Greek Guide

Hydra Day Trips Greece Hydra

Hydra Tourist Attractions Day Trips Greece Greek Travel Guide

Many visitors to Hydra are day trippers or Athenian weekenders and they tend not to venture much further than the bustling waterfront where the ferries and hydrofoils dock. If you're on a flying visit you'll find more than enough to see and do in Hydra Town but if you plan to stay more than a couple of days take the time to explore the rest of the island with its unspoilt countryside mercifully free of the holiday hordes.

The most striking thing about the port is its array of impressive white and pastel coloured stone mansions (known as "archontiko") built by wealthy shipowners in the 18th and 19th centuries. They're definitely worth taking a look at though you'll be lucky to get a glimpse inside any of them. The Tombazis mansion, on the west side of the harbour, is home to the School of Fine Arts and provides hostel accommodation for visiting students. On the east side of the harbour you'll find the Tsamados mansion which is now the National Merchant Marine Academy (visitors are sometimes allowed inside in between lectures). On the west side of town, set on the headland among the pines above the restored windmill, there's the stately Koundouriotis mansion, once the home of Georgios Koundouriotis who was one of the heroes of the Greek War of Independence (1821 1822).

For an insight into the island's important role in the revolt against Turkish rule visit the Historical Archives Museum, close to the ferry dock on the east side of the harbour. Exhibits include relics from the revolution, various naval treasures and the extraordinarily well preserved heart of Admiral Miaoulis who commanded the Greek fleet during the struggle for independence. Besides his heart, contained in a silver and gold urn, you'll see tributes to the admiral throughout the town. In fact streets and squares all over Greece are named after Miaoulis and Koundouriotis. If you're visiting Hydra in late June you'll be able to witness the spectacular mock battle staged annually in the harbour to commemorate the daring feats of Miaoulis who destroyed much of the Turkish fleet by ramming enemy ships with boats filled with explosives.

If you tire of the town's numerous chic boutiques, high quality restaurants, jewellery shops and art galleries, don a pair of sturdy walking shoes and take to the island's interior where ancient mule trails weave along hillsides unscathed by traffic or tourism.

Your only options are to hike or hire a donkey as even bicycles are banned on the island. An hour's hard walking inland from Hydra Town takes you to the beautifully located mountain monastery of Profitis Ilias and the nearby convent of Moni Efpraxias. Both have fantastic views and at the convent you can buy hand woven fabrics made by the nuns. Modest dress is a must at both establishments (i.e. no shorts or skimpy tops).

If you're feeling fit you can climb to the summit of Mount Eros in the centre of the island at 588 metres it's the highest viewpoint in the Saronic Gulf.