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Hydra, Greece is unlike any other Greek Island. Entirely free of personal vehicles, the pace moves a little slower, the air is a little fresher and the atmosphere is heavy with tradition. Hydra Island has a population of just 2,500 residents, which sounds somewhat sleepy, but travelers are actually spoiled for choice when it comes to things to do in Hydra, Greece.
Travelers who visit Hydra, Greece can ease into a relaxed vacation by the sea or plan an adventurous itinerary that extends from one end of the island to the other. Whether planning a day trip to Hydra from Athens, booking a weekend escape or spending an entire week on the island (like we did!), you can use our list of the Best Things To Do in Hydra, Greece to plan your perfect visit!
Things To Do in Hydra, Greece FAQs
Before we dive into what to do in Hydra, Greece we want to cover a few of the most frequently asked questions. Knowing the basic facts about Hydra will help you better plan your time on the island.
Where is Hydra, Greece?
Before you get too far into planning your Hydra vacation, we want to answer the very important question: Where is Hydra in Greece?
The Island of Hydra in Greece is located south of Athens in the Aegean Sea. The long, skinny island is part of the Saronic Islands that dot the sea off the Peloponnesian Peninsula. We share details about how to get to Hydra, Greece from Athens later in the article in our Travel Tips section.
Why is the Island called Hydra?
Many travelers wonder if there is a connection between Greek mythology and Hydra Island – but there is no link. In ancient Greek mythology, Hydra is a water snake with multiple heads that lurks in the marshes in Lerna, which is located on the east coast of the Peloponnesus…not on Hydra Island.
The island most likely is named Hydra – the Greek word for water – due to the fact that in ancient times the island had numerous natural springs that provided fresh water for passing ships.
It’s also important to know that the Greek pronunciation of Hydra is EE-Druh.
There are a few alternate Hydra spellings, including Ydra and Idra. And, here’s a fun fact about Hydra: the locals are called Hydriots!
What is the History of Hydra, Greece?
Unlike other Greek islands – such as Crete and Naxos – the known Hydra history is relatively short. Farmers settled on the island in the 16th century and well-to-do families moved to Hydra during the 17th century. During the 18th century, Hydra grew as a powerful maritime town – and its importance in politics and culture became stronger.
In 1821, the Greek Revolution started in Hydra – and the Naval forces from Hydra took center stage in the fight for independence from the Ottomans. Since Greek independence, Hydra has produced 5 Greek Prime Ministers.
Hydra, Greece tourism gained in popularity after the 1957 film, Boy on a Dolphin, starring Sophia Loren, was filmed on the island. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, the island was a magnet for bohemian musicians, writers, poets and artists. Songwriter Leonard Cohen (widely known for writing the song, “Hallelujah”) lived on Hydra in the 60s – and the island was visited by famous celebrities, like John Lennon, the Rolling Stones and Jackie Onassis.
So, what is Hydra, Greece known for today? Hydra, Greece is a tranquil and idyllic island with a laidback vibe and (almost) completely car-free lanes.
Is Hydra, Greece Travel Expensive?
With a steady flow of mega yachts into the small harbor, budget-conscious travelers may wonder how much a trip to Hydra costs. While we would not classify the Island of Hydra, Greece as a budget destination, traveling to Hydra for a Greek vacation does not have to be expensive.
Accommodation on Hydra, Greece will likely be the biggest cost of a trip – and prices fluctuate dramatically between the low off season and high tourist season. (We discuss the best places to stay in Hydra, Greece in the Travel Tips section at the end of the article.)
Food costs slightly more in Hydra than on the mainland, but there are still cheap eats (like bakery pies and gyro pitas) – plus there are a few family-run restaurants that offer traditional, affordable menu items. (We feature our favorite places to eat in the Best Restaurants Hydra, Greece section.)
Activities and attractions in Hydra range from free entertainment to high-dollar excursions. Our list of Hydra Things To Do includes both free and paid-for activities to help travelers plan things to do that fall within their vacation budget.
How Many Days on the Island of Hydra, Greece?
Travelers who decide to visit Hydra, Greece will need to plan how many days to spend on the island. We already mentioned the island’s close proximity to the mainland, making it fairly easy to plan an Athens to Hydra day trip. However, there are so many things to do on Hydra Island that we think it’s best to stay for 3 days.
Is Hydra, Greece Worth It?
Absolutely! We loved our stay in Hydra – and we think the island offers something for everyone.
Planning a Trip to Hydra, Greece
Whether planning a day trip from Athens or a longer stay, there is a bit of preparation involved when traveling to Hydra. Travelers visiting the island for any length of time can use our list of Things To Do to help plan a perfect Hydra, Greece Itinerary.
In addition to highlighting the best Hydra activities, we cover a lot of the need-to-know info – like how to get the ferry from Athens to Hydra and the best Hydra, Greece Hotels.
More Greece Trip Planning Tips
Planning to travel to other Greek Islands? Does your itinerary include time in Athens? Our Greece travel guides are designed to help you easily plan your trip! These articles that might help get you started:
- 2-Week Greece Itinerary – COMING SOON
- The Best of Chania, Crete
- How To Spend 3 Days in Santorini – COMING SOON
- What To Do in Naxos – COMING SOON
- 3 Days in Athens Itinerary – COMING SOON
- Best Things To Do in Corfu
For travelers visiting Greece from abroad, we also share general travel tips in our guide on How To Plan a European Vacation.
As you begin to make your trip plans, staying organized is key! We recommend using a travel planner – like our Printable Travel Planner – to keep track of the details of your trip!
29 BEST THINGS TO DO IN HYDRA ISLAND, GREECE
Now that you know the basics, let’s talk about what to do on Hydra Island! Below, you will find a map of Hydra, Greece marked with our suggested sightseeing attractions.
Top Things To Do in Hydra Town, Greece
We are kicking off our list of Hydra Island Things To Do in the heart of the main town, which is also called Hydra. These activities are essential sightseeing tips for all visitors, but especially ideal for visitors who are limited on time (for example, on day trips to Hydra from Athens).
#1 Get Lost in the Car-Free Lanes of Hydra Town
Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Hydra Town is to spend time wandering the charming lanes.
From the main port in Hydra Town, pedestrian-only cobblestone lanes crawl up the hillside, passing picture-perfect, blue-painted doors draped in bright pink bougainvillea. Rather than plotting an exact route or following a well-trodden trail, we recommend trying to get lost. See what lies around the next corner…and the next after that.
#2 Count the Number of Hydra Cats you Encounter
When you step foot on Hydra Island in Greece, it is very likely that first to greet you will be a local cat. The friendly felines are a fixture of the community – but there are so many that you will likely lose count of how many you encounter during your trip.
The cats often sunbathe in the streets, hang out in trees and beg for food at the harbor cafes. Most Hydra, Greece cats are strays and local organizations help to provide food, shelter and veterinarian care.
#3 Snap a Photo of a Hydra Donkey
The horses, mules and donkeys in Hydra are an integral part of the car-free community – and you will see them in the port, standing by to haul luggage and goods from the port to accommodations nestled in the hills. In fact, donkeys are as much a part of the landscape of Hydra as the pretty stone houses with terracotta-tiled roofs.
One of the novel and unique Hydra, Greece things to do is to take a donkey ride. The short (and what looks like uncomfortable) ride costs around 20 euros. That said, the donkeys make fun photo ops (and it’s completely free to snap a pic).
#4 Look Up at the Hydra Clock Tower
The harbor is the beating heart of Hydra – and standing at the center of it is the striking yellow clock tower.
Make sure to look up at the clock as you walk along the waterfront – and listen for the bells on the hour and half hour. The noon bells tend to silence the crowds (as they cause such a cacophony that people must pause their conversations).
The clock tower is actually part of the Cathedral – which is next on our list of What To See in Hydra, Greece.
#5 Light a Candle at the Hydra Cathedral
The Cathedral in Hydra – called the Dormition of the Mother of Lord Orthodox Cathedral Church – is a serene complex situated just steps from the bustling harbor. Dating to the mid-1600s (and previously the Monastery of the Assumption), visiting the Cathedral is one of the top things to do on Hydra.
Step inside and take in the spectacular interior. Before you leave, drop a coin in the box and light a candle – just like the locals do. (Respectful dress is required to enter – and no pictures are permitted inside.)
If time allows, consider visiting the church’s ecclesiastical museum – it’s just up the stairs in the courtyard.
#6 Relax in Votsi Square of Painters
We have already mentioned wandering the Old Town lanes as one of the top things to do in Hydra Island – and when you are ready to take a rest, make your way to Votsi Square. The small park features the busts of several famous Hydriots and a shaded bench.
The adjacent Square of Five Prime Ministers is another lush park that is preferred by a colony of cats. A flock of local ducks like to hang out in the park sometimes, too.
#7 Indulge in a Greek Sweet Treat
One of the fun Hydra Island things to do is to get a taste of the local flavors – and there are several sweet shops in town that create unique treats.
The confectionary, Anemone, is known for Galaktoboureko – a traditional Greek custard-filled phyllo pastry – that is heavenly with a mid-morning coffee.
Tsangaris is a favorite bakery in Hydra that uses a long-time family recipe for Amygdalota, which is a Greek almond cookie made with orange blossom water.
Looking for a cool treat in the summertime? For ice cream in Hydra, head to The Cool Mule on the harbor where they serve scoops of homemade ice cream featuring typical Greek flavors.
#8 Enjoy an Afternoon Drink on Hydra Harbor
One of the best things about holidays to Hydra, Greece is the casual pace and island vibes. Ease into your vacation in Hydra with a drink in hand at one of the many waterfront bars or cafes along the harbor.
The Hydra Pirate Bar is often hopping day and night, but our preferred place for an afternoon cocktail is Papagalos – which offers sublime views of the harbor and town of Hydra.
#9 Learn the History of Hydra at the Historical Archives Museum
Travelers wondering what to do on Hydra, Greece on hot summer days (or on the rare occasion of rain), can pop into the Historical Archive Museum of Hydra to learn about the history of the town and island.
The museum features a variety of displays, from Naval artifacts to ancient weaponry to modern art displays. The museum is located right on the harbor and there is a small fee to enter.
#10 Step Back in Time at the Rafalias Pharmacy
The Rafalia Pharmacy is one of the oldest pharmacies in Greece – and one of the prettiest, too. Visitors are welcome to step inside the old-fashioned Greek pharmacy to check out the unique products for sale.
Rafalias Farmakio opened in the year 1890 by Evangelos Rafalias. The pharmacy specialized in creating soaps, creams, lotions and perfumes utilizing natural ingredients and local products.
Today, little has changed, as they are committed to keeping up the tradition. The pharmacy is still housed in the strikingly beautiful neoclassical building and inside visitors will find wooden shelves lined with glass jars. The current owner is the grandson of Evangelos – and he still uses his grandfather’s and mother’s recipes to concoct hair and body products.
By the way, the adjoining Rafalias Mansion is a top-rated Hotel in Hydra, Greece – check it out here!
#11 Tour a Historical Hydra Mansion
When visiting Hydra, Greece it would be nearly impossible not to notice the towering stone manor houses that sit on the hillside overlooking the harbor. Most of the mansions in Hydra – called archontiko – were built in the 18th and 19th centuries during Hydra’s prosperous maritime period.
While some of the Hydra mansions are still privately owned, there are a few that are open to tourists.
Lazaros Koundouriotis Historical Mansion
The marigold-painted Lazaros Koundouriotis Mansion was built by the wealthy shipowner, George Kountourotis, in the early 1800s. Today, visitors can tour the home to see original household furnishings – as well as visit the on-site Post Byzantine Art and History Museum of Hydra.
A ticket is required to enter the Lazaros Koundouriotis Mansion – but the same ticket grants access to the House of Tetsis. Panagiotis Tetsis is known as Hydra’s most famous artist, and now visitors can see his original art studio.
Pavlos Kountouriotis Mansion
The Pavlos Kountouriotis Mansion, which was built by the brother of Lazaros under the evergreen trees on the west side of the harbor, is sometimes open to the public (but not during our trip). Displays include family treasures and Hydra history exhibits. You can also find the grave of Pavlos Kountouriotis below the house, marked with a white cross.
The 4-story Tompazis Mansion, which sits prominently on the western slope of the harbor, was built by the First Admiral of Hydra, Iakovos Tombazis. The 19th century mansion is recognizable by its arched portico, which is sometimes open. However, the mansion now houses the School of Fine Arts of Athens, so access is limited.
#12 Climb to the Best Sunset Hydra, Greece Viewpoint
Hydra is tucked into a north-facing harbor with hills rising steeply all around it. Therefore, to catch the sunset, you either need to walk to the west of town…or hike up a hill.
Marked with a Greek flag, the hilltop on the west end of the harbor offers an excellent vantage point over the Aegean Sea – and a supreme place to watch sunset in Hydra.
The route from the harbor starts at a steep staircase, then turns into a dirt trail and is completed by scrambling over rocks. Although the short climb is a bit intense, it is well worth the effort for the stellar view.
Pro Tip: An easier (but longer) trek to the viewpoint can be completed by taking the gradually inclining road through town and looping around to the right.
#13 Find the Miaoulis Statue at Kavos Castle
The historic Castle of Kavos has long protected the Hydra Port (and its stone walls still bear canons). At the center of the elevated castle is a statue of Admiral Andreas Miaoulis, the commander of the Greek Navy during the 1821 War of Independence.
The site is historically significant – however, the reason trekking up the stairs to the castle ranks as one of the best things to do in Hydra, Greece is the stunning harbor views.
#14 Go Shopping in Hydra, Greece at an Art Gallery
Visitors who want to buy something to remember their holidays in Hydra, Greece have plenty of options for souvenirs – from fashion to jewelry to typical Greek trinkets.
However, we think the best place to pick up something unique is at one of the Hydra, Greece art gallery shops. One-of-a-kind paintings, handmade home goods and other locally crafted memorabilia are great keepsakes!
#15 Sip a Cocktail (and swim) at Spilia Beach Bar
Situated in a small cove just around the corner from the west end of the harbor, Spilia Beach Bar is an ideal place to cool off from a day of Hydra sightseeing. Rustic umbrellas shade loungers and the inviting turquoise sea is nearly impossible to resist!
Whether you want to sip or dip – or both! – enjoying time at Spilia is one of the fun things to do in Hydra Island, Greece.
#16 Seek out the Statue of the Boy on a Dolphin
Much of Hydra’s rise in popularity can be attributed to the first movie filmed on the island in 1957, Boy on a Dolphin. To honor the impact the film has had on tourism for the island, the local residents funded a statue of a boy riding a dolphin. The bronze sculpture still ranks as one of the top things to see in Hydra today.
The Hydra Boy on a Dolphin statue is located west of the harbor along the elevated seaside path. It sits among evergreen trees, just behind an old windmill that was featured in the film (and is sometimes referred to as the Sophia Loren Windmill).
#17 Pay Tribute to Legendary Songwriter Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen is likely Hydra’s most internationally known resident – even though he only lived on the island for a few years in the 1960s.
Many tourists follow in his footsteps to stand in the same place he once stood, see the house where he once lived and sit next to the tree where he once played guitar. It’s one of the interesting things to do on Hydra Island, Greece – and, although not marked with signage, it is fairly easy to find the recognizable places for fans familiar with photos from his time in Hydra.
The Leonard Cohen house in Hydra, Greece is inconspicuous – a white building with a simple gray door and a colorful bougainvillea growing next to it. The house is privately owned (Cohen’s son owns it and still uses it when he visits), but Cohen fans sometimes leave flowers on the doorstep.
In addition to his personal residence, visitors can sit in the courtyard of Xeri Elia Taverna where he used to perform or have a drink at Katsikas Bar, where he also played.
The seaside Leonard Cohen Memorial Bench, located along the western seafront walkway, is not particularly inspiring, but offers a nice place to enjoy the view…and maybe sing a few lines from “Bird on the Wire” – which Cohen wrote based on his time in Hydra.
#18 Write a Sonnet for the Hydra Poems Box
Visitors feeling inspired by the works of Cohen and other writers who have lived in Hydra can contribute their own work to the Poems Box.
Truly just an electrical meter box along one of the Hydra streets, inside are handwritten sonnets, poems, lyrics and notes. Read a few or leave your own – it’s one of the unique Hydra things to do!
#19 Partake in the Greek Tradition of Peratzatha
When you travel to Hydra, Greece one of the absolute best things you can do is to sit back, relax and partake in peratzatha – the great Greek tradition of People Watching.
Grab a bench at the busy port or slide into a seat at a café along a lane. Order a Greek freddo (a frothy iced coffee), settle in and observe!
HYDRA, GREECE: WHAT TO DO BEYOND THE OLD TOWN
Hydra is both the name of the town and the name of the island. Although visitors on a day trip from Athens to Hydra Island will likely be limited to visiting the sights and attractions in town, visitors staying a few days can make plans to enjoy more of what the island has to offer. We are highlighting a few of our top picks for things to do around Hydra Island.
#20 Walk East along the Shore to Mandraki Fort
Situated to the east of the Hydra port is a deep and beautiful cove called Mandraki Bay, which is marked by an old fort.
During Venetian rule (from the 16th to 18th centuries), Mandraki served as an important naval base, with forts protecting both sides of the bay’s entrance. The forts were again used – this time by the Greeks – during the 1821 Revolution.
In 2009, the eastern fort was renovated and, today, visitors can climb up the stairs and wander the ramparts. (Just watch out for the spiders that spin their webs between the stones!)
The bay is also home to the Mandraki Hydra, Greece Resort, which sits right on the bay’s sandy beach. Guests not staying at the hotel are welcome to rent a beach lounger and umbrella for the day. The on-site restaurant is also open to the public.
Travelers looking for something a little more low-key can dine at the beachfront Mandraki 1800 restaurant, where they offer free sun loungers to their patrons.
Getting to Mandraki Bay is fairly simple. A wide, (mostly) paved path follows the shoreline from Hydra Town to the historic fort. The scenic walk from Hydra to Mandraki takes about 30 minutes. Along the route (about 10 minutes into the walk), visitors can stop at the DESTE Foundation Project Space Slaughterhouse to see what is on exhibit and snap a photo of the sun sculpture that sits above the sea.
Alternatively, visitors can opt to take a scheduled boat or sea taxi from Hydra to Mandraki, which only takes about 10 minutes.
#21 Stroll West along the Seaside to Kamini Beach
Visitors can also explore the shoreline to the west of Hydra Town, Greece. A short and easy 15-minute trek takes visitors to the quaint fishing village of Kamini…and just beyond the tiny Kamini fishing boat port is a peaceful little beach called Paralia Kaminia (or Castello Beach). The pebble beach has shallow water – and it ranks as one of the best Hydra, Greece beaches for families.
The Castello Restaurant rents sunchairs and umbrellas, but there is an open section of the beach, where visitors are free to spread out their towels without having to pay a fee.
Not up for a swim? The seaside walk along the waterfront path – which offers panoramic views – is reason enough to visit Kamini. Plus, the path passes by the Windmill of Sophia Loren, the Boy on a Dolphin Statue and the Leonard Cohen Memorial bench.
Not up for the walk? Scheduled boats and sea taxis shuttle passengers from Hydra Port to Kamini Port in just a few minutes’ time. From the Kamini Port it is a very short walk to the beach.
#22 Sunbathe at the Best Beaches in Hydra, Greece
Hydra Island is not particularly well-known for golden stretches of sand. In fact, there are no long sandy beaches on Hydra Island, Greece. However, there are several pebbled coves lapped by turquoise water that are fantastic for sunbathing (and a few good spots for swimming, too!). We are highlighting a few of the best Hydra Island, Greece beaches that visitors can get to on foot or by boat.
Spilia Beach Bar
We already mentioned the Spilia Beach Bar, which is a rocky platform with beach loungers for sunbathers at the west end of the harbor. Steps and a ladder help swimmers get into (and out of!) the sea – but those who dare can take the plunge right off the rocks.
We previously mentioned the two Mandraki Beaches (as they are enroute to the Mandraki Fort): Mandraki 1800 and Mandraki Resort Beach. The Hydra beaches at Mandraki are the only sand beaches on Hydra Island.
Vlychos (also spelled Vlichos) is a top-rated Hydra, Greece beach west of the Hydra Harbor (about a 40-minute walk). Sunbeds are available for rent and the water is great for snorkeling – but it is best to wear water shoes due to the rocks.
Plakes Beach Hydra, Greece is also located west of Hydra Town (about 50 minutes on foot). While the shallow water and bigger rocks make swimming a bit difficult (water shoes are essential!), the scenery – with intense teal water and off-shore islets – is fantastic.
The stylish beach club at Plakes (part of the Four Seasons Hydra Resort) offers a touch of luxury to your sunbathing experience. And, by the way, rather than walking or taking a sea taxi, you can use the Four Seasons shuttle boat to get to Plakes Beach.
Bisti Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on Hydra Island of Greece – and it’s best reached by the scheduled beach boat or an expensive sea taxi (however, adventurous travelers can get to the beach via a 4-hour hike). Bisti feels a bit more rustic and off the beaten path.
The beach at Bisti has natural shade from evergreen trees, but inexpensive loungers are available for rent, too. Plus, active travelers can rent equipment for water sports, like kayaking and snorkeling.
Agios Nikolas Beach
Agios Nikolas Hydra Beach Greece, which is settled in a deep cove on the south side of the island, feels quite remote and features clean, calm waters. The sunchairs are inexpensive and there is a snack bar for simple sandwiches and beers.
Limnioniza ranks as one of the Best Secluded Beaches Hydra, Greece. The naturally protected bay sits on the south side of the island and can be reached via an intense 2-hour hike or via taxi boat. There are no facilities at Limnioniza – and, if you are lucky, there won’t be other people there, either!
#23 Trek to Hydra Hidden Gems
One of the things that we love most about Hydra is the incredible network of hiking trails. While the paved paths to the east and west of the harbor are great for getting to beaches, there are many other trails that explore the interior of the island.
Trail to Prophet Elias Monastery and Mount Eros Summit
The most popular trek from Hydra, Greece Town is a strenuous uphill climb to the Prophet Elias Monastery. The well-worn path (now mostly paved) zigzags south of town through forests and into the mountains. The climb from Hydra to the monastery takes about 2 hours.
Once at the monastery complex, visitors can enjoy the views, rest in the shade, visit the church and climb up the bell tower. Appropriate attire is required (and there are provided wraps at the entrance!). The on-site shop has a cooler to refill water, as well as snacks for purchase – plus there is a free WC for hikers to use.
Trekkers who still have the energy (and the proper footwear) can continue the hike up to Mount Eros to the highest point on Hydra Island. The trail departs from the west side of the monastery and climbs up craggy rocks to the summit. We skipped the summit climb but heard from fellow hikers that the 360-degree views are utterly spectacular!
Trek to Stavros Church
A less-challenging – but equally beautiful – trail takes hikers up to the Stavros Church, which is located on the crest of the hill to the east of Hydra Town. This hike can be completed as an out-and-back, but we recommend creating a loop by connecting it with the east coastal path.
Start on the east shoreline path (passing the Sun Sculpture) toward Mandraki. Nearly at Mandraki Bay, take the steep stairs up the hillside (you will see the trail marker not long after passing the St Foteini Holy Orthodox Chapel).
At the top of the stairs, follow the dirt path up to the crest and then right to Stavros Church. Continue the trek, following the blue and white markers, down into town – enjoying the exceptional views along the way.
More Hikes on Hydra Island
Experienced hikers looking for longer trails on Hydra Island have a few options. In addition to the beach trails that we already discussed, there are two full-day treks that were recommended to us: the Lighthouse Trail and the Trail to Episkopi.
The trek to the Faros Lighthouse on the east end of the island takes about 5 hours one-way (but it may be possible to arrange for a taxi boat to pick you up). With no services along the route, bringing enough water and food is essential.
Episkopi is small settlement – and is thought to have been the original capital of the island in ancient times. The Episkopi trek begins on the coastline path west of Hydra Town, passes Plakes Beach and then continues to the Palamidas shipyard. From there, a dirt path turns inland toward Episkopi. The one-way trek takes about 3 hours.
#24 Go Horseback Riding on Hydra Island
On an island without cars, one of the top ways to explore beyond the town center is on horseback. There are a few companies that offer horseback riding services for tourists – including the popular Harriet’s Hydra Horses, Horseback Riding Tours by Nektarios and Argyris Horses.
There are a variety of horseback riding routes visitors can include on their Hydra, Greece vacation – from the countryside to beaches to monasteries.
#25 Watch a Production at the Hydrama Theatre
Hydrama Theater, located in Vlychos, is a small theater that presents weekly performances during the summer months. The theater was established in 1999 to offer workshops and courses in ancient Greek theatre.
Attending the performances is free of charge – so check out the schedule to see what is playing during your Hydra trip!
#26 Rejuvenate at a Spa in Hydra
After hiking in the hills or riding horseback to beaches (or just because you are on vacation!), pamper yourself with a massage in Hydra, Greece.
The Armonia Wellness Center is an Hydra spa that offers a range of services – from professional massages to facials to pedicures. So, go ahead and get a spa treatment! Additionally, guests can join one of their exercise classes – like yoga and Pilates – or even SUP yoga for a unique Hydra experience.
#27 Take a Hydra Boat Trip
Not only are there ample things to do on the Island of Hydra, Greece, but visitors staying on the island can also embark on day trips from Hydra by boat! Boating tours from Hydra include full island cruises, fishing expeditions and boat trips to islands near Hydra, Greece.
Most Hydra boat tours run during the summer months only – and it is best to check at the port to see what trips are available during your Greek vacation.
#28 Eat at the Best Hydra, Greece Restaurants
Eating a delicious meal at one of the top Hydra restaurants is a must for visitors! That said, it takes a little effort to find good restaurants in Hydra that offer value for money. During our stay on the island, we used local tips and fellow traveler recommendations to seek out the best restaurants in Hydra, Greece – and we are sharing our top picks for the best affordable eats!
Kryfo Limani Hydra Restaurant
Tucked away down a narrow alley, Kryfo Limani is a lovely restaurant, where patrons dine beneath a lemon tree. The family-run establishment features traditional, home-style cuisine and friendly service at a fair price. We highly recommend the super-tender, slow-cooked beef and tasty country sausage – but start first with the saganaki!
Xeri Elia Douskos Restaurant Hydra
A classic Greek tavern with tables taking up every inch of a spacious and shaded courtyard, Xeri Elia Douskos ranks as one of the Best Restaurants Hydra Island, Greece. Top recommended dishes (that we also thought were delicious) are the dolmades, moussaka and meatballs.
A top eatery for a sit-down meal or quick bite to-go, Ke Kremmydi specializes in souvlaki, but offers a few unique dishes, too. Try the Mandi (pasta in tomato sauce with yogurt) as a starter and follow it with a classic meat pita.
Yamas Hydra Souvlaki
Situated right on the harbor, Yamas serves classic souvlaki dishes in a location that simply cannot be beat! While perhaps not the best souvlaki in Greece, it is served at a fair price and the service is excellent…and the views are picture perfect!
Isalos Café in Hydra
Frequented by locals and tourists, the harborside Isalos Café is a top spot for a filling breakfast or mid-morning Freddo. Plus, the harbor location offers spectacular people watching!
Bakeries in Hydra Town
We love the Hydra bakeries – especially for an easy lunch, as spanakopita always hits the spot and is easy on the wallet! Our go-to bakery is EU Bakery, but the savory pies at To Stachi are tasty, too.
More Hydra Restaurants Greece
Several restaurants were recommended to us – but we didn’t have time to try them all! A few of the suggestions we heard time and again were Plakostroto, Techne Restaurant and Piato.
#29 Enjoy the Hydra, Greece Nightlife
The Isle of Hydra, Greece doesn’t have crazy night clubs or sprawling bars, but it does have quite a few fun places to have a drink after the sun goes down.
Start with sunset cocktails at Hydronetta then follow the crowds to one of the many bars along the harbor – like The Pirate Bar, Red or Papagalos. If you are seeking a classy cocktail experience, go to 1821 Hydra Cocktail Bar and for great music on Hydra check out Amalour!
Hydra, Greece Map
Use this link to Google Maps for an online, interactive version of our Island of Hydra, Greece Map. Travelers looking for a paper Hydra Island, Greece map can find one in the free tourist booklet available at most hotels, shops, bars and tourist agencies.
Hydra Travel Tips
Now that you know all of the best things to do in Hydra, Greece, we have a few travel tips for planning your trip!
Important Hydra Information
Before hopping on the boat to Hydra, Greece, there are a few very important things to know.
Can You Drink Tap Water on Island Hydra, Greece?
Although Hydra was once known for natural spring water, the wells have long dried up and today the water provided via faucet is treated and desalinated. Therefore, technically, the tap water in Hydra is safe to drink. However, locals recommend that tourists who travel to Hydra Island, Greece drink bottled water, which is widely available at affordable prices.
Can You Flush Toilet Paper on the Hydra, Greece Island?
No, do not flush toilet paper in Hydra! Like in almost all of Greece, the plumbing system in Hydra is not designed to handle toilet paper. Instead of flushing TP, use the small receptacle next to the toilet.
When to Visit Hydra, Greece
Hydra, Greece is a year-round destination that welcomes visitors in every season. Although many travelers think the best time to visit Hydra, Greece is in the summer season, there are plenty of reasons to travel to Hydra in the autumn, winter and spring.
Therefore, the best time to visit Hydra, Greece depends on what you plan to do on the island – and deciding when to visit might hinge on your budget, too.
Summer in Hydra is sublime for tourists who want to soak in the sunshine and swim in the sea, but the summer season brings hoards of visitors (making it crowded and sometimes difficult to get a dinner reservation). Plus, the prices are at their highest in summer.
Autumn is often still warm enough for days at the beach…and even in the water. Crowds start to thin out and prices begin to drop, but the locals might be a bit weary after the long summer season.
Hydra winters tend to be mild and, while it does rain at times, there is still a good chance of sunshine (but the wind can be frigid!). With very few tourists, prices are at their lowest – and winter visitors get a good look at local life on Hydra.
Spring is a wonderful time to visit the island. The weather in Hydra, Greece in spring is warm, but not hot…which is best for long treks and sitting at the al fresco cafes enjoying the atmosphere.
Pro Tip: As many of the best island activities are outdoors, the Hydra, Greece weather can sharply impact your trip. Be sure to check the weather forecast for Hydra, Greece before setting off on your trip so that you can plan appropriate things to do!
How To Get to Hydra, Greece
Getting to Hydra, Greece is pretty straight forward: Travel by boat from Athens to Hydra Island!
Athens to Hydra Ferries
Where Can I Find an Athens to Hydra Ferry Schedule?
We checked the ferry schedule for Athens to Hydra on Ferry Hopper. We then booked directly with Hellenic because they offer the earliest ferry from Hydra to Athens.
What is the Athens to Hydra Cost for the Ferry?
Athens to Hydra ferry price can vary by season and date of purchase. In the peak summertime it is best to book your Athens to Hydra ferry (and Hydra to Athens return ticket) as far in advance as possible.
What is the Athens to Hydra Distance?
Ferries from Athens to Hydra durations are approximately 2 hours, with most services stopping at Poros on the way.
Pro Tip: There is no airport on the island, and therefore, no flights to Hydra, Greece. That said, There is a helicopter pad on a nearby islet, so travelers can arrange to arrive by helicopter.
Cruise to Hydra from Athens
Rather than planning your day trip from Athens to Hydra by ferry boat, join a cruise from Athens to Hydra.
The easy Athens day trip to Hydra also includes stops on two other Saronic Islands of Greece – Aegina and Poros – and can be upgraded to a provided lunch on board. Book it here!
How To Get Around Hydra
We think the best way to get around Hydra is by foot! The town clings to its traditions – and there are no wheeled vehicles permitted in the town…meaning no cars, no motorcycles and no bicycles.
Donkeys and horses can be used to get around the town – and up the hills – but we opted to walk during our stay. Scheduled boats and water taxis can also be used to get to some of the more remote beaches.
Where To Stay in Hydra, Greece
We think the best place to stay in Hydra, Greece is right in the heart of town so that you are just steps from the best things to do. That said, there are holiday apartments, resorts and hotels on Hydra, Greece around the island that will fit a range of budgets.
We recommend looking for accommodation in Hydra, Greece on Booking.com, where you can find both hotels and self-catering accommodation. Before you start your search, however, use our tips on Booking Hotels for Cheap.
Best Hotels in Hydra, Greece
We are sharing a few of the top rated hotels in Hydra, Island, Greece that come highly recommended by fellow travelers.
Leto Hydra, Greece Hotel
One of the best hotels in Hydra, Hotel Leto is located on a quiet lane just a short (and flat!) stroll from the harbor. Travelers rave about their comfortable rooms, delicious breakfast and wonderful staff. Check rates and availability for your trip!
The Sophia is a boutique hotel in Hydra, Greece that is right on the harbor. What guests love best about staying at Hotel Sophia is the charming space, the homemade breakfast and balcony views. Check for availability!
Hydra, Greece Resorts
Two of the Hydra, Greece best hotels are beachfront resorts! Both resorts are ideal for travelers who want a Greek island escape.
Four Seasons Hotel Hydra, Greece
The beachfront Four Seasons Hydra, Greece Hotel offers luxury suites in a remote location west of Hydra Twon. Some rooms have terraces overlooking the sea. Guests love the included breakfast and say that the staff is exceptional – plus they have a complimentary water shuttle between the hotel and town. Read the rave reviews!
Mandraki Hydra Beach Resort Greece
The chic Mandraki Beach Hydra Resort is located east of town and gets top reviews for both the service and the gorgeous rooms. Breakfast and water taxi transport to and from town are included in the stay. Take a look at the rooms!
Airbnb Hydra, Greece
Visitors staying in Hydra for a few days may want to opt to stay in an apartment rather than one of the hotels in Hydra, Greece. Before booking a Hydra, Greece Airbnb (or VRBO) stay, read our Top Tips for Airbnb Guests.
What To Pack For Greece
Our final travel tips for your trip to Hydra are all about what to take with you! You can find all of our packing advice on our dedicated Packing page. Need a checklist for what to pack your trip? Grab your FREE Packing Checklist here!
Greece Weather Essentials
The sun in Greece is strong! When sightseeing in Hydra make sure you bring along your sunscreen (as it can be very expensive to buy it on the island!). It’s also a good idea to wear a travel hat that shades your face and your favorite beach sunglasses, too.
Although Hydra Town is not that big, it does take some effort to walk on the stone streets and up the hills. Be sure to pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes for your trip – as well as a pair of water shoes or flip flops if you plan on swimming at the beaches.
For our trip, my everyday sneakers were great for walking around town and hitting the trails. We share more tips about this in our Best Travel Shoes article.
Travel Camera for Greece
Hydra is staggeringly beautiful and incredibly photogenic! We recommend upgrading to a real camera for your trip. We use a DSLR Canon Rebel with an 18-135mm lens. The affordable DSLR camera is easy to use and takes quality photos, which is why we think it is one of the best cameras for budget travelers.
The Best Day Bag for Traveling in Greece
Whether you are taking a day trip to Hydra, Greece or spending a few days on the island, it’s ideal to have a good day pack for your trip. The best day bags have multiple zippered compartments that make it easy to stow (and find) your valuables and everyday travel items.
We use small backpacks – but you can read all of our tips in our article, The Best Day Bag for Travel.
Your Greece Travel Planner and Documents
Last, but not least, don’t forget your travel planner and essential travel documents – like your passport, a travel credit card that doesn’t charge international fees (like the Chase Sapphire) and your travel insurance Keep everything arranged in a sleek travel document organizer.
We Want To Know: What is on your list of Best Things To Do Hydra, Greece? Tell us in the comments!
Start planning your trip to Greece! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing! Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!
Pin it! See all of our travel pins on our JetSetting Fools Pinterest Board.
Hydra's proximity to Athens makes its a popular destination for day trips or weekend breaks, and its small size means you can see a lot, but it's a good place to relax and take it easy.How many days do you need in Hydra? ›
The place is relatively small, so a one-day visit can give you a good idea of the main places to see in town, but, as it's often the case with Greek Islands, a more extended stay will provide you with the chance to know better spots and unique hidden gems. An ideal visit can take from two to four days.How do you spend a day in Hydra? ›
- Walking Tour with a Local. ...
- Treasure Hunt based on Hydra's History. ...
- Horseback Riding. ...
- Fishing Experience on a fishing boat with a local captain. ...
- Visit Hydra's Museums. ...
- Shopping Tour. ...
- Swim at Hydra's beaches. ...
- Go hiking with a view.
It is not only famous for its crystal clear beaches but its vibrant festivals, the lack of motor transport, its nightlife, fine restaurants, quaint villages, and beautiful architecture also make this island a must-visit if you are ever in Greece.Can you walk around Hydra? ›
Most of Hydra Town cascades down the amphitheatre mountain sides where the narrow streets and steps are inaccessible to vehicles. Some are even too steep for horses or mules, so walking is the main way to get around.Where in Greece is Mamma Mia filmed? ›
In the original "Mamma Mia," the Greek island of Skopelos played the fictional island of Kalokairi. But to shoot "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again," filmmakers turned to the island of Vis, off the coast of Croatia.What to wear in Hydra Greece? ›
It can be windy even on a sunny day, so ideally you need to bring a warm, insulated coat, preferably with a hood, that is water proof to keep you warm and dry. Strong walking boots (preferably ones you have worn in) are vital especially if you are going further afield.Can you ride the donkeys in Hydra Greece? ›
The mules and horses that are available to ride or to (transport luggage) are found in the East corner (Alpha Bank) of the harbour.What time of year is best to see Hydra? ›
Hydra is a very good travel destination all year round and the best weather is during: May, October, June. June (day: 30℃ / 86℉, night: 21℃ / 69℉). The coldest month is January with temperatures between 7℃ / 44℉ at night and 13℃ / 55℉ in the day.What celebrities are from Hydra Island? ›
Hydra became a famous destination mainly between 1960-1970 when celebrities from around the world, like Lennon, Klapton, Rolling Stones, Onassis and Callas, Rex Harrison, Peter Ustinov, Leonard Cohen and many others passed through here and a place of inspiration for many people of the arts and culture like ...
Hydra is slightly more expensive compared to the other islands of the Saronic gulfs like Egina, Spetses, Salamina and Poros.Is Hydra a party island? ›
Hydra is famous for its intense nightlife, with the many bars and clubs along with the port. With a sophisticated and romantic style, nightlife in Hydra distinguishes for the chilly music and the all-night parties. Most bars and clubs are found along with the port and stay open till the early hours.What food is Hydra known for? ›
Among the most famous dishes of Hydra are the local pies, stuffed with mountain greens, snails, braised or stewed meat, cuttlefish and squid accompanied by pilaf, as well as red mullet savoro.Why is the Hydra scary? ›
So, what made the Lernaean hydra so scary? The monster was basically a giant water snake who lived in the marshes around Lerna, said to be one of the entrances to the underworld. The hydra's blood and venom were poisonous, and it had multiple heads.Can you drink tap water in Hydra Greece? ›
Desalinated water is safe to drink and on Hydra the water output reaches European standards required.Are there snakes on Hydra? ›
The Hydra had a dog-like body and a minimum of eight or nine snake heads (some stories say there were hundreds or thousands). One of the heads was immortal. Hydra's breath could destroy life, and her blood was highly poisonous.Do you need a car on Hydra Island? ›
Transport On Hydra Island Greece
As one of the totally car-free Greek Islands, indeed all forms of wheeled vehicles are banned on the island, visitors and residents alike have to walk, take a mule, sea taxi or beach boat to reach their destination.
Take a trip to Kala Pigadia, a quarter in Hydra town, which was named after the two wells that used to provide the locals with water for more than 200 years. For a panoramic view of the entire island, the Gulf and Myrtoo Sea, climb Mt Eros, the highest mountain on Hydra (600 m.).Where was Mandalorian filmed? ›
Most of the production for The Mandalorian Season 3 was done at Manhattan Beach Studios in California. Production was also spotted in Burbank and in El Segundo, where they built a temporary 100,000 square foot production lot.Can you visit the church in Mamma Mia? ›
Yes, the church from Mamma Mia on Skopelos island is open to the public. If you have hired a vehicle in Skopelos, you can reach it by road, alternatively you can also take a tour which will include other Mamma Mia film locations.
– you can wear jeans (even in more formal situations), as long as they are combined with an elegant jacket or stylish accessories. They should be well-fitting and stylish. Never ever wear a tie with jeans, though. – for men, always wear socks in closed shoes.Do you need water shoes in Greece? ›
Or, if you have room, pack both! Beach shoes: If you're planning a dip in the ocean (as any Greek traveller should!), consider packing water shoes. Often, the beaches are rocky, and giving your feet some added protection can ensure you fully enjoy the experience.Can you wear shorts in Greece? ›
Shorts. It is acceptable to wear shorts, whether you are a woman or a man. However, NEVER (and I do mean NEVER) wear shorts if you want to visit a church or monastery. Also, if you plan to do a walking tour of Athens, ditch the shorts and opt for a dress – if you are a woman – or a pair of long pants – if you are a man ...How much is a donkey ride in Hydra? ›
Mule & Horse Town Rides
The pricing causes a bit of confusion so here is a summary: A short ride of 15 minutes round the town will cost €15 per mule (only one person on the mule!) If there is a group of 20 or more people, the price of a 15 minute ride comes down to €10 per mule (again only one person on the mule).
Hydra chargepoints can benefit from contactless direct payment using a debit card, credit card or a virtual wallet payment method such as Apple Pay on an iPhone.How long is ferry to Hydra? ›
The ferry to Hydra takes about 4 hours and there are frequent itineraries every day. The ferry to Hydra also connects the island with other ports in the Saronic Gulf, like Poros, Spetses, Ermioni and Porto Heli. In general, there are also ferries to Hydra from: Aegina, Ag.Can you swim in Hydra? ›
You can walk to the sunbathing and swimming areas close to Hydra Town, take a beach boat to visit the organized beaches or you can hike or take a sea taxi to the natural untouched beaches of Hydra Island, Greece. Whichever beach suits your preference you will find the clearest, clean sea to swim in.Does Hydra have nice beaches? ›
Hydra beaches. Most beaches in Hydra Greece are pebbled and have picturesque, green surroundings. Excursion boats depart from the port and make the tour of the island, stopping at many Hydra beaches along the way. The most popular Hydra beaches are Vlichos, Kaminia, Bisti and Agios Nikolaos.What to do in Hydra when it rains? ›
- Lazaros Koundouriotis Mansion (National Historical Museum) 137. History Museums. ...
- Historical Archives - Museum of Hydra. 188. Speciality Museums • Art Museums. ...
- Armonia Wellness Center. Spas. By B9735HOchrisk. ...
- Marialena Maramenou. Speciality & Gift Shops. By luxdrifter. ...
- The Hydra Trading Company. Speciality & Gift Shops.
In total, Leonard lived full-time on Hydra for seven years from 1960 - 1967. Even though he never took up residence again and in spite of his time-consuming rising stardom, he did occasionally visit Hydra for short breaks until a few years before his death in November 2016.
Roberts' island of choice is located in the Bahamas. The actress was already familiar with the area.
Leonard Cohen arrived on Hydra in 1960, at the age of 26; he met Clift and Johnston, who in fact offered to host him at the beginning of his stay. Soon, Cohen would buy a house on the island for $1500, using a bequest from his recently deceased grandmother.How long is the ferry from Hydra to Santorini? ›
What is the Hydra to Santorini ferry travel time? On average the Hydra to Santorini ferry travel time is 26 h 30 min for the 128 mile (206 km) long journey, but the duration can vary if you travel on weekends and holidays.Is bottled water cheap in Greece? ›
Commonly Asked Questions about Greek Travel
In Athens and most places across mainland Greece, the tap water is perfectly safe to drink. In harbor towns and the Greek Islands, however, it is generally better to drink bottled water, which is readily available and very cheap.
No matter where you go in Greece—even in an airport or the middle of a crowded tourist area—one thing is constant: a bottle of water will cost 0.50 euro.What is the main town of Hydra? ›
Hydra Town: Hydra town is the capital and main harbour of the island of Hydra. It is a wonderful little town, hidden in a small, natural harbour which is only visible from a perpendicular angle.Is Hydra safe island? ›
So just as so many other Greek islands were blighted by a massive explosion of sixties careless building, Hydra remained safe thanks to the foresight of a small group of dedicated individuals who have ensured the architectural beauty of Hydra for future generations to enjoy.Why is Hydra Island called Hydra? ›
The name Hydra comes from ancient Greek ὕδρα (hydra), derived from the Greek word for "water", a reference to the natural springs on the island.How do you get to the island of Hydra? ›
The island is only accessible by ferry. There are ferries to Hydra from Piraeus port in Athens but also from other islands of the Saronic islands and even from Peloponnese. The closest airport to Hydra is in Athens. Book your ferry tickets with us!Why is Hydra bad? ›
Despite being able to move, hydra do not “hunt” your fish. Instead, they wait for prey to venture too close before attacking with their tenticles. And, it's these tentacles that make hydra so dangerous. Especially to small fish.
Hy·dra ˈhī-drə : a many-headed serpent or monster in Greek mythology that was slain by Hercules and each head of which when cut off was replaced by two others.What is the famous story of Hydra? ›
The Hydra was a serpent-like water monster with nine heads that is often referenced in Greek mythology. It was an offspring of Typhon and Echidna bred by Hera to kill Hercules. It was Hercules responsibility to slay the beast during his twelve Labors for King Eurystheus.What is the beach etiquette in Greece? ›
Bathing suits are for the beach only. Never leave the beach without covering up. Also, it is considered quite rude to go barefoot on the beach. And while there are some nude beaches in Greece they are few and far between.Are ice cubes safe in Greece? ›
Can I drink ice in Greece? Even though you can drink the water in Greece from the tap or bottle (depending on your location), Ice sometimes can be a bit of a risk everywhere. In some areas, the water can taste very salty so that will be the last thing you will want to be added to your drink.Why visit Hydra Greece? ›
A rich naval tradition and a cosmopolitan island ambience are the defining characteristics of Hydra - a popular island in the Argosaronic Gulf - which attracts every year many personalities and jet-setters from Greece and abroad.Is Hydra a day trip? ›
This is a Private Tour
Less than two hours from Athens, Hydra island is ideal for a day-trip. Completely traffic-free (no cars or scooters), the charming port town, lined with magnificent 18th-century mansions, is full of history and cultural charm.
Hydra beaches. Most beaches in Hydra Greece are pebbled and have picturesque, green surroundings. Excursion boats depart from the port and make the tour of the island, stopping at many Hydra beaches along the way. The most popular Hydra beaches are Vlichos, Kaminia, Bisti and Agios Nikolaos.How do people get around Hydra? ›
Transport On Hydra Island Greece
As one of the totally car-free Greek Islands, indeed all forms of wheeled vehicles are banned on the island, visitors and residents alike have to walk, take a mule, sea taxi or beach boat to reach their destination.
Hydra is famous for its intense nightlife, with the many bars and clubs along with the port. With a sophisticated and romantic style, nightlife in Hydra distinguishes for the chilly music and the all-night parties. Most bars and clubs are found along with the port and stay open till the early hours.Where is the prettiest water in Greece? ›
Lefkada island has the most impressive waters and shores in Greece and it is worth visiting the island anytime between early May to late September, or even early October. Travel tip: If you want to skip the steps down to the beach, you may as well hire a taxi boat from Nydri or Vassiliki villages.
Santorini, commonly known as Thira, is an island in the Cyclades archipelago. Santorini, Greece, is one of the world's most beautiful islands. This is without a doubt one of the most appealing Greek tourist attractions that every visitor would like to visit.Can you swim at Hydra? ›
You can walk to the sunbathing and swimming areas close to Hydra Town, take a beach boat to visit the organized beaches or you can hike or take a sea taxi to the natural untouched beaches of Hydra Island, Greece. Whichever beach suits your preference you will find the clearest, clean sea to swim in.