Donkeys standing on the picturesque Hydra island Harbor
Destinations,  Europe,  Greece

Hydra Island: A Greek Gem In The Saronic Gulf

Nestled in the crystal clear waters of the Saronic Gulf in Greece, Hydra offers more than just captivating beauty. Stepping foot on this Greek gem feels like entering another era, where history and tradition meet modernity.

Hydra Island’s charm is undeniable. Its picturesque harbor and sun-drenched beaches create an enchanting atmosphere. In this Guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about Hydra island, Greece.

A Little Bit Of History

The Greek island of Hydra, situated in the Saronic Gulf, has a fascinating history that spans centuries. It was an important trading center during the Ottoman Empire and played a significant role in the Greek War of Independence.

The island’s strategic location and seafaring population made it a key player in maritime affairs. Today, Hydra Island’s historical charm, preserved architecture, and captivating landscapes continue to captivate visitors from around the globe.

Getting To Hydra Island

The timetables for ferries and hydrofoils to Hydra Island vary depending on the season and the specific departure port. Here are some general guidelines to consider:

Ferry: Ferries operate daily from Piraeus, the main port of Athens, to Hydra Island. During the high season (typically from April to October), there are multiple daily departures, starting in the early morning and continuing throughout the day. The journey duration is around 1.5 to 2 hours. It’s advisable to check the schedule of ferry companies such as Hellenic Seaways or Blue Star Ferries for the most up-to-date information.

It’s important to note that ferry and hydrofoil schedules can be subject to change due to weather conditions, demand, and other factors. Therefore, it’s recommended to check the timetables in advance by visiting the official websites of the ferry companies or contacting their customer service

Where To Stay In Hydra

The amazing views from our hotel in Hydra. A soccer field located in front of a picturesque mountain with traditional houses

While in Hydra, we stayed in Athina Guesthouse. The rooms were excellent, the views amazing, and the hosts were kind, warm, and a perfect example of Greek Hospitality. I would definitely recommend them!

Getting Around

Getting around in Hydra is really easy. The island is small, and no cars are allowed on it. That is one of the island’s best and most interesting facts about it. That’s why your feet will be your best friends! Also, you can also take ferries from the harbor to take you to the island’s best beaches!

What To Do On Hydra Island

1) Explore The Town Of Hydra

Hydra has a charming old town, a living testament to the island’s rich history and timeless beauty. Lined with shops, tavernas, and art galleries, it offers a delightful blend of culture, craftsmanship, and local flavors. The absence of cars and motorcycles adds to the town’s unique and peaceful atmosphere.

Wander through the charming streets of Hydra Town, with its traditional stone houses, colorful doors, and quaint shops. Admire the neoclassical architecture and soak in the laid-back ambiance.

Search for the famous Clock tower in the port, the Koundouriotis’ Mansion (a major actor in the Greek War of Independence), and The defensive bastions and cannons scattered throughout Hydra Town. The Rafailias pharmacy, one of the oldest pharmacies in Greece, is another famous landmark.

2) Hike In One Of The Hydra Trails

Hydra Island offers a captivating hiking experience that combines natural beauty, scenic trails, and a sense of exploration. That’s why it can be a hiker’s paradise! There are so many routes that it will need many days to cover them all.

Beaches, palm forests, and Monasteries are just a few places the hiking routes will take you to. Hydra Trails is a helpful website covering the most famous hiking routes. 

We took the Western trail, and the views were just astonishing. We started our hike in the Clock tower, which took around 4 hours to complete. We passed through forests, climbed Mt. Eros, and ended the hike at Prophet Elias church.

3) Swim, Relax, And Enjoy the Sun On Hydra’s Beaches

It couldn’t be a Greek island without pristine beaches. Indulge in some sun and sand on Hydra’s beautiful beaches. Head to Vlychos Beach, Mandraki Beach, or Bisti Beach, where you can unwind, swim, and soak up the Mediterranean sun. The beaches are also approachable with ferries that can be directly taken from the island’s harbor.

4) Visit The Old Slaughterhouse

The building, which has been recently restored and renovated, maintains its historical characteristics and qualities, preserving the original elements that define its former identity. While now operating as the DESTE Project Space Slaughterhouse since 2009, it also serves as an exceptional exhibition venue.

Each summer, the Foundation organizes a series of contemporary art exhibitions on the island, showcasing the work of individual artists or teams who are invited to create distinctive, site-specific displays within the space.

5) Enjoy Delicious Food At Local Tavernas And Restaurants.

A traditional greek breakfast in Papagalos. Pancakes, yoghurt and many more

Whether you’re seeking a romantic dinner with a view, a quick and satisfying street food experience, or a relaxing spot to enjoy a leisurely meal, Hydra Island is a food-lovers paradise. There are so many amazing options, all offering freshly cooked, traditional, or international meals.

Final Thoughts

Is Hydra Island worth a visit? Hydra is a captivating destination with timeless allure. Its picturesque harbor, cobblestone streets, and vibrant alleys filled with bougainvillea create a nostalgic atmosphere.

The island’s natural beauty and rich history intertwine seamlessly, drawing visitors into its enchanting charm. From the azure waters of the Saronic Gulf to the sun-kissed hillsides, Hydra Island offers a mesmerizing experience where past and present merge effortlessly.

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