Are you planning for Hydra island Greece? Greece is most famous for its historical sites, the Olympic Games as well as its Greek philosophers, poets, and leaders. This Saronic Gulf island had a significant role in the Greek War of Independence of 1821.
However, Greece can also be a very exciting place to visit on vacation.
This is especially true when it comes to the beautiful island of Hydra. Let’s take a moment to discuss a few exciting things to do in Hydra island.
Athens to Hydra Ferry from Piraeus
There is no flight to Hydra island. It is a very small island. The ferry departs from the port of Piraeus and is served via Hellenic Seaways company, and the same ferry delivers to the Saronic islands.
The ferry takes 1 hour to get to Hydra harbor, yes it is that close. Depending on the season, prices range from 55 to 60 euro p.p.
The thing to know: No external cars and other motor vehicles are allowed on Hydra. The ones that you may see are permanently on the island.
What to see on Hydra island, Greece?
Hydra is most famous for its beautiful architecture, captivating nightlife, and its cosmopolitan character. It is a picturesque town. Part of its fame is related to the movie “Boy on a Dolphin”, with Sophia Loren.
Due to its “quiet” style, the island attracted artists seeking peace and inspiration. The famous Michalis Kakogiannis created a movie named “Girl in Black” that takes place on the island.
Other famous people that prefered Hydra was the Nobel award winner George Seferis, the Hydraian painter Gikas, the modern poet Miltos Saxtouris, the writer Henry Miller, the Australians writers George Johnson and Charmian Clift, the English painter Anthony Kingsmill, the American painter Peter Nolan, the Norwegian author Axel Gensen and the American poet Allen Ginsberg.
As the saying goes there is more than what meets the eye, this is what one should expect and thus Hydra is regarded as the most breathtaking harbor in the Greek Island.
The moment one gets the opportunity to visit the magnificent island of Hydra, it not only a chance to get to unwind but also one of the best sightseeing adventures that you can dream about.
The island being part of the larger Saronic Island and is one of the closest islands to Athens.
It will take one approximately two hours from Piraeus to reach the island.
What makes this island stand out from the some of the other available islands in Greece is that one will hardly see any vehicle in the highland as the main mode of transportation is the mules and donkeys with so much water taxis.
Aside from relaxing at its cozy beaches, many choose to sightsee by hiking around its many walking paths which lead to impressive spots with views of the sea and historical monasteries.
Facts to know for Hydra Greece
Thinking of the things to do in Hydra? Good. But keep in mind that there are no cars in Hydra. There are donkeys, bicycles… and that is all.
The island is so wonderful that has become a home of some of the most famous musician in the world and celebrities and one can be easily be tempted to stay and because chances of getting enough are so slim.
Did you know that Leonard Cohen and Henry Miles some of the most celebrated artists in the world have decided to find a home in this small paradise?
Another captivating fact about Hydra is that it is actually a birthplace of the first President of the Second Hellenic Republic and five of the Greek Prime ministers.
Upon entering the island, you will be welcomed by the beauty of the 18th-century mariner’s mansions and lovely cute warm bright labyrinths of steep steps and slender streets which is just one of the most unrealistic architectural work of any mankind.
I have managed to come up with a list of some of the things that one can do here that will always blow your mind.
Check for accommodation prices in Hydra from here.
Activities & Things to do in Hydra, Greece
What is a vacation without a little adventure? This is especially true when it comes to enjoying activities outdoors.
There are several things to do in Hydra Greece for thrill-seekers of all kinds; young and old.
Sailing from Hydra Greece
If you’re in the market for exploring the blue colors of the sea and the splendid Greek sun while having fun on the water, then you should check out about sailing activities. Sailing to surrounding islands is a popular activity, top among the things to do in Hydra and in the Saronic Gulf.
Donkey Back Riding in Hydra
Maybe you would simply prefer to take in the sites on a peaceful tour. Go on one of Hydra’s guided donkey-riding tours. From one and a half hours to eight, these tours cover the island. Riders are treated with views of the monasteries to the sandy beaches.
There is no way one will miss this, as on the cobbles, you will get a line of donkeys that are more accustomed to not only carrying the suitcases to the hotels around but also human beings.
Of course, this is the most obvious adventure that is expected to take over anything else on this island.
Riding the mules is not only one of the most astonishing experiences that has never come across anyone.
What are the chances to ride a donkey in your lifetime?
It is nearly impossible to get that chance in the daily routine to ride on the back of a donkey and the best way to achieve this is on this island as there are men who are specialized in transporting tourists from one place to another.
Horseback Riding in Hydra
There is a company that offers the services of riding the limited horses that are available on his island. Yes, there is also horseback riding run by Harriet Jarman.
The Harriet Hydra horse company gives one a chance to enjoy the lovely scenery while and they have services that run at different times starting from forty-five minutes a whole day riding.
The services are available in different categories from the toddlers, children and also adults be it couples or not.
They give the best chance to ride the horses within the hydra town alleys and have a blast while doing so especially when the horses that the company uses have been rescued from very difficult environments.
Scuba Diving in Hydra
As with many locations that offer beaches, Hydra has no shortage of scuba diving environments. The rocky coastline is rich in underwater reefs and caves, providing nice sites around the island.
The diving centers offer open water courses, equipment as well as boats and night diving trips that remain close to the islands. Many old wrecks can be found around Hydra.
What to see in Hydra Greece?
Hydra town represents a huge part of the Island’s traditional architecture, since… it is the only town on the island.
It combines both land-lubber and insular characteristics. Simple houses and manors are quaint yet extremely impressive in their architecture.
Observe Hydra’s Architecture
The first thing that to notice when reaching this place is that Hydra town is constructed on a hill which is just a wonder.
Some of the construction is the exquisite stone mansions, cobblestoned streets and of course the monasteries.
The fact that the port has been surrounded by crystal clear water is such a wonderful scene that will surely take your breath away.
These buildings that have been standing since the 18th century are magnificent in size and design and must be seen to be believed.
The manors are made of stone and are usually three or four stories tall due to the sloping ground.
Most have external ladders, which lead up to flat roofs.
The rooms are spacey, have high-ceilings and contain beautiful wall paintings, painted wooden ceilings, garlands, and drawings on marble floors.
The simpler homes are all surrounded by fences.
These houses are very plain with roofs from tiles. In most of these houses, you’ll also find cisterns as well as marble drinking fountains.
Building materials usually consist of grey stone, wood, and argil mortar.
Explore Monasteries and Churches of Hydra Island
There are so many churches and monasteries that are available on the island almost 300 and one will be spoilt to pick which one to visit. This is also one of the adventures that can also be done here.
The monastery is Hydra’s main cathedral and is situated under the tower that is actually at the center of the harbor.
The monasteries have a very rich history and one of them if the fact that built by a nun upon her arrival in 1643.
When planning to visit be careful with the dressing as it is not only the focal point to the Greek Orthodox Church but also a place of worship and they really do mind the dressing.
There is also the chapel of Saint Kyprianos, what is so unique about it is that not only is it made of mud and wine but the history behind it is what is so interesting, as it was constructed by survivors of a terrible storm.
Museums of Hydra
Whether your interest is in history or not, the museum that is located in the town will always take your breath away.
Take some time and visit them and you will not regret how much you will learn in the process.
Some of the museums that are so famous in the Hydra town are the Historical Archives Museum that has documents that are related to history as cultural aspects of the island from 1708 to 1865.
There is also Kountaouriotis which is Hydra’s most famous mansion that has been turned into a museum and lastly, there is the Ecclesiastical Museum
Just walking & Strolling in the Alleys of Hydra
Unlike what most of us have been used to, you will realize that there are no street names on Hydra one simply sets off and discover what is there around the corner which makes the walking quiet and adventures.
Walking is considered one of the best exercises when one wants to relax the mind and there is no better way to do this than walk.
It is not only good exercise but also a chance to see the parish church of John the Baptist and some amazing mansions on your way.
While walking one has the chance to stop and see the stunning view of the grater Greece from the Sunset Restaurant.
Best Beaches of Hydra
Relaxing and taking in the sun is one of the most memorable parts of a vacation. In Hydra, there are no shortages of scenic views and pebbled beaches.
It is located in a sheltered cove. The water here is calm and Avlaki is usually less crowded than Spilia which means you can enjoy a peaceful trip.
It can be a challenge to climb up and down so it’s not the best choice for people who have issues with mobility or small children. Since there are no cafes close by, its best for visitors to bring refreshments and other necessities with them.
It is situated in about 2Km away. The villages can be reached either by foot or using one of the most popular modes of transport that are water Taxis. The water at the beach is such a wonder or see as it is crystal clear and the surrounding is very quiet.
This beach is also just only 1km away and near Vlihos. The water of Kaminia beach is very shallow which is very ideal when going out with the children. The restaurant that is situated on the beach is one of the reasons to why it is a good place to visit with the family to have a good time and dine as well.
It is filled with white sand and surrounded by panoramic views of the mainland. A taverna situated on the beach offers fare all throughout the day. Four Seasons also offers putt-putts boat that runs every hour between Hydra and Plakes Harbor.
This beach is in the remote of the town and is a sandy beach. While at the beach one will have a chance to relax on the umbrellas and chair deck while enjoying some of the delicious meals from the cafes around. To get here one can either go on foot or use the boats.
What to Eat in Hydra?
One of the best parts of traveling is getting a chance to experience new foods. And when it comes to dining, Hydra Greece has plenty to offer. In fact, food tasting is one of the most interesting things to do in Hydra island.
From fanciful delicacies to comfort food, this island offers several treats for those looking for new culinary experiences. You may want to check this article for mouth-watering foods in Greece too.
In Hydra you will find these great foods:
In every Hydra Greece restaurant, you’ll be able to find a variety of grape leaf-wrapped rice parcels.
It is often eaten as finger food and stuffed with vine leaves which are incorporated into mincemeat and long-grain rice.
This delicious delicacy contains a combination of pine nuts, dill, and oregano.
If you’re more in the mood for a Mediterranean taste, then try moussaka.
This dish is somewhat of an icon and is baked– layered with sautéed aubergine, onion, fried pureed tomato, allspice, garlic and a bit of potato.
This mouth watermeal is topped with béchamel sauce and cheese.
Locals enjoy settling down at a seaside taverna and eating fish and calamari, pulled from the Aegean Seas.
This feast is drizzled with lemon dressing and grilled whole. So relax by the sea as you enjoy flavorsome smaller fish such as red mullet and whitebait.
Hydra Greece Hotels
There are around 100 hotels in Hydra and a small number of apartments. These ones below are superb:
- Cotommatae Hydra 1810
- Four Seasons Hydra Luxury Suites
- Orloff Boutique Hotel
- Leto Hotel
- PortaDelMare deluxe suites
- Hydra Hotel
- Bratsera Traditional Hotel
Tours from Hydra & the Saronic islands
Here are 3 ideas for combining Hydra with more Greek islands that are in the Saronic area (and really close to Athens).
- From Athens: Full-Day Cruise to Aegina, Poros, and Hydra
- Hydra, Poros, and Aegina Full-Day Cruise with Lunch
- Full-day Tour of the Saronic Islands from Athens
The fact that cars are no mode of transport, the only jam you can encounter is two donkeys and a fisherman does not make this place not much of fun but rather the opposite.
The size of the island is just 50 kilometers square the main mode of transport that is simply captivating is the boat trip. So, the best thing to do in Hydra is renting a bicycle.
The impressions that one gets to see from the water is beyond any imagination. When in Hydra you will be surprised that Athens is just 68 km away yet it feels so remote.
As you can see, the island of Hydra in Greece has a lot to offer. Take a trip to the island to experience this first hand.