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Relaxing in a movie set

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Hydra: Relaxing in a movie set.

The high aesthetics and aristocratic facade of this historic land of captains unfold before your eyes as the ship approaches the port of Hydra. You will immediately feel the tranquillity that comes from the absence of cars. The island will soon invite you to follow its rhythm of life.

A favourite destination for artists and intellectuals from Greece and abroad who were fascinated by its unique atmosphere, choosing this land as their place of residence; among them, Leonard Cohen with his muse Marianne, as well as Picasso and Chagall who found inspiration on the island. To this day, Hydra retains its reputation of the 50s and 60s as a favourite Mediterranean destination for the international jet set. To this, contributed all the film stars who associated themselves with the island, such as Sophia Loren who starred in "Boy on a Dolphin" (1957), the first American production to be filmed in Greece, but also Elli Lampeti and Dimitris Horn, who starred in Michael Cacoyannis' "A Girl in Black" (1956), shot in Hydra.

An island with a great naval tradition and a significant contribution to the Greek Revolution, Hydra is an ideal choice for relaxation near Athens.

Routes & Attractions

The Chora of Hydra is one of the best-preserved traditional settlements in Europe. Enjoy the essence of elegance that fills the cobbled streets and stone mansions with tiled roofs, built on rocks that stretch to the sea. Many of them belong to historical families of shipowners of the 18th century, such as the Tombazis mansion which houses an annex of the School of Fine Arts (since 1936), the Tsamadou mansion (Merchant's School) and Lazaros Kountouriotis mansion (annex of the National Historical Museum).

On the right and left side of the harbour are the Bastions and the cannons of Hydra, an ideal meeting point at sunset. Above the cannons is the "Sophia Loren Windmill", a traditional windmill associated with Sophia Loren, who played the local sponge diver in "Boy on a Dolphin”. A sculpture dedicated to the film stands nearby.

Many painters lived here or were inspired by Hydra, including Panagiotis Tetsis, whose family residence now houses his museum and atelier, while his works, inspired by the island’s landscapes, are exhibited in the Kountouriotis mansion.

The Historical Archive – Museum of Hydra (IAMY) displays important relics of the Greek Revolution of 1821 as well as paintings of the 19th century, costumes, wood-carved forepeaks, and bows of ships, mock-ups and lithographs of ships of the Revolution, etc.

One of the most legendary bars on the island is Hydronetta, whose terrace offers a unique sunset as it hangs over the Aegean Sea, below the famous cannons. It is also an ideal location for chilling on the concrete platform, and swimming in the deep crystal-clear waters.

If you admire the Canadian poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen, look for the house where he lived for six years in the 1960s, along with his beloved Marianne.

Walk to the top of the hill of Agios Athanasios to enjoy the view of the Aegean Sea from the seven windmills, but also the hill of the medieval settlement of Kiafa (the old town of Hydra) with the narrow streets, the stone-built houses and whitewashed courtyards that can merely be seen behind the high stone walls.

The island is full of hiking trails, one of which you will enjoy following the path from the monastery of Prophet Elias to the top of Mount Eros (588 m). The trail will reward you with a full, panoramic view of Hydra and the Saronic Gulf.

One of the most beloved island promenades is the one at the harbour of Hydra, where movie stars and celebrities, such as Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot and Jackie Kennedy, have walked along.

The Rafalias pharmacy is a monument of Hydra’s architectural tradition. It is one of the oldest pharmacies (1890) and most stunning in Europe, where the original furniture is preserved to this day, along with a collection of porcelain and glass containers, and several pharmaceutical publications.

In the picturesque port of Kaminia, there is the much-photographed Red House (Kokkino Spiti, 1786), which was the home of Admiral Miaoulis, now hosting exhibitions in the summer.

Beaches & Activities

In Mandraki, the old war port of the island, you can find the only sandy beach of Hydra, in an enclosed bay, a few minutes from the port of Hydra. Water sports facilities are available here (water skiing, wind surfing).

On the southwestern tip of the island is Agios Nikolaos, a sheltered beach with fine pebbles and natural shade from the pine trees, organized with sunbeds and umbrellas, accessible on foot or by water taxi.

The pebbled beach of Bisti on the south of the island, accessible by water taxi, is surrounded by a dense pine forest, while its high cliffs are ideal for diving.

Kaminia, a pebbled beach with shallow waters, is popular among families with children.

2 km away from the port of Hydra is another pebbled beach, that of Vlychos, with blue waters and beautiful houses built on the surrounding rocks. The beach is accessible on foot or by water taxi.

Tastes of the island

Try Hydra’s almond sweets that look like small pears, made of almonds, rose water, semolina, and sugar. You will find oven-baked dishes, fish, and local delicacies in the port tavernas.

Traditions & Events

Every June, a three-day celebration known as "Miaoulia" is held in honour of Hydra admiral Andreas Miaoulis, culminating with the representation of the Battle of Hydra and the burning of a Turkish flagship to the sounds of classical music and impressive fireworks.

Easter in Hydra is very picturesque; the procession of the Epitaph takes place in the sea, in Kaminia, a custom introduced by sponge divers and dating back to 1923.

Don’t miss…

Visit the islet of Dokos, in the straits between Hydra and the Peloponnese, to swim in its beautiful waters; this is where the oldest shipwreck in the world (3rd millennium BC) was discovered in 1975.

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