Published on 30 november -0001 at 0h00
Why only choose one, when the Aegean has an abundance of islands, each one more beautiful than the last? Quite simply because Hydra is unique!
10 years… It took Ulysses 10 years to cross the various seas bordering Greece and return home. Of course he wasn't in a catamaran, but these years show that visiting this country by boat requires a lot of time, to appreciate all its subtleties, beauties and riches. As you probably don't have the years necessary to do a full tour of the country, and thus start to understand this multitude of cultures, islands and anchorages, each as different as possible, we recommend that you start your visit to Greece with Athens and the surrounding islands, including the captivating Hydra!
Athens is easily accessible from wherever you are in the world, and its international airport is particularly well-organised. After retrieving your luggage, take a taxi, and in half an hour (or much more, depending on the traffic jams) you will be ready to embark aboard your catamaran, to discover the Saronic Gulf's islands. And about 40 miles south of Piraeus (Athens' port), you will find an incredibly charming little island: Hydra!
On arriving in Hydra's little harbour, it is hard to believe that this island was one of the most powerful in Greece in the 18th and 19th centuries, thanks to its shipowners and numerous boats (the legend claims that the island's navy consisted of 125 ships and over 10,000 sailors). In fact, Hydra's harbour must be able to hold about twenty cruising boats at the most. No need to mention that in the high season, you have to arrive (very) early to find a berth for your cat. If the harbour is full, you will have to anchor in the little creek next to it, and wait until a taxi-boat comes to take you to the island. Once on Hydra, you can lose yourself in the little streets of the superb village, which has been a haunt for artists since the 1960s. There are only two motor vehicles on this island: the fire engine and the dustcart. As for the rest, everything is carried on the back of a donkey. They are everywhere; certain of them even have a registration plate... The atmosphere on Hydra is unique. A really charming moment, not to be missed!
The island takes its name from the numerous fresh water springs which used to flow here…until an earthquake dried them up several hundred years ago. Since then, as on many Greek islands, the water arrives in tankers. If you are on a pontoon next to one of these boats, be very vigilant: when it arrives in the evening, your boats will be at the same level, but the following morning, the taker will be 4 metres higher than you. Impressive.
Leaving from Athens, you have the choice between the Cyclades and the Saronic Gulf.
In the shelter of the Saronic Gulf...
Aegina – the pistachio island, with its well sheltered anchorages.
Poros – Luminous green landscape, punctuated by yew and black cypress trees.
Epidaurus – Famous for its antique theatre, with perfect acoustics.
Hydra – Refuge for artists, with no cars anywhere on the island.
Spetses – An island rich in memories, with calm pine forests.
Mykonos – The fashionable spot, with exotic clubs and a trendy style.
Paros – Perfumed with thyme, the island is world famous for its white marble, and the cafes on Paroikia beach.
Sikinos – Anchor your catamaran in the charming harbour, with two picturesque villages overhanging the cliff.
Santorin – Spectacular cliffs, breathtaking sunsets.
Seriphos – A rocky coast, with creeks and beaches, and human-shaped rock formations.
Numerous charter flights or regular airlines allow you to arrive directly in Greece. To get to your chosen island, you then just have to embark aboard one of the many ferries which link the islands.
Spring, summer or autumn: each season has its fans.
The official currency is the euro… The language is Greek, but almost everyone speaks at least English.
Not to be missed:
Every island has its real treasures. But just like all those who have sailed in catamaran in Greece, you will inevitably come back, having found 'your taverna', the one you swore you would return to...one day!
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