Hydra (Greek: Ύδρα, pronounced [ˈiðra]) is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece, located in the Aegean Sea between the Saronic and Argolic Gulfs, separated from the Peloponnese by narrow strip of water. In ancient times, the island was known as Hydrea (Υδρέα, derived from the Greek word for “water”), a reference to the island’s springs, long since dried up.
There is one main town, known simply as “Hydra port” (pop. 1,900 in 2011). It consists of a crescent-shaped harbour, featuring restaurants, shops, markets, and galleries that cater to tourists and locals (Hydriots). Steep stone streets lead up and outward from the harbor area. Most of the local residences, as well as the hotels and guesthouses on the island, are located on these streets. Other small villages or hamlets on the island include Mandraki , Kamini, Vlychos, Palamidas, Episkopi, and Molos.
A few rubbish trucks, a fire truck, and an ambulance are the only motor vehicles on the island, as cars and motorcycles are prohibited by law. Horses, mules, donkeys, and water taxis provide all public transportation. The inhabited area, however, is so compact that most people walk everywhere.
Hydra benefits from numerous bays and natural harbors and has a strong maritime culture. In 2007, a National Geographic Traveler panel of 522 experts rated Hydra the highest of any Greek Island (11th out of 111 islands worldwide) as a unique destination preserving its “integrity of place.” The island has almost no night-time light pollution. This is a boon to astronomy or just star-gazing.