Hydra (Ídhra) is a small island
, one of the Saronic Greek islands, there is no airport, in fact there are no cars or mopeds, motorized vehicles are prohibited with the exception of municipal vehicles. You will see plenty of donkeys at the harbour side waiting to carry passengers luggage to their accommodation, donkeys been the only means of transport on the island.
Hydra has managed to escape modern development, there are no high-rise apartments etc here, the island has stringent architectural conservation laws, to help preserve its beauty. Hydra remains an island of unique charm and beauty.
Hydra Town is the only town on the island; you will find most of the action is centred around the waterfront area. In the summer months caiques ferry tourists to the islands beach areas also water taxis will take and collect you, to many places on the coast, including Ayios Nickólaos and Bisti.
The waterfront of the town is lined with many 18th century mansions, the town is compact, the streets and alleys are steep, finding your way round can prove somewhat difficult but they are a delight to explore. There are plenty of café/bars some shops around the waterfront it is worth heading a short distance away from the front where there are also some excellent tavernas.
If you are looking for nightlife it is again centred on and around the waterfront areas where there are plenty of trendy cafes and bars which stay open until the early hours, there are discos which are a favourite with the younger crowd.
The harbour area is fairly lively in the main holiday season, one visitor attraction you might visit while staying on the island is the grand Lazaros Koundouriotis Historical mansion, it was once the home of the wealthy ship owner George Koundouriotis who fought in the War of Independence and is now a museum. Some of the rooms have been restored and furnished of the period, one floor houses traditional costumes and jewellery.
If you go through the archway under the clock tower on the waterfront you will find the Byzantine Museum which has collections of religious objects and icons. The most important of the churches is the Panayia Mitropóleos, which is in a simple courtyard near the port. The beaches on Hydra are mediocre on the south side of the island is the quiet bay of Ayious Nickólaos where you can enjoy some good swimming in the clear waters and relax on the small sandy beach.
The bay of Bisti has a small pebble beach with high rocks which are fun for swimming and diving off. There are various small coves you can find to enjoy a little swimming and some solitude. There are outlets offering diving at locations around the nearby Pelponnese coast and daily boat trips to the south-western side of the island including the beautiful Bisti Bay which might be of interest if you want to try kayaking and snorkelling.
There is a range of accommodation from budget rooms to mid-range hotels and at the higher end you could stay on the island in a beautiful old mansion. If you are considering Hydra as your holiday destination you would fly to Athens, and use the flying Dolphin Service from Piraeus to Hydra Island there are six services daily and take about one and a half hours. There are also ferries leaving Piraeus daily to the island. Hydra is a sophisticated and charming island; its beautiful harbour attracts daily cruise ship day visitors as well as short and longer stay tourists, and is an ideal holiday destination particularly if you are looking for relaxation and somewhere a little more unique.