• by XpatAthens
  • Thursday, 05 February 2015
A Day in Hydra

Sometimes the best part of a week in Athens… is a day spent away from Athens! Especially in the heat of summer, escaping the city could be just what the doctor ordered. So on Saturday morning, I woke up early, grabbed my wallet, housekeys, phone and sunglasses, and headed for a daytrip to the island of Hydra.

Hydra is one of those islands that one might easily overlook. The 70km trip makes it one of the closest islands to Athens, among the Saronic island group. It’s one of those places that is so close and so easy, that I have always thought “Oh yes, sure, one day we should check it out…” I mean, so close to Athens, how much of an ‘island’ could it be? Let me tell you, it is a Greek island in the best sense of the word!

The 90-minute ferry ride was uneventful – €25 each way for the high-speed option. Arriving at the island, my first impression was that of a typical Greek island – the pretty harbor, the town built up around the port, the cafes and tavernas lining the portside path, etc. All the thing you’d expect on an island – but remarkably well-kept and ‘prosegmeno’ as they say.

The thing about Hydra that really makes it special is the fact that there are no cars or motorcycles on the island – by law! The only motorized vehicle I saw was one of those small mini-garbage trucks – which I guess is a good thing. Otherwise, your only transportation options, quite literally, are a) your feet or b) a donkey. Super!

The town itself is lovely – without the bother of roads and cars, the whole place is like being in another time. Everything seems freshly painted, lovingly kept and very clean. In typical island style – there is a photo-op around every corner. Only in Hydra, there are not motorcycles or drivers to crowd your shot!

There are a few beaches, several of which are accessible by taxi-boat from the port. There are a couple museums and sites of cultural interest. Cute shops with clothes & jewelry – definitely a step-up in quality from the typical island kitsch. And there are a few great café-restaurants perched on the cliffs around the town – with perfect views of the great blue sea. Needless to say, these became my main points-of-interest during my stay.

Think about it: leave your house in the morning, have lunch & coffee on a gorgeous little island, and be back home in time for dinner. In these tough times, where full-fledged island vacations may not be in everybody’s cards – a daytrip to Hydra will make you feel like you are truly ‘away’.

Until next week,


In this weekly space, keep up with ‘Jack’ as he navigates daily life in Athens… Anecdotes, stories, hits & misses, the good, the bad and, well, the rest…