Hydra is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece, which is located in the Aegean Sea. Hydra is located between the Saronic Gulf and the Argolic Gulf. The island was known as Hydrea during ancient times, which was derived from the Greek word for “water.” This was in reference to the natural springs on the island.
The island of Hydra is home to a number of churches as well as six Orthodox monasteries. Two of the monasteries overlook the harbour: Ayia Efpraxia and Profitis Ilias, which was founded in the 10th century. The island’s cathedral is the old Monastery of the Dormition of the Virgin. The monastery contains the tomb of Lazaros Kountouriotis who was the richest sea-captain on Hydra. He gave up his entire fortune to help the Greek War of Independence. The mansion of Lazaros Kountouriotis (and his brother George), as well as those of Boudouri, Kriezi, Sahini, Voulgari, and Miaouli, all contain collections of 18th century island furniture. The mansion of Tsamadou (a captain) is now a Maritime Academy and that mansion of another captain named Tombazi is part of the Athens School of Fine Arts, owned by the University of Athens.
During the 19th century, Hydra was home to 10,000 sailors and 125 boats. Shipping brought much prosperity to the island, which can be seen in the many sea captains mansions around the harbour during the Greek Revolution. At this time the island had approximately 16,000 inhabitants. With the creation of the Greek state and the end of the revolution, Hydra would slowly lose its maritime position in the eastern Mediterranean. This lead to unemployment and an economic crisis on the island.
During the Axis occupation of Greece during World War II, there would be famine on Hydra and about eight percent of the population is thought to have starved.
Administratve Region For Hydra Island, Greece
Area Of Hydra Island, Greece
64.443 km2 (24.882 sq mi)
Population Of Hydra Island, Greece
Top Attractions In Hydra Island, Greece
Lazaros Koundouriotis Museum – Located in Hydra Town. Museum is housed in one of the many mansions on Hydra Island. This is an official National Historic Museum.
Ecclesiastical Museum – Located in Hydra Town. This Museum is housed in the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin. Displayed are ecclesiastical items such as clothing of priests and other holy items dating from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Bastions With Cannons – Located on the left and right of the harbour at Hydra. These bastions date back to the 18th century. They were first used to protect Hydra from attacks by the Turkish fleet.
Merchant Marine Academy – Founded in 1749 and first called Saint Nikolaos. Since 1930 the academy has been located in a manor where Anastasios Tsamados and Athanasios Koulouras lived. The first boat that belonged to the academy was called Saint George.
Kamini Beach – This beach is located between Hydra Town and Vlichos. The beach is small and water is clear and shallow, making it ideal for families with children. Tavernas nearby for access to food and drinks.
Spilia Beach – Located close to the main harbour. This beach resembles a cave more than a beach making it unique. Concrete beds were created to make the perfect spots for lounging.
Historical Archives Museum – Perfect spot for a history lover. Located in an old stone mansion at Hydra Port. Museum features paintings, ship models, rare books, and manuscripts.
Monastery of Prophet Elias – A two-hour hike from the port, this monastery is found on the northern slope of Mount Eros. Monastery was built in the 19th century on the site of a small abandoned chapel. A community of four monks resides there.
Hydronetta Beach – This is another beach that isn’t made of sand or pebbles. This beach has concrete sun beds and a wonderful view. The feature that makes this beach so popular is that music is played for much of the day.
Dakos Island – A little island between Hydra and Spetses. This island doesn’t have many inhabitants, making it quiet and peaceful. If you’re a nature lover, you’ll love to walk around this island.