Hydra: Highspeeds and Flying Dolphins
Hydra is one of the
easiest islands to get to from Athens. Unfortunately the ferry companies decided it was not worth running them so now you are stuck taking the Flying Dolphins or the highspeed Flying Cat which also makes it one of the most expensive islands to get to. This may not be a big deal to you who are just going there and coming back, but is a big issue with the islanders. For those who want to stop along the way you can also get
there in installments, stopping in Aegina, Methena or
Poros and taking the next boat and continuing your journey just as you could with the ferries. Only now after a couple islands you may have blown your travel budget for the week so if you want to see the other Saronic Islands as well you should probably go with the One-Day-Three-Island Saronic Gulf cruise that runs 364 days a year and visits all the
Saronic Islands except Spetses. The Flying
Dolphins and Flying Cats leave every two or three hours in the summer
from Pireaus and take about an hour and a quarter to get to Hydra. The first one leaves at 8am and the last one around 7pm on weekdays and 8:30 on Friday.
It's a good idea to buy your tickets in advance
especially during the summer and on weekends. There are a couple larger high-speed boats, infinitely more comfortable than the Flying Dolphins though on such a short trip it really does not matter all that much.
If you arrive
burdened with luggage don't worry about the
possibility that it may be a climb to your hotel.
The donkeys who mingle in the port are for the
purpose of transferring you, your luggage or your
kids to your hotel. Kids love them, at least I know I did
when I was a kid. You will also notice the
frequent comings and goings of the water-taxis.
These are the daredevils of the island
transportation world, or appear to be, though they
are actually quite safe and can get you to where
you are going fast. If you are staying at the
Miramare, Kamini, Vlyhos or anywhere too far to drag your luggage that has access to the sea then this is
the way to go. There is a sign with prices at the
water-taxi stand. They will even take you to Spetses, Porto Helli, Nafplion and anywhere on the Peloponessos you can afford to go.
To leave Hydra I
always preferred the ferry rather then the Flying Dolphin.
You could sit outside and watch the sunset. You pass
and the mainland and it is like taking a trip down
a river. Unfortunately with this no longer an option you should go for the larger catamarans if there is one and the Flying Dolphins as a last resort. The first boat back to Pireaus leaves at 7:25 am and the last one leaves at 8pm though on Sunday night there is a later one. Make sure you get to Pireaus in time to
get to your hotel in Athens, shower and go out on
the town. Be sure to buy your tickets at least a day in
advance for the Flying
Dolphins or Flying Cats especially if you are returning on Sunday night. When you arrive in
Pireaus there are usually taxis waiting if
you don't want to take the metro or I recommend
the Famous Taxi Driver to get you to your
hotel or the airport.
There is an alternative way of getting to Hydra. Take a bus or taxi to Hermioni or Porto Heli in The Argolis and you can catch the Flying Dolphin or Flying Cat several times a day. It is not a bad idea if you are staying in Nafplion, though it is a long bus ride and expensive taxi trip from Athens. You can also drive to Metochi, a small hole-in-the-wall town between Hermioni and
Galata and there is a boat that leaves from a battered concrete dock and crosses directly across to Hydra every few hours in the summer for about 6 euros a person. The trip takes about 12 minutes. If you are driving around The Argolis and you just want to pop over to Hydra for a couple hours this is a way to do it. Many people who have houses in Hydra leave their cars here in the parking lot. Some people have left their cars and never returned to get them for whatever reason. If you plan to go back to the mainland through Mochlos you need to arrange for a taxi to pick you up on the other side. If you have money to burn you can also come by helicopter which you can arrange through any of the Athens Travel Agencies.