Draw in the serenity of your surroundings
The Orloff Hotel is located on the west side of the port in a very calm area, approximately a 5-minute walk, on foot, from the hydrofoil peer. For heavy luggage, there are porters on Hydra docks and donkeys that carry everything. Upon request, if the hotel is informed in advance about arrival time, it can arrange a transfer to and from the port with a donkey or a carriage. Price is approximately 10€.
From the Cathedral in the middle of the port, you take the first street on the left after the clock tower and follow the street signs to the old pharmacy. After about 80 meters just after Anita’s restaurant, you will see the pharmacy with the yellow windows on your left and the high walls and blue windows of Orloff boutique hotel on your right.
Hydra’s Blooming Past
Traces of the Neolithic period have been found in archeological discoveries in Episkopi – Hydra. But it is established that the island was not regularly inhabited during ancient classical times. Hydra was once upon a time rich in water as its name indicates in Greek but at some point in time, for an unknown reason it became deprived of water and its inhabitants had to seek other ways to make a living besides agriculture. They became sailors since the island was on the main maritime roads of the Mediterranean.Towards the end of the 18th century, Hydra was blooming in merchant marine activities. The island was named “Little England” due to the importance of its merchant fleet and the skills of its captains. At that time Hydra counted 130 battleships of 30 000 tons each.
All the wealth of Hydra derived from the advantage it took in the English-French war at the time of Napoleon. This is when all the splendid “Captain” mansions of Miaouli, Tombazi, Oikonomou were built. This wealth and power were the starting point of the Revolution that led to the foundation of the Modern Greek state in 1830.
After the Second World War, and especially during the late fifties and the early sixties, Hydra was rediscovered by numerous artists and painters like Nikolas Chatzikiriakos-Gikas who originated from Hydra, poets like George Seferis who won the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1963 and writers like Henry Miller who wrote about Hydra in his famous book “the Colossus of Maroussi”.
Movies like the “Girl in black” (1960) by Michalis Kakoyiannis starring Sofia Loren, “The Child and the Dolphin” and especially “Phaedra” of Jules Dassin with Melina Mercouri and Anthony Quin, propelled the island to the top scenery of the international jet set like Saint-Tropez at that time and later, Mykonos. Since then it has inspired many artists who chose to live on the island and plenty of people who have just fallen in love with its pure natural beauty.
By boat from Piraeus Port
From the “Eleftherios Venizelos” airport, you can take a taxi or a bus (X96, much cheaper than the taxi) to Piraeus port, the journey lasts for approximately 1 hour.
Then go to gate E9 for the Argo-Saronic gulf to the Hellenic Seaways ticketing office (www.hsw.gr Tel +30 210 41 99 000). You can also reserve your tickets online in advance with a credit card. There are usually many departures per day to Poros, Hydra and Spetses.
The journey lasts from 1h 30 minutes to 1h 45 minutes, depending on the stopover in Poros.
By Car, starting from Athens, take the National road to Corinth and turn after the Isthmus towards Epidavros, then follow the signs to Spetses. After approximately 1h 45 minutes you will reach Galatas in front of Poros.
After Galatas it will be another 30 minutes of a winding road to get to Metochi. There is a big parking lot where you can leave your car and take a speed boat to Hydra which is just in front.
The cross over to Hydra takes 12 minutes with Freedom I & II (6,50€ per person) or with a Hydra taxi boat (about 40 € for the boat) that you can reserve on the phone at +30 22980-53690.
Transportation on Hydra
Hydra is the only Greek island where cars are prohibited. Mules, donkeys and water taxi boats (22980-53690) are the most usual way of transportation. Life goes on at the same pace as in former centuries.