Located just 37 nautical miles from the chaotic cosmopolitanism of Athens, the picturesque island of Hydra is everything the bustling ancient metropolis is not. In contrast to the hectic traffic, bustling crowds and sprawling modernity found elsewhere, life on Hydra unfolds much as it has for hundreds of years: slowly, leisurely, and above all quietly
Owing to the strict zoning codes and restrictive legislation that make the island a Greek national treasure, it is possible to experience the geography and culture it has to offer without the distractions of motorized vehicles, gaudy resort architecture or nature-marring modern construction techniques. In fact, the only modernized vehicles allowed anywhere on the island is the weekly garbage truck that wends its way through the ancient, stone streets and primitive paths that link the few, remote collections of humanity about the island. Most of the island’s tiny permanent population lives in the one main town that emerges up the steep slopes around the port. Apart from walking, people and goods are moved about primarily by the fleet of donkeys that serves the island and the small number of water taxis.
Though separated from the Peloponnese by a relatively narrow strip of water, Hydra’s beautiful port, historic captains’ mansions and isolated (still functioning) Greek Orthodox monasteries feel as far from the bustle of the modern world as it’s possible to get without venturing into the desolation of the wilds. The island is accessible by a variety of ferries, private yachts, fishing boats, and water taxis. From the Athenian port of Piraeus, a variety of lumbering traditional ferries, catamarans and high-speed hydrofoils make daily visits to Hydra for very affordable ticket prices.