Are you looking for things to do in Hydra Greece? This beautiful island is one of the most popular and cosmopolitan in the Saronic Islands just about 2 hours south of Athens. Hydra, a completely car-free island, is a combination of a stunning natural environment with historic naval architecture that will charm you as soon as you set foot on the island.

Hydra Greece: the island's scenic port with yachts
Part of the charming port of Hydra

The moment the ferry turns into the gorgeous port of Hydra, you will get amazed by the beautiful scenery: the expensive yachts, the donkeys on the platform patiently waiting, the canyon stations in the port, the imposing stone mansions, the cafes, the small clothing stores and the domes of the Greek churches synthesize a unique spectacle.

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece: a scenic alley with flowers
Hydra town’s iconic alleys

The beautiful town of Hydra Greece is built amphitheatrically around the port with red-roofed buildings covering the hills almost to the top. At the port fishing boats, yachts, and ferries flood the pier, especially during the summer months. The stone mansions of Hydra stand like fortresses in the rocky landscape, emphasizing the long naval history of the island.

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece. The donkeys at the port under a shade
Hydra’s patient donkeys

Hydra Greece is one of the first-discovered islands: in 1956, Sophia Loren, playing a Hydriot sponge diver in the film Boy on a Dolphin, made Hydra known to the world. There is a statue dedicated to the film in the port.

The late Canadian songwriter Leonard Cohen lived on Hydra and bought a house as well. The authorities of the island named a street in front of his house after him to honor him. 

Find in this post what is best to do in Hydra Greece, where to stay, the best beaches, what sites to visit, and the most romantic spots for dinner.

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. That means I may make a commission if you click and buy. The commission comes at no additional cost to you.

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece

When you visit Hydra Greece – which is probably the best Saronic island – I recommend spending at least two days to really experience all the top Hydra attractions. Although Hydra has only one town, there are still quite a few things to do on the island.

1. Explore Hydra Town

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece:  island port and general view of the main town and sea
Hydra Greece

One of the best things to do in Hydra is to walk around the stunning port, have a freddo capuccino coffee sitting by the front of the yachts, and watch the sun dip down the Aegean Sea.

Stroll the cobblestone back streets of Hydra, full of neoclassical mansions of the 18th and early 19th century, wonderful little taverns, and picturesque squares.

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece: the old traditional pharmacy of Rafalias
Rafalias pharmacy

Should you need any medication or a face lotion, go to Rafalias pharmacy, an old-fashioned store that hasn’t changed decoration since 1890 and still sells products made to traditional recipes.

2. Stroll to Kaminia Small Port

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece: the Kaminia beach
Kaminia Hydra

If you are looking for romantic things to do in Hydra Greece, take a 15-minute stroll with your loved one to the pocket port and pebbled beach of Kaminia. Along the way look out for the old windmill, and the statue dedicated to the film Boy on a Dolphin.

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece: Kondeylenia tavern in Kaminia
Kondylenia tavern in Kaminia Hydra

When you get there look for the traditional Kondylenia tavern. Find a table, with the best sea view possible, order some ouzo with meze, and watch as the sun dips gently into the Saronic Gulf. Book a table at +30 2298 053520.

3. Swim on the Beaches in Hydra Greece

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece: Avlaki beach in Hydra seen from above
Avlaki Beach – Marina N. Drougka

Hydra may not impress you with its beaches however, there are quite a few great places to dive. Some of the best beaches in Hydra Greece are Avlaki and Spilia, both a very short walk from the port but they do get very busy during the high season (July-August).

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece: Vlychos beach
Vlychos Beach

Vlychos beach is about 2km from Hydra town. It is pebbled and probably the most beautiful beach on the island and possibly a much quieter choice.

Mandraki is a sandy and organized beach with excellent water sports facilities if you are a sea sports person.

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece:  Bisti beachwith trees and umbrellas
Bisti Beach

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.

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece: Agios Nikolaos Beach
Agios Nikolaos Beach

Finally, Agios Nikolaos, one of the best beaches in Hydra, is only accessible by water taxi that you can easily rent from Hydra’s port.

4. Visit the Impressive Museums in Hydra

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece: Historical Museum
Historical Archive-Museum of Hydra

Hydra island played a significant military part in Greek’s 1821 War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. Hydra was very rich at the time, mainly as a result of its successful involvement in the wheat trade during the Napoleonic Wars. It contributed to the Revolution with 186 ships – twice as much as Spetses did.

In the significant museums of Hydra, you will get to see the important history of the island.

  • Historical Archive-Museum of Hydra that 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.
Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece: the Kountouriotis House
Kountouriotis House – N. Foteinopoulos
  • 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

5. Take a Private Guided Tour of Hydra

Do you love to have everything organized for you, such as booking hotels, tours and issuing ferry tickets? Then you should book a guided informative tour with a professional guide and learn all the things you want to know about Hydra.

6. Dine at the Finest Restaurants in Hydra Greece

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece: The Omilos restaurant
Omilos Restaurant Bar

One of the top things to do in Hydra Greece is to dine in its cosmopolitan restaurants. Omilos Restaurant Bar – formerly known as Lagoudera – is located in a stunning spot and is the most notorious restaurant in Hydra. Everyone famous has dined here: The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bridget Bardot, and Onasis are just a few of them.

Omilos restaurant provides outstanding service and excellent cuisine to its guests. If you are visiting during peak season you better book your table (+30 2298053800 or omilosrestauranthydra@gmail.com).

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece:  the sunset hydra restaurant
Sunset Hydra Restaurant

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 (+30 22980-52067 or sunsethydra@gmail.com).

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece: Kryfo limani tavern
Kryfo Limani Tavern

Kryfo Limani tavern 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 on Tompazi street a few minutes’ walk from the port.

7. Sail to the Uninhabited island of Dokos

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece:  Dokos island with yachts
Dokos Island – Charles-Edouard de Mees

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).

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece:  Dokos island small port
Dokos Island

You can get to Dokos Island only by private boat or yacht. Besides swimming in 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

8. Discover the Orthodox Monasteries

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece: Mountain views from Hydra monastery
View from the Monastery

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 the nearby Agia Efpraxia Monasteries, are on the slopes of Mount Eros, the island’s highest peak. You would need about 1,5 hour’s hiking from Hydra port (please try to dress modestly if you are visiting a church or monastery).

9. Go Island Hopping from Hydra

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece: Poros island in arogsaronic
Poros island

You can do a lot of island hopping as Hydra is right in the center of the Argosaronic islands.

  1. Take the ferry to classy Spetses Island and you will be there in 35′ to 1 hour, depending on the ferry you will get.
  2. The Ferry trip to Poros Island is only 35′.
  3. Take the ferry to Porto Heli and you will be there in 1 h and 20′.
  4. Find here Ermioni Hydra Ferry Timetable (25 minutes trip!)

Book your ferry transfer with FerryScanner or FerryHopper, and get the best prices in the market with no hidden fees

10. Participate in Hydra’s Trail Event

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece: Hydra's trail event athletes running

Hydra is organizing a mountain run race, the ‘Hydra’s Trail Event’, usually every April. For 2023 it is going to be on the 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.

Where to Stay in Hydra Greece

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece:  Estia Hydra balcony
Estia Hydra Balcony

It will be hard to beat the superior location of Estia Hydra, overlooking the port and nearby access to island highlights. Immaculately clean and brightly decorated apartment, you will have to book fast as it normally gets fully – booked during summer.

If you prefer to stay in the picturesque tiny alleys in Hydra town then you will love the Hydra Luxury Getaway – Maria’s Cozy Home!

How to Get to Hydra Greece

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece:  Hydra's port
Hydra’s Port

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.

Alternatively, you can drive to Hydra. Take the National Road from Athens to Metochi port in Peloponnese. 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:

Map of Hydra Greece

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece:  Map of Hydra
Hydra Greece Map

Follow along with this map of the best things to do in Hydra. It is mapped out in order of areas and monuments so you can easily visit the attractions mentioned.

How to Get Around Hydra Greece

The lack of cars on the island leaves you with certain choices: walk but do keep in mind though that the island is quite hilly – as is the vast majority of Greek landscapes – so avoid too heavy luggage.

As a second option, you can take water taxis to go around the island and dive into the more remote beaches. There is a water taxi right outside the Corner Café – with a phone next to it. And the prices for the taxis as more or less fixed, ranging between €10 and €18 based on the number of people on the boat and the destination.

FAQ on Hydra Island

What is not Allowed on Hydra Island?

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece:  a laden doneky

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 heavy stuff they use mules, donkeys, and horses. The owners sometimes overload the mules, they make them go up and down endless times and I am quite unhappy if and when this happens. Of course, if they use them in a reasonable way, without exhausting them, it is understandably a necessity.

Donkeys suffer if they carry more than 50 kg and that can be done only for a very short time. If you wish to ride and you are an adult, always choose a horse that can carry a man’s weight.

Tip: To avoid using the donkeys, book somewhere centrally or carry your own stuff.

Hydra in Winter

Are you wondering what is like in Hydra in winter? It does get much colder than in the summer but almost never below 0 C. The port is always lively with many cafes and hotels open as the 3-island guided tour (Hydra, Poros, Aegina) never stops running – except on the days when it is really windy.

Hydra for Families

Hydra is great for families with small children because restaurants, cafes, and beaches are more or less within easy walking distance. Children will also love getting on the water taxis and sailing to the beaches. Finally, my friends with young children told me that the large number of equines and free-roaming cats are a great source of entertainment for the little ones!

There are also ATMs and supermarkets in the town if you prefer to cook for the family in the apartment.

An ideal house for a family is beautiful Hydra Kamini Beach Thea located right in front of the sea, ideal for a family of 5.

How Much Time do I Need in Hydra?

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece:  Stone mansions
Hydra Stone Mansions

Ideally, you should stay for 2-3 full days to enjoy the best of what Hydra offers such as hiking its 9 signposted hiking trails. If staying overnight is not possible, then explore the port, or sail around Hydra with a water taxi. Stroll the town to peruse its magnificent architecture, lively walking streets, and beautiful lookouts.

Note: Would you like us to organize a walking tour of Hydra? Please send us your request here.

How Many People live in Hydra Greece?

There are about 2500 permanent residents on the island of Hydra, and that means that Hydra is quite lively throughout the year.

Why is Hydra famous for its Cats?

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece:  cats watching a fisherman for fish
Waiting for a fresh…breakfast – Argolikes eidiseis

There is a large number of healthy cats on the island due to the restless animal charity HydraArk.

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece:  2 black cats in Hydra port
Hydra Ark – the black twins 😀

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?

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece:  rugged landscapes
Hydra’s rugged landscape

Hydra island is a great place for hiking. The trails are marked out with yellow and black signs that detail where you will go if you take the hike. There are both easy and demanding trails to choose from, depending on how experienced you are. As Hydra is a rugged island with few trees and little to no shade, I would avoid hiking in the summer months or if I did, I would start very early in the morning.

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece: beautiful coastline in hydra island
Hydra’s Coastline

Essential things to have with you if you will be hiking on Hydra are:

When is Best to Go to Hydra Island?

Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece:  a spring valley with flowers and horses
Hydra in Spring – Christina Stamatakou

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, and full of flowers and the colder weather makes the island much more romantic.

And there you have it, everything you need to know to add to your Hydra Greece bucket list. Have you been to Hydra already? Let me know what you think of the island and if you recommend it! Till next time, Evgenia 😀

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