There is one main town, known simply as "Hydra port" (pop. 1,900 in 2011). It consists of a crescent-shaped harbor, around which is centered a strand of restaurants, shops, markets, and galleries that cater to tourists and locals. Steep stone streets lead up and outwards from the harbor area. Most of the local residences, as well as the hostelries on the island are located on these streets.
Hydra is the hidden gem of Greek islands. It is not the typical Greek island as the only transportation means you can use are your feet, donkeys and sea taxis to take you from one side of the island to the other. The inhabited area, however, is so compact that most people walk everywhere. As a resort and escape place for many artists you might stumble upon many galleries and craft shops of people showing their artistic side.
In Hydra you can find your own private paradise as the island is built on rock and by walking alongside the coast you can discover a small private beach you could use to escape and leave the world behind you, maybe except the small tavern where you will visit to taste marvelous Greek food and replenish your ouzo supplies.
The island has preserved its exquisite stone architecture since the 16th century so you design and architecture lovers will find themselves walking around the rustic and chic properties. The quality of food is superb and hidden gems can be found everywhere including amongst the typical Greek taverns also international quality cuisine and at the end don't forget, sea food come fresh every day from the local fishermen. For the night life lovers, several chic bars would offer you the best sunset view ever seen from the edge of the island. You can enjoy your cocktail on the small streets of the island and look at the people passing by.
Hydra benefits from numerous bays and natural harbors, and has a strong maritime culture. The island remains 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 (ranked 11th out of 111 islands worldwide) as a unique destination preserving its "integrity of place".
In the 19th Century, Hydra was home to some 125 boats and 10,000 sailors. The mansions of the sea captains that ring the harbor are a testament to the prosperity that shipping brought to the island which, at the date of the Revolution, had 16,000 inhabitants. During the Greek Revolution, the fleets of Hydra and the other two naval islands of Psara and Spetses were able to wrest control of the Eastern Aegean Sea from the Ottoman Empire.
Hydra is famous for its mansions. The Tsamadou mansion is on the left-hand side of the harbor as one enters is now a Maritime Academy. The Tombazi mansion is now part of the School of Fine Arts. The mansions of Lazarus and George Kountouriotis, Boudouri, Kriezi, Voulgari, Sahini and Miaouli all contain collections of 18th Century island furniture. The descendants of Lazarus Kountouriotis donated his mansion to the Historic-Ethnologic Institute of Greece. Today, it operates as extension branch of the National Museum of History.
There are numerous churches and six Orthodox monasteries. Two particularly noteworthy monasteries are Profitis Ilias, founded in the 10th Century, and Ayia Efpraxia. Both are on a hill overlooking the main harbor.
High speed hydrofoils and catamarans from Piraeus, some 37 nautical miles (69 km) away, serve Hydra. There is also a, 20 minute, passenger ferry from Hydra port to Metochi on the Peloponnese coast.
By plane to Athens and from there either by boat (2 hours) or by car to mainland Peloponesse (3 hours) and sea taxi ( 15 min)
By helicopter from Athens (15 min)
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