A Unique Destination

Arrival at Hydra

A day spent on the Greek island of Hydra with my family in December 2014 was super special. This site will try to capture visually our experience that day and attempt to share our memorable trip with you. The boat ride there was surprisingly smooth, with barely any ripples in the Aegean sea. We got off to an early start in an effort to maximize our day. Everyone teed off with a cup of coffee, but were soon lulled into a nice nap on the way there.

cannon boat

The Port of Hydra

We woke up at the Port of Hydra. There is just one main town which consists of a crescent-shaped harbor, around which is centered a strand of restaurants, shops, markets, and galleries that cater to tourists and locals. We had a quick bite to eat at a local cafe, and started our exploration of the island. We visited a church, saw the clock tower, browsed some local art stores, and took some pictures near the cannons outside the museum of Hydra.

houses rooftops crosses tower statue

Starting the Trek

There are numerous churches and six Orthodox monasteries on the island. Two particularly noteworthy monasteries are Profitis Ilias, founded in the 10th century, and Ayia Efpraxia. Both are on a hill overlooking the main harbor. Our trek was to the Profitis Ilias monastery on the recommendation of a local. Thinking we could stop along for the way for coffee and breaks, we started our trek, only to discover the only thing along the way, was the path itself.

mansion church

The Journey

Steep stone streets lead up and outward from the harbor area. Along the 3-4 hour trek, very quickly we left the port behind. The path leading up had a serious gradient and before long we found ourselves taking frequent breaks. Our two teenage boys were overheard saying, “Bet the parents won’t make it”. But we pushed on. Along the way we met a monk making his daily trip down on a donkey, and saw a farmer and his wife, their tractor and cat, taking a break.

archway person walking path stairs

At the Top

We made it! Such a sense of accomplishment, this was our Mount Everest. The panoramic views were breathtaking. The monastery was small, ancient, but closed, much to our chagrin. The highlight for the boys was catching a live rooster fight at the pinnacle. Of all our travels, I have to say, Hydra holds a very special place in my heart. I was mesmerized by the natural beauty of this incredible island.

monastery painting

More photos

About Hydra

map of hydra MAP OF HYDRA
Hydra is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece, located in the Aegean Sea between the Saronic Gulf and the Argolic Gulf. It is separated from the Peloponnese by a narrow strip of water. In ancient times, the island was known as Hydrea, a reference to the springs on the island.

No cars are allowed in Hydra. Rubbish trucks are the only motor vehicles on the island, since by law, cars and motorcycles are not allowed. Horses, mules and donkeys, and water taxis provide public transportation. The inhabited area, however, is so compact that most people walk everywhere.

Hydra benefits from numerous bays and natural harbors, and has a strong maritime culture. The island is a popular yachting destination and is the home of the Kamini Yacht Club, an international yacht club based in the port of Kamini. In 2007, a National Geographic Traveler panel of 522 experts rated Hydra the highest of any Greek island (11th out of 111 islands worldwide) as a unique destination preserving its "integrity of place."