If you dream of a tranquil island free from traffic and the din of human activity, where donkeys are the only means of transportation, Hydra is it. Beautiful Mediterranean waters, cobbled streets, and preserved architecture makes Hydra an idyllic getaway. Spend a day here, and you'll know why famous artists like Leonard Cohen made this place their second home. There's even a fan festival dedicated to Cohen here once a year.
By Candice Walsh, AFAR Local Expert
Worlds away on Hydra Island
I had planned on spending four of my five days in Greece exploring a couple of the Greek islands. I knew the Cyclades were a must based on everyone's tales of Santorini and Mykonos, but we wanted to delve into another island chain as well. After a bit of research, we headed to Hydra, one of the Saronic Islands. We left Athens and arrived at Hydra's port about an hour and a half later. There's a helicopter option as well, but we went the more budget-friendly route. Being our first adventure off of Greece's main land, I was immediately taken when we arrived. THIS was the Greece that I had envisioned: cobblestone streets, traditional homes built into the hills, and donkeys as the sanctioned form of public transportation (no cars allowed). On foot, you're able to explore a number of shops, museums, restaurants and churches to get a taste of the island. Hydra's great for a day trip from Athens, but would be a great place to escape for a couple of days as well. Truly a place to disconnect.
A magical island oasis
This place was magical. It was exactly what you think of when someone mentions a Greek Island. When you arrive at port it could be 1930 or 1975. It is very untouched from the hustle and bustle of many of the other Greek islands. With the adorable Greek men and their donkeys moving slowly up the hill and the fishing boats delivering fresh fish, Hydra is a must do for an authentic Greek experience.