A small paradise just off the Peloponnesian coast that has long been a favourite weekend destination for chic Athenians, Hydra has been blissfully saved from the ravages of mass tourism. Thanks to the strict laws that protect the island’s traditional architecture, Hydra is today the undeniable jewel of the Saronic Gulf.
The island became popular during the ‘60s, attracting a bohemian crowd of celebrities and artists and half a century later, Hydra still is a favourite destination for the world’s rich and famous, maintaining its former glory with panache.
The strict rules that were inflicted on the construction and renovation of buildings left the island with a stunning waterfront of well-preserved mansions that breathe old-world elegance. Most of these mansions were built by the island’s sea-captains and shipping magnates, reflecting its long nautical tradition.
The harbour with its neoclassical buildings, boats rocking gently at the marina, the trees that pop up among the houses and the horse-drawn carriages that cruise the promenade create the epitome of summer living that is made even more perfect by the fact that the island is virtually traffic-free. Cars and motorbikes are prohibited in Hydra, the main means of transport being donkeys and the famous water-taxis that connect the island’s villages.