Hydra is a very special destination. Cosmopolitan yet traditional, unspoilt yet so close to the Greek capital.

The first thing that hits you when you set foot on the island is the lack of cars. No fumes and noise but instead donkeys and boats galore. These are the only ways to get around the island apart from those willing to enjoy the multitude of walking paths. Water taxis are available 24/7 and bigger boats visit beaches at regular intervals during the day. There are some relatively small but organised beaches but the majority of swimming spots are there to be discovered. Crystal clear waters ready to be enjoyed if you just walk around and find your own rocky patch.

The main port town is a network of cute alley ways dotted with beautifully renovated 18th century mansion houses, which harp back to the island’s hey day and its crucial part in liberating Greece from Turkish rule. There are plenty of seaside cafes and restaurants where you enjoy the views and calming sunsets. Hydra is the ideal place to watch the world go by, especially the kind of world that can afford a yachting holiday!

Restaurants vary from basic grill/souvalki fare, to cute mezedopoleia (Greek tapas) and gourmet establishments with an Italian influence. Seafood is a must and can be enjoyed by the port or one of the smaller villages within a twenty-minute walk.

This is boutique hotel land. Mid and higher budget options, which offer a high level of service with attention to detail. Whether you want to be at the heart of it all or by the sea for a more secluded holiday, there is plenty of choice for those who prefer a less commercialised/carbon copy type of accommodation.

For all these reasons, Hydra has always attracted artists. Leonard Cohen was the first famous convert to the island with many other famous faces joining the fan club over the years. From Chagall to Tracey Emin, Hydra has a number of museums and is known for its DESTE foundation modern art exhibition during the summer months. Set up by Dakis Ioannou, a famous Greek art collector, and housed in the island’s old slaughterhouse, the DESTE foundation is a magnet for art lovers in the months of June to September.

A calm idyllic setting with an air of sophistication, a walk in the past with a very modern twist. What’s not to love?