Everything you need to know about how to get to Hydra from Athens by ferry or day trip. Here's how to visit the beautiful Saronic island of Hydra made easy!
Hydra Island Near Athens
The Saronic island of Hydra is an easy day trip from Athens, and a popular destination with visitors and Greeks alike. Combining its rich history with a cosmopolitan vibe, its traffic free nature is a stark contrast to busy Athens.
Getting to Hydra is pretty straightforward, with several different options. These can take anywhere from just over an hour to three and a half hours.Here is how to get to Hydra Greece from Pireaus, the port of Athens.
Athens to Hydra Ferry
All the ferries from Athens to Hydra leave from Piraeus Port. There are several high-speed ferries daily on the Pireaus to Hydra route, with some added services on weekends.
All the services are run by Blue Star Ferries, a company that you may have used before when travelling to the Greek islands.
You can check the Athens to Hydra ferry schedule and book your tickets at www.ferryhopper.com.
If you are planning to take the ferry at a specific time and if you are not flexible, it’s best to book at least a few days in advance.
Ferry Piraeus – Hydra
The ferries travelling to Hydra for 2019 are two large catamarans, called Flying Cat 4 and Flying Cat 6, and two smaller vessels called Sea Dolphins. Some of the services are going directly to Hydra, whereas the rest stop at Poros on the way.
Flying Cat 4 is a 55 metre Catamaran ferry that fits up to 438 passengers, and it is the fastest boat on that route, with a maximum speed of 42 knots. Flying Cat 6 is smaller and much slower – at 40 metres length, it fits up to 336 people and its maximum speed is 28 knots.
The Flying Dolphins are even smaller, around 35 metres, and fit 130 passengers. They are quite fast, reaching a top speed of 35 knots. As they are very small they are the most bumpy option, and the least likely to depart if the wind picks up. If you are prone to sea sickness, you might prefer to avoid them.
For any of these boats, tickets are priced at 30.50 euro per person per trip at the time of writing.
We find that Ferryhopper is the most convenient platform to book a ferry to Hydra from Athens.
The cheap ferry to Hydra
If you visit Greece in July and August and you are on a budget, you can also take the Agia Marina Aiginis, which stops at Aegina on the way to Hydra. It departs from Piraeus at 9am daily (9.30 on Sundays), and leaves Hydra at 16.30.
As it takes 3.5 hours it is not ideal if you just want to visit Hydra on a day trip, but if you want to stay longer on the island it’s not a bad option. Tickets cost 19.50.
The boats to Hydra depart from Gate E8, a short walk from the Pireaus metro / suburban station. Once you have come out of Pireaus metro, cross the street and follow the coast to the left. More information here on how to get to Piraeus from Athens.
Day trips to Hydra – DIY Version
It is entirely possible to plan a day trip to Hydra on your own, by catching the first ferry of the day to Hydra, and the last ferry back to Pireaus.
This will allow you about 10 hours on the island, which will give you plenty of time to stroll around the main town, admire the unique architecture and the cobbled streets, and perhaps go for a quick splash in one of the beaches closest to the town.
If you are interested in history and art, you can choose to visit either the Historical Archive of Hydra, or the Koundouriotis Mansion, that has been transformed into a museum.
If you are more attracted to the outdoors, you can either hike or hire a water-taxi to take you to a beach far from the town, where you can swim and snorkel.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to enjoy a meal and coffee by the coast, watching the world go by.
Organized day trip to Hydra
If you can’t decide whether to visit Hydra, Poros or Aegina, another option is to take an organized day trip to these three Saronic islands. This trip includes lunch, and it’s a good introduction to all three islands, though you won’t have much time on either of them.
I've got a review about a similar trip here – 3 island cruise from Athens.
Staying overnight in Hydra
Just like every other place in the world, if you want to fully appreciate Hydra it’s best to spend a couple of days, or maybe more.
The island has 11 lovely hiking paths, and as cars are not allowed, it really feels like you have escaped from it all. Following the hiking trails you will spot many different types of flowers, and you will also come across the island’s unique monasteries.
Water taxis, taking you to the beaches around the island, are available at the port. It is also possible to rent a private boat for a day and explore the hidden bays of the island, or organize a dive through the Hydra Diving Centre.
If you decide to stay in Hydra for a few days, make sure you book your accommodation well in advance, especially if you are planning to go on a weekend.
Some of the best hotels on Hydra are Phaedra Hotel, a renovated 19th century mansion also recommended by Rick Steves, and Mistral Hotel, a traditional stone mansion. Both hotels are located very centrally in Hydra town, and close to some great restaurants.
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Hopefully this guide on how to get to Hydra Greece will help you plan your trip. If you have any other tips, please leave a comment below!