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Not even bikes are allowed on Hydra. This little island is traffic free apart from donkeys and boats. Time here moves slowly and, in many ways, that’s Hydra’s appeal. Yet, the island’s enduring popularity has also given it a chic, sophisticated air.

Hydra has proved a fashionable destination since the 1950s and 60s, when the likes of Sophia Loren and Leonard Cohen were regular visitors. Today, its single town and port are a national monument and popular yachting destination.

One of the Saronic Islands and served by a high-speed ferry from the mainland, Hydra has been inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC. A maritime base for successive kingdoms, its fortunes rose and fell as history unfolded — its settlers uprooted and forced to flee piracy on several occasions.

Modern-day Hydra has only one town, simply called Hydra Port, which runs along a crescent-shaped bay on the north of the island. Development is restricted and so the island remains one of the most authentic of all the Greek isles.

Narrow stone streets climb the steep hill from the Aegean Sea, lined with simple whitewashed cottages and the grand mansions that once belonged to the sea captains who made their fortunes here in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Bougainvillea cascades down the façades, chic shops, bars and restaurants lie hidden on tiny backstreets and everyone gets around on foot, giving the town a leisurely air.

Along with writers, musicians and actors, Hydra has attracted its fair share of artists. You’ll find a number of small galleries along its winding streets.

Beyond the main town, the island is roadless. Its rugged wilderness is largely uninhabited save for a handful of tiny villages. The mountainous interior is little visited, and even a short walk along the well-marked trails into the pine forests and terraced fields of the hills will reward you with utter tranquillity.

Six Orthodox monasteries are scattered across the island, as well as several beaches (which you can reach by water taxi). A series of rock platforms just beyond the port offer a swimming place within walking distance of town.

To explore further on foot, continue past the platforms along the coast and you’ll come to a cluster of tiny villages and little windmills.

Best time to visit Hydra

Hydra is at its best between May and October. July and August are the busiest months, particularly on weekends, when domestic visitors arrive in droves from Athens. Easter is a great time to visit with celebrations from Holy Thursday and fireworks at midnight on Easter Saturday.

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Audley Travel Specialist Abby

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Hydra by contacting one of our Greece specialists

Suggested Hydra itinerary

This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Hydra, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Hydra

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Hydra

    Photos of Hydra

    Accommodation choices for Hydra

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Hydra. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    • Hotel Leto Hydra, Hydra

      Hotel Leto Hydra

      Medium

      A long-established, family-run property, Hotel Leto feels like a chic home away from home with a convenient location, high-end style and comfortable rooms. It’s also one of the only hotels on the island to offer a spa and gym.

    • Bratsera Hotel, Hydra

      Bratsera Hotel

      Medium

      Preserving the history of the UNESCO-protected building it occupies, which housed a sponge factory for more than a century, Bratsera Hotel is a characterful place to stay on Hydra. It holds the unique distinction for a hotel on the island of having an outdoor pool.

    Ideas for experiencing Hydra

    Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Hydra, and which use the best local guides.

    • Views from the hiking trail, Hydra

      Hike to the monastery of Agia Matrona

      Hydra

      Get off the beaten track in Hydra, walking with a private guide up to a remote monastery in the hills that offers expansive views across the land and sea, and a chance to get an insight into traditional life on the island.