You can get to Hydra by fast ferry from Piraeus on Blue Star Ferries (bluestarferries.com) or Alpha Lines (alphalines.gr) in 1 ½ hours for €28.50 one way. Alternatively, you can drive and leave your car either at Metohi (184km/114 miles/3 hours) and take the local boat (20 minutes, €6.50 one way, hydralines.gr) or at Ermioni (169km/105 miles /2 ½ hours) from where the boat takes 25 minutes, and costs from €8 and up one way (Blue Star Ferries, or local boats).
Coffee – Food
Hydra has many great hangouts. Enjoy your first and last coffee on the island at Isalos (Tel. ( 30) 22980.296.61), ideally located by the fast ferry terminal. The souvlaki is great at Yamas Hydra (Tel. ( 30) 22980.533.66), and we recommend Caprice (Tel. ( 30) 22980.524.54) for pizza, and Psaropoula (Tel. ( 30) 22980.525.73) for fish on a terrace with a view. Xeri Elia (Tel. ( 30) 22980.528.86) is the place to go for stories about Leonard Cohen, Oraia Hydra (Tel. ( 30) 22980.525.56) offers gourmet flavors, and Omilos (Tel. ( 30) 22980.538.00) will give you a taste of the old cosmopolitan Hydra – it is now a restaurant, but the space used to house the legendary nightclub Lagoudera. If you want to combine a swim with a cocktail, stop by Hydroneta (Tel. ( 30) 22980.541.60). Sunset (Tel. ( 30) 22980.520.67), located next door, is another lovely restaurant. Out of town, at Vlychos, you’ll find Marina’s Taverna (Tel. ( 30) 22980.524.96), run by a native of Spetses who has conquered the island’s gastronomic scene.
The award-winning luxury boutique hotel Hydrea (Tel. ( 30) 22980.529.20) is housed in an early 19th-century estate which was renovated 11 years ago (from €300 for a suite). Another good option, with attentively designed interiors and a variety of rooms, is Angelica Traditional Boutique Hotel (Tel. ( 30) 22980.532.02, angelica.gr, from €100 for a double room). The guesthouse Glaros (Tel. ( 30) 22980.520.85), conveniently located in a little street above the harbor, offers an economical option by Hydra standards, from €70 for a double room.
Rafalias Pharmacy (Tel. ( 30) 22980.520.59) distills the essence of Hydra: it’s a living museum, founded in 1890, which keeps alive the sense of another era. It’s worth dropping by for its cosmetics as well; they’re based on old family recipes. Elena Votsi is famous, among other things, for designing the medals for the 2004 Olympic Games, a design which will remain the same for all future Olympic Games. Stop by her shop (Tel. ( 30) 22980.526.37) in the harbor to see her jewelry and other designs and to be greeted by her enthusiastic smile.
Hydra boasts many boutiques with fine clothes, and a number of gift shops with items featuring the island’s animals, but perhaps the best souvenirs you can take home are the local amygdalota, the almond macaroons served at Greek weddings (almonds are a symbol of fertility). You can find these at Anemoni (Tel. ( 30) 22980.531.36) and at Tsangaris (Tel. ( 30) 22980.523.14), where you can choose between two types, the almond-shaped variety and the square ones known as zacharobaklavades.
On the island, goods are transported by porters using handcarts as well as by the island’s equines. You’ll find the porters at the harbor and they’ll help you with your luggage for around €10 a bag. Those interested in the island’s trails will find information on a board by the clock tower in the port, or in the online guide created by Antonis Kalogirou which can be accessed by scanning the QR code on that board. Please note that some of the trails may not be regularly maintained, so they’re only safe for experienced hikers. Guided hikes are offered by Stelios Bakratsas (discoverhydra.com). Information on fishing trips can be found at hydraboat.com, and on historical walking tours at hydrawalkingtours.com.