Hydra Island

HYDRA - 25 minutes by sea from Ermioni                                                   15 minutes by sea from Metohi

Hydra is a very beautiful island, a real historical gem and is steeped in a seafaring tradition of a bygone age.  The entire island is a preserved national monument and has retained all its 17th and 18th Century charm and quaintness.  Hydra's spectacular attractive harbour remains hidden from sea view, until just before you enter the port.  A beautiful horsehoe of white painted, red tiled houses and huge mansions that cascade down to the harbour, packed with cruise ships, fishing boats, yachts and water-taxis, making Hydra one of the most photographed, filmed and painted harbours in the whole of Greece.  In 1956*, Sophia Loren and Alan Ladd filmed Boy on a Dolphin on the island, where a statue opposite Phaedra's windmill, stands to commemorate this historic international cinematic event.  

Hydra is very cosmopolitan, attracting thousands of visitors by its numerous charms.  It gets very busy from Easter to September.   In the past, the island has attracted famous writers, musicians, artists and celebrities.  Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen lived here during much of the 1960s, members of the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, even Joan and Jackie Collins have been spotted on the island.  Just recently, Nicole Kiddman bought a house on Hydra. The charm of Hydra is increased by the fact that there are no private vehicles or motorbikes on the island.  All transport is by donkeys for all activities of life, including the transportation of luggage and sightseeing.  Donkeys are far better suited to the narrow steeped streets of the town.  To get around Hydra you need sensible shoes.  Walk or hire a donkey, or for places and beaches further along the coast, rent a water-taxi from the main harbour.

Art exhibitions and music festivals are organised throughout the year, especially during the high season, where many artists who live on the island exhibit their work.  The towns Maritime Museum is full of interesting historical nautical and seafaring objects, located close to the boat arrival/departure point.  Admission: 5 Euros.  

Visit and enjoy the wonderful views from the monastery of Profitis Ilias and the convent of Ayai Efpraxia to the South.  There is also a dirt road which takes you to the high plateau of Episkopi, from which footpaths take you to the Western end of the island.  A shorter 20 minute coastal walk, from the harbour, will take you along a paved pathway to the traditional fishing hamlet of Kamini.  A small walk-through taverna on the way to Kamini offers wonderful fresh food with picturesque views of the sea and passing boats. A 30 minute coastal walk from the harbour, in the opposite direction (North-East) will bring you to the popular Mandraki beach. 

The town of Hydra has everything the visitor could ask for, many smart boutiques and galleries, gift shops selling art, paintings, hand-made jewellery and textiles, and a variety of restaurants, tavernas, cafes and bars.  The town is very compact that everywhere and everything is within a short walking distance.  Hydra gives visitors the opportunity to experience the island's old way of life in a modern environment.  Hydraean sea-captains' mansions, have been converted into hotels and guest-houses with local style and colour.  Nestled in splendid gardens are fine restaurants for a variety of tastes.  Small traditional tavernas offer the day's catch accompanied by wine straight from the barrel, and quaint ouzo bars grill octopus over hot coals along the streets.

Try to visit Hydra around the third week of June, to celebrate the islands contribution to the Greek War of Independence, which is referred to as the Miaoulia festival.  Named after Admiral Andreas Vokos, nicknamed 'Miaoulis', he was Greece's Nelson, who scattered the Turkish navy with the use of fire-ships.  The annual festival is held on the weekend closest to 21st June and includes the setting alight of a boat in the main harbour.  There is a large statue of Admiral 'Miaoulis' (1769-1835) at the harbour entrance.

There is also a festival of traditional Greek 'shadow' puppets towards the end of June.

At the centre of the port, behind the clock-tower, there is the Metropolis of Hydra, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin.  The Metropolis was built in 1648, and reconstructed in 1774 following a major earthquake.  The smaller of its two bell-towers dates back to 1806, and the larger tower has a clock and a bell, weighing approximately 2 tons.  The church also served as a monastery, and today the monastery cells house the Mayor's office and a small Ecclesiastical museum.  Admission to the museum: 2 Euros. 

How to get from Ermioni to Hydra:

From Ermioni, Hellenic Seaways tickets for Hydra can be purchased from Pop's tourist office, Tel: +30 27540 31514, in the Limani square, prior to departure. Contact: hellenicseaways.gr/en for the actual sailing times.  The sea crossing from Ermioni to Hydra takes approximately 25 minutes. Tickets cost 8.00 Euros per person, one way. 

MAY 2017 Sailing times:  

  • From ERMIONI to HYDRA
  • 06:40 - 11:25 - 14:45 - 18:50 (Monday-Thursday)    06:40 - 11:25 - 17:05 (Friday)     06:40 - 10:45 - 14:45 - 17:05 (Saturday)
  • 06:40 - 14:45 - 17:30 (Sunday)       
  • From HYDRA to ERMIONI
  • 12:05 - 15:40 - 21:35 (Monday-Thursday)    12:05 - 15:40 - 21:10 (Friday)     12:05 - 15:40 - 21:00 (Saturday)    
  • 09:40 - 15:40 - 21:10 (Sunday)

Always check sailing times prior to departure, especially during public holidays, as Hellenic Seaways can cancel or change sailing times without notice.
During the height of summer, the island of Hydra gets very busy and crowded.  Please do ensure you are on the right Hellenic Seaways boat for your return journey back to Ermioni, as some boats arriving at the set time could be sailing directly to Piraeus.

New - There is a sea crossing offered by SpeedLine on the Christos motor speed-boat, with additional sailing times during the day, and late crossings on Friday evenings.  Tickets can be purchased from Pop's tourist office, prior to departure. Tel: +30 27540 31514 or +30 697 724 8369 and +30 698 358 8769 .  Contact: hydratourstravel.gr for the actual sailing times.  The sea crossing from Ermioni to Hydra takes approximately 40 minutes.  Tickets cost 7.00 Euros per person, one way. 

  • From ERMIONI to HYDRA
  • 08:00 - 11:00 - 15:00 (Monday-Thursday)    08:00 - 11:00 - 15:00 - 18:00 - 23:00 (Friday)    08:00 - 11:00 - 15:00 (Saturday)
  • 08:00 - 11:00 - 15:00 (Sunday)
  • From HYDRA to ERMIONI
  • 09:30 - 12:00 - 16:00 (Monday-Thursday)    09:30 - 12:00 - 16:00 - 19:00 - 00:15 (Friday)    09:30 - 12:00 - 16:00 (Saturday)
  • 09:30 - 12:00 - 16:00 (Sunday)   

 

How to get from Ermioni to Hydra via Metohi:  

There are numerous boat transfers from the small port of Metohi to Hydra, situated approximately 19kms East of Ermioni, opposite Hydra town.  The sea crossing from Metohi to Hydra takes approximately 15 minutes, and the ticket prices are from 5 Euros per person, one way. There are daily sailings from Metohi and Hydra throughout the year, with additional sailings during the busy Summer months.  Check actual sailing times from the contact links below.

There are now two company operators sailing to Hydra from Metohi, the original Hydra Lines with the Freedom II and Freedom III boats, ticket price 6.50 Euros per person, and the new Hydra Celebrity operator with the Hydra Express boat, ticket price only 5 Euros per person.

Hydra Lines contact:  www.hydralines.gr  or +30 6947 325 263 or +30 6944 242 141 for the confirmed sailing times.

Hydra Celebrity contact:  www.hydracelebrity.gr  or +30 6981 222 550 or +30 22980 53000 for the confirmed sailing times. 

  • From METOHI TO HYDRA (during high Summer months)
  • Hydra Lines:  Freedom II and Freedom III   6.50 Euros per person, one way.
  • 08:00 - 10:00 - 10:30 - 12:00 - 12:30 - 14:00 - 14:30 - 16:00 - 16:30 - 18:00 - 18:30 - 20:00 - 20:30 - 21:30 - 23:30 - 23:59 
  • Hydra Celebrity:  Hydra Express   5.00 Euros per person, one way.
  • 08:30 - 11:00 - 13:00 - 15:00 - 17:00 - 19:00      Also 21:00 Friday and Sunday only.
  • From HYDRA to METOHI (during high Summer months)
  • Hydra Lines:  Freedom II and Freedom III   6.50 Euros per person, one way.
  • 07:00 - 09:00 - 09:30 - 11:00 - 11:30 - 13:00 - 13:30 - 15:00 - 15:30 - 17:00 - 17:30 - 19:00 - 19:30 - 21:00 - 23:30
  • Hydra Celebrity:  Hydra Express   5.00 Euros per person, one way.
  • 07:30 - 10:00 - 12:00 - 14:00 - 16:00 - 18:00      Also 20:00 Friday and Sunday only.

Road journey time from Ermioni to Metohi is approximately 20 minutes.  When driving from Ermioni, look out for the Hydra > road sign on the right hand side, turn right here and drive towards the sea.  You will approach a kiosk where you buy your boat ticket and a large car-parking area (which is usually full) with the Hydra Lines Freedom boats and Hydra Celebrity Hydra Express boat station at the far end.  You can park your vehicle along the roadside leading to the boats, or a shaded car-parking area is available in the official car-park, where the cost is 5 Euros per day.  

There are also fast 'sea-taxis' available from the waterfront at Hydra, which charge approximately 35 Euros, one way, to Ermioni. Contact: +30 2298 053 690

* Boy on a dolphin was filmed in the Autumn of 1956, and put on general release in 1957 by 20th Century Fox, in CinemaScope.  The film was Sophia Loren's first English speaking role as Phaedra, a poor Greek sponge diver, when she was 23 years old.  Filmed on location around Hydra town, wih scenes from Athens, Rhodes, Delos and Meteora.  If you watch the film, you will see how much, or little, Hydra has changed over the last sixty years.  The white steamship 'Neraida' used in this film is now a floating museum, bearthed at Piraeus.  She was a fast passenger ship that linked Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni during the 1950's -1970's.  The totally re-fitted 'Neraida' made her final visit and voyage from Ermioni and Hydra in September 2013.

Location

Hydra
Argo-Saronic Island of Hydra
Greece
37° 20' 59.4996" N, 23° 27' 57.8412" E
Picture Gallery
The picturesque town of Hydra Sailing into the horseshoe shaped harbour Arriving by Flying Dolphin Numerous ships and boats come and go every day The Flying Cat arriving at the harbour The main bastion at the harbour entrance The Hydra Maritime Museum building Large cruise ships arrive from Piraeus with day visitors The donkeys are waiting for you There are numerous tourist shops along the waterfront Donkeys are the main mode of transport on Hydra Time to 'take-a-break' when the ships depart Souvenir and gift shops line the main waterfront When do I get my turn? Rides for the children are an adventure The locals just like to have a few words with friends Beautifully preseved homes around the harbour General view of the main harbour The clocktower is the focal point of Hydra town Homes rise like an amphitheatre around the harbour The smaller inner harbour Small leisure craft mix with the private yachts Fishing is still a main form of income for the Hydriots View of the municipal buildings around the harbour Water taxis are a quick form of transport around the island The coastal pathway from Hydra town to Kamini Views along the coastal pathway to Kamini You have to walk through this taverna on your walk to Kamini The small fishing port of Kamini Have a cool drink in the port taverna in Kamini Phaedra's* windmill just outside Hydra town The 'Boy on a Dolphin' statue by Phaedra's* windmill Sophia Loren as Phaedra in 'Boy on a Dolphin' in 1956 'Neraida' in Hydra in the mid 1950's 'Neraida' entering Hydra harbour in the 1960's Re-fitted 'Neraida' in Ermioni and Hydra in 2013 Sea Taxi's will take you to nearby beaches and Ermioni Hydra Lines 'Freedom II' boat ready to set off from Metohi Hellenic Seaways 'Flying Dolphin' Hellenic Seaways 'FlyingCat'