Greece

THE ULTIMATE GREEK ISLAND GUIDE: HYDRA EDITION

Hydra clocktower and town

Picture-perfect Hydra needs to be on your Greece bucket list.  

Of all the inhabited Greek Islands Hydra is the only one without cars (save for ambulances and rubbish trucks). There are no cars. No scooters. No traffic. The only means of transport are mules or your feet. Dammit, can it get any more Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants than that?

Hydra doesn’t have any sandy beaches, but it doesn’t really matter; the Mediterranean Sea is clear, warm and inviting. Honestly, that’s probably where you’ll spend your days. 

If you can manage to drag yourself out of the ocean you could (and should) enjoy a cocktail at one of the bars along the harbour. Wander Hydra’s quintessentially Greek cobbled alleyways, play with one of the island’s friendly cats, or catch a boat along to Bisti Beach.

Plan to spend a few days here. There’s not too much to do, but having escaped the hustle and bustle of Athens you’ll never want to leave. Not convinced? Dive straight into this complete guide to Hydra to find everything you need to know to plan your perfect trip. 

Sunset at Hydra Harbour
Hydra Harbour

WHEN TO GO TO HYDRA

The best time to visit Hydra is from late May to October, when temperatures are warmer, ferries are frequent, and there’s less rain. June to August are best for swimming but are also the busiest. If you’re planning on travelling in the off season check before you go as ferry services may be reduced. 

Harriet’s Hydra Horses

How do you explore an island with no cars? I’ll tell you how; a tour with Harriet’s Hydra Horses

I’m always wary when it comes to animal tourism but it was clear with Harriet that her horses come first. A lot of the herd are rescue animals and they’re very much a part of Harriet’s family. During summer Harriet does her tours in the mornings and evenings when it’s cooler, and she rotates the horses so that they each get breaks. 

We did the 3-hour tour to Profitis Elias. Let me tell you, the views as we climbed up away from town to the monastery were breath-taking. When I wasn’t clinging tightly to the reins of poor Dennis the Menace I was eagerly swinging around in my saddle to catch a glimpse of the harbour below. At the top we had a quick break and some Turkish delights with the nuns before descending back down the hill. 

Our tour was €74 per horse.

Harriet's Hydra Horses

Walk to Kamini Town

Fancy escaping the crowds? Take a stroll along to the neighbouring town of Kamini. The short walk along the coast is stunning and Kamini itself is a pretty fishing town. 

It’s worth timing your visit with lunch and spending an hour or so in one of the quiet restaurants. We ate at Kodylenias Resto and the fresh fish and Greek salad we ordered were superb. Soak in the sunshine and idly watch locals leading mules along the cobbled paths – bliss!

Kamini Town and boats Hydra

Relax at Bisti Beach

Around Hydra town there’s not any proper beaches, more just stony bays carved into the cliffs. A short sail away Bisti Beach is a great place to spend the afternoon relaxing. To get there simply head to the harbour in Hydra town and look for the Bisti Beach boat opposite the Clock Tower. The sail times and ticket prices will be displayed on boards at the back of the boat. 

Bisti Beach is organised and you can expect to pay around €10 for two beach chairs. The beach bar serves a selection of drinks and snacks but it’s better to pack a picnic from Hydra town. Bisti Beach is small but the ocean is possibly the nicest I’ve ever swum in. The water is impossibly clear and warm, and I defs had an Ariel moment floating lazily on the waves. 

Bisti Beach Hydra

Explore Hydra Town

Closer to town spend an afternoon wandering Hydra’s streets. Take your time idly checking out the stunning architecture and pretty alleyways trailing with flowers. You could pay a visit to Rafalia’s Pharmacy. It was established in 1890 and the old-timey interior is gorgeous. 

A great sunset spot is from the Bastions. The Bastions with Cannons were used for protection from the Turkish during the war and today offer a great view back across the harbour. 

For the full Hydra experience spend an afternoon (or two) sipping cocktails at one of the ocean-side bars. Hydronetta Cocktail Bar is a good bet; the martinis are fab and it’s the perfect spot to soak in the sun and enjoy views of the stunning Mediterranean Sea. When it gets too hot you can strip off and climb down the stairs to the ocean below. Amazing!

A cat relaxes by the harbour, Hydra
Mules by Hydra Harbour

Eat: Kai Kremmidi has reasonable prices and the gyros we ate there were fresh and delicious. For something more upmarket Téchnē Restaurant & Social is pricey but the risotto I had there was beautiful, and the views of the ocean are great too. 

Stay: We stayed in Glaros Guesthouse. Perfectly located steps away from the harbour, the guesthouse was clean and the staff friendly. Other than that it wasn’t anything to write home about. The main drawing card for us was its affordability compared to other Hydra accommodation. 

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The Ultimate Greek Island Guide: Hydra Edition
The Ultimate Greek Island Guide: Hydra Edition

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