Visiting Hydra, another island near Athens

Visiting Hydra, another island near Athens

Another island I’ve visited in Greece! This time it was Hydra‘s turn, a special island where there are no motorized vehicles! Or you cycle (I didn’t see any bikes), or you take a donkey…, or you do like myself, and you walk.

Another solo trip I did. Traveling solo has big advantages, but also some disadvantages… Back then I wasn’t sure yet what was my favorite way of traveling, I was still figuring it out, but that was a different day for sure.

A day trip to Hydra

But…, traveling solo when your travel book is Siddhartha…, I really don’t recommend doing it! It is a great book, I highly recommend it, and who suggested it to me hit the nail! However…, reading more than half of the book in just one day, while you are traveling solo…, it is quite depressing. I can really mess up with one’s head, and that’s why I bought Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons to detox! Siddhartha is a great book with a (too) intense story, but not for moments when you have way too much time to think about the storyline…

Hydra is not such a small island, though I just wandered in the main town, which has a lot to do! It is awesome to let oneself get lost in towns like that, it is like traveling to a not so distant past. And that sea…, I didn’t see a single sand beach, in fact, I didn’t find a single beach according to our standards. What I saw were just rocks with stairs so that people can dive…, and it was amazing!

Overview of Hydra town
Overview of Hydra town

But my weekend wasn’t just Hydra. That was just on Sunday, but on Saturday I also had some other activities! Another picnic with the couchsurfing crowd, another great afternoon and evening!

Another big group of new people I met, the CS community in Athens is (or was) amazing, with picnics of over 50 people! And really welcoming people, an event that impressed a lot of people, without much planning. And even more amazing was the new people I met, two french guys who were doing a round the world trip. But meeting an American who is epileptic and is also going around the world on a BIKE to raise awareness, that’s epic!

Ah, and I almost forgot that I almost appeared on the Greek TV! A pity that not all agreed to it, but the Greek TV was doing a short documentary about couchsurfing, and they were invited to the picnic!

What to do in Hydra?

One of the most popular activities to do in Hydra is the first one I will NOT recommend. Yes, I am suggesting not to do a popular activity.

Visiting Hydra, another island near Athens
Visiting Hydra, another island near Athens

The pack donkeys in the town

The donkeys are a symbol of the greek islands, there are countless photos (like the one in this article) where you can find a donkey next to a while and blue house. However, the way they use these animals is quite extreme. It is a fact that there are a lot of donkeys, and that their “workload” is split between several donkeys. But they are still used to carry loads and people up stairs and hills, and sometimes even during very hot days. My recommendation is really to just take photos, but do not contribute to these kind of business.

Horse riding through the island

On the other hand, there are similar activities that I actually recommend. A horse riding tour through the island. Horses are way stronger animals, and the routes they use for horses are also way more acceptable. There are tours that last from one hour to a full day, which is a great way to explore one island that does have no motorized traffic.

Explore the beaches!

Visiting a greek island and not even considering to go to the beach should be considered a crime! Hydra’s beaches aren’t that popular, however the Greek sea is really pleasant. Any corner is nice for a few dives. There are several beaches in the island, and some of them on a walking distance from the town. One of the beaches I went to doesn’t even have any sand, you jump from the rock directly to the water! For those who can’t cope with sand, this is a great option.

Getting lost between Hydra and Kamini

Hydra and Kamini are two towns next to each other, if I am not mistaken, Kamini is even just considered as district of Hydra. The walk from Hydra to Kamini is really nice, and you will be exposed to really nice views. One such a small town, the ideal is really trying to get lost and walk without a destination in mind, through all those narrow streets and hills. And of course, take loads of photos!

Where is Hydra?

Hydra is about one hour and 20 minutes trip from the port of Piraeus (Athens). Unlike most Greek Islands, where you can book a ticket quite easily, for Hydra you must do that with some time in advance. The boats to this island are fast boats, just for people (no cars). Which means, way smaller than the normal ferries, and much faster too.

By Gil Sousa

Portuguese expat in Cork, traveler and food enthusiastic.

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