You probably think of the islands in the Argosaronikos as destinations for little day trips from Athens and Peloponnesus. These serene islands are a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. But when it comes to some of these wonderful places, you’ll need more than a day to properly explore what they have to offer.
Take Hydra. An island of contradictions, Hydra is glamorous and cosmopolitan, calm and tranquil – all at the same time. And it’s perfect for a family vacation.
The longer you stay on Hydra, the more you’ll get a feel for the easy-going, relaxed pace of life here. The locals live simply, in beautiful houses with brightly colored windows and doors, or magnificent manors perched on cliff faces with a breathtaking view of the sea.
The kids are free to roam around to their hearts’ content. There are absolutely no cars – one of the best things about Hydra! You can walk among the cobbled alleyways without worrying about cars or motorcycles, and take in the colors and rhythms of local life.
Your kids will come to know every inch of this island! From the well-behaved, sociable cats to the friendly donkeys, the animals of Hydra make great playmates. But that’s not all! The kids will make new human friends too – and everyone will have a wonderful time swimming in the sea or exploring nature.
“But KidsLoveGreece, there aren’t any nice beaches on Hydra!” you exclaim. Here’s why you’re wrong. Avlaki, Kamini, and Vlychos are all fantastic beaches with smooth round pebbles and shallow water, and they’re very close to the main land. Then there are Aghios Nikolaos, Bistis, and Limioniza, which are similar but a little further away. All six beaches are great for small children. The shores of Hydra are trimmed with lush foliage to keep you nice and cool. The Mira Mira beach in Mandraki is highly recommended for families as well. More advanced swimmers – or families with older children – can visit the Spilia right next to the Main Town. The waters deepen very quickly, so make sure your kids can swim well and supervise them at all times.
Take some time to explore the areas surrounding the beaches of Avlaki, Kamini, Vlychos and Mandraki. You’ll discover a different side of Hydra – less touristy and cosmopolitan, but just as charming. There are private beaches and taverns, and lots of opportunities for swimming, diving, fishing, and hiking. You can get to these spots on foot, by boat, or by water taxi.
What to eat
The people of Hydra know all about good, traditional food. Traditional dishes include kydonato (veal with quinces), bean soup with pasta, bouillabaisse, fish soup, and all manner of seafood and fish – the island offers its own unique spin on every dish. You can’t miss the local almond pastries – sometimes called achladakia or zacharobaklavades, these delightful confections get their delicate flavor from almonds, rosewater, and semolina. You’ll certainly want to take home a few boxes – for friends, family, or late-night snacking!
Where to stay
The Bratsera Hotel is the only hotel on Hydra with a swimming pool. Angelica and the Cotommatae offer spa amenities.
Families should know
- Book your tickets and hotel rooms with time to spare, especially if you plan to visit during the peak tourist season (July-August). When you’re reserving your room, ask how long it takes to walk to the nearest beach – anything longer than a 3-4 minute walk will be very tiring, as there are usually lots of steps to contend with.
Kids will love
The sense of freedom… wondering around the main village, without listening to parents screaming “be careful… a car is approaching!!”
Parents will love
The beautiful mansions perched on cliff faces with a breathtaking sea views
Best season to visit
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