in the heart of all the action. I would highly reccommend it for anyone.
User review by tarpon. As you turn West on Dodecanese (turn East go two blocks and park free) you are greeted by No Parking/Tow Zone signs and a sea of attended parking lots. You can pay to go for a boat ride, pay to see how sponges are harvested, pay to see an aquarium or pay to ride the trolley (a circuitous route back to the parking lots. The shops are a value and the restaurants are good.The atmosphere - A carnival. Andy Rooney would love it it! Do not bring your Entertainment Book. The coupons are not valid from 12/15 to 4/30
A day's worth of activities. A century's worth of history. You'll soak up this historic spot..
The big draw for the Greek immigrants who came here after 1905 was the traditional trade of sponge diving. Known as the sponge capital of the world, the industry took off in the 1930s. But a decade later, bacteria ruined the sponge beds, as well as the industry. In the 1980s, new sponge beds were discovered and the local economy once again prospered to its present-day status as a leader in the world's natural sponge market.
Shop in more than 100 stores, including originals still owned by the founding families. Eat at more than 15 restaurants, including eateries such as Pappas, which are internationally known. Take cruises down the Anclote River, go deep-sea fishing, visit the Coral Sea Aquarium, see a movie depicting the sponge industry and gawk at the authentic sponge boats that are still in use.
It's all Greek to me. What a nice touristy area to visit. Great food, good shops, even a casino cruise. The only disadvantage is to get there. US19 has got to be the worst highway in Florida. If anyone knows an easier way to get there from St Pete and tampa, please let us know!!!
Ethnic and Interesting. Who would have thought one could seek actually sponge harvesting near a mid-size US city? Friendly people, good scenery, very interesting, good food nearby.
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