We spent 5 nights on the island of Hydra in September. We had previously visited the island for one day when our cruise ship called there four years ago and we promised ourselves we would return. We had also had 5 nights in Spetses before travelling on the ‘Flying Cat’ to Hydra – a journey of about 30 minutes. We stayed in a lovely apartment in the town called Hydras Chromata. It was only a few minutes walk from the harbour where the catamaran comes in and was in a very convenient location for restaurants and shops and for getting the beach boats.
The island is car free, in fact the only vehicle we saw was a dustcart! Transportation of goods is by mule and they are seen standing along the harbour waiting for boats to come in so they can start work carrying anything from building materials to crates of beer! The town comprises narrow, hilly streets with stone underfoot and several steps, so not very suitable if you have limited mobility.
The beaches, as in many parts of Greece, were pebble or shingle with coarse sand but there are also several swimming areas that are accessed just by descending a ladder from rocks or a concrete platform. We found the sea quite warm in September, crystal clear and the weather was beautiful during our whole stay in Greece with the exception of one rainy day when we moved from Spetses to Hydra. Some beaches are accessible on foot from Hydra town and they are reached by a very pleasant walk along the hillside with lovely sea views on the way. We found we walked several miles in those few days but a 3 mile walk to a beach was no hardship with such lovely scenery all around and it kept us fit!
Our favourite beaches, however, were Bisti and St Nicholas, 30 minutes (€12 pp) and 45 minutes (€15) by boat respectively. The boat ride itself was enjoyable – at this time of year they run 2-3 per day there and back. We found the snorkelling from these beaches to be better than the others – not hundreds of varieties but some interesting fish including cuttlefish, octopus, flounder, sea urchins and sea caterpillars. The beaches are not big or commercialised, but they do have sunbeds that you can hire which cost €6 for two beds and an umbrella for the day. There was also a kiosk where you could buy a drink and sandwich, although we took ours with us. At this time of year they were not busy, particularly as they can only be reached by boat or a very long walk!
There are several good restaurants in walking distance, one of our favourites being The Veranda which was about 50m from our back door. It had lovely views from the terrace over the town and harbour and the food was Italian which made a nice change from the delicious Greek food we had been eating during the rest of our stay.
The island is about one and a half hours by catamaran from the Port of Piraeus on mainland Greece so quite easily accessible. We will definitely return one day, although there are so many lovely Greek islands to explore!