Most of Hydra Town cascades down the amphitheatre mountainsides where the narrow streets and steps are inaccessible to vehicles. Some are even too steep for horses or mules, so walking is the main way to get around.
With no cars, no mopeds or bikes, whether you're a natual walker or not, it's imperative that you have sensible shoes when you come to Hydra Island, Greece.
Taking a walk around Hydra Town with a knowledgeable local is one of the best ways to familiarise yourself with the rich history of Hydra. Linking the grand architecture of the port and town to the homes of the 'ruling classes' from the 17th & 18th Centuries, helps to bring alive the unique contribution that Hydra made to modern day Greece. These walks are also a useful 'orientation' to get you up to speed with essentials while you are on holiday here as your host will point out key places and answer your modern day questions.
Ladies, by all means bring your high-heels with you but include a pair of pumps or ‘flatties’ that you can use to walk up and down the town's stairs and then swap them over when you reach your destination.
The harbour front is paved with granite cobblestones, which are very slippery when they get wet in the winter rains and just as hazardous during the summer because they get greasy. The trick is to tread on the concrete between the cobbles where you will get a better grip. You might look like you're a bit tipsy but it's okay because everyone does it!
Walking barefoot is not advised. The local pharmacies and medical centre deal with a ridiculous number of minor injuries during the summer with people who have stepped on glass or got stung by drowsy wasps. Also, the cobbles are frequently hot enough to fry an egg and they can burn the soles of your feet.
If you do get scratches, cuts or blisters, make sure you keep them as clean as possible and use antiseptic cream immediately. Try to remember that many of the lanes and squares are frequented by animals that ‘go to the toilet’ wherever they need to. Hydra’s roads are definitely not germ free!
In recent years, the Dymos (Mayor's office) have developed walking routes around the island. The walks are of varying lengths and sign-posted. They're worth doing if you want to see a bit more of the island than just the town. However, as soon as you leave the confines of Hydra Town or Kamini, you most definitely need sensible walking shoes or even hiking boots. Trying to walk to Profitis Elias in flip-flops is guaranteed to get you a visit to the local hospital.