No airport, no beaches, no cars and no motorbikes; welcome to Hydra … and its donkeys.
Just 44 nautical miles from Greece’s Athens, this is the romantic weekender’s getaway. Graced by 17th and 18th-century neoclassical pastel-coloured mansions, Hydra’s charming horseshoe-shaped harbour has long been the magnet for artists, writers and poets.
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Many flock to rocky Hydra for its excellent walks. Head up Mount Klimaki (an hour’s climb) to the 19th-century Monastery of Profitis Ilias where monks still reside, transfixed by harbour views.
The island’s old-world elegance is painted nightly by the ubiquitous sunsets, which have been at the heart of Hellenic culture for millennia, immortalised by the image of Helios carrying the sun across the sky on his four-horse chariot.
To step into your own picture-postcard Greek sunset, head to Yydronetta Bar. Perched above the harbour by the historic cannons, oozing ambient music, it has a splendid balcony jutting out to sea. Climb down the steps to cemented sun-loungers to await the molten glow.
Edging west along the cliff-top, the villages of Kamini and Vlyhos provide quieter sunset viewing. From the 17th-century bridge you will also snatch arresting view of the Peloponnese.
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If you’re feeling seriously romantic, check into Maria Hanson’s converted windmill accommodation with private pool. Inimitable private views take in not just the retiring sun, but also the town’s natural amphitheatrical layout.
Hydra’s traffic-free tranquillity is where you are most likely to hear the sunset sizzle as it hits the hotplate of the horizon. Words and photography: Marie Barbieri