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HYDRA An island made of stone
ocky Hydra is one of the most picturesque of the Saronic islands. It is separated from the Peloponnese by a narrow strip of water. When you sail into the crescent shaped harbour the town of Hydra unfolds before your eyes with its neo-classical greystone mansions, its narrow cobbled lanes and the surprising spectacle of the aligned donkeys waiting for someone to hire them. Hydra is by far one of the most tranquil islands in Greece since it is completely car-free. The donkey is the basic means of transportation. All the mansions of Hydra are stone made and usually three or four stories tall. They were designed by Venetian and Genoese architects and are still very well preserved. The waterfront is a playground of cafés, pricey restaurants and quaint tavernas. At night, pay a visit to the legendary “Pirate Bar” for rock and 80s nostalgia. For breathtaking sea views follow the pebbly path leading to the fishing village of Kamini. There you can still feel the aura of Leonard Cohen – one of the most famous former residents of Hydra. If you dream of sandy beaches, Hydra isn’t your island. It has many beaches with rocks or pebbles.
ISLANDS info How to get there Departure harbour is Piraeus, which is divided into various gates according to your destination. The ferries and hydrofoils to the Saronic islands (Aegina, Agistri, Methana, Poros, Hydra & Spetses) depart from Gate E8 which is located at the east side of the harbour. There are large signs throughout the harbour area, so you can't miss it. Ferries line up at one end of the quay. You should purchase your ticket at the ticket offices, but if you're running late they will let you buy your ticket onboard. There are two Hydrofoil companies at the other end of the quay. Timetables can be found at the quay-side ticket offices as well as on the Internet. Tickets must be purchased at the ticket offices: you cannot buy one onboard.
94 _ CITY GUIDE summer 2014
Photo VANGELIS KORONAKIS
In a car-free island, donkeys and mules are the basic means of transportation.