Things to Do in Hydra with Kids
Hydra is a small Greek island just 2 hours away from Athens and is an ideal weekend getaway or a one-day destination. When I say that it is an ‘ideal one-day destination’ it doesn’t mean that it is boring, it just means that it is pretty expensive. Actually, it is an ideal ‘lifelong destination’. Leonard Cohen, Mick Jagger, Henry Miller and many other rich and famous fell in love with Hydra and bought houses here. Hydra is not just an island for the rich, but for all the artists who find peace and inspiration there and yes, it is also great for depressed people. Leonard Cohen, my favorite songwriter, moved to Hydra, wrote a book of poetry and two novels and most importantly, overcame depression that bothered him for a long time.
Donkeys in Hydra
There are no cars and motorcycles on the island, so you can hear weird noises, like the sound of silence, the sound of waves or the wind rustling in the tree branches. When you arrive at the harbor, you are welcomed by donkeys. Well, they actually don’t really have a welcome-face; they look a bit tired, sleepy or sad. I am not sure. They have more of a poker face so you never know if something’s wrong. It is hard to read a donkey’s facial expression. I am not an expert about donkeys, but it doesn’t look to me that they are crazy about this way of life.
I must say that I don’t support using animals in this way, especially when overweight people ride them, but the kids desperately wanted to take a short ride. I thought that the donkeys probably wouldn’t mind having two little kids on their backs for a while. The donkey’s names were Julia and Pica. It cost us $15 for 20 minutes of riding and sightseeing. The kids were delighted and we gave the donkeys a tip too.
Beautiful 18th-century fortress-style houses are a reminder of the history of this island. Very strict laws protect the traditional and unique architecture of the island of Hydra. If someone wants to build a new house there, it must stay in keeping with the island’s historic architectural style. Everywhere you will find the same shapes and colors, blue painted doors and white-washed walls that reflect the sunlight.
The Boy on a Dolphin
Hydra became famous for the filming of the movie ‘Boy on the Dolphin’ starring Sophia Loren. When asked to name her favorite place where she made a film, the famous actress replied, “I did a picture, ‘The Boy on a Dolphin’ in Hydra, Greece. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world.” In front of the statue is a small castle which always makes children wonder what is behind the door.
The whole waterfront is covered with tents that create shade all day long. However, no facades of the surrounding houses can be seen. It has practical value, but it doesn’t look nice from an aesthetic point of view at all. But who cares about aesthetics when it is about 50 degrees? It is pleasant to sit under or walk along the waterfront, even at noon.
Best Beaches in Hydra
If you are on Hydra for just one day and need some quick refreshment, the best beach to go to is Avlaki bay, a small pebble beach with a concrete platform. It takes only 10 minutes to walk there from the harbor.
If you are in a walking mood, in about 1.5 kilometers you will find a more attractive pebble beach, Kaminia, in front of a fabulous but slightly expensive restaurant called ‘Castello’. You can read here about other swimming spots on the island.
Where to eat in Hydra
We actually didn’t eat at this lovely restaurant. We just took a look at the menu and price list and then took a photo. The children were disappointed and demonstrated this while we were leaving, so we told them that we were going to a better place for lunch. We went to the market and bought cherries. Who would eat in that expensive restaurant when it is a cherry season?
If you like islands with no cars, you can read our humorous travel story about Greek island Spetses.