Hydra is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece, located in the Aegean Sea between the Saronic Gulf and the Argolic Gulf. It is separated from the Peloponnese by narrow strip of water. In ancient times, the island was known as Hydrea, which was a reference to the springs on the island.
The municipality Hydra consists of the islands Hydra (area 50 km2), Dokos (pop. 13, area 12.5 km2) and a few uninhabited islets.
There is one main town, known simply as “Hydra port” (pop. 2,526 in 2001). It consists of a crescent-shaped harbor, around which is centered a strand of restaurants, shops, markets, and galleries that cater to tourists and locals (Hydriots). Steep stone streets lead up and outwards from the harbor area. Most of the local residences, as well as the hostelries on the island are located on these streets. Other small villages or hamlets on the island include Mandraki (pop. 33), Kamini, Vlychos (28), Palamidas (18), Episkopi, and Molos (2).
Hydra, built in the shape of an amphitheatre on a slope overlooking the Argosaronic gulf, is one of the most romantic destinations in Greece. Traditional stone mansions, narrow cobblestoned streets, secluded squares and above all the banning of cars and the use of around 500 donkeys as means of public transportation, explain the reason why Hydra preserved its distinctive atmosphere through the passage of time. The island experienced exceptional economic growth in the past thanks to its great naval and commercial activity. The Hydriots contributed significantly also to the 1821 War of Independence as their powerful fleet participated in crucial sea battles. It is rather impressive the fact that such a tiny island is the birthplace of five Greek Prime Ministers!