What’s in a weekend break? For some it is the opportunity to visit new places and meet new people, for some others it is the chance to bond with their friends and family. And for many it is the chance to live a life they can’t have. For three long days you can be a tychoon or a boheme or anything else you fancy without breaking the bank or your regular life. Check the crowds in most fashionable destinations in Greece and you will see what I mean.
I travel every single week of the year and I am generally happy with the life I lead, so friends and family was the only thing that could pull me away from Athens on the long weekend of October 28th.
The enduring indian summer suggested an island destination. Hydra is fairly close to Athens, having one of the most beautiful ports that you could find on any Greek island.
It became famous in the 50s when “Boy on a Dolphin”, featuring Sophia Loren was filmed here and the international jet set discovered its charms. It is also well known for its naval history and the key role it played in the uprising against the Ottomans in the 19th century.
This was also the weekend of the Piraeus-Hydra sailing regatta, so the island had to accommodate an additional crowd of more than 90+ sailing crews, on top of the regular and casual weekend visitors.
There are no roads on the island so you cannot go by car. The best option is the hydrofoil which needs two hours through a quick stop in Poros, another beautiful island in the Saronicos gulf.
Although not a particularly small island, Hydra actually looks and feels tiny. Without roads or beaches and a single village of 2000 people, you have no where to go, so it is a good idea to choose carefully your company. Mine, was a bunch of six adults and five kids, including my very own offsprings.
The only means of transportation once on the island is the donkey. You can hire one at the port but it is too cliché and smelly for my taste. Since there isn’t much to do, we spend our time mostly doing two things: eating and drinking.
Two of the places really stood out in the eat and drink marathon. First, a taverna with a lovely open terrace, going by the name “The Hidden Port”, which is actually hidden somewhere in the narrow streets behind the left side of the port. Every single dish, including fish soup, lamb, dolma, black-eyed beans, fresh shrimps, beef liver and more, was cooked impeccably. Then, the Pirate bar, a joint that plays very good music, from the 70s and 80s but also some more contemporary. The Pirate features a life size pirate standing in the bar area and giving the tone.
There is a bunch of other good or excellent eateries, cafes and bars, but except the local museum and some shopping there is not much you can do. The days were warm and the sea inviting, although I did not use the opportunity.
Even in the evening the temperature was very pleasant and Hydra is particularly charming after dark.
A short walk from the main takes you to the small port of Kaminia.
I am not sure whether I would visit again soon, but Hydra served its purpose perfectly for the weekend break.