Hydra is a famous destination for one-day trips from Athens, the Greek capital. The ‘lady of the Saronic Gulf’ is known for her car-free policy and artistic nature. Read below our insider guide to Hydra and discover the best things to do and see on this beautiful Greek island.
1. Walking Tour with a Local
There is no better way to discover Hydra than in the company of a local guide! Born and bred in Hydra island, there is a young historian who loves meeting travelers and sharing with them the best Hydra has to offer. She will meet you and guide you to the cobblestoned alleys, the historic mansions and the famous landmarks. She will also share with you local secrets and the favorites spots of famous artists, like Leonard Cohen. Contact us to book a walking tour in Hydra with our local guide.
2. Treasure Hunt based on Hydra’s History
If you are visiting with your family and you have children in your company, then this is one of the best things to do in Hydra! The Treasure Hunt walk will offer you the opportunity to discover and learn about Hydra and its history through fun. Designed and led by a local historian, each clue will lead you to a new place of interest and unexpected discoveries. If you are interested in this experience, get in touch with us.
3. Horseback Riding
Hydra island is car-free, meaning there is a special calmness and tranquility about the place. But how do locals move around, you may ask? The answer is by foot, or by riding a donkey or a horse! If you really want to feel like a local and see a lot of things in Hydra in just one day, then horseback riding is your solution. There are local licensed trainers who offer many treks. You can ride to the beaches and do horseback swim, visit chapels and monasteries, or discover many different villages and have a picnic in Hydra’s countryside. Treks can last anywhere between thirty minutes to seven hours, and we can take on custom requests to fit your group’s specific needs.
4. Fishing Experience on a fishing boat with a local captain
Yeap, you read this right! Do you love fishing or you would like to try it out? A boat tour is an alternative and very clever way to explore and discover Hydra’s seascape and most secluded beaches. Get onboard a local fishing boat and enjoy a wonderful experience with lots of fun, swimming and (hopefully) fish! You can further personalize the experience by combining fishing, swimming and snorkeling (or just one or two of them) and enjoy what you love most. For more details and booking, send us a message.
5. Visit Hydra’s Museums
One of the must-do for culture lovers is visiting the Museums of Hydra. Hydra has many mansions and a good number of them have been turned into a museum. One such example is Kountouriotis Mansion. The home of the former largest shipowner in Greece served as a center of operation during the Greek War of Independence and later during the political reformation of the modern Greek Government. In the basement, you will find paintings by Periklis and Constantine Byzantios. On the ground floor, there are antiques and family heirlooms of Koundouriotis’ family, while on the 1st floor you will find costumes, jewelry, needlework and ceramics from around Greece which illustrates the 17th century period. You can contact the local curation, Mrs Annemarie Rabia (+30 22980 52421) to arrange a guided tour.
Another option is the Historical Archives Museum which exhibits great paintings of the 19th century and a number of objects-heirlooms from the Greek Revolution of 1821. Also on display are representative samples of historical documents from the 18th-19th century from the approximately 18,000 primary archival items belonging to his collection as well as an impressive photographic archive of the island with its great naval tradition and history, which excites visitors even today.
6. Shopping Tour
Why not combine your walking tour with shopping? Follow your local guide in town as you pop in and out of boutique stores. Make sure to also visit the boutique jewelry shop with jewelry designed by hand from the designer of the Olympic Games’ medals! Contact us for a personalized walk with a shopping experience in Hydra.
7. Swim at Hydra’s beaches
The island offers a great number and variety of beaches. Even if you only have one day in Hydra, depending on the transportation method, you can enjoy swimming in more than one.
Hydra beaches by foot
If you are on foot and your starting point is Hydra town, then you can start with a view dives from Spilia Bathing Platforms. Next up is Avlaki where you can enter the water from platforms as well. In a short distance (about 1 km) you will find Vlychos beach and a bit further down Plakes beach (both are sandy and organized).
Hydra beaches by boat, water taxi, or hiking
Further away from the town you will find the most interesting beaches. Bisti and St Nikolaos are two examples. Both are sandy and organized, with crystal clear waters. If you are looking for a remote, unorganized beach, then you can hike or take a water taxi to Limnioniza beach.
Most of these beaches are also accessible if you are horse riding. You can always ask the local trainer or guide in Hydra for advice.
8. Go hiking with a view
You would expect a car-free island to have established good hiking trails. And rightly so, one of the best things to do in Hydra, even if you are visiting for just one day, is to go hiking! This is actually another good way to visit several beaches. At the main harbor, you will find a map with four long-distance hiking routes across the island, numbered and marked with yellow and black signs. Take our pick and start hiking!
“Hydra is a very special rock, entered as a pause in the musical score of creation by an expert calligrapher,” by Henry Miller in The Colossus of Maroussi.
One of our favorite hikes is the one to Hydra’s Prophet Elias Monastery (approximately 75 minutes each way). Built in 1813, the Monastery is perched on the slopes of Mount Eros, the island’s highest peak, offering wonderful views. The interior of the Monastery is as good as the panoramic views. On your way there, there is a small nunnery, hidden in the trees (Monastery of Agia Efpraxia). Make sure to stop there for a short break. You can also try a longer hike to one of the island’s remote beaches, Limnionizia beach, which is located on the other side of the island (approximately 2 hours each way).
Tip: Wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen, and have your bottle of water with you.