Hydra the most famous island of the Argosaronic bay with its' cosmopolitan character promises unforgettable moments at all seasons. The amphitheatrically built city settled at the rocky terrain of the island strikes as a painting with its stone palaces. A walk through the picturesque paved alleys convinces of the balance between architecture and environment. The uniqueness of Hydra is also accented by the combination of the tone with the multiformity of the nature scene and the great historical and cultural mores.
Hydra keeps fadeless in time. During the day the peacefulness of this island is invaluable due to the curfew to cars and bicycles. The donkeys constitute the only drag. During the evening the island is metamorphosed by the Greek and foreign famous people that throng it.
Every summer numerous sailing groups date at its' port while dozens of crafts and yachts accost and wharf.
The sailing history of Hydra is also render at its' mansions, the old port, the museum and the Nautical College. The unadorned architecture at the majority of the houses and palaces with the courts and patios is the living memory of the capital city's glorious record.
At the interior of the houses the tall ceilings, the rooms, the timbered figured roofs and the unique Venetian furniture dignify splendor. The beautiful scene is completed by the ornate lagoons and marble fountains.
Beginning our tour we visit the monumental residence of Lazaros Koundouriotis with the Church of Ypapanti and the Koundouriotis Family Museum. Walking forward we face a triple of palaces. The "Miaoulis", the "Voulgaris" and the "Boudouris" with its' picturesque private chapel. At the lithic mansion of Tompazis is lodged the branch of the School of Beaux Arts. At the inland road for Kamini is also placed the rocky palace of Kriezis were today functions a nursing home. At the "Tsamades Country Seat" is logded the Mercantile Marine College, a living marine monument.
An impressing building of that period (19th century) is the Port Authority. Nobody should miss to visit the History Museum & Records next to the Port Authority that places remarkable archival material of the 1821' Greek Revolution, museum section and Library. This building was founded at 1918 and was lodged at the edifice donated by the shipowner citizen of Hydra Gikas N. Kolouras. Another admirable building is the Cathedral at the center of the port dedicated to the Assumption. It was built at 1648 and officiated as an abbey until 1832. Its' marble steeple with the clock that carries the date of 1808 and the golden and silver lusters that adorn its' inside are decorated with Madonna Lilies for the Bourbon dynasty. Today, at the Holy Church of the Assumption is instated the Ecclesiastic Museum with important hieratic heirlooms. Showplace is also considered and the Raphaelias' Pharmacy at the center of the city, founded at 1890 and preserving unchangeable the old pharmacies internal with the wooden shop-fronts.
The tour of the island and the walks in the nature will reward even the most testing excursionists. Somebody could start from Kastraki, a small offshore castle built at the end of the 17th century, nearest to the town of Hydra and admire the view. Continuing he will meet Mandraki, the war Naval Station of Hydra and the actual port of the island from 16th untill 18th century.
Among the most interesting choices is the Convent of Agios Nikolaos where you can relish the fantastic view presented by the combination between the wild but hospitable nature. The stroll lovers will walk three hours observing busheled abbeys of the 18th century and will arrive at eastern side of the island where lonely lies the Cloister of Theotokos of Zourva, a beautiful abbey and outlook with magnificent view.
At the center of the city you will find Profitis Ilias abbey, at 500 m. elevation, built in a pinewood and constituting a real oasis in the droughty Hydras' island. At his courtyard there is a lagoon with potable water, a threshing floor and stables. At the Greek Revolution it functioned as a prison. At short distance towers the highest mountain of the island, Eros. Those who love climbing ought to ascend it while at the crown you will have a panoramic view of the island, the Argosaronic bay and the Myrtoo sea. A little bit westward you will meet the Convent of Agia Efpraxia where the nuns create and sell silken handicraft.
The tour at the west side of the island will lead you to the village Episkopi, one more pine-clad location with beautiful traditional houses, olive groves and fields approachable even by the petrol engine boats. This is the most famous hunting ground of Hydra. One more interesting locus is the pass to Agia Anna' tabernacle that stands snow-white inside the pines. Other remarkable abbeys are of Agia Matrona, Agios Nikolaos and Agia Triada (Trinity) where the Avaton prevails.
All the beaches and shores at Hydra, rocky, sandy or shingled have in common the depp, crystal clear waters. You can enjoy the sea with plunges from the rocks at, Spilia, a rocky beach with throngs of people. Next to it is Hydronera at the most brilliant place of the island under cannons and besides rocks. After Hydronera is Avlaki, another beach full of shingles.
However the sally to the farthest and untrodden coast really worths. The boatmen have already taken care of the transpaortation while you can find sea-taxis. At mandrake there is one of the most well organized beaches of the island with water ski and wind surfing facilities. Yearly at the Hydra are taking place regattas.
Crossing the corniche from the town of Hydra or cruising by boat from the port you arrive at Mikro Kamini, a small and beautiful beach with shingles and traditional taverns. It is perfect for small children and water sports. Shortly after you meet the crystal-clear waters of Vlychos, Kaoumithi with it's thick sand and eventually the islands' lower moorage, Bisti a long, sandy beach appropriate for dives and spare-fishing next to a verdant pinewood.
Of excellent beauty and ideal for swimming and fishing yoy will also find the beaches of St. Nikolaos, Klimaki, Limioniza and Molos