Aegina Or Hydra? Which Is The Best Greek Saronic Island

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Post author Nick

Written by our local expert Nick

Nick is is digital nomad originally from Athens, Greece. You will now find him exploring the Greek islands, Bulgaria and beyond.

Should you visit Aegina or Hydra? I love both Aegina and Hydra. How do you choose which Greek island in the Aegean Sea to visit? Well, if you have enough time, it’s well worth visiting both.

If you don’t have time for the beauty of Hydra and Aegina, my guide shares detailed information about weighing up Hydra vs. Aegina, Greece.

Are you in a rush and want to know how to choose between Aegina or Hydra? Here is what we think you should know:

Island Of Aegina Island Of Hydra
The closest island to Athens Fewer tourists, smaller island
More restaurants & facilities No traffic on the island
Chill, laid back, beach vacay Authentic Greek experience

From old traditional stone houses to picturesque villages, sandy beaches, natural springs, and my Aegina Vs. Hydra travel guide has it all.

The Saronic Islands of Greece make the ideal island escape from bustling Athens. While it’s true that Athens has plenty to see and do, and it is a must-visit for history buffs, sometimes the noise is just a bit too much, you know?

In that case, you can quickly jump on a ferry from Athens and be firmly in the peace and quiet of an island in around an hour. This guide will show you how to do just that.

Two of the most popular islands of the Saronic Islands are Aegina and Hydra. So, if you only have time to see one, which should you go to?

Keep reading below for our in-depth analysis on weighing up Aegina vs. Hydra.


Beaches in Aegina Greece

Aegina is the closest island to Athens, and it takes just one hour via ferry, with services all year round. Of course, locals often flock to Aegina during the summer months for a quick holiday to enjoy the dramatic landscapes of this island, so you will find it quite busy, especially on the weekends.

However, despite that, it still retains its laid-back charm, especially if you venture just outside the main town, also called Aegina.

Aegina is a little larger than Hydra, which we will explore shortly. That means there are more beaches to explore, and you’ll never fail to find a quiet spot to chill out for the day. Beaches are of fine golden sand with calm crystal clear waters.

If you’re a fan of ancient ruins, Aegina is a great spot to enjoy a little history without the crowds you’ll encounter in Athens. The Temple of Aphaia is part of the triangle formed between here, the Parthenon, and the Temple of Poseidon on Cape Sounion. You should also visit the Cathedral of Saint Nectarios while you’re there.

Aegina is home to many traditional taverns, restaurants, and small bars where you can sit back and relax, and you can even enjoy a fantastic view back over to Athens.


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Hydra Island Greece

The ferry from Athens to the Port of Hydra will take you around 1 hour and 35 minutes from Piraeus Port, but again, ferries run all year round, weather permitting. The great thing about Hydra is that it’s as laid-back as possible; there are no cars allowed on the island.

With the absence of cars, the only forms of transport are your feet or some people choose to use a saddled donkey – but we don’t suggest that option.

The harbor is a beautiful place to sit and watch the world go by, and you can also catch sight of the famous donkeys. Many tavernas are here, and it’s a popular spot for sunset walks.

Hydra has a more traditional look to it than the island of Aegina, with the typical white-washed houses that run all the way up the hillside. The winding, narrow streets are ideal for slow explorations, and there are many small cafés you can stop and enjoy.

Of course, Hydra’s beaches are equally as beautiful as those on Aegina. Although the island is smaller, it does have fewer visitors than its neighbor, which means you’ll never have to deal with anything resembling a crowd.


Reasons Not To Go To Hydra & Aegina

Aegina and Hydra are undoubtedly captivating destinations, each boasting their unique charm and allure. As you’ve seen, they offer a rich blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and tranquil vibes, making them popular choices for travelers seeking a taste of Greek island life.

However, like any travel destination, they also have a few downsides worth considering. Here’s a look at some aspects that might be seen as less favorable, helping you to make a well-rounded decision for your trip.


Crowding from Cruise Ships: Aegina experiences an influx of tourists from cruise ships, which can make it crowded, especially during peak travel seasons.

Limited Remote Areas: while Aegina offers remote areas to escape crowds, these spots might be limited compared to other destinations​.


Transportation Limitations: Hydra does not allow cars, so the main modes of transportation are by foot or donkey, which might not be suitable for everyone

Things To See And Do On Aegina

  1. Visit the Greek temples from the ancient times, such as the Temple of Apollo and Aphaia
  2. Explore Orthodox cathedrals on the island
  3. Enjoy the relaxing beaches
  4. Indulge in the delicious local pistachios
  5. Experience the charm of the island and its authentic Greek atmosphere
  6. Check out the Tower of Markellos

Things To See And Do On Hydra

  1. Observe and interact with the famous donkeys on the island
  2. Explore the scenic harbors and take in the picturesque views
  3. Admire the traditional Greek houses and island architecture
  4. Try the local pistachios, known for their distinct flavor
  5. Immerse yourself in the serene environment and savor the authentic Greek island lifestyle

Which One Wins – Hydra Or Aegina


Both Aegina and Hydra are both beautiful islands of the Saronic Gulf, and if you have the time, it’s well worth visiting both. However, Aegina scrapes the win simply because it is closer to Athens and, therefore, requires less of a ferry trip.

There are more facilities in Aegina Town, which may or may not matter to you. However, Hydra is undoubtedly more authentic and laid-back, so if that’s what you’re looking for, perhaps Hydra would be the winner for your next trip.


What are the main attractions of Aegina?

Aegina offers ancient Greek temples, such as the Temple of Aphaia, Orthodox cathedrals, relaxing beaches, and a relatively lesser number of tourists compared to Hydra. It’s an excellent destination for those interested in ancient history and island charm.

What are the main attractions of Hydra?

Hydra is known for its famous donkeys, scenic harbors, and traditional Greek houses. The island showcases beautiful island architecture and provides a glimpse into the authentic Greek island lifestyle. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking a picturesque and serene environment.

Which of the islands produce pistachios?

Both Aegina and Hydra are known for producing delicious pistachios. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy these local delicacies on both islands.

Can I visit both Aegina and Hydra on a day trip from Athens?

Yes, it’s possible to visit both islands on a day trip from Athens. You can book an island cruise that includes stops at both Aegina and Hydra. This way, you can experience the unique features of each island in a single trip.

What is Aegina known for?

Aegina is known for its archaeological sites, picturesque villages, and beautiful beaches. It offers a great combination of history, culture, and natural beauty.

How do I get to Aegina?

Aegina is easily accessible by ferry from Piraeus port in Athens. There are regular ferry connections from Athens to Aegina, as well as from other Saronic islands like Poros and Agistri.

What types of accommodations are available in Aegina?

Aegina offers a range of accommodations, including hotels, houses with very special architecture, and villas. Visitors can choose from modern or traditional styles, depending on their preferences. Some accommodations are located near the beach, while others may provide access to swimming pools.

Can I visit other islands from Aegina?

Yes, Aegina serves as a convenient base for exploring other Saronic islands, such as Poros and Agistri. Ferries operate between these islands, allowing visitors to hop between destinations easily and have an ultimate experience in the region.

What activities can I do in Aegina?

In Aegina, you can engage in various activities like exploring archaeological sites, enjoying water sports, visiting local museums and art galleries, hiking scenic trails, trying traditional cuisine, and relaxing on the island’s beautiful beaches.

When is the best time to visit Aegina?

The best time to visit Aegina is during the spring (April to June) or the fall (September to October) when the weather is pleasant and the tourist crowds are smaller. However, Aegina can be enjoyable year-round, with mild winters and hot summers.

What makes Hydra a popular destination?

Hydra is a popular destination due to its picturesque setting, elegant mansions, and car-free roads. It has been a favorite holiday spot for famous personalities and offers a serene atmosphere.

What attractions are there to explore in Hydra?

Hydra offers a range of attractions, including museums, charming villages, traditional taverns, and beautiful beaches. Visitors can also enjoy historic landmarks and engage in various activities.

How can I reach Hydra?

To reach Hydra, you can take a ferry from Piraeus port in Athens. There are also ferry connections to Hydra from other Saronic islands, making it convenient for island hopping.

Are there accommodations available in Hydra?

Yes, Hydra provides a variety of accommodations, such as hotels, apartments, houses, and villas. Many of them are located in the island’s capital and feature traditional designs.

Can I visit other nearby islands from Hydra?

Absolutely! Hydra is an excellent base for island hopping. You can take ferries from Hydra to explore other Saronic islands such as Poros, Spetses, and Aegina.

Can I find car rentals on Hydra?

No, cars are not allowed on the island of Hydra. However, you can explore the island on foot or use other forms of transportation like donkeys or bicycles.

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