An Off-the-Beaten Path Trip to Hydra, Greece
Food & Wine
If you love the Greek islands but crave a more unique experience, it’s time for a trip to the Saronic island of Hydra. This cosmopolitan Greek island is a car-free haven, meaning all transport is done by foot, boat or donkey. Don’t be put off by the thought of walking everywhere though, the main town is compact enough that it’s easy to get around. For adventurers, a system of trails across the island ranges from easy walks to challenging hill climbs. Less than a 2-hour ferry ride from Athens, a visit to Hydra can easily be combined with a few days in Athens or in nearby Nafplio to see the ancient sites of Epidaurus and Mycenae.
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Where to stay on Hydra
Hydra Hotel is a chic small hotel that includes 8 stylish rooms located in the heart of the island.
Originally a private mansion built in 1803, Hydrea sits perched majestically above the heart of the vibrant Hydra port.
Hotel Leto Hydra
Located on a picture-perfect alley at the centre of the port of Hydra, this beautiful 5 star hotel has been offering high class accommodation for the past 50 years.
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Things to do on Hydra
Island Walks & Hikes
Hike along the coastal path to visit villages and beaches around the island or make the trek to the top of Mount Eros. You can also take a walking tour through Hydra Town with a guide who will point out the island’s landmarks and important sites.
Hydra has long been known as a destination for art lovers. Picasso and Chagall both spent time on the island and the history is reflected in a number of galleries.
Check out the DESTE Project Space Slaughterhouse for avant-garde exhibitions (open June-September.)
Miaoulia is Hydra’s biggest week-long celebration taking place around the last week of June each year. Events and performances throughout the week culminate with the reenactment of a naval battle in the harbor and brilliant fireworks display over the water.
Saddle up for a guided horse trek around the island. You can ride to monasteries and chapels in the countryside or to a beach where you can even swim with your horse.
Don’t just watch the boats in the harbor, step aboard for a sunset sail, fishing excursion or private day cruise around the island stopping off at the best beaches for swimming and snorkeling.
Hydra is surrounded by crystal clear turquoise water and beaches abound. The beaches here are pebbled, as is common in Greece, and the most popular spots offer organized loungers and café service. Choose a beach based on the level of remoteness you’d like. Some are right in town, others are accessible only by boat and offer complete relaxation due to the lack of Wi-Fi or cellular signal.
Spilia: Swim where the cliffs meat the Aegean sea at this harbor-side spot with stairs cut into the rocks leading down to the water.
Hydronetta: Located near Spilia and close to the harbor, this is a spot to dive from large rocks and soak up the sun on the bathing platforms.
Mandraki: The lone sandy beach on Hydra and the location of the Mandraki Beach Resort.
Vlychos: Popular beach with umbrella and lounge rentals and onsite restaurant.
Bisti: Secluded tree-lined beach accessible by boat with shallow sloping water entry.
Agios Nikolaos: Remote beach accessible by boat offering chair and umbrella rentals.
Places to eat & drink on Hydra
A number of cafés and tavernas surround the harbor of Hydra. Many are open all day, serving coffee and breakfast in the morning and traditional Greek fare and drinks in the evening. Grab a waterside table any time of day to snack and sip while watching the boat traffic of luxury yachts, fishing boats, water taxis and ferries.
Psarpoula: Traditional Greek dishes and seafood with outdoor dining on the porch of an old villa offering views of the port.
Omilos: Contemporary Mediterranean dishes from a celebrated chef with outdoor patio perched on the water.
Sunset Restaurant: Fresh-caught seafood is the standout of this iconic Hydra restaurant with one of the best views on the island.
Enalion: Located on Vlychos Beach serving traditional Greek recipes and seafood.
Castello: Have dinner at this beachside restaurant in an 18th century fort or spend the day in a beach lounger and enjoy service from the attached Lounge Beach Bar.
Bratsera Restaurant: Dine poolside in the garden of a unique boutique hotel.
Il Casta: Intimate space in a private courtyard serving Italian classics.
Bars and tavernas stay up late around the harbor. With some offering a relaxed ambiance and others with lively DJ sets, you can find a place to suit your mood for the evening.
The Pirate Bar: A staple on Hydra, you’ll find both locals and visitors here from morning to well into the night.
Papagalos: Another day-to-night spot offering great views of the harbor, drinks and music.
Bar Amalour: Spot for cocktails, music and dancing away from the waterfront.
Need to Know
Searching for more travel inspo? Check out my guide: From Edinburgh to the Coast: 1 Week in Scotland.
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