With almost 10,000 miles of coastline and 6,000 islands to swim, snorkel and sunbathe the days away, you may find it hard to narrow down your vacation options when traveling to Greece. In my opinion, Athens is a must for the first-time visitor to Greece. But, it’s a Hydra travel experience that will stay with you forever.
Seeing the Acropolis, having a fresh fish meal beside the sea, visiting the Panathenaic Stadium (site of the first modern Olympic Games), learning about local turtle rescue center’s conservation efforts, listening (and dancing) to bouzouki music, bargaining with the Plaka shopowners – it’s all part of the fun of Athenian life!
But, when the crowded city gets a bit too stifling and you want to take a break that’s not far and car-free, the island of Hydra is a great green getaway choice for the entire family.
Scenes from the Island of Hydra, August 2014
Hydra Travel Experience
What makes Hydra travel special is that there are no cars or motorcycles allowed on the island. It’s the law. Save for one ambulance, one garbage vehicle and one delivery truck, the only ways to traverse Hydra are to walk along its coastal path, ride (or charter) a small passenger boat, gallop through the town by donkey or horse, or – if you’re up for it – hike your way across the mountain pass to various beaches (the trails are for experienced hikers).
Hydra offers excellent swimming and beaches with warm, crystal clear waters full of tiny fish that will keep children (and adults) entertained. Given that the island only has about 2,000 residents, everyone has their own specialty retail shop, unique tourist service, restaurant, or boutique hotel. The island also has a few churches from the 1600s, museums and a thriving artistic culture.
Hydra has built its reputation as a green getaway due to its water conservation policies, use of renewable energy sources and biodegradable products at hotels, provision of locally sourced food, and locally owned businesses.
Best of all, Greeks still make up a large proportion of visitors to the island. So, go there before the secret gets out!
How To Get There:
During the warm summer months (May – October), there are several hydrofoil catamaran departures each day from Piraeus to Hydra port town with the trip taking approximately 1 1/2 hours.
Where to Stay:
There are plenty of accommodation options on Hydra including renting a villa and staying at a boutique hotel. We chose to stay at the small, family-owned Greco Hotel, which was once the 18th century home of a prominent businessman.