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The island of Hydra, approx. 65 km southwest of Athens, belongs to the Saronic Islands.
Our short visit of this island was part of the Athens One Day Cruise, to which we were invited by the tour operator Hydraiki, on occasion of the TBEX in Athens.
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The island of Hydra
The island of Hydra is approx. 20 km long and 4 km wide. The largest portion of the population lives in the town of the same name at the west coast. They make their living mainly from tourism, fishing and arts and crafts.
Only means of transport are donkeys.
Right next to the harbor entrance there is a famous Naval Academy. Hydra has a long tradition in shipping. The active shipbuilding started already in 1500 AD. Two thirds of the ships of the Greek fleet came from Hydra.
Hydra played an important role in the wars of liberation against the Ottomans. Famous sailors, like Andreas Miaoulis, came from the island. At that time, the biggest portion of the woods has been destroyed, therefore, today the island appears barren today.
Art and culture
Important painters and writers were born on the island of Hydra. King Ludwig I. of Bavaria from the House of Wittelsbach was an enthusiastic promoter of art. This gave rise to the Munich School. His son Otto was the first king of Greece. At that time there was a lively cultural exchange between Bavaria and Greece. Nikolaos Vokos, born in Hydra, is one of the leading artists of the Munich School in Greek art.
Also a number of writer and musician lived on the island. The most famous representative is Leonard Cohen, who wrote two books here.
The island of Hydra often served as a film set. Already in 1957, the American movie Boy on the dolphin with Sophia Loren was shot here. The red house can still be seen at the harbor.
By a number of restrictions one could keep the idyllic charm of Hydra. Cars are forbidden. As well neon signs, discotheques, antennae, receiving dishes and plastic chairs. But also tripods when filming on the open road, what we find a little exaggerated!
The real estate prices are the highest ones in all of Greece.
Our stay was very short, so we could only visit the harbor area. The mayor’s office is housed in the Ekklisia Kimisi Theotokou Monastery. The mayor took his time to tell us everything worth knowing about Hydra. (See Reception by the Mayor of Hydra)
Back on the ship, the table was set for lunch. Afterwards, Chinese passengers practiced self-confident karaoke.
Disclosure: We were kindly invited by Hydraiki and as always, all opinions about our experiences are our own.