The island of Hydra is situated approximately 44 nautical miles south-west of from the Athens port of Piraeus in the Gulf of Saronikos. The hills of the Peloponnese can be clearly seen across the Saronic Gulf to the north of the island. Hydra is about 23km long and at its widest point almost 5.5km. The total area is approximately 48km2.
The main harbour and town, also known as Hydra, is protected by a natural amphitheatre with the houses of the town cascading down its sides, all facing the sea.
The other areas of population are Mandraki Bay to the East and Kamini and Vlichos to the West. Inland, the scattered village of Episkopi is home for approximatley 40 families. And further along the coast heading west, the hamlet of Palamida is a working boatyard and huge olive grove with another 20ish families living there full time plus quite a few summer houses owned by Hydriots.
The landscape is rocky with many hills, the highest being Eros at about 500m. In ancient times the island was well covered by pine-forest and had plenty of water but in the recent past many of the natural wells have been fractured by siesmic activity and the water has been contaminated by the sea. Contrary to popular belief, the island has no connection in history or mythology with 'The Hydra' (the many headed monster).
Unfortunately during the period of Ottoman occupation, thousands of trees were cut down for use in the construction of the Hydrain fleet. Thousands more were used as fuel. In the last 30 years, what little forest remained was descimated by fire. However, the natural pine is recovering and the view from Eros today is distinctly green!