Hydra is a special island with mountainous and rocky terrain. The soil of the island is quite dry, while it is deprived of spring water. Agriculture and animal husbandry were the main economic activities of the inhabitants, while in recent years the island has developed as a tourist destination. At the same time, it is the only island in the country where the use of cars is prohibited and the inhabitants carry out their movements with donkeys and on foot. In relation to the other islands, Hydra has a large settlement, where all the economic and administrative activity of the island is concentrated.
The island is located in the Argosaronic complex, opposite the coast of Ermionida and has an area of 50 sq.km. The shape of the island is elongated while it is covered by a mountain ridge that peaks above Kaminia (Eres 588m.). Other high peaks are Pyrgos 557m. and Obori 518m. The island has 4 main settlements: Hydra, is the largest with all public services, hotels, restaurants and the port concentrated there. Next, Mantraki in the east and Episkopi and Vlychos in the west. Across from Hydra is the islet of Dokos, a small island that was inhabited for the first time in the Bronze Age.
The Map of Hydra by Anavasi, is the best way to explore the beautiful island of Hydra
Places of Interest
Arriving in Hydra by boat, the visitor faces the white houses with tiled roofs and the imposing ridge of the island, as he enters the port. The city of the island is built in an amphitheater layout, making it difficult to travel within the city. On the waterfront of the island you will find the Metropolis, where it functioned as a monastery until 1832. The three-aisled catholicon is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Saint Charalambos and Saint Nicholas. The other buildings house the Town Hall and the Ecclesiastical Museum. You will also find the Historical Archive - Hydra Museum, where the museum's exhibits include weapons of Hydra sailors, while the art gallery includes portraits of historical figures, battleships and a remarkable collection of naval charts. The historical archive has a rich collection of manuscripts, mainly codices and communal elements from the 18th and 19th centuries. At the same time, it also has a library with 15,000 volumes and rare publications. Leaving the port, it is worth going uphill to Kala Pigadia, a settlement built by the island's governor, Georgios Voulgaris. Two wells are preserved there and it is worth enjoying the view of the city, especially at sunset. You will also find the church of Agios Konstantinos Hydra, dedicated to the homonymous Saint who was martyred in the settlement of
Kiaphas Leaving the city, to the west you will find the unique beaches offered for swimming such as Spilia, Hydroneta, Avlaki, Vlychos and Molos. Between Molo and Palamida you will find the small church of Agios Kyprianos also known as église du vin (small church built with wine) as it was built after a sailor saved from the storm in the small bay
Further south you will find the settlement of Episkopi, a sparsely populated settlement with few houses, built in the Hydraic hinterland.
East of the city you will find Mantraki with the castle, while above it you will find the monasteries of Madrona, Agios Nikolaos and Agia Triada.
The best way to get around Hydra is by foot. Due to the ban on vehicles, all movements are on foot. That is why you will find a dense network of paths that cross the island from one end to the other.
Hydra Town - Profitis Ilias - Monastery - Mt. Eros 4,4km
The island's summit is indeed a windy place with exceptional views. The ascent can be combined with a visit to the monastery of Profitis Ilias on route. With the harbour as a starting point, follow Miaouli Street, which is the main road, past Kala Pigadia and continue uphill with zigzags. A crossroad at the second large hairpin bend (1.5 km from the harbour) leads off to the church of Agios Konstantinos on the right. Continue on the road for another 500 metres (last section is earth road) and then take the fairly steep mule track through a pine forest. Further up one comes to a left fork in the path leading to a farmhouse near the monastery. In the last section of the ascent one can either climb the stone steps or continue on the winding mule track. The monastery is still inhabited by monks and its most infamous attraction is the cell in which Kolokotronis, a hero of the Greek War of Independence, was imprisoned. Monks usually leave a jug of water and sweets at the entrance, a welcome treat after the steep climb of 1.5 hours and 480 m height difference.
To continue to the summit, exit from a small door at the side of the monastery, cross the field behind the enclosure and pass through the opening in the dry- stone wall to find the markings for the summit a few paces to the left. The path heads up through thickets of Phoenician junipers. The summit, which is very sleep on the southern face, offers a panoramic view of the southern half of the island from Episkopi to the cape of Rigas (a half hour from the monastery).
After the ascent to the highest peak the other great challenge for the hiker is the crossing of the island. Its shape naturally suggests two such crossings: one heading east and another towards the southwest. For both routes the return trip can be made by boat or water taxi.
Hydra-Mandraki - Agios Nikolaos Monastery - Zourva Monastery - Faros (Lighthouse) 12,5km
From the harbour take the road eastwards past the Museum-Historical Archives, the Port Authorities and beneath the statue of Miaoulis. The route up to Mandraki is waymarked with green arrows. On reaching Mandraki, leave the beach and Mira Mare hotel to your left and turn south. Shortly before the rubbish dump an earth road begins that lead up to the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos (5.5 km from Hydra). The footpath to Zourva starts at the entrance to the monastery and is marked with red arrows and signs. From here on up to the next monastery the route crosses old herding grounds (still in use) on the slopes of Mt Obori. On approaching the monastery one can see a renovated flagstone path leading directly to the pier on the bay below the monastery (an alternative, shorter approach). About an hour and a half from the monastery of Agios Nikolaos one reaches the Panagia of Zourva convent (Dormition of the Virgin), which is still inhabited by nuns. Continuing towards the lighthouse one passes a large depression sown with wheat that shimmers like gold at the beginning of summer. The path passes a farmhouse and climbs a short distance to an old chapel before descending on a rocky slope towards yet another farmhouse and chapel of Agios Nikolaos. From here on the path becomes fainter and skirts a hill to emerge at the lip of a precipice above the bay of Zogou. The steps here lead off to the nearby chapel of Agios loannikios (an hour from the convent of Zourva). About half a kilometre away is the lighthouse from which one can easily descend to the concrete pier and hail a water taxi (weather permitting).
Hydra - Vlichos - Palamidas - Episkopi - Agios Nikolaos Beach 12,4km
From the harbour head westward towards Kamini along the flagstone lane, which continues along the coast up to Palamidas (4.5 km from the harbour). From here an earth road climbs south over the pass and chapel of Agia Marina before gradually descending to Episkopi. Before reaching the settlement, an opening in a dry-stone wall and a sign marks the path that heads southwest. The path descends into a basin, passing old farmhouses, and then climbs the slopes of Gerakinas mountain. At the pass there is a fine view of Zogeri's scattered farmsteads and surrounding herding grounds, with the island's rugged coastline and deserted islets in the distance. From the pass descend southwest to enter a pine-clad ravine. The path follows the left bank of the ravine and then makes a detour around a rocky outcrop to cross over to the right bank. After yet another chapel dedicated to Agios Nikolaos the path emerges at a very pretty beach. During the summer months there is a dense schedule of boats ferrying visitors here from town