by llee_wu / CC BY-ND 2.0
Are you tired of the city noise, the rush of modern life and foul air? Meet Hydra, the destination which will make you forget about time. Hydra is a small island of Greece, located close to the capital Athens, between the Argolic and Saronic gulf of Aegean Sea. Despite the increasing popularity, it is still among the places with minimal human intervention.
Natural beauty is only one of Hydra advantages which attract tourists from all over the world but the main characteristic of the island is its tranquility undisturbed by any cars or motors. Hydra is accessible only by sea. And once you get there, transportation is possible only via boats, donkeys or on foot - this is the only Greek island where the use of motor vehicles is fully forbidden. Their lack complements the captivating atmosphere of timelessness and the pure air finishes the magic of this island. The restricted number of hotels allows only few tourists to stay for long and that is why you will not stuck upon masses of people excluding the day visitors and cruise boats.
by Francisco Anzola / CC BY 2.0
The residents of Hydra have settled in Hydra Town, the most inhabited place on the island and the only one which can be described as a village. It is the heart and soul of the island, a meeting point for artists and favorite place of wealthy Athenians for weekends and holidays. The architecture is strictly protected and new construction is rarely permitted and only if it corresponds to the traditional island style. Points of interest are the stone bastions, the historical museum at the port and the Church of the Assumption dating back to 15 century.
by Dennis Jarvis / CC BY-SA 2.0
The noisiest place is the promenade where all cafes, taverns and souvenirs shops are concentrated, and the donkeys are peacefully standing at the port. If you go up the alleys between the houses, you will notice that it is unbelievably quiet around, especially in the old neighborhood of Kiafa, full of flowers and with stunning sea views. Have you considered going to the beach however, you need to get out of Hydra Town. It is not that you can`t swim here - two emblematic swimming spots can be found next to the town port - Spilia and Hydronetta, terraced rocks on which people sunbath and dive in the sea. But if you are looking for a real sunbed with parasol, think about getting to Castello, Vlychos or Plakes - these are the closest to Hydra Town beaches, within 1.5 to 3 km. Unwilling to ride a donkey or walk in the heat? Check the water taxis at the port, there are plenty of them waiting to take you to any beach you want.
by Pedro / CC BY 2.0
And speaking about beaches, we should mention here that Hydra is not a typical beach destination. There are no sandy beaches on the island, all are covered with pebbles or smooth boulders, including the seafloor around the shore. But the water is exceptionally transparent, with green or blue hues, and your privacy is guaranteed despite there is a boat pier at every beach - simply the sandy beach lovers head to other islands for this purpose. Except for the aforementioned Castello, Vlychos and Plakes, Hydra has two more organized beach. These are Agios Nikolaos and Bisti, two blue coves in the remotest west part of the island and also accessible by boat.
by Kamil Porembiński / CC BY-SA 2.0
When the sun goes down the view of Hydra port is not less special than during the day. The lights of all seafront taverns are reflected in the sea, illuminating the line of yachts, and the only sound comes from the clattering of dishes and the chatter of visitors. It is not a surprise that Hydra is considered one of the most romantic places in Greece but yet keep in mind that the prices here are slightly higher than the average for the country, and have you decided to stay overnight, you`d better book in advance.