The Greek Island Of Hydra Things to Do Around Leonard Cohens

The Greek town of Hydra has become famous for having Leonard Cohen as its most famous inhabitant. The singer-songwriter lived here for seven years, composing some of his best songs in his early career phases
The Greek Island Of Hydra Things to Do Around Leonard Cohens Musical Alcove
The Greek Island Of Hydra Things to Do Around Leonard Cohens Musical Alcove

In the 1960s, the Lilliputian island of Hydra in the Argosaronikos,&nbspan archipelago in Greece, was the bonafide discotheque and breeding ground for utopian dreams and bohemian madness, where electricity was a novelty, and there wasn&rsquot a car in sight. In these geographical and temporal vertices, the baritone-infused lyrical genius of the 26-year-old Leonard Cohen, famously found a home he bought for 1500 USD, where he found solace being a recluse, blackening pages on end and having the love affair of a lifetime with the Norwegian expatriate Marianne Ihlen, his earliest muse. Moving to Hydra was an impulsive decision, Cohen booked his flight the second an unassuming teller at the Bank Of Greece whispered &ldquospringtime&rdquo when inquired by the handsome, chivalrously polite poet about the weather in Greece at that time.

In his Greek hideout, Cohen composed many classic hits like "So Long, Marianne" and the opening verse of "Bird On The Wire," staying in the house he bought with money bequeathed to him by his grandmother. Although it is sometimes attributed to Leonard Cohen, it was another great poet, Kenneth Koch, also present that summer of 1960, who said &ldquoOnce you&rsquove lived on Hydra, you can&rsquot live anywhere else, including Hydra.&rdquo The fact that it gets misattributed to Cohen seems like a comment in and of itself on the disconnect between romantic notions of life on Hydra and the way it is. All the same, fans of the musical legend congregate outside his Greek house every year to offer their respects. You&rsquod be hard-pressed to find a better place where you can try, in your way, to be free. Here are some experiences and things to enjoy on this lesser-known, beautiful island in Greece, just two hours by ferry from the Athenian port of Piraeus. 

Take A Walk Around The Town

Experience the beauty and charm of Hydra Town, where visitors can step back in time and admire the preserved architecture and traditional atmosphere. The town is the island's central hub, and visitors can stroll through the narrow, car-free streets lined with colourful bougainvillaea and traditional stone houses. Marvel at the elegant mansions, once owned by wealthy shipowners, which have been transformed into museums and galleries. Take a trip to the Historical Archives Museum to explore the rich maritime history of Hydra. Don't forget to relax at one of the waterfront cafes, enjoying a refreshing frappé while watching the boats sway in the harbour.

Hike to the Monastery of Profitis Ilias

Take a scenic hike to the Monastery of Profitis Ilias on the island's highest peak. The trail passes through pine forests and offers stunning views of Hydra's rugged landscapes and the Aegean Sea. Once you reach the monastery, admire its beautiful Byzantine architecture and enjoy its peaceful surroundings. You can take panoramic photos of the breathtaking views that stretch as far as the eye can see. The sanctuary provides a unique understanding of the island's religious heritage and the opportunity to escape into nature.

Swim in Hydra's Crystal Clear Waters

When on Hydra Island, take a dip in the clear waters for which the island is famous. You can access many pristine beaches by foot or water taxi. Kamini Beach is a popular spot, with golden sand and turquoise water, while Vlychos Beach is more secluded, tucked away in a quiet bay. You can swim, snorkel, or sunbathe on a lounger. For a more exciting experience, rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the hidden coves and caves that decorate the coastline. Hydra's inviting waters offer an unforgettable aquatic experience, whether seeking relaxation or adventure.

Visit the Hydra Museum of Historical Archives

Discover Hydra's intriguing past by exploring the Hydra Museum of Historical Archives. This museum is located in a majestic former mansion and showcases an impressive array of manuscripts, documents, and artefacts that reveal the island's maritime history. You can discover how Hydra played a crucial role in the Greek War of Independence and how it prospered through its powerful merchant navy. You can also immerse yourself in the captivating tales of the brave Hydra captains and their heroic accomplishments. By visiting this museum, you can better understand and appreciate Hydra's rich cultural heritage and its lasting legacy.

Sunset at Kala Pigadia

For a perfect ending to your time in Hydra, go to Kala Pigadia, an excellent natural swimming spot near the old town. As the sun sets, find a cosy place on the rocks and watch the sky transform into a beautiful display of vivid colours. These kaleidoscopic hues reflect on the still waters, creating an enchanting atmosphere. Take a refreshing swim in the sea while enjoying the peaceful surroundings and the gentle sea breeze. This gorgeous spot is perfect for unwinding, reflecting, and appreciating the beauty of nature.

Photo Credit Shutterstock

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