Hydra is an island full of vibrancy and activity. The chambers of the old captains, the ancient wells, the stone-paved courtyards, and the old churches transport you back to the 18th century, to a time when Hydra was at the height of its glory. The harbor town has a cosmopolitan atmosphere, full of elegance and culture. As you walk through the streets of Hydra town, you can sense the liveliness of the place.
History of Hydra
According to more recent archaeological research, Hydra has been inhabited since the Neolithic period and has subsequently been influenced by various cultures and populations. Various peoples such as the Dryopes, Mycenaeans, Carians, Samians, and Athenian refugees from the Persian wars settled and inhabited Hydra. The island reached its peak during the Protogeometric and Mycenaean periods.
The beginning of the modern settlement of Hydra dates back to 1460 when the first refugee families from the conquered areas of the Peloponnese settled on the island. These families established Kiáfa, the first organized residential settlement of the Byzantine era, in a secure location with direct access to pastures, fields, and the sea.
During the Greek War of Independence in 1821, Hydra played a significant role. Dominating the sea during the seven-year struggle, it contributed decisively to the liberation of Greece, sacrificing human lives, ships, and funds.
Beaches in Hydra
- Kaminia: A beach with pebbles and shallow waters, ideal for families and children. It is located next to the picturesque fishing village of Kaminia with its beautiful natural harbor.
- Vlychos: A beautiful beach with pebbles and crystal-clear waters, with white houses climbing up the cliffs, adding a magical touch. It is accessible on foot from the coastal road or by sea taxi.
- Mandraki: The island's only sandy beach, located in a secluded corner of a closed bay, a few minutes away from the port of Hydra. It is ideal for water sports such as water skiing and windsurfing.
- Agios Nikolaos: This secluded beach with fine pebbles, crystalline waters, and pine tree foliage is nestled in a cove on the southwestern edge of the island. It has sunbeds and umbrellas. You can reach it on foot or by sea taxi.
- Bisti: A beach with pebbles embraced by a lush pine forest on the southern side of the island. The crystal-clear waters of the bay are surrounded by high cliffs and are suitable for swimming and spearfishing. You can reach it by sea taxi.
Sights in Hydra
- To enjoy a romantic walk along the narrow, cobblestone streets of Hydra Town, one of the best-preserved traditional settlements in Europe, marveling at the vibrant bougainvillea and the charming stone houses with their tiled roofs.
- To witness the breathtaking sunset from the Bastions, where cannons stand on both sides of Hydra's port, creating a picturesque scene.
- To visit the house where the renowned Canadian poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen resided for six years in the 1960s, immersing oneself in the creative aura of this iconic figure.
- To explore the innovative contemporary art exhibitions at the DESTE Foundation Project Space, located in the Old Slaughterhouse, and appreciate the cutting-edge artworks on display.
- To partake in the captivating Miaoulia Festival, held in June, and be enthralled by its festivities. The highlight of the celebration is a re-enactment of the historic 1821 Battle of Hydra, featuring the burning of a replica Turkish frigate accompanied by classical music, culminating in a magnificent fireworks display.