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Hike to the monastery of Agia Matrona

One of Greece’s most traditional islands, Hydra is traffic-free and outside its one town, largely undeveloped. Time here moves slowly. If you do choose to venture beyond fashionable Hydra Port, walking along the dirt trails that wind through the island’s terraced fields and pine forests, you’ll get a feel for Greece as it was during the 19th century. However, trails are not well marked, trailheads can be difficult to find, and paths fork without warning. By walking with an expert local hiking guide, you’ll avoid any wayfinding issues, get an introduction to the island’s history and lifestyle, and can simply relax and enjoy the views.

You’ll be collected from your hotel in Hydra Port at the start of this half-day, medium-level hike. Your private guide will lead you down to the marina, where you’ll follow the waterfront until its shops and whitewashed cottages give way to a more isolated road before you turn off onto the trail. From here you begin to ascend through low brush into the surrounding hills along a dirt trail with views of the sea.

The beauty of the island is evident from every viewpoint as you wander along age-old trails to reach an inland monastery. As you climb into the hills, your guide will tell you about life in Hydra in times past. They’ll also point out local plants, specific viewpoints and significant historical locations, and introduce you to island life, stopping whenever you need to rest or admire the views.

On reaching the monastery, which dates from 1865, you’ll learn about its history. It’s still in use today and houses a small community of nuns. You can admire its architecture as well as the views from its hilltop perch. Sometimes it’s possible to enter the courtyard, but as nuns still live here, this access can’t be guaranteed. Regardless, the vistas from high up on the hill are expansive and offer a completely different perspective of the island.

From the monastery, the path turns downward and you’ll descend back into Hydra Port from the side opposite the port. Your guide will then accompany you back to your hotel.

The walk takes about an hour in each direction, but as the trail is made of dirt and there are many steps on the way up and down, it’s only suitable if you have a good level of fitness. There’s little shade en route, so ensure that you wear sunscreen and a hat, and bring plenty of water. You may also wish to wear long trousers or socks to avoid being scratched by the thorny plants that grow along the trail.

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who's been there

Audley Travel specialist Corina

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