So, I’ve got the Island blues… Three weeks ago I was on the most beautiful island I’ve ever seen and today I’m sitting at my desk in South-East London where the sun isn’t sure if it wants to come out or not. This summer my boyfriend Emilio’s family invited me on holiday with them to Hydra, Greece, an island a few hours ferry ride from Athens. Literally from the moment, the ferry docked we were in awe of how stunning the island is. Something especially enchanting about the island is the fact that it is motor vehicle free, apart from 2 rubbish collection trucks and a fire engine, which means all the roads are beautifully cobbled and there’s no noise pollution. Idyllic or what. It also means that to get around the island you have to walk or get a water taxi and luggage is taken to your accommodation by donkey! I was really lucky to have been sent a lovely new suitcase by Kipling just before my holiday so I was ready!
We flew to Athens airport, got a taxi to Piraeus and then a two-hour ferry from Piraeus to Hydra. It sounds quite long but it was surprisingly smooth as we ended up having a delicious lunch in Piraeus and I learned how to play Rumi Kub on the ferry!
Once Emilio and I got off the ferry we walked ten minutes to our accommodation for the night Angelica’s Boutique Hotel. The hotel was in a fantastic location, just a few backstreets from the hustle and bustle (barely) of the port. After speaking to frequent visitors to the island it seemed to be a popular choice but what really firmed my fondness was the fact that they stocked my favourite Greek cosmetics brand, Korres, in the bathroom.
The next day we packed our suitcases onto a donkey and headed to meet his family at our villa for the week in Kamini. It was on the other side of the island but was only a 15-minute walk!
What to Do
Hydra is a tiny island and I kind of feel that it’s main to do is to take in all the gorgeous architecture and idyllic scenery. The port is full of restaurants, bars and a few extremely expensive clothing and jewellery shops. There are two museums on the island which have exhibitions and have music nights on the weekend and an art gallery or two scattered around the island. It’s also an island full of creatives so keep your eye open for posters for art exhibitions!
We spent the majority of our time eating and swimming. If we weren’t swimming in the pool at the villa, we were climbing down the step ladders on the side of the cliffs to the sea and having a quick dip on our way to or from town.
There are quite a few beaches to visit but the ones I would suggest are:
Kastéllo beach – This small beach is perfect for a morning dip or an afternoon chill. The beach has about 30 sun beds which are owned by Castelo bar which meets the beach. Have a swim in the AM and then grab some pancakes at the restaurant. Or go for lunch at Castelo and then once you’ve digested head down to the beach for a swim. The cocktails are also great there but don’t drink and swim kids!
Ágios Nikólaos beach – we visited this beach twice and both times we loved it. We caught the 12€ return ferry from Kamini harbour (you can also grab from the port) and it took about 15/20 minutes to get to this gorgeous little beach. The sea is clean and clear and perfect for those who want a little paddle or a little adventure as there are some caves you can swim to. There’s no toilets or facilities but there is a little hut bar where you can buy water, cocktails, beer and of course Greek salad and watermelon. If you’re heading back to Kamini on the return ferry be sure to tell them! If not they won’t stop at the port and you’ll have to walk back from town. Trust me!
Where to Eat
Being a Greek island, naturally, all the food was amazing. Fresh salads, gorgeous fish and all the dips a girl could dream of. We were lucky enough to have a BBQ at our villa so two of the nights we cooked ourselves. One day we visited the butchers, supermarket and bakers and created a beautiful Souvlaki scene at home – easy for us as my boyfriend is the Souvlaki King. Another day we woke up at 7 am, walked to the port and bought 2/3 kilos of Parrot fish from the fisherman. What a beautiful experience that was.
To eat out I would definitely suggest going to the little Taverna near Kamini port. I can’t remember the name nor can I find it on the map but when you’re there you’ll know it as it’s the traditional looking Taverna that’s always busy and has loud Greek music playing (a lot of the time live). Although we ate the cheapest here, I would say this was the best food we ate all holiday. So good we went back twice! The waitress is also an absolute babe and told us other places to check out whilst we were there, for example, Techne which was fully booked for dinner all week so we didn’t get to try it!
For ice cream, you HAVE TO visit the ice cream parlour opposite the hospital (Hydra is so small that these directions are perfect). The ice cream in this place is incredible probably due to the fact that the owner makes it all on the island using the milk from her own sheep. Definitely, try the fig flavour, it’s delicious. This is also the perfect place to grab a sweet breakfast or afternoon snack as the lady sells the most beautiful looking pastries and cakes.
Where to Drink
We went to a few bars whilst we were there but none of them stood out like Hydronetta bar. Go here to watch the waves and chill to reggae music. The cocktails were not only dangerously strong, but they were absolutely delicious which is even more dangerous as you could drink four without even realising how drunk you are… not that I did that at all… be sure to try the peach daiquiri, freshly juiced peaches and a lot of rum. Take me back!
We didn’t end up going but if you’re looking for a party then Omilos is your bar! It opens at midnight and closes… well I walked past at 7 am on a Sunday and there was no sign of the party stopping anytime soon. It’s right on the sea front so I imagine watching the sunrise there is an amazing experience!
So here is my quick guide to Hydra, Greece. I would 100% recommend going for a romantic holiday with your partner or visiting for the day if you’re on a near by island!