Hydra, Greece, is among the most visited islands in the country. The island is close to Athens. Hence it is visited by travellers worldwide all year round. Let’s know more about this beautiful island to plan a detailed itinerary.
About the Island of Hydra Greece
In the middle of Argo Saronic Gulf, Hydra is one of the most travelled greek islands. Hydra, along with some other islands, is small, quaint, and hilly and forms the beautiful Saronic Islands. Its proximity to Athens allows tourists to reach these serene islands in just two hours.
18th-century mansions, old churches, captains’ houses, marble-covered alleyways and wells are key features and highlights of the magnificent island of Hydra, Greece.
Apart from being choke-full of stunning views, Hydra is unique historically too. At the beginning of the 18th century, the island’s commercial fleet that traded with countries such as France, Spain and America made it prosperous.
The island’s contribution in the form of ships and resources allowed greeks to win the great greek war of independence with the Ottoman empire in 1821. It was also the island’s powerful fleet that helped win some of the major sea battles during the war. Hence, Hydra was one of the most important factors that led to greek victory against the ottoman empire.
1. How To Reach Hydra
One of the Saronic Islands, Hydra, is just 2 hours away from Athens, and there are different types of ferries that run between Piraeus port and the harbour in Hydra. All these ferries depart from gate E8 from Athens port and stop at Poros for a quick call.
2. How To Get Around The Island Of Hydra
Though the island is quite small and accessible by foot, if you are not much of a walker or staying up in the hills, you may use donkeys, mules or horses available for hire just outside the harbour.
For the people who want to commute to more remote villages and beaches, water taxis are available for a price.
3. When To Visit Hydra
Like any other island in Greece, Hydra’s summers are the most visited season and are popular among the crown visiting the island. The season is hot and dry, with an average temperature of 30°C or even more.
Spring is also quite popular among tourists, especially the ones who love hiking, as the season is a bit cooler and makes it pleasant to hike uphills and see beautiful wildflowers.
Autumn is stormier in October, but the temperature around the sea remains warm. The average temperatures are around 23°C.
Winter of Hydra witnesses mild rain, and many restaurants and shops remain closed in the season. Tourists still visit the island year-round because of its closeness to Athens. The average temperatures are around 9-13°C.
4. Villages In Hydra, Greece
Hydra consists of 3 amazingly picturesque villages and a destination with a great view of the Aegean sea.
If you move along the harbour, you can see the beautiful views of the seabirds snacking over small fishes, orange-roofed houses sitting over steep slopes and several cruise ships and water taxis loaded with people sailing through the sea to make the commute easy for tourists.
The island comprises three beautiful villages that thousands of tourists visit each day in peak seasons.
4.01. Hydra Town
Hydra town is the capital of Hydra as well as its main harbour. Orange roofed architecture on steep slopes, beautiful stone mansions and cosy, quaint cafes and restaurants.
A small port close to Hydra town’s periphery, Kaminia has beautiful taverns at the waterfront with an eponymous beach.
A cosy village near Hydra town with great views and a pebbled beach.
5. Beaches In Hydra
Greek beaches are beyond explanation when it comes to beauty. They are serene and scenic and filled with water taxis and cruises passing through the wide sea, which is a sight.
There are some beaches on hydra island, a few of which are just irresistible. Some are remote and poorly organised, but others have all the basic amenities.
5.01. Vlichos Beach
This is a pebbled beach with clear water. It is just 2 km from the harbour and can be reached by water taxi or on foot.
5.02. Kaminia Beach
It is again a pebbled beach just a stone’s throw away from the town and features some delicious fish-serving taverns and cafes along the coast.
One of the unique places to visit on the island, Spilia, is within walking distance of the town. It is a rock from which people dive into the sea for fun, making it a hub for adventure seekers and water lovers.
A rocky coast with amazing views of the sea, Hydroneta is within walking distance from the town. The coast has beautiful views from a cafeteria that sits comfortably on the rocks.
5.05. Avlaki Beach
Situated on the island’s northern side, Avlaki beach is a swimming area like Spilia with pebbles that quickly plunge into deep waters.
5.06. Bisti Beach
A tiny cove popular for water sports, including diving, Bisti beach is a well-organised pebble beach with clean water. One can reach this beautiful beach on foot by hiking or by water taxi.
5.07. Molos Beach
This beach is in the west of the town. It is within walking distance from the town or can be reached by sea taxi.
5.08. Limnioniza Beach
An unorganized and secluded pebble bay can be reached by trekking or a water taxi.
5.09. Mandraki Beach
An organised Mandraki beach is just 2kms away from the town and has umbrellas, sunbeds and some watersport centres.
5.10. Agios Nikolaos Beach
A well-organised sand beach, Agios Nikolaos is remote and can be reached by sea taxi or by foot.
6. Things To Do In Hydra, Greece
Hydra, Greece, is a place of dreams. For tourists, a short trip to Hydra is a must as it is one of the unique trips on the greek islands apart from more famous destinations like Santorini and adjacent islands.
The greek island of Hydra is a combination of Hydra town along with its villages and beaches. This part of the Saronic Islands has one of the most picturesque views and many beautiful museums and gorgeous attractions in Greece.
So before we get into what to do or things to do in Hydra Island, Greece, let’s talk about more the greek island. One of the scenic Saronic greek islands Hydra, Greece, played an important role in the war of independence. Hence, it is a historic tourist hub. As there are no cars in hydra, you can always take a donkey or a water taxi to explore major parts of the island.
6.01. Taking A Stroll From The Town To Kaminia
Among some amazing things to do in hydra is taking a leisure walk to the closest beach from the town, along the harbour.
The walk takes approximately 15 minutes toward the Kaminia beach. During the walk, you can look for an old mill; behind it, you will find a boy riding a dolphin statue. The statue commemorates the movie that made Hydra famous- “boy on a dolphin“.
If you are keen to walk more, you can also try walking up to beaches at Vlychos and Plakes, which take 20 and 30 minutes, respectively.
6.02. Sit Back And Enjoy The Harbour
The harbour in Hydra is active all day long. You can reach the harbour early in the morning and witness the beautiful sun rising from the sea, birds flying in search of food, fishermen setting up to leave for work, locals stepping out of their homes to follow their regular routines and animals on the island, quietly waiting to be fed.
Soon, to and fro of ferries and sea taxis makes the harbour busy. You can wave at the people to get a wave back if you want.
Several restaurants and cafes surround the harbour. You can have a coffee or snack or even for a while you enjoy the harbour view. You can watch people while having a coffee from the seating arranged on the side pavement of the restaurants.
6.03. Explore Backstreets
The harbour in Hydra, Greece, is the busiest part of the island, but if you want to visit a quieter version the same, you won’t have to walk long. It would be just a few km that you would be able to ditch the crowd and enter the essential tranquillity of the amazing island.
One of the things to do in Hydra, undoubtedly, includes exploring the narrow streets merging into the uphills. Getting lost in narrow cobbled streets to find beautiful, white-washed mansions and churches with colourful doors decorated in bougainvillaea on the island is the most amazing travel experience.
There are a few things you can discover when you take a walk uphill. This includes several tours related to Hydra’s history and art. The trip does not fall short of things to do; you can always explore more to get a few more new innovative ideas to pass your time on the island.
6.04. The Museums Of The Island Of Hydra
If you are curious about exploring more about Hydra, there are a few museums you can try. You can quickly look at the rich art and history of Hydra Island, Greece, through these museums.
A lot of mansions on Hydra have been turned into museums. This museum is built to honour the memory of Lazaros Koundouriotis, who played an important role in the war of independence.
Historical Archives Museum
Exploring the history of Hydra is one of the most interesting things to do on Hydra. The historic archives museum was founded in 1918 and display rare documents and artefacts related to the history of Hydra Island. The museum is divided into the museum section, an archive and a library.
Dwelling in a former monk’s cell, this museum has been open since 1999 and has amazing holy vessels, manuscripts, jewellery and historical relics from the monastery on display.
6.05. Look For The Bench Of Leonard Cohen
Because of his writing, among many other reasons, he had a special place in the hearts of the people of Hydra. Sadly, he died before he could turn 80. Hence, the island’s people crowdfunded to build a small bench in his memory.
It is simply a stone bench overlooking a serene ocean, making you wonder what it would have been like for Cohen to live in such a peaceful and come up with beautiful songs.
The beach is the perfect spot to sit looking at Meditteranean for hours and find some creativity within yourself. If you look for it closely, you will also find Leonard Cohen’s Bench engraved on the side of the bench.
6.06. Try Hiking The Greek Coastal Trails On Hydra
Hydra sits on a hill, and one of the things to do in Hydra is to go hiking. The coastal trails in Hydra Island are rich and loaded with amazing viewpoints and can prove to be a fun adventure.
Several hiking paths can be taken during your time on Hydra Island. The maps marked with these hiking paths are available on the central location on Hydra Island.
6.07. Church And Monasteries On Hydra
Hydra, Greece, is a hub of churches and monasteries, some of which sit in amazing locations to die for. In some cases, you can also choose to hike to them.
The island has full churches and monasteries, so exploring some of them is a must on our things to do on the Hydra list.
Most famous among the churches in Hydra is the Church of assumption of the virgin. It is situated in the port of Hydra. The church’s bell tower is made up of pure marble from Tinos and is the church’s main feature.
Monasteries of Agia Triada and Agia Matrona are located in Mandraki and can be reached on foot from the centre of Hydra. One more Monastery in the periphery is the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos.
6.08. Explore Supermarkets On The Island
If you somehow decide to stay somewhere with a kitchen where you can cook your food, Hydra has one of the most amazing supermarkets. Because of its very own port, the island has plenty of variety of fresh fish and to try tops the list of things to do in Hydra.
As everything on the island is brought here by ferry, the goods are a bit overpriced compared to mainland Greece but are still very much within the pocket.
The island also has a plethora of bakeries from where you can shop for freshly baked goods.
6.09. Explore The Beaches On Hydra
Hydra has some of the most beautiful and picturesque beaches in Greece. Few are also popular as they are commercialised due to movies or celebrities visiting.
Things to do in Hydra include beach hopping as well. Kaminia beach is one of the beautiful beaches where the movie “Boy On A Dolphin” was shot. Some of these beaches are remote, with no basic amenities.
6.10. Rafalia’s Pharmacy
The place still sells traditionally made lotions, soaps and colognes. The pharmacy is the oldest pharmacy in Greece that has retained its family name and is still owned by it. If you are interested in the family, you can also have an opportunity to stay at the family’s mansion as it can be rented.
6.11. Climb Up The Greek Flag
At the end of the harbour, one can see a hill with a greek flag on the top. It is fascinating to climb up there and see amazing little viewpoints on the way with beautiful sea views.
You can take the steep white stairs to the hills from the end of the harbour in Hydra. Some parts of the walk look like entering someone’s home, but the stairs take you uphill. There is a t-junction from where you need to take a right.
Out of many things, if you are still confused about what to do in Hydra, this can be a fairly new and exciting experience.
6.12. Enjoy The Sunset
Sunsets and sunrises in Greece are famous for their sheer tranquillity. Sun setting in the sea with birds flying free in the sky is the most serene of all the views one’s eyes can see.
As a tourist, witnessing the sunset on an island by simply moving around the island or by ferry can be pretty interesting. You can also explore some great places to enjoy the island’s amazing sunset views.
6.13. Photograph Hydra In Its Golden Glory
During sunsets, Hydra covers itself in a golden hue giving it the illusion of a golden city. It is truly amazing to witness this spectacular view of old buildings on the island being painted gold by shimmering sunlight.
Fun-Facts About The Greek Islands Of Hydra
- There are no cars on Hydra island except garbage trucks and ambulances.
- The island has plenty of cats roaming freely on the roads, eager to be fed by locals and tourists.
- You can also find some dogs that may or may not be stray.
- Hydra earns most of its revenue from tourism and relies on it completely.
- Though Hydra is visited by thousands of tourists daily, The major segment of the tourists come from Athens or are Athenians.
- Hydra is located in the middle of the Myrotoan sea and the Argolic gulf in the Aegean sea.
- Horses, donkeys and mules are the major mode of transportation in Hydra.
- National Geographic traveller in 2007 rated Hydra the highest among all the greek islands.
- Lazaros Kountouriotis is a legend around the island and was the richest sea captain who donated all his fortune to win the independence war of the greek countries.
- The name of the island comes from ancient springs, which are now dry.
- Hydra in the Saronic Islands has attracted plenty of rock stars and jet-setters like Leonard Cohen, Maria Callas, Peter Ustinov, Aristotle Onassis, Rex Harrison and Eric Clapton.
- Cohen wrote many songs during his stay with a lady called Marianne Ihlen in Hydra. These songs included “Bird on the wire” and “So long, Marianne.”
As a greek island so beautiful and unique, Hydra is quite easy to get to from Athens compared to other islands in Greece. Once you reach Hydra, do not get confused and worry yourself with issues like where to stay or where to eat. Hydra offers plenty of places to stay, and some can be rented on Airbnb.
Hydra island, Greece, is one of the best islands in Greece and the quieter one too. There are many options available for a tourist when it comes to food. Do not miss trying recipes made from fresh fish as Hydra is port; it has the best fish.
So, why wait to get to Hydra? Just catch a plane to Athens and by ferry travel to the island of cats and mules with amazing views of the Aegean? “Yamas” to your journey towards Hydra, Safe Travels!