Holidays in Hydra are a special trip to the islands of the Argosaronic Gulf. Hydra is famous for its beautiful old mansions and narrow alleys. It is chic and sophisticated, “delicate” and noble, picturesque and cosmopolitan. It has enchanted Europe and the rest of the world and it magnetized and brought here artists such as Chagall, Picasso, and Leonard Cohen. Opposite Metochi and Ermioni and east of Spetses island, also known as the “Lady of the Argosaronic Gulf”
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Holidays in Hydra: Things to See and Do
When you visit Hydra, you can take walks in the picturesque town and port, enjoy nature walks, go for a swim in the blue waters, and indulge in good food. Let’s get started!
Take a stroll through Hydra’s picturesque alleys and you’ll feel like you’re walking into another era. The alleys are paved and you’ll learn about the island as there are only donkeys, strollers, and water taxis. As you walk through these picturesque streets, you’ll notice that the houses are stone-built, and many of them mansions. You’ll also see busts of admirals and bastions with cannons around them.
Don’t forget that you’re on an island with a long maritime history and that fighters such as Miaoulis and Kountouriotis (ship captains in the Greek Revolution of 1821) lived here. At the same time, figures of cosmopolitan history and art such as Nikos Hadjikyriakos Ghikas, Aristotel Onassis, Maria Callas, Eric Clapton, Sophia Loren, and the Rolling Stones loved Hydra fiercely.
You can also ascend to Mount Eros which reaches 600 meters high and offers a panoramic view that embraces the entire island, the Argosaronic Gulf, and reaches the Myrtoan Sea. During the ascent, you’ll see beautiful churches such as the one of Agios Konstantinos of Hydra or the monastery of Prophet Elias.
The Mansion of Kountouriotis is a historic building on the island and an important example of traditional Hydra architecture. It was built at the end of the 18th century and is located on the west side of the port. The great prestige of the owner of the house, Lazaros Kountouriotis, led to some of the most crucial discussions on the issues of 1821 taking place in this mansion. Since 2001, this mansion has been operating as a museum. Inside the beautiful house, you’ll see rare paintings painted by Pericles and Konstantinos Byzantiou, rare historical heirlooms of the Kountouriotis family, family portraits, and more. Island costumes and other folklore collections of the National Historical Museum adorn the upper floor.
Holidays in Hydra: The beaches of Hydra
You can dive or visit one of the beaches on the island. Hydra has beautiful beaches as well as several spots with rocks and stone slabs that are ideal for diving. Some can be reached on foot while others require a water taxi.
is a small pebbly beach with turquoise waters and concrete slabs on the rocks for sunbathing. You can walk to it from the port of Hydra in about 10 minutes and enjoy its wonderful spectacle when it lights up at night.
Mikro Kamini Beach
Mikro Kamini Beach is also small (as its name suggests) but very organized with a beach bar and is located next to the harbor of the same name settlement. In this village, you’ll find picturesque taverns and rooms to let.
One of the most popular beaches on the island is Vlichos which is organized and ideal for families. Also in this settlement with the same name as the beach, you’ll find seaside taverns, cafes, and rooms to let.
If you want seclusion and quiet, choose Molos, a sheltered bay with sand accessible by a water taxi.
Mandraki, on the other hand, is a small bay with calm blue waters. The organized beach has facilities for water sports. It’s a 20-minute walk from the port. Bisti is considered one of the most beautiful beaches next to a pine forest surrounded by high rocks. It’s ideal for diving.
As for the most famous, this is probably Hydroneta. It’s not a beach exactly but more a cluster of steps and stone slabs that are ideal for diving and sunbathing. It has a wonderful view of the sunset and a bar right above it.
Special sightseeing in Hydra
You will “meet” the Red House in the area of Megalo Kamini, a very special village of Hydra. Here the people of Hydra repaired their fishing boats while historical sources say that they built large ships in this small port for the liberation struggle during the years of the Revolution. In this village, there are many interesting places to see such as the parish church of Agios Ioannis Prodromos, the building of the Nursing Home, and the House of Miaoulis known as the Red House. From spring onwards, the Red House hosts art exhibitions. Every year on Good Friday, the people of Megalo Kamini observe the custom of immersing the Epitaph in the sea, a very special sight.
You can go horse riding in Hydra. There are several companies that offer this special experience. The walks start from the center of the port and continue along the coastal road to the port of Kamini and from there to the interior of Vlichos village. Their duration (1 hour) will give you a perfect picture of Hydra.
Holidays in the Hydra of Miaoulis and Cohen
Statue of Miaoulis.
Above the left bastion of the port dominates the bronze statue of Andreas Miaoulis (1769-1835), sea fighter of the War of Independence (1821) and admiral of the Greek fleet during the first period of the independent state. In 1993, they erected the statue and buried the bones of the admiral at its base. The view from the spot is beautiful.
The Slaughterhouses of Hydra and the Mansion of Sachtouris
Every year, very important art exhibitions take place in these two parts of the island, and the buildings themselves are very interesting.
Lunch or dinner at “Xeri Elia – Douskos”.
You can have lunch or dinner at Xeri Elia – Douskos. It’s the oldest and most traditional tavern of Hydra with almost 200 years of history and Greek cuisine at its best. It started as a tavern – a wine store in the commercial center of Hydra and continues from grandfather to grandfather it’s an uninterrupted course in the square of Chora, just 2 minutes from the port. Visitors love this tavern so much that we’ll let you know what you’ll “encounter” here through the owners’ own words: “From 1950 onwards, when the first foreign tourists came to Hydra, mainly artists, doctors, shipowners, and French ministers, they preferred the Dry Olive Tree. Tourism in Greece starts from this shop.
The fish of Hydra and lobsters will be met by customers in the outdoor window on the square. The delicious Hydraic family delicacies are abundant and varied. We recommend a cottage in oil grass, amazing moussaka, cannelloni, stew, fish soup, and much more.
You can also go on a gastronomic trip to Hydra with squid and marzipans. Hydra is the Mecca of these delicious sweets in the shape of a Lilliputian pear and sprinkled with plenty of icing sugar. Our advice is to buy plenty of stock before leaving the island.
A tribute to the home of leading artist Leonard Cohen.
This important artist loved Hydra so much that he found a permanent home here. Hydra also adored him in turn. The ethereal presence of his partner Marianne in the next room and the Bohemian Hydra of the ’60s, the time when the artist met his mistress and muse, Marianne Ihlen. It is what one is mentally transported to when standing outside the house where Cohen wrote “Birds on a Wire”.
His love inspired many of the songs on his first two albums, Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967) and Songs from a Room (1969). In fact, the back of the cover of the second album adorns a now-famous photo depicting Marianne in their home on Hydra wrapped in a towel.
Hydra is a badge and gallon to be explored for those who want their travels to be infused with culture.
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