Celebrated for preserving its “integrity of place” by National Geographic Traveler, Hydra ranks quite high up in the scoreboard for most beloved Greek destinations! A small island, surrounded by the glassy blue clear waters of the Aegan sea, its name is traced back to the ancient Greek word for “water” in honor of its natural springs.
This gem of the Saronic Gulf didn’t go unnoticed by the glam and fabulous, having been on Hollywood’s radar early on. Back in 1957, 20th Century Fox swooped in and ushered Hydra under the global spotlight with “The Boy and the Dolphin”, starring the incomparable Sophia Lauren. Nominated for Best Music Academy Award that year, this wonderful romantic piece of cinematography was the first of many to showcase the island’s beauties. Ms Lauren, as “Phaedra”, portrays a poor sponge diver who discovers an ancient Greek statue of a boy riding a dolphin at the bottom of the Aegean Sea. She sings:
…”If the boy whom the gods have enchanted
Should arise from the sea,
And the wish of my heart could be granted,
I would wish that you loved only me…”
Then in the 60s, a little bird sitting on one of Hydra’s recently installed phone wires and endless wet island nights inspired one of Leonard Cohen’s signature songs, “Bird on a Wire”. Cohen sought both peace and inspiration on this beautiful Greek haven for artists in the company of his muse, Marianne Ihlen, curing his depression and getting his creative juices flowing.
Enjoy the serene atmosphere of this popular get-away, the traditional stone villas built by Italian artisans and blooming flower gardens, just a two hour ferry ride from Athens. White-washed houses and winding cobble-stone streets spread out from the quaint port while waterfront cafés combine a wonderful view of the crystal blue waters with refreshing beverages. The odd poet or writer finds solace in the calm waves foaming around the fishing boats and breathes in the fresh air without a car in sight. Literally! The only motor vehicles you’ll see will be the municipal rubbish collecting trucks as all other automobiles have been banned from Hydra. Visitors and locals alike get around on foot, bikes and donkeys and you can always hail a water taxi for a ride around this unspoiled authentic locale.
Thus, the island’s traditional atmosphere and soothing environment have been preserved throughout the years, making for a lovely destination whether you’re fancying a hike around its historical monasteries or a visit to either the gunpowder store or one of the several historical museums. A yachting paradise, with fishing boats, impressive yachts and motorboats mooring at the crescent shaped harbor, the seafront also features beautiful statues and bastions; an idyllic background for sensational photos when capturing memories of this nearby heavenly getaway. The most dominating statue of the harbor, welcoming in all visitors, is that of Admiral Miaoulis, erected in honor of his efforts in leading the island against the Ottoman Empire during the Greek War of Independence.
Pebbled beaches, island coves begging to be explored, sandy shores and crystal waters frame this small garden of Eden, while picturesque taverns offering delicious local dishes reflecting our famous mediterranean cuisine are just a stroll away. Rocky tops and small densely forested pine-clad areas, sun-washed plateaus hosting historical churches, all come together in an excellent location for ecclesiastical tourism, mountain trailing, art and architecture tours, weddings, guided scuba-diving, snacks and drinks at the beach-bars or numerous seaport café -bars, gourmet meals at specialized restaurants and fresh fish taverns or for grabbing a “tsipouro” or “ouzo” at the local hangouts. In traditional bakeries and local workshops, here and there, you will discover the island’s delicious almond based treats, the “amygdalota”. Trail hiking has become a favorite activity for Hydriots and visitors alike, leading to the annual Hydra’s Trails Event. Nature lovers, looking to test their endurance while enjoying the sunny landscapes, participate every year in this popular event, choosing any of the five popular routes running through the island.
Hydra, has rightfully been deemed a national Greek monument in order to restrict any building activity which may endanger the historical landscape and traditional character so it has managed to preserve its legacy as a gateway to the past.
It undeniably features on everyone’s island hopping list as it’s definitely not a “stop” to miss!
Try now our famous One-day Cruise to Hydra, Poros and Aegina. With not one, but three popular Greek islands on your itinerary, you will soak in the sun and replenish your batteries before resuming your mainland exploration adventures.