Tarpon Springs: A Slice of Greece in Florida

Tarpon Springs sweet Greek treats. (Photo courtesy Donna Long)

By Donna Long, Travel Writer

A mere 30 minutes’ drive North West of Tampa off US Highway 19 is a seaside haven that makes you feel like you have been transported to a Grecian fishing village from the 1900s.

Early History

Originally a playground destination for wealthy Northerners in the 1800s, Tarpon Springs also became a famed location for winter health spa resorts because of the beds of sea sponges discovered off its coastline in 1905.

Highly trained and specialized sponge divers immigrated from the Dodecanese Islands in Greece to harvest the sponges. The divers’ knowledge about identifying, harvesting, cleaning, and preserving the sponges was a key component in making Tarpon Springs the sea sponge destination it is today.

Historic downtown Tarpon Springs is a picture book reflecting the town’s Victorian era with vintage turn-of-the-century homes. These vintage buildings grace the seaside boardwalk and are now home to a delightful assortment of eclectic boutiques, antique shops, art galleries, cafes, and restaurants.

What to Do

One of the must-see places to see is the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, designed after the St. Sophia in Istanbul, features Byzantine architecture built in 1943.

To read more, pick up a copy of the July/August issue of LiveIt magazine.