The picturesque town of Hydra, capital and port of the island, has been declared a ‘preserved historical site’. Located in the centre of the island, its magnificent mansions and simple, stone-built houses overlook the entrance of the famous port.
During the War of Independence in 1821, Ibrahim Pasha called the island ‘Little England’, due to the huge fleet of 186 ships moored in the harbour with their well-trained crews ready for battle. Not to be outdone, the island produced its own fair share of heroic sailors and sea captains, such as Miaoulis, Tobazis and Sachtouris.
Since the 1950s Hydra has been a favourite destination of international jetsetters. Picasso and Chagall walked these narrow streets and Sofia Loren swam in these waters. Hydra’s numerous tavernas have served the famous and infamous alike, from international politicians to business tycoons.
Cars are not allowed on Hydra. The traditional mode of transport, the ubiquitous donkeys, are considered a very special species, since they are perfectly at home climbing up and down the hundreds of steps around the island’s streets. Visitors to Hydra can enjoy numerous cultural events throughout the year, including the Annual International Convention for Rebetiko.