Every time I vist Idra (Hydra), I ask myself how is it possible that two such different worlds can be found so close together. Athens, on the one hand, a modern urban traffic-jam filled jungle, and Idra, on the other, the island completely motor-free.
Idra always called to me, because life here is lived according to gentler rhythms – human rhythms, the type which form the life-long dream of your average city-dweller. Idra is not the island for non-stop partying and craziness, but rather is a place for rebirth, rejuvenation, and soul searching. It is an ideal destination for a solo visit, for a romantic weekend with one’s better half, or for a holiday with friends – but best shared with your partner, as Idra works as a remarkable aphrodisiac.
Idra’s attraction, from the first moment, is unnoticed. We pick up on it when we walk along the numerous paths of the island. The images that we discover will undoubtedly work on our psyche. Whether alone or with friends, these images mark themselves upon our minds and stay with us for the remainder of our stay on the island.
How to set out for Idra
Get yourself to Peiraias, whether by the subway, city bus, or other means; from the last stop of the metro, turn left and after 100 meters you will see a high building. Just on the other side of the street from that building are the flying dolphins and flying cats that go to Idra (Gate E8). You can get your ticket right there and board your choice of transport. The journey lasts about 1.5 hours by fast boat or 3 hours by traditional ferry boat.
Arriving at the port of Idra…
Life in Idra begins early in the morning. As soon as you arrive on the island have a seat at one of the cafes that line the port for a coffee, an omelette, or whatever breakfast you’re in the mood for.
This is where your relaxation begins. Images like the sailboats which inch their way into the port, and the presence of mules – the only means of transporting goods on the island – make up the images that will relax your mind and which acclimate you to your new environment.
Next you’ll head for the hotel you’ve booked so you can drop off your stuff, as well as get set for your bathe at one of the island’s beaches. Idra has beautiful traditional manor houses. Many of these have been transformed by their owners into pensions. Furthermore, the island’s hotels are well-kept and most of the rooms have extensive facilities. Thus, whichever may be your choice, you’ll probably be impressed.
For your stay we suggest the Mistral hotel, a beautiful stone building in the heart of Idra. It has all modern conveniences and is only three minutes from the port.
Tel: (+30) 22980-52509
email: [email protected]
Alternatively, you might choose the Piteoussa Pension, a wonderful place to stay with personality and the personal stamp of the owner. Every room has its own character, done in impressive colors held together by an artistic ambience.
Tel: (+30) 22980-52810
email: [email protected]
Time for the beach…
Now that you’re all settled, let’s head back to the port. From there, you can take one of the little boats that head out to the outlying beaches of the island. The cost for your transportation (going and returning) is about 10.00 € per person. We suggest Bisti beach, a small bay ringed with pines. The eternal battle between the sea and the flora for this territory will enchant you. On the one hand, the waves try to reach the trees and on the other the pines try to shade the waves as they head up shore.
Right after Bisti is Agios Nikolaos, the most popular beach on the island. There are usually a lot of sailboats tied up here because it is protected from the winds.
Idra has a pleasing array of restaurants and tavernas to cover almost all preferences. Look for tavernas in the little alleyways in the city and choose fried Idraian cuttlefish which are tender and particularly flavorful. Alternatively, there are Italian restaurants and so on.
Taking a walk among the alleys…
After a nice afternoon nap or a relaxing rest on your balcony, get ready for a walk among the little streets of the city. Don’t hesitate to lose yourself in the labyrinth of the city streets.
There you will come upon lively contrasts and the colors of a bygone era in the shutters on the houses, beautiful old mansions built by Venetian architects, sea captains’ houses from the period of the Greek Revolution, cannons and turrets, memorials of the proud past of the island, images which bring alive every visitor’s imagination.
Wander about on the little road that leads west. After the mills, take a break to sit on the benches on the edge of the road. This is probably the best place to enjoy a beautiful view of the Saronic Gulf. This spot is of particular benefit to those in love.
At sunset, the port becomes even more alluring. The presence of the sailboats together with the lit-up mansions creates a unique atmosphere that could energize a stone. There is nothing else to do but relax and live in the moment! The hidden treasures of Idra are many. You just have to look for them yourself.
Ringed around the port are the majority of the bars on the island. Enjoy your drink with a view to the sea with your friends, at the classic Peiratis (Pirate), at Idroneta, or any other bar. Alternatively, you can search among the streets near the port for hidden Amalour, the most lively bar this summer.
Anyone who visits Idra once will be back. It is a place that pulls you in. If the ancient philosophers of Athens were alive today, they’d probably head to Idra for a while, to the true princess of the Saronic Gulf.