Surroundings

Hotel Leto Hydra – Surroundings

Hydra Island & Location

The island of Hydra resembles a precious work of art by the most talented painter…A uniquely beautiful painting that will stay in your heart forever. Many call this island “the jewel of the Saronic gulf”. You will undoubtedly fall in love with it as soon as you disembark from the boat that will bring you to it.

The island has a unique facade and has actually been characterized as a National Monument of Greece. Its personality is tranquil, whether you enjoy a peaceful swim at the beach or your afternoon promenade along its picturesque alleys. Hydra Island is a place you will discover on foot, so feel at ease and wander around its paths letting the blossoming bougainvilleas caress your hair along the way. Alternatively, hire a donkey, the most traditional and cherished means of transport of the Greek islands.

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Hotel Leto Hydra – Surroundings

Accessing the Island of Hydra

Hydra is only a short trip away from the capital of Athens by boat. A top choice for the perfect getaway. It is the most suitable choice for those of you who need a tranquil break from the hectic city lifestyle and who wish to find a holiday retreat with gorgeous beaches, deep blue seas and romantic atmosphere without having to travel for hours.

The island of Hydra will truly become your source of inspiration through quality moments, eclectic entertainment and, above all, through its artistic streak. To access the island you may catch the flying dolphin from the port of Piraeus (1 ½ hour trip) or, from the Peloponnesian peninsula, by ferry from the Metohi harbour (15 minutes trip). This is the narrowest crossing to Hydra island from the Peloponnesian peninsula and you can leave your car at the modern parking lot before you cross over, as Hydra has a strict “no car” policy.

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Hotel Leto Hydra – Surroundings

The Island’s name

“Hydor” in Greek means ‘water’. The island of Hydra was named after the abundant waters that streamed from its numerous springs. This name was acquired during antiquity, while historical references register the found traces of ancient ruins in recent archaeological excavations in the area of Episkopi.

Its admirable main town features important architectural specimens and is located in the heart of the island, built amphitheatrically upon the rocky slope that overlooks the port.

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Hotel Leto Hydra – Surroundings

The Ambience

The island is characterized by its exquisite Mansion houses, while it is famous for its idyllic sunsets viewed best from the areas of Spilia and Periptero. During the 1950’s the island constituted one of the most significant cultural centres where important personalities of the world of Arts and Letters would gather from both Greece and abroad, thus, transforming the small island into an attraction pole of artistic creation.

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Hotel Leto Hydra – Surroundings

The Alleys

Walking along its picturesque alleys, you will come across the School of Fine Arts and, if lucky enough, you may even come face to face with Leonard Cohen who adores the island and chose to build his summer residence here.

As far as its beaches are concerned, the island offers a wide selection ranging from sandy ones to others with pebbles or rocks. Whichever your preference, you will find plenty to suit your taste while they all guarantee views to the crystal clear, deep blue of the Saronic gulf.

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Hotel Leto Hydra – Surroundings

Art

The island of Hydra has always been one of the most significant centres of artistic creation, especially during the 1950s when it constantly hosted numerous Greek and foreign artists.

This is where the Greek poet Miltos Sahtouris and the Greek painter Nikos Hatzikiriakos-Ghikas were born. This is the island that Periklis Vizandios selected to establish a branch of the School of Fine Arts back in 1936. A plethora of other personalities from the world of Arts and Letters, have chosen to connect their bios with the island of Hydra. Among them we list the Greek poet Yiorgos Seferis, the famous Greek architect Dimitrios Pikionis, the Greek poet Odisseas Elitis, the Greek author Diomidis Petsalis, the exquisite painter Eggonopoulos, as well as, Henry Miller. The painters Konstantinos (Ntikos) Vizandios, Panagiotis Tetsis but also Georgios Mavroides admired the island’s artistic temperament. Last but not least, the internationally acclaimed fine jewellery designer Elena Votsi, also designer of the Olympic Games Medals, from 2004 to date, lives in Hydra where her first signature store opened.

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Hotel Leto Hydra – Surroundings

Religion

Hydra is an island that has been intrinsically connected to religion and it constitutes a religious pole of attraction beyond the region of the Saronic island complex. It counts more than 300 chapels and 6 monasteries of which the most significant are:

Τhe Monastery of Aghia (Saint) Efpraxia built at an altitude of 500 meters, the Monastery of Prophet Elias which you can only approach by walking through a luscious pinewood forest, the church of Saint Nikolaos whose construction allegedly dates back to 1675, the church of Ypapanti which is one of the most historic constructions on the island and the Monastery of the Birth of Virgin Mary Zourvas which offers the best views of the whole island, an absolute must-see.

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Hotel Leto Hydra – Surroundings

History

Not one, but five Greek Prime Ministers were born in the island of Hydra: Georgios Koundouriotis, Antonios Kriezis, Dimitrios Voulgaris, Athanassios Miaoulis and Petros Voulgaris.

The most important moment in the island’s history, however, was when the naval Admiral Pavlos Koundouriotis became the first President of the Greek Democracy in 1924. Another important element of the island’s history is the participation and leading role of the island’s naval fleet during the Greek Revolution of 1821 against the Turkish occupation and the fact that it greatly contributed to the emancipation of Greece.

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Hotel Leto Hydra – Surroundings

Hydra Island in Hollywood

Not long after the 50s, the island of Hydra turned into a favourite scenery of the top cinematographic productions of the time. This is where the film “Boy on a Dolphin” staring Sophia Loren was filmed and where the exquisite Greek film “The girl wearing black” starring Elli Lambeti was directed by Michalis Kakogiannis.

Hydra was also the location where the famous film “Phaedra” staring Melina Merkouri was shot. Those three productions mentioned above, were just the beginning of a string of other films that followed later on. At least 20 Greek movies were filmed on the island during the 60s alone, which yielded to a memorable parade of the most famous domestic actors and actresses.

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Hotel Leto Hydra – Surroundings

Visiting Historical Sites

The island lists several museums and other buildings of historical importance that one can visit. The Ecclesiastical / Byzantine Museum of the island which is hosted at the Metropolis church in the main town, exhibits specimens of religious importance some of which dating back to the 18th century. Among those specimens, you can admire the hagiography of Virgin Mary “Rodo Amarando” that dates back to 1774.

You may also find an interest in visiting the Hydra Museum of Historical Archives which was established in 1918 and is open daily to visitors wishing to have a closer look at the Archives, the collection of the Museum, and it's Library. The Mansion Houses of Pavlos and Lazaros Koundouriotis are open to the public and showcase a rich collection of historical items from the daily life in the 1800’s, as well as memorabilia from the Greek Revolution of 1821.

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