Hydra is one the most beautiful island in the Argo Saronic Gulf. Due to its close distance to Athens, it gets very popular as a summer weekend destination.
There are High-speed hydrofoils and catamarans from Piraeus to Hydra, but also there is a passenger ferry service providing an alternative to Hydrofoils that runs from Hydra Harbor to Metochi on the Peloponnese coast.
The main town is known as "Hydra port" and it is constructed on the slopes of a hill around the port. The special thing about Hydra Island is that cars and other motor vehicles are prohibited in all the island, so all transport is done on foot, by boat or riding donkeys.
Lazaros Kountouriotis Mansion
Another thing that impresses visitors is the elegant, very old, stone mansions. One of the most important and historical one, is Lazaros Kountouriotis Mansion.
Built in the era of naval prosperity of the island (late 18th century), it stands on the west side of the harbor of Hydra. Lazaros Koundouriotis (1769-1852) was one of the most eminent political figures of Hydra, who offered his ships, crew and fortune to the Greek War of Independence. Significant meetings and consultations took place in this mansion, which offered hospitality to many important figures of the time, Greeks and foreigners.
In 1979 the mansion came into the hands of the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece after being donated by Pandelis L. Koundouriotis (1900-1978). Since 2001, the Historic Residence operates as a museum, annex of the National Historical Museum. Today's visitor is impressed by the imposing exterior and peculiar interior of a Hydriote mansion.
On the ground floor, the Residence is presented with the Koundouriotis family heirlooms, as it was experienced by the last descendant of the family and donor of the Residence, Pandelis Koundouriotis.
The large vestibule leads through double doors to the rest of the ground floor. Together with the rooms off to the east and west, it forms a "backbone", like a wide corridor that allows one to move about without having to go through the rooms. The floor is laid with marble slabs and the ceiling is decorated with geometrical patterns. The marble opening of the second cistern of the house, occupying the space beneath the vestibule, is in the corner. The visitor is greeted by the full-body oil painting of Lazaros Koundouriotis which dominates the room, work of the Hydriote artist Andreas Kriezis, painted in 1866.
On the first floor are representative works of Greek traditional folk art from the collections of the National Historical Museum, an art selection mainly from the Greek islands. At the same time, the work of the painter and academic Panayiotis Tetsis, paintings of landscapes of Hydra, demonstrate the special relationship of the artist with his homeland.
In the basement, in the old cellars of the house, there is a Gallery displaying works of two renowned painters, in Greece and abroad, Periklis Vyzantios (1893-1972) and his son Konstantinos (Dikos) Vyzantios (1924-2007), who are closely connected to Hydra and the Koundouriotis family.