The Best Things to Do on Hydra Island

posted in: Greek Islands, Saronic | 0

Updated June 23rd, 2022 by TraveltheGreekWay

Hydra Island

Hydra island is one of the most popular Greek islands in the Argosaronic sea, a cosmopolitan and classy island, attracting a lot of high society and the international jet-set. Visitors are enchanted by both its stunning natural environment, tradition, and Hydra’s big naval history, one of the most important ones in Greece.

The Canyons used in the Greek War of Independence

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.

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COVID INFO FOR GREECE: Ministry of Tourism Official Website

Where exactly is Hydra Island in Greece?

Hydra Port

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 Pireaus port in Athens.

**Hydra is pronounced EE-drah.

How Can I Get to Hydra?

Hydra picturesque alleys

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:

  1. 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
  2. Others prefer the convenience of a guided day cruise to Aegina, Poros, and Hydra islands from Athens or
Google Map from Athens to Hydra by car

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.

Main syntagma square in Nafplion town Peloponnese
Nafplio town

This is a fantastic way to tour one of the most beautiful and full of imposing sites area of Greece, the Argolida of Peloponnese:

Where Best to Stay in Hydra?

4-seasons-hotel in hydra
Four Seasons Suites

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.

Angelica Hotel

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

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 Port
  • 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.
Sophia Loren walking Hydra Port
  • 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
Leonard Cohen’s House in Hydra
  • 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 honemoon or anniversary!

Watch the Beautiful Hydra Sunset

Beaituful sunset over Hydra post
Hydra Sunset – Hydrahouses

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.

Hydra’s alleys

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).

Kaminia Hydra

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.

Ouzo me meze (ouzo with small dishes of food)

Swim in the Best Beaches on Hydra

Avlaki beach in Hydra seen from above
Avlaki Beach – Marina N. Drougka

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

Kaminia beach is about a twenty-minute walk from the Hydra port, with cafes and restaurants nearby (pebbled) and Kondylenia tavern.

Vlychos Beach

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.

Agios Nikolaos 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.
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

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

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.

Sunset Hydra Restaurant

Sunset 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 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

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).

Dokos Island

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.

  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. Go to beautiful Ermioni seaside resort in just 25 minutes!

= > Check routes and prices with no hidden fees at FerryHopper

Participate in Hydra’s Trail Event: 9th-10th April 2022

Hydra is organizing between the 9th and 10th of April a mountain run race, the ‘Hydra’s Trail Event’.

There are going to be five routes and the new one this year is called “Hydras Trail Marathon”. It stands out, as it is a 38.5 km Mountain Marathon route with a positive altitude of 2,000m. If you would like to participate in the run, you need to reserve your participation here.

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?

Hydra Stone Mansions

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?

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.

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?

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?

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, 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:

How to Get to Greece

Like most visitors to Greece, you will probably have to fly to Athens or Thessaloniki International Airports to get to your final destinations.

For the Cheapest, Fastest, Best Worldwide Flights, I highly recommend the Skyscanner search engine site.

If you prefer to avoid the hassle of public transport and wish for some luxury pampering, you should book a private transfer with an English-speaking driver from Athens International Airport to Piraeus Ferries. Check availability and prices on Viator here

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:

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Evgenia
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