Live out your vacation dreams in Hydra: a quiet pedestrian island in Greece’s Saronic Gulf. While many tourists prefer iconic, sandy Santorini and the nightlife scene of Mykonos, Hydra is a Greek experience unlike any other. Here are five reason why you should include this cozy pebbled island in your next travel plans:
At least half of your fellow tourists will likely be Greek. It’s well-loved by regulars for its charming, relaxing ambience. It’s not overrun with souvenir shops or tourist-trap restaurants. Instead of overpriced, stuffy restaurants, Hydra Town teems with tavernes serving traditional Greek cuisine. A visitor here will discover quaint boutiques, 18th-century mansions from Hydra’s wealthy shipbuilding days, and cozy cafes along the harbor.
It’s easy to explore.
While Hydra only has one town, it boasts a vast network of trails traversing the island. These paths lead you through lush vegetation, past small fishing villages and hidden beaches. An evening hike along a coastal trail is a great way to catch a breathtaking Greek sunset or pop into a seaside bar for a drink.
Its proximity to the mainland makes it an excellent day trip.
Hydra is just a short boat ride away from the Peloponnese Peninsula. Many visitors base themselves in Athens and just come for a day of swimming and exploration. It’s also a popular weekend destination for Athenians.
There are no cars, motorcycles, or scooters on the entire island. Instead, you’ll rely on donkeys, water taxis, and your own two feet to get you around the island. Outside of Hydra port, you’ll find cobbled marble paths instead of concrete roads. The farther inland you travel, the less inhabited the island becomes. Many filmmakers choose to set their movies in Hydra because it remains virtually untouched, appearing much as it did centuries ago.
The beaches are stupendous.
If you want a social swimming scene, the deep, turquoise waters near Hydra port offer just that. Those looking to explore can hike to more intimate, secluded beaches away from the tourist bustle. To access the truly remote beaches hemmed in by pine forests, water taxis are a great option. For the most part, Hydra beaches won’t provide you with the luxurious silk-soft sand of other Greek islands. They will, however, treat you to a peaceful pebbled beach experience.