A few years ago I moved to England to study for a masters degree. That was when I discovered my passion for other cultures. I made friends with people from Asia, Africa, America and all over the world. From England I began to travel and visited around 15-20 countries within two years.
Photography was a passion of mine even before Instagram. When it came out my brother asked me why I didn’t post there. He thought I would be good at it and now here we are. To me photography is all about aesthetics.
Not only do I love photography and travelling abroad but I also love visiting beautiful destinations in my own country. Recently I had the pleasure of exploring Hydra for 4 days. What an incredible island it turned out to be. Let me introduce you to the amazing Hydra island of Greece.
Inspiration to Visit Hydra
Before COVID-19 I had planned on visiting Cuba. However, I had to cancel this trip which was a great disappointment. I then started to think of other places I could visit. All roads led to my beautiful country of Greece.
All of the Greek Islands are on my bucket-list. In fact, I hope to visit them all someday in the future. Hydra was one of the many islands I had not travelled to yet. I picked that island because it was small enough to be explored within a few days and was easily accessible from the mainland.
Also, no cars or scooters are allowed on the island. Visitors must rely on boats and donkeys for transport. That sounded appealing to me.
4 Wonderful Days in Hydra
I visited Hydra for 4 days. I found it unique along with Spetses as they are the only islands that don’t permit cars. This makes it a great place to relax. The island uses donkeys for transferring heavy loads and for transport. Although, I didn’t like the use of donkeys as I am against animal cruelty.
Discovering the island by boat and swimming at the beaches was amazing. You can see goats hanging out on the rocks close to the sea, go snorkelling in the crystal-clear waters and see red and yellow sea sponges.
Hydra is also a historic island. The Greek politician Andreas Miaoulis was from here. He commanded Greek naval forces during the War of Independence. Hydra has a statue and museum dedicated to this man.
One of my favourite aspects about Hydra was the simple pleasure of watching the sunset over the sea every night. There is a restaurant located on the waters edge called Sunset which I recommend. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal while the sun sets in a romantic way.
Top 10 Things To Do in Hydra
Hydra is a small island but it sure does pack a big punch for such a small place. Free of cars and wheeled vehicles, home to cobblestone streets and a beautiful rocky coastline – this Saronic Island is simply breathtaking. Below are my top 10 things to do in Hydra for first-time visitors.
1. Go on a Hydra Island Boat Tour
The ultimate experience in Hydra was doing a boat cruise around the island. If I had the chance I would have done it three days in a row! There are several boat tours you can join which take you to secluded coves and hidden beaches. Some are luxury tours while others are more modest.
2. Visit the Historical Archive Museum
The Museum of Hydra provides a glimpse into the fascinating history and culture of the island. History lovers will enjoy learning about the War of Independence – one of the most important events in Greek history. In 1821, the Greeks fought one of the most intense battles against the Ottomans.
3. Hike to the Prophet Elias Monastery
The Prophet Elias Monastery is perched on Mount Eros and makes for a two hour hike to the top. This is a fantastic way to get some exercise and enjoy the views from the top. The monastery itself is just as beautiful as the views. You can see a cobblestone courtyard, vegetable gardens and artwork.
4. Snorkel at the Hidden Beaches and Coves
Hydra is blessed with many beaches and coves which are not well known. The best thing you can do is go exploring and see what you can find. The waters are blue and in many spots crystal clear. You can find white shoals, colourful fish, turtles and if you’re lucky a few other sea creatures.
5. Have Lunch at Mandraki Beach Resort
The beautiful Mandraki Beach Resort is a short boat ride away or leisurely walk (30 minutes or so) from the port of Hydra. I recommend spending the day at the beach and also checking out the restaurant at the resort. This is one of the only beaches in Hydra with sandy shores.
6. Sail on a Calypso Boat to Islands
There are a couple of companies that hire out Calypso sailing boats for the day or for short trips. These boats are traditional Greek handcrafted wooden ‘Trexantiri’ boats suited for up to ten people. You can explore Hydra, visit Dokos Island or visit other islands surrounding Hydra.
7. Take in a Classic Hydra Sunset
As I mentioned before, one of my favourite aspects about Hydra was the magical sunsets. The restaurant called ‘Sunset’ is the best dining option for sunset gazing. Then you have all the beaches which are fantastic too. For those adventurous souls – head up to Prophet Elias Monastery for sunset.
8. Explore the Fishing Villages of Kamini & Vlichos
From the port of Hydra you can walk along a lovely walking trail that leads to the cute fishing villages of Kamini and Vlichos. Both of these places are worth visiting. You get a more local and authentic Greek vibe here without the many tourists from Athens who hang out at the port of Hydra.
9. Meet the Amazing Locals of Hydra
The locals living on Hydra are slightly different to the people you meet on the Greek mainland. They are super relaxed, hospitable and generous. The fact that they don’t use cars or scooters to get around makes them seem more chilled and patient. Locals here are always up for a chat which is nice.
10. Try the Stunning Cuisine of Hydra
The food in Hydra is pretty much the same as what you get in other Greek Islands. Enjoy a range of fresh seafood and classic Greek cuisine. Make sure you stop by Manna Restaurant in Hydra Town which to me was the best restaurant on the island. There are also plenty of souvlaki restaurants.
Best Places Stay on Hydra
Due to the nature of the island there are many yachts that go there without staying on the actual land. If you can do that then please go ahead! If not, there are plenty of affordable Airbnb’s like the one I stayed at called Alkionides Pension in Hydra Town. It included breakfast and was great.
Of course, you can find more luxurious hotels. It all depends on how you want to spend your time. I usually book cheaper rooms when staying on islands as most of my time is spend outside the hotel.
Need to Know Before you Go
I would advise people to be prepared to spend a lot of money. Hydra is not the cheapest island but totally worth it in terms of value for money. Also be prepared to do some walking as there are no cars or wheeled vehicles allowed. Booking your hotel close to the port can help reduce long walks.
Thanks for reading my guide on the best things to do in Hydra. I hope you get the chance to visit this beautiful Greek Island just like I did! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or would like more info.