Updated August 22nd, 2022 by TraveltheGreekWay
Hydra island is one of the most popular Greek islands in the Argo Saronic sea, a cosmopolitan and classy island, attracting a lot of high society and the international jet-set. Hydra island is a combination of a stunning natural environment in a historic naval architecture, creating a unique atmosphere, that enchants every visitor.
The canyon stations in the port, the imposing mansions, the School of Merchant Mariners, and the historic monasteries are a small sample of the glorious past of Hydra.
A true model of aesthetics, the town of Hydra is built amphitheatrically around the port, where small boats, tourist boats, and cruise ships flood the pier, especially during the summer months. The stone mansions of Hydra stand like fortresses in the rocky landscape, emphasizing the majesty of the island.
If you are looking for information such as what is best to do in Hydra island, where to stay, and which are the most romantic spots for dinner, then this post will help you find out about the best of Hydra island.
Where exactly is Hydra Island in Greece?
Hydra belongs to the Argo Saronic Islands of the Aegean Sea and it is about 2 hours south of Athens Greece. Hydra is 37 nautical miles (69 km) away from Piraeus port in Athens.
How Can you Get to Hydra?
You can’t fly to Hydra as there is no airport on the island. However, there are three other ways you can use to get to Hydra:
- The most usual way to get to Hydra is by taking the high-speed hydrofoils (Flying Dolphins or FlyingCat) from Piraeus port. You can check time schedules and rates to Hydra with no extra fees on the FerryScanner or FerryHopper
- Others prefer the convenience of a guided day cruise to Aegina, Poros, and Hydra islands from Athens or
3. ..you can go to Hydra by car. From Athens, you can drive all the way to Metochi in Peloponnese, click on Google map to see the route. You can leave your car in the secure car park in Metochi, and take the 20-minute passenger ferry across to Hydra.
This is a fantastic way to tour one of the most beautiful and full of imposing sites area of Greece, the Argolida of Peloponnese:
- Corinth Canal
- Ancient Isthmia
- Ancient Corinth and Acrocorinth
- Ermioni and Porto Heli
- Volcanic Methana
Where Best to Stay in Hydra?
If you prefer staying a bit away from the hub of the Hydra port in a quiet environment then you should check out the Four Seasons Hydra Luxury Suites.
It is a beautiful small hotel in a peaceful beach setting, wonderful in every detail, and close to Hydra port. Check availability and rates in Booking.com.
Another quiet option is Cotommatae Hydra 1810. Housed in a 19th-century mansion, a 10-minute walk from the Hydra port, beautifully decorated rooms, and with mouth-watering meals, this is one of the best of Hydra. Check availability and rates on Booking.com.
If you prefer to be in the town, then Angelica Traditional Boutique Hotel(mid-range). Set in a historic building in the heart of Hydra, hosts super-friendly and accommodating, and with a hearty breakfast, you will definitely enjoy your stay. Check availability and rates on Booking
Where Should I Stay in Hydra on a Budget?
Glaros Guesthouse is one of the best budget hotels in hydra. The property is stunning with a wonderful view outside the balcony, spotlessly clean, close to everything with very friendly hosts. Check availability and rates on Booking.
What are the Best Things to Do in Hydra?
- Hydra is a popular yachting destination and the home of the Kamini Yacht Club, an international yacht club
- The island has one of the most important naval history in Greece, which can be witnessed everywhere in Hydra.
- Hydra was the island where the film ‘Boy on a Dolphin’, starring Sophia Loren, was filmed in 1956. Look out for the statue honoring the film right on the coastal road towards Kaminia
- Late Canadian songwriter Leonard Cohen loved this island and had bought a house
- Hydra is one of the most romantic destinations in Greece, so it is a fantastic island for your honeymoon or anniversary!
Watch the Beautiful Hydra Sunset
One of the best things to do in Hydra is to walk around the stunning Hydra port, have a Freddo Capuccino sitting by the front of the yacht, and watch the sun dip down the Aegean Sea.
Stroll the cobblestone back streets of Hydra, full of neoclassical mansions, well-preserved manors, wonderful little taverns, and picturesque squares.
Visit any of the numerous churches and six Orthodox monasteries on the island. Two of the monasteries are particularly noteworthy. The Profitis Ilias, founded in the 10th century, and Agia Efpraxia Monastery, about an hour walk from Hydra port (please try to dress modestly if you are visiting a church or monastery).
Walk the 15-minutes gorgeous promenade to the pocket harbor of Kaminia and sit in the Kondylenia tavern right by the sea, order some ouzo with meze, and enjoy life on a Greek island.
Swim in the Best Beaches on Hydra
Hydra is not famous for its beaches but there are quite a few that are great for swimming:
Avlaki and Spilia beaches are both a very short walk from Hydra port but they get a bit busy during the high season.
Kaminia beach is about a twenty-minute walk from the Hydra port, with cafes and restaurants nearby (pebbled) and Kondylenia tavern.
Vlychos beach is about 2km from Hydra town. It is pebbled and for me the most beautiful beach on the island.
Mandraki is a sandy and organized beach with excellent water sports facilities if you are a sea sports person (I am the lazy type – all day on a seabed reading and sleeping!)
Bisti is another beautiful beach, also great for sports activities such as diving and kayaking. Limnioza beach is a bit far and it will take you about 2 hours to hike there. So as you can imagine, this is a very quiet beach.
Finally, Agios Nikolaos, one of the best beaches on Hydra, is only accessible by a water taxi.
Visit the Impressive Museums in Hydra
Yes, there are a few very interesting museums on Hydra island:
- Historical Archive-Museum of Hydra: It showcases historical material of the island from 1708-1865.
- Ecclesiastical and Byzantine Museum: Housed in the old Monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, it displays vestments, holy vessels, and icons mainly from the 18th century.
- Annex to the National Historical Museum: The House of Lazaros Kountouriotis operates as an annex of the National Historical Museum. Lazaros Kountouriotis (1769-1852) was the largest financier of the Greek War of Independence in 1821
Take a Private Tour to Secret Hydra
There are sea taxis that you can use from Hydra’s port and can take you around the island. Or you can have a guided informative tour with a professional guide and learn all the things you want to know about Hydra.
Dine at the Finest Restaurants in Hydra
Omilos Restaurant Bar
Omilos Restaurant Bar is the most famous Restaurant in Hydra. Everyone famous has dined here: The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bridget Bardot, Onasis are just a few of them. Housed in a stunning location, it was formerly known as Lagoudera.
Omilos keeps the vibe alive and provides outstanding service and excellent cuisine to its guests. If you are visiting during peak season you better book your table in advance.
The Sunset restaurant is the perfect place to watch the sun go down on Hydra island! Its yard is surrounded by canons(!), and it offers fine cuisine with an amazing sea view. If you are visiting during peak season you better book your table in advance.
Kryfo Limani Traditional Tavern
Kryfo Limani is more on the traditional part of Hydra, and one of my favorites! It is a family-run business, they cook authentic Greek food, in a friendly environment with Greek music in a lush garden. Find it in Tompazi st a few minutes’ walk from the port.
Sail to Uninhabited island of Dokos
Four kilometers north of the western tip of Hydra is the uninhabited island of Dokos, one of the most popular yachting islands in the Argosaronic. Dokos has a great ancient history and has been characterized as an exceptionally archaeological island (many comparing it to Delos’ in Mykonos).
You can get to Dokos Island only by private boat or yacht. Besides swimming to its crystal clear waters you can also visit:
- the few remains of a 7th c AD Venetian castle
- a 9-meter lighthouse constructed in 1923
- the remains of Dokos shipwreck, the oldest underwater shipwreck discovery known to archeologists in the Aegean sea, dated between 2700-2200 BC
Go Island Hopping from Hydra
You can do a lot of island hopping as Hydra is right n the center of the Argosaronic islands.
- Take the ferry to classy Spetses Island and you will be there in 35′ to 1 hour, depending on the ferry you will get.
- The Ferry trip to Poros Island is only 35′.
- Take the ferry to Porto Heli and you will be there in 1 h and 20′.
- Go to beautiful Ermioni seaside resort in just 25 minutes!
Participate in Hydra’s Trail Event
Hydra is organizing a mountain run race, the ‘Hydra’s Trail Event’, usually every April. For 2023 it is going to be on 8th and 9th of April.
There are usually five scheduled routes with the most difficult being “Hydras Trail Marathon”, a 38.5 km Mountain Marathon route. This is Hydra’s Trail Event page on Facebook which you can visit for more info on the 2023 trail event.
FAQ on Hydra Island
What is not Allowed on Hydra Island?
By law, cars and motorcycles are not allowed.
The only vehicles that you may see are garbage trucks and ambulances. So, for any other transportation and for carrying the heavy stuff they use mules and donkeys. The owners sometimes overload the mules, they make them go up and down endless times and I am, generally speaking, not very happy with overloading the animals.
Of course, if they use them in a reasonable way, without exhausting them, it is understandably a necessity.
How Much Time do I Need in Hydra?
Ideally, you should stay for 2-3 full days and 2 overnights to enjoy the best of what Hydra offers.
How Many People live in Hydra Greece?
There are about 2500 permanent residents on the island Hydra, and that means that Hydra is quite lively throughout the year.
Why is Hydra famous for its Cats?
There is a large number of healthy cats on the island due to the restless animal charity HydraArk.
Hydra Ark’s committed volunteers not only take care/feed/ and vaccinate the stray cats on Hydra but also in cooperation with the local authorities run neutering programs to keep the numbers under control.
Is Hydra Expensive?
Generally speaking, it is a little bit expensive but nothing like Santorini and Mykonos.
Can I Hike in Hydra?
Yes, Hydra is a great place for hiking. The hiking trails are marked out with yellow and black signs that detail where you will go if you take the hike. There are easy and more demanding trails to choose from, depending on how experienced you are.
When is Best to Go to Hydra?
In the summer, like most Greek islands close to Athens, and especially Hydra which is a super cosmopolitan island, it can get busy.
Spring, fall, or even winter is the best time for me to visit Hydra because it is so much more relaxed, peaceful, full of flowers and the colder weather makes the island much more romantic.
Old Greek Movie in Hydra Island
And I would like to finish this post on my beloved Hydra with a short video clip from a very popular Greek movie filmed in 1967 in Hydra (Title: Gorgones and Magkes).
All the alleys and houses are exactly the same today. Hope you enjoy the clip and the very romantic song:
Where to Stay in Athens
Looking for the Best Hotels near old Athens Plaka and Acropolis Parthenon?
Or you would like to stay at a beachfront hotel?
Perhaps you are more in-budget hotels interested?
Whichever your preferences I have collected the best options for your staying in Athens below:
Plan Your Next Trip to Greece With These Resources
- Greece Packing List – What to pack for a 10-day trip to Greece
- Mamma Mia Greece Locations – All the mainland and island shooting areas in Greece
- Salamina Island – So close to Athens, so unknown to the mass tourism
If you would like a customized itinerary for a private tour in Greece please send your inquiry here for a quote. Thanks!
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