Traditional stone mansions, narrow cobblestoned streets, secluded squares and above all the banning of cars and the use of around 500 donkeys as means of public transportation, explain the reason why Hydra preserved its distinctive atmosphere through the passage of time.
The island experienced exceptional economic growth in the past thanks to its great naval and commercial activity. The Hydriots contributed significantly also to the 1821 War of Independence as their powerful fleet participated in crucial sea battles. It is rather impressive the fact that such a tiny island is the birthplace of five Greek Prime Ministers!
The Town of Hydra
Reaching the port, Hydra island looks glamorous like an art-paint, with grey, white and blue colours above the blue of the sea, an exemplar of architectonics and aesthetics. The town of Hydra island, which is the centre of the whole island, is built amphitheatrically on a slope around the port overlooking the Argosaronic gulf, combining nature and architecture. In ancient times, the island was known as ‘Hydrea’ reference to the springs on the island.
The island’s winding cobblestoned streets are characterized by red-tiled authentic stone mansions dressed with brilliant bougainvillea, secluded squares and above all the prohibition of all motor vehicles, all of which give Hydra its unique atmosphere. Hail a tourist donkey to carry your luggage, take you home or give you a quick tour around town!
Right and left from the entrance of the port, there are the Parapets with the Canons, which protected the town. Today, the port of Hydra is filled with little and big yachts, boats and cruisers.
For swimming in the town, there are offered the rocks of Spilia, Hydroneta, and a short distance from there, Avlaki, Kamini and cosmopolitan Mandraki. The connection of the town with the other beautiful beaches, Vlycho, Saint Nicholas, Bisti is being done only from the sea with boats or sea taxis.
On a visit to Hydra, soak up the island’s history by visiting the island’s museums, galleries and monasteries such as the Byzantine Museum, the Historical Archives Museums, the Monastery of Profiti Ilias and the Melina Merkouri art space. In the evening, stroll along the waterfront, where you will encounter canons, statues of famous heroes, the old gunpowder store, boutique shops and cafes ideal for people watching.
The celebration of Miaoulia in late June, in honor of revolutionist Andreas Miaoulis born and raised in Hydra, is an overwhelming spectacle with a representation of his battleship, burning of a frigate and an impressive fireworks display.
For the more adventurous among you, nature calls for some hiking on the island’s rural trails, water sports or snorkeling in the deep, clear and cool seas. Hydra is also a yachting paradise, as sailing and motorboats, as well as luxurious yachts crowd the marina and the entire bay between May and October. Charter a yacht and sail around the island and the Saronic Gulf to take in the sights at your leisure.
Its rustic beauty has attracted world-famous musicians like Leonard Cohen, celebrities like Sophia Loren and travelers of all kind who seek inspiration and never end up leaving.
Hydra is a stop-off on the glittery of international art circuit and yet the boho, laid back Greek island that always sway gently to its own rhythm.