Hydra Island - My nearby getaway!
"Aesthetically perfect in its peaceful, blue and white-washed glory"
(Henry Miller from his novel The Colossus of Maroussi)
In these awkward times we alI appreciate the travel memories we have!
FIRST TIME ON HYDRA was during a family holiday in the late eighties at our village (Grammatiko, Attica) when my older niece Isolde wanted to go on a 1-day cruise to Aegina-Poros-Hydra. As a 15 year old girl I experienced this as a great adventure and oh my gosh what was I impressed with those beautiful little gems scattered in the Argo saronic Gulf!
The island became a very popular choice for celebrities & artist in the fifties after the shooting of the movie "Boy on a Dolphin" with Sophia Loren in 1957. Before that nobody really knew the existence of this little island in the Argo Saronic Gulf.
Many famous people have a house on Hydra but I will mention the ones that had an impact on me; like Leonard Cohen.... watch the beautiful video from his official youtube channel which is shot at his Hydra Mansion.
Some of the LYRICS from the poem "Moving on" by Leonard Cohen
" I loved your face, I loved your hair
Your T-shirts and your evening wear
As for the world, the job, the war
I ditched them all to love you more
And now you’re gone, now you’re gone As if there ever was a you
Who broke the heart and made it new Who’s moving on, who’s kidding who"
Not to forget a womans figure that we used to see on the terrace of the very popular at that time "Pirate Bar" enjoying quitely a drink. I am talking about Marinella, a famous greek singer with her wonderful strong voice (listen to my favorite song here).
Another Hydra lover is Pink Floyds David Gilmour, a well known and loved figure on the island. His impressive yacht would elegantly dominate the little port. Now he is a frequently living on the island in his own mansion. His latest beautiful song video was shot during the first lockdown on Hydra last year.
THROUGH THE YEARS I have visited to Hydra many times. In my early years with my Piraeus Buddies, my dear brother & sisters, my parents, they all used to adore Hydra.
We used to stay at Maria's beautiful traditional stone villa (one of 3 villas) which her father build with an exceptional respect to the environment out of recycled & local materials. The villa's are located at the "The limanaki of Argyris" (named out of respect after Maria's father) at Mandraki bay.
After that there was a gap of more than a decade that I did not visit Hydra but a few years ago it started all over again when my sister Meryem wanted to visit a typical greek island near Athens with her dutch girlfriends. Of course they fell in love with the island and so they (including me)return almost every year for the combination of Athens and a short stay at Hydra. Besides that with my husband, son and a variety of friends we are on Hydra each year for the impressive "HYDRA REGATTA" which is twice a year on the national holidays of 25 March & 28 October. On many occasions some of us are part of the S/V ALKYON crew which makes it even more interesting!
WERE DO I STAY
Now that Maria's villa is not for rent anymore we usually stay at the Ippokampos Hotel a simple, very clean good value for money hotel which is near the port and very quiet located with a beautiful patio for breakfast. There are many excellent accommodation options on the island from boutique hotels to unique private homes.
WHAT TO DO
Swim at the cosmopolitan rocky beach of Spilia or take the Kaiki boat to one of the beaches that are only reachable by sea.
Go for a walk following the well maintained E9 paths to Mandraki and have a greek coffee or a beer at the only picturesque cafe or to the fisher's village of Kamini and if you are in the mood you continue from there up west visiting small communities on the way.
Stroll uptown through the beautiful small pebble stone paths and have a panoramic view over the island while gazing the picturesque houses on your way up.
SHOP until you drop, you will find the most beautiful boutiques with exquisite brands
There are many options for food but mostly touristic and overrated. I suggest to have diner at the traditional tavern "Xeri Elia Douskos" and taste the delicious local dished and feel the presence of old souls under the old Olive tree in the middle of the garden and if you are lucky you will enjoy live music . Also Kodylenia's restaurant overlooking the little fishers port of Kamini is a nice option with an excellent fish soup!
HIGHLIGHTS NOT TO MISS!!
Watch the sunset from the Ydroneta's veranda! You will never forget it!
Look for the very special breed of the Hydra cats, they are so fluffy and beautiful and very well taken care of!
Epiphany & Easter are very special to experience on Hydra.
Best time of the year is spring or late autumn.
HOW TO GET THERE
By high speed boat from Piraeus approx. 5x a day, duration 2 hours. I prefer to drive through the mainland to the little port of Metochi and leave the car safely in the parking and take the small ferry-boat for the 15 min. crossing.
Why to go by car? Because you can visit Epidavros Theater, Ancient Mycene or the Corinth Channel, have a stop at Stork Cafe overlooking Epidavros and the Corinthian Bay and a very insider tip for lunch (only if you can handle the enormous meatballs they serve) stop for lunch only during weekends at the Butcher's Tavern Batzavalis and only after making a reservation.