Is Hydra Worth Visiting? The Car-Free Island In Greece

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Written by our local expert Gabi

Gabi is an award-winning writer who lives on the Island of Crete in Greece. She is an expert in Greek travel and writes guides for the everyday traveler.

Here is everything you need to know about the Island of Hydra. In our Hydra Island Greece guide, we’ve covered what to do, see, and where to stay on Hydra – which is one of the prettiest and best-known islands.

Greece Travel Blog_Things To Do On Hydra Island Greece

The island of Hydra, in the Saronic Gulf, is very near Athens. It is small and easy to visit in just one day; Hydra is a cosmopolitan destination that can be reached from Greece’s capital by ferry in a short ride that usually won’t last more than two hours.

For this reason, the island of Hydra, Greece, offers an excellent opportunity for a one-day trip from Athens.

However, considering the island of Hydra in Greece is so unique and picturesque, many people decide to spend more time and even stay for a week or enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and the beautiful shores Hydra offers.

Where Is Hydra Greece

Home to a unique charm and character, the Greek Island of Hydra is located at the center of the Argo Saronic Gulf, just a few nautical miles from Athens.

How To Get To Hydra Island

Things to do in Hydra, Saronics

The answer to the question “How to get to Hydra?” is straightforward. There is only one way to get to Hydra Island: by ferry from Athens.

Daily ferries depart from the Port of Piraeus to Hydra and other islands in the same Saronic Gulf. Additionally, getting to Hydra is also possible on ferries from the nearby coasts of the Peloponnese, which have a lesser frequency and often cover the route in summer.

How Long Should You Stay In Hydra Greece

Frequently described as one of Greece’s most charming islands, the island is an inviting destination no matter how long you have to visit Hydra Island.

The place is relatively small, so a one-day visit can give you a good idea of the main places to see in town, but, as it’s often the case with Greek Islands, a more extended stay will provide you with the chance to know better spots and unique hidden gems. An ideal visit can take from two to four days.

Top Things To Do In Hydra

Things to do in Hydra Greece - Fishing boats in Hydra Island

Often seen as one of the most beautiful islands in Greece, Hydra is a heavenly Greek destination with an impressive history and interesting aspects every visitor should consider before a visit.

The island’s most remarkable characteristic is that no cars are allowed on the island, as it has been for centuries on other islands. The primary means of transportation are mules and donkeys, water taxis… or your own feet (pack comfy shoes).

Hydra has long been a coveted destination in the country. It has been a place loved by international figures, including the musician Leonard Cohen and the Italian actress Sophia Loren.

If you’re curious to know what is so magnificent about this island that has caught the attention of many important visitors, why not check out some of the best things you can do in Hydra for a fantastic adventure in Greece?

Best guided tours in Hydra:

  • 🏞️ Get this tour and explore Hydra Island and the town of Hydra island, which is combining nature and architecture
  • 🏕️ Discover beautiful cobbled streets next to the endless blue, paths for demanding walks and traditional settlements of natural beauty on this tour
  • 🚢 Travel to three islands in just a day on this cruise to Hydra, Poros, and Aegina


Check The Religious Buildings

Despite its small size, the island boasts over 300 churches and monasteries. You can devote one morning to visiting the island’s main cathedral close to the port.

Hydra’s monasteries have an ancient history. They are truly worth discovering for that reason and because they often stand in strategic positions with awe-inspiring views of the island and the sea.

If visiting a church or a monastery is part of your travel plan, remember to dress accordingly, covering shoulders and legs in respect of the Greek Orthodox tradition.

Go Scuba Diving

THINGS TO DO IN CROATIA - Adriatic Sea 000362

As a top seaside destination, there are lots of exciting submarine landscapes that you can explore in Hydra. Most of the coastline is rocky and features reefs and caves that are fun to explore.

Different diving centers offer open watercourses and rental of all the necessary equipment. For the most adventurous public, engaging in a thrilling night diving trip is possible too.

Check Hydra’s Museums

There are very informative museums you can visit on the island. It’s a good idea to start by exploring the Historical Archives Museum, which exhibits documents regarding the island’s local history and culture.

  • Historical Archives Museum: Situated in the main town of Hydra, this museum provides a comprehensive look into the island’s vibrant history, featuring documents, manuscripts, and artifacts that depict local life and culture from the 18th century onwards
  • Hydra Museum of History and Archives: A distinct place that houses a wide array of artifacts, including manuscripts, old publications, photographs, paintings, and other objects, reflecting the historical, social, and cultural trajectory of the island
  • Lazaros Koundouriotis Historical Mansion (National Historical Museum): This museum, under the aegis of the Greek National Historical Museum, showcases artifacts from the Greek War of Independence and also hosts impressive exhibitions of contemporary art
  • Ecclesiastical Museum: Located in the Cathedral of Hydra, it features a collection of religious artifacts, vestments, and icons, providing insight into the spiritual life and religious art of the region
  • DESTE Foundation’s Slaughterhouse: An artistic space rather than a conventional museum, created by art collector Dakis Joannou

Unwind In A Local Bar

Blond Woman Drinking Red Wine In Restaurant

The island has a beautiful seaside promenade dotted with lovely restaurants and cool bars to go for a coffee in the afternoon or for a drink at night.

Check them and choose the one that best fits your style and mood.

If you like them all and can’t make up your mind, why not spend some hours in The Pirate Bar?

This legendary bar has been Leonard Cohen’s favorite refuge on the island during the years he used to be Hydra’s most famous visitor.

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Best Beaches In Hydra

Hydra Island Greece

Even if you plan to stay in Hydra for just a day, you can still visit some beautiful bays and shores along the coast of Hydra. These are some of the most beautiful beaches you can check on the island:


The beautiful cove of Avlaki is just steps from the main port and easy to reach with a short walk. The beach is not organized, so try to buy snacks and cold drinks at the pier to spend the day in Avlaki.

Although it can be hard to access the water due to the pebbles and rocks by the sea, the calm and crystal clear waters of Avlaki make it a great seaside shelter for couples and adventurous swimmers.

Vychos Beach

Only 2 km from the center of Hydra, you’ll find Vychos, a small village with a spectacular coast which you can visit either walking there or hiring a water taxi.

The beach is outstandingly beautiful, with impressive crystal and utterly tranquil waters, ideal for all families.

Kamini Beach

You can check This small beach when spending your days on Hydra Island. This beach is very shallow and, therefore, great for families with children.

The place is also convenient as a lovely coast restaurant serves delicious traditional Greek food and often sells cold drinks to beach-goers.

Agios Nikolaos

The most remote beach of Hydra is a sandy shore with some organization, including umbrellas and sunbeds to rent.

Some tavernas and bars serve food and friendly cafés to relax at sunset. The best way to reach Agios Nikolaos is by taxi boat from the port of Hydra.

Book your day trip to Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island here!


6 Best Hikes – Hiking Trails On Hydra Island

Without a car, your legs will get a walkout on Hydra. Here are a few ways to keep busy on the island on your feet.

1. Hydra Town to Kamini

Length: About 2 kilometers.

Description: This is a relatively easy and popular walk along the coast, offering stunning views of the sea and the surrounding landscapes. Kamini is a charming village with a small harbor and a few tavernas where you can relax.

2. Monastery of Prophet Elias

Length: Approximately 5 kilometers.

Description: This trail, starting from Hydra Town, leads you to the highest point on the island, offering panoramic views. The Monastery of Prophet Elias itself is often closed, but the views alone are worth the hike.

3. Hydra Town to Vlychos

Length: Around 3 kilometers.

Description: This route provides enchanting views of the sea and takes you through some lovely terraced landscapes. Vlychos is a small coastal village with a beach and a few places to eat.

4. The Eros Mountain Trail

Length: Varies, depending on the exact route.

Description: The trails leading to Mount Eros, the second-highest peak on Hydra, offer a moderate to challenging hike. Upon reaching the summit, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular vistas of the Saronic Gulf.

5. Hydra Town to Agios Nikolaos

Length: Approximately 7 kilometers.

Description: This is a slightly longer trek leading to the beautiful monastery of Agios Nikolaos. Along the way, you’ll witness splendid views of Hydra and have the opportunity to explore the monastery if it is open.

6. Circular Walk via Agios Konstandinos

Length: Around 5 kilometers.

Description: This circular route from Hydra Town passes through Agios Konstandinos and offers a lovely excursion through the island’s terrain, providing beautiful sights of both the town and the coastline.

Island Of Hydra For Families

Although one wouldn’t describe Hydra Island as the perfect family destination, the island has many characteristics that would appeal to kids’ interests.

First of all, cars, motorbikes, and bicycles are wholly forbidden on the island. This has made donkeys and horses the primary means of transport, drawing kids’ attention.

Besides, the island is so tiny that it’s reasonably easy to explore on foot; one more thing that kids love about a visit to the Greek island of Hydra.

Finally, there are pristine coasts and beautiful beaches, some of which are safe for children and inviting for lovers of snorkeling and swimmers.

Best Places To Stay In Hydra Greece

Being such a small island, there’s not much choice regarding places to stay. If you don’t love walking long distances and given the fact that renting a car is not an option, the best thing to do is to stay close to the port.

Where To Stay In Hydra – Best Hydra Hotels And Resorts

Despite the reduced size, plenty of accommodation options exist for those who want to spend a few days on the Greek island of Hydra. Visitors who only visit for the day might even change their minds and decide to stay longer.

No matter if you’re traveling with friends, with children, or with your partner (yes, Hydra is a perfect romantic escape…), there’s always a great spot on the island where you can experience an unforgettable vacation.

Compared to other Greek islands, Hydra holidays are not known for being the cheapest in terms of food or accommodation. However, you can always find great offers if you book in advance.

These are the ones we recommend:

Best Budget To Mid-Range Accommodation In Hydra

On The Port Mansion Studio

The Port Mansion Studio is a family-friendly accommodation in a central position with a beautifully decorated atmosphere.


Glaros Guesthouse

Glaros Guesthouse is conveniently located right in the heart of Hydra, only meters from the port. The Guesthouse is close to all the best traditional restaurants, bars, and shops and is excellent for families and couples.


Hydra Hotel

Hydra Hotel can also be a great mid-range place to stay in Hydra with a romantic vibe and ideal for couples. It features eight tastefully decorated rooms with panoramic views of the island. The hotel is in a tranquil location too.


Luxury Hotels In Hydra

Keresbino Hydra

Keresbino Hydra is a beautiful mansion you can rent on the island, just 500 m from Avlaki Beach, a popular Hydra beach, and 400 m from Hydra Port. The villa has a beautiful garden with a terrace and a refreshing garden.


Arokaria Boutique Apartments

Arokaria Boutique Apartments is a lovely boutique stay in Hydra featuring minimalistic decoration and every comfort and facility. Every apartment features beautiful balconies with astonishing sea views.


Hydrea Exclusive Hospitality

Hydrea Exclusive Hospitality is a five-star venue near the main port of Hydra. The place dates back to the 19th century and boasts an elegant bar and a terrace with panoramic views over the port and the scenic town. Here, you can indulge in beautiful suites with spa baths and panoramic views over Hydra Town and Port.


How do I get to Hydra Island?

You can reach Hydra Island by taking a ferry from the Greek mainland (Piraeus port) or nearby islands like Athens, Poros, or Aegina. There are regular ferry services during the tourist season.

Is there any accommodation available on Hydra Island?

Yes, Hydra Island offers various accommodation options, including hotels, guesthouses, and private rentals. It’s recommended to book your stay in advance, especially during peak tourist months.

What are the best things to do on Hydra Island?

Hydra Island is known for its picturesque harbor, beautiful beaches, and traditional architecture. You can explore the island by foot, visit historical sites, enjoy water sports, and relax in the charming tavernas.

Are there any vehicle rentals on Hydra Island?

No, there are no cars or motorized vehicles allowed on Hydra Island. The main modes of transportation are walking, donkeys, and water taxis. This restriction adds to the island’s unique charm and tranquility.

What is the best time to visit Hydra Island?

The best time to visit Hydra Island is during the spring (April to June) or autumn (September to October) when the weather is pleasant, and the island is less crowded. The summer months can be busy with tourists.

Can I go hiking on Hydra Island?

Yes, Hydra Island offers several hiking trails that lead to scenic viewpoints and secluded beaches. Hiking is a popular activity for visitors who want to explore the island’s natural beauty.

What are the local delicacies I should try on Hydra Island?

When visiting Hydra, don’t miss trying local dishes such as “Hydriotiki Spetsofai” (sausage stew), “Ladopita” (olive oil pie), fresh seafood, and “Amygdalota” (almond cookies).

Are there any cultural events or festivals on Hydra Island?

Hydra hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year, including art exhibitions, music concerts, and religious celebrations. Check the local events calendar for upcoming festivities during your visit.

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