Hydra

Saronic Gulf Islands

Hydra (or Ydra) is an island best appreciated if visited out of season, as it is almost too popular in the summer for its own good. It is a small and very rocky island, quite barren too, with the main town clustered around the harbour. It is certainly an attractive town and a fascinating island, but its cramped nature can mean severe overcrowding and lack of accommodation if visiting in July or August. It is also expensive, by Greek island standards, and its waterfront of chic boutiques and art galleries shows a very different face from most other Greek islands.

Fashionable Hydra

It became fashionable in a bohemian way in the 1950s and early 1960s, when poets and painters – including the Canadian poet and singer Leonard Cohen – made their homes here and added a layer of sophistication to the basic Greek feel of the place.

Not that Hydra was neglected before then, as like others of these Saronic Gulf Islands it has some fine 18th and 19th century mansions, paid for largely from the wealth created by Hydra’s astonishing fleet of merchant ships. To look at the tiny harbour today it is hard to believe that the island owned some 160 ships, which traded across the Atlantic in North America. It is also hard to believe that there was once a population of 20,000 people here, when today it is little more than 3,000.

One of the unusual things about Hydra is that there are no cars on the island. That's partly because there are no roads, other than some dirt tracks and the streets in the main town. But no-one needs car as there's nowhere to go. People either walk or get around by boat.

Transport Hydra-Style

Beaches

Hydra is not an island for sun worshippers as most beaches are either pebble or rocks, with very few sandy options. The best is probably Mandraki Beach to the east of Hydra Town. There are other pebble beaches scattered around the island, which is big enough to enable you to escape the crowded harbour during the day, and return in the evening for the comforts of a smart hotel and more sophisticated cuisine than average. You can get to these other beaches either by walking or by boat.

There are also several monasteries and convents in the interior of Hydra, to remind you of another face of Hydra that is more spiritual.

Getting to Hydra

Flights to Hydra
To get to Hydra you must fly to Athens and then take the ferry from Piraeus.

Ferries to Hydra
There are several flying dolphins and flying catamarans each day from Athens (Piraeus) to Hydra, with a journey time of about 90mins-2hrs.

Ferries in Greece

Ferries in Greece has an excellent and very thorough website where in addition to checking ferry schedules and times, you can also book tickets and get lots of useful information about travelling by ferry in Greece.


So Where is Hydra?


Hydra on YouTube with Rick Steves




Where to Stay on Hydra

You might like these

Latest Posts

  1. Greek Retsina

    Greek retsina is a dry white wine made and drunk all over Greece with a distinctive pine and resin flavour that people usually either love or hate.

    Read More

  2. Ryanair Resumes Services to Athens, Thessaloniki for Summer 2020

    Low-cost carrier Ryanair on Thursday announced the resumption of flights to Athens and Thessaloniki after almost four months of keeping them grounded due to COVID-19 restrictions. An Athens to Rome Ci…

    Read More

  3. What Happens If I Get Covid-19 on My Holidays in Greece?

    Greece conducted more that 6,500 tests for Covid-19 at airports across the country on the first day it re-opened its borders to travelers on Wednesday, with the first 250 samples coming out negative…

    Read More

  4. Sofitel Athens Airport Hotel Reopens its Doors

    The Sofitel Athens Airport hotel, located near the Greek capital’s airport, has reopened its doors to receive visitors from Greece and abroad. The hotel has joined Greece’s efforts to restart tourism…

    Read More

  5. Greek Tourism Adjusting as Travel Resumes

    The Greek tourism industry is adjusting after Covid-19 and will require fine-tuning in the coming months, but a great deal of work has gone into ensuring that all visitors as well as locals and sector…

    Read More

  6. Zagori and the Vikos Gorge

    The Zagorian Villages and Vikos Gorge in the Pindus Mountains of northern Greece are popular for hiking, and for their scenic beauty and historical traditions.

    Read More

  7. Seajets to Start Aegean Itineraries on July 3

    Seajets, one of Greece’s leading ferry operators, on July 3 will start its itineraries from the ports of Piraeus, Lavrion and Heraklion, Crete, to over 30 destinations in the Aegean sea. According to…

    Read More

  8. Greece Tourism Season Debuts with Over 230 Flights

    More than 230 flights are scheduled to land in Greece, on Wednesday, with more than half at regional airports as the country opens to tourism four months after Covid-19 lockdowns brought global travel…

    Read More

  9. Greece Opens to Tourism: Who Can Come – Safety Rules

    Greek tourism makes its debut today opening its borders by air, sea and road to travelers for the summer months after the Covid-19 health crisis brought global travel to a standstill.

    Read More

  10. Greece Extends Flight Ban for Turkey, UK Until July 15

    The Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA) on Tuesday issued an aviation directive (NOTAM), which extends the temporary suspension of flights from and to Turkey and the United Kingdom until July 15.

    Read More