Hydra Town

General information

Hydra Town is the capital and port of the island! It is widely considered to be one of the most picturesque island capitals in Greece, whilst hidden in a small, natural harbor. The town is a now declared traditional and protected settlement, filled with beautiful mansions (owned by affluent ship owners and merchants) that date back to the 19th century!

In addition, two of the island’s key elements are its vintage buildings that have remained unchanged by modern-style tourism, as well as Hydra’s complete lack of wheeled vehicles, making it a great destination for both hiking and water taxi trips across the island!

Most traditional, stone-built houses of Hydra Town stand very close to one another, evenly spread on two neighboring, yet rugged hills. These hills and buildings are further separated by narrow, whitewashed, stone-paved streets and alleys. Furthermore, some of the more beautiful structures of Hydra have tile roofs, as well as bright colors over windows, doors, and loggia walls, which add a splash of color to the gray stone walls and ochre tones of Hydra Town.

Moreover, Hydra Town is widely known for being the birthplace and home of a revolutionary core of navy experts during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, who would end up being one of Greece’s main advantages during the War of Independence. The capital of Hydra has also been a birthplace and a revered inspiration for artists, given that many painters, photographers, musicians, writers, poets, and lyricists have been born and raised in Hydra Town or have chosen the island as their primary or secondary residence!

 

Brief History

Hydra does not have a rich historical background before the start of the 15th century since it was mainly under the rule of a handful of neighboring civilizations, such as the Mycenaeans and the Troezens. Then, after the late 1400s, people from around Hydra and the neighboring countries started to settle down on the island in order to take advantage of its land and soil.

Kiafa, the (at that time) capital of Hydra, started to get populated after the Venetian-Turkish and the Russian-Turkish wars of the 17th century, slowly shaping the island to become one of the more intriguing ones in the Saronic Gulf! Given the port’s position in the Aegean waters, it is no wonder that Hydra was a growing naval and shipping force to be reckoned with.

Through the years, the capital moved closer toward the port, whereas Kiafa remained a point of interest amongst residents and visitors due to its fantastic architectural designs and the views it provides over the port of Hydra. On the other hand, European visitors left behind lots of major stylistic shifts that would come to influence Hydriots, evident in their prestigious architectural designs and the way they approach their relationship with the island’s nature.

Sights

Since Hydra Town hosts the vast majority of the island’s population and structures, it is filled with mesmerizing buildings, artistic creations, and unique spots connected with its history and cultural background, as well as lots of places where one can have an amazing time!

Bastions

The bastions are one of its main attractions, boasting arrays of huge cannons that were used to protect the Greek navy and the island’s inhabitants from a possible Turkish siege during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Mansions

Some of the island’s most stunning buildings, the unique archontika mansions are three or four-floor structures that were constructed in order to be the houses of rich ship owners! They feature fantastic exterior and interior designs, while some have since been turned into museums! More specifically, the mesmerizing Tombazis Mansion has changed little through the years, making it an ideal example of retro-style architecture, whereas it now operates as part of the Athens School of Fine Arts!

Other well-known archontika are Lazaros Koundouriotis Mansion and Pavlos Koundouriotis Mansion (both of which turned into museums showcasing their lives and experiences), the Historical Archives Museum, and the Merchant Marine Academy housed inside the Tsamadou Mansion, as well as the buildings of Kriezis, Votsis, Oikonomou, and Sachinis!

Famous Streets

Some of the town’s most well-known districts, the narrow and picturesque Miaouli Street passes through the center of Hydra Town, while Antoniou Lignou Street, a gorgeous alleyway full of large steps, connects Kiafa to the west side of the port, effectively creating a central route for transporting food and various supplies!

Churches and Religious Buildings

One will spot a handful of churches in Hydra Town, the most notable of which is the island’s Metropolitan Church, called the Cathedral of the Assumption! The Cathedral was founded in 1648 and hosts a couple of marble-built, three-floor bell towers, as well as the busts of revered heroes, including the likes of Lazaros Kountouriotis, King George I, and Andreas Miaoulis, amongst others!

Other notable religious sights in Hydra Town include the Church of Agios Konstantinos, which features some of the most beautiful designs across the island, and the Monastery of Agia Fotini, spotted on the town’s southeastern outskirts!

Other Sights, Museums, and Art

Other sights in Hydra Town include the bronze, full-body statue of Miaoulis (on the left side of the port), the memorial bench of Leonard Cohen, and the legendary Rafalias Pharmacy, where one can purchase pharmaceutical recipes that have been passed down for generations and witness antique furniture from 1890!

Hydra Town is also a host to a couple of interesting museums and art spaces, including the Tetsis Museum, dedicated to the life and work of painter Panayiotis Tetsis, the house of world-famous Leonard Cohen (sadly not open for a visit), and the contemporary DESTE Foundation Project art space.

Beaches

Most beaches are isolated and completely sheltered, though Hydra Town does have a few cozy spots for a quick swim. Head west of the port to check out the diving spots of Spilia Beach and Hydroneta Beach, or walk to the majestic Avlaki Beach to witness its amazing scenery!
In addition, Hydra offers water taxis that connect the Port with remote seashores, taking you from the capital to a secluded spot of your preference.

Restaurants and Nightlife

Visitors will spot lots of options for eating and drinking, ranging from traditional taverns to fine dining cuisine to enjoy their preferred meals, as well as a plethora of cafeterias and some fantastic pastry shops hidden in the town’s alleyways!
It is important to note that Hydra has a lively nightlife, so one may find plentiful bars and some clubs that fit their mood, whether that will be a casual evening cocktail or an all-nighter.

Hotels

Hydra Town is quite a popular holiday destination for residents of Athens, the Peloponnese, and international visitors while still keeping a sense of its originality by not implementing grandiose, modern architecture. This approach has helped Hydra offer plenty of upscale accommodation options with a retro aura, as well as various traditional rooms for rent!

Ways to Move Around

Hydra is an island without any means of transportation besides water taxis, thus, it is better to be well-prepared for lots of walking and trekking. Also, most of the island’s pathways have adequate signage and markings in order to help everyone with orientation.

Hotels in Town

We have made a selection of the best hotels in Town.
Recommended by Greeka

Hydrea

Luxury

Hydrea Hotel is a five-star hotel in Hydra Town hosting eight suites with comfortable beds, views of the Saronic Gulf, a handful of beautiful shared spaces, and a traditional design.

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Recommended by Greeka

Hydroussa

3 stars

Hotel Hydroussa consists of 40 rooms, a magnificent drawing room and dinning area and picturesque yard full of flowers. Each room has its own private bathroom, direct dial phone, air conditioning, color TV and other facilities while the highly trained personnel will be more than happy to service you ...

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Recommended by Greeka

Cotommatae

4 stars

Cotommatae is a four-star hotel that houses rooms with a vintage aura, a shared courtyard, a veranda for all guests, wooden furniture, a lounge with a fireplace, and views over Hydra Town!

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Things to See & Do in Town

Check out the things to see & do in Town during your stay and explore what the area has to offer.

Town Map

Explore our interactive map of Town.

Reviews

5/5.0
1 Review
  • RIley WAugh 11 Sep 2023
    Monastery

    Beautiful!


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