Hydra, Greece: A Traffic-Free Island in the Aegean Sea
Though back home in Seattle friends and family are still bundled up, here on the Mediterranean, it’s already feeling like spring. These next few months are the perfect time to visit southern Europe: it’s warm and mostly sunny, with lower airfare and fewer crowds than the high-season of July and August bring.
It’s no secret that one of my absolute favorite places in the world is Greece. I studied there, have traveled there several times, and owe it (or maybe should blame it?) for my incessant wanderlust. From my various trips there, I’ve visited several of the Greek Islands—but in reality the number I’ve been to hardly scratches the surface as Greece is home to literally thousands of them!
It’s difficult to choose a favorite, as they’re all so different in their own ways, but one certainly stands out from the others on the uniqueness scale. That would be Hydra.
Hydra is a quick 35 miles from the port of Piraeus in Athens. I took the high-speed hydrofoil and was there in just over an hour. (Try this website for excellent, thorough information on the trip from Athens to Hydra.)
An artist’s colony, Hydra is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Athens. The peace and quiet found on Hydra is rare as the only transportation you’ll see are donkeys, garbage trucks and emergency vehicles—cars and even bikes are prohibited!
As you enter the port, you’ll be dropped off in the heart of Hydra Town. Built in a amphitheatrical style, rows of Venetian-style stone mansions overlook the harbor, built by wealthy merchants who benefitted from Hydra’s highly successful foreign exports business of the past.
This grand entrance is framed by the mostly dry, uninhabited remainder of the island: an ancient fire destroyed the island’s once-pure drinking water that Hydra gets its name from.
Though the island’s beaches are nothing to write home about, Hydra is perfect for exploring on foot—by means of the donkey paths, since roads don’t exist. In fact, don’t get too excited about sunbathing on Hydra at all—I did and was met with slabs of concrete and rocky beaches!
I also mistakenly looked forward to the nightlife on Hydra and was a bit disappointed: it’s definitely a romantic, honeymooner’s island.
Once you have this figured out—enjoy the breathtakingly beautiful surroundings that Hydra most definitely doesn’t skimp on:
Have you ever been to Hydra? If not, do you want to?