Weekends and holidays on Hydra

Hydra barely needs an introduction. This island off the coast of the Peloponnese is among the prettiest and most cosmopolitan in Greece. It’s famous, as much for what it has, as for what it doesn’t have. It doesn’t have roads. There are no cars, busses or even bikes. The only engine-driven vehicle on the island is the one that collects the garbage. It doesn’t have big hotels. It doesn’t have any modern construction. There isn’t much of a tourist infrastructure at all. It doesn’t have much in terms of beach. But here comes what Hydra does have. A well-protected harbour where donkeys and mules, ready to carry your luggage, line the waterfront. Impressive stone-built and whitewashed 18th and 19th century mansions and traditional houses built amphitheatrically around the harbour. A wild and beautiful landscape scattered with churches and monasteries. Several small and charming hotels. A good selection of restaurants and places to go out at night. And also, plenty of small beaches, jetties and flat rocks that are perfect for sunbathing and swimming.

Hydra attracts a fairly well-to-do crowd, but they’re not the party-going kind. Many artists, writers and intellectuals own houses, and it’s not hard to understand why they have chosen Hydra as their retreat and source of inspiration. The beauty and quiet of the island are mesmerizing. In the summer it can momentarily get crowded, especially when cruise ships make a few hours’ stop and hordes of picture snapping tourists descent on the shore. But they never stay long, nor do they venture far from the seafront, so unless you stay in a hotel right by the port you won’t be bothered by it.

Small hotels and other special places to stay in Hydra