Hydra, built in the shape of an amphitheater on a slope overlooking the Argosaronic gulf, is one of the most romantic destinations in Greece. Traditional stone mansions, narrow cobblestoned streets, secluded squares and above all the banning of cars and the use of around 500 donkeys as means of public transportation, explain the reason why Hydra preserved its distinctive character through the passage of time.
The island experienced exceptional economic growth in the past thanks to its great naval and commercial activity. The Hydriots also contributed significantly to the 1821 War of Independence as their powerful fleet participated in crucial sea battles. It is rather impressive the fact that such a tiny island is the birthplace of five Greek Prime Ministers!
Lavish stone mansions owned by important families (Voulgaris, Kountouriotis, Tombazis, Kriezis, Bountouris etc), and built by Italian artisans reveal the wealth that the island experienced in the past. Today most of these mansions house the island’s museums. 300 churches and 6 monasteries spread around the island as well as the cannons and the statues of the Independence War heroes still standing at the balconies of the islands create a romantic mosaic.
As you walk along the waterfront, the heart of the town, you encounter monuments, churches, canons, museums, old mansions, statues of famous heroes, the old gunpowder store, shops and cafes, while picturesque winding streets lead you to neighborhoods located at the upper part of the town, as well as to the old neighborhood of Kiafas.
Hydra is also a yachting paradise, as every summer groups of sailing boats moor at the harbor, where they are joined by dozens of sensational motorboats and yachts. It’s worth mentioning that Hydra became famous all over the world thanks to the film “Boy on a Dolphin”, shot in the island in 1957 with Sophia Loren as the leading star.
Hydra, a cosmopolitan, glorious and magnificent island, combined with tranquility and relaxation, offers entertainment all day long and a busy night life.
The harbor of Hydra is always very crowded in high season and is best avoided at that time. Early spring is the best time to visit, when it is usually possible to moor either on the south quay or the inside of the north breakwater (where, however, it shallows as you go further in).
Lagoudera, the previous name of Omilos bar-restaurant, was one of the most famous restaurants in Greece, visited by many international celebrities, such as, The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jackie Kennedy, Maria Callas and Aristotelis Onassis. It is situated in an excellent location, with amazing sea views and atmosphere.
A particular picturesque fishing port is the large unorganized Kamini beach just 20 minutes from the town of Hydra. Ideal place to stay overnight as there are many accommodations or to just enjoy the authentic traditional cuisine at the surrounding restaurants.