Metochi and the associated services is a wonderful innovation for Hydra making the island much more accessible especially when the weather in Piraeus means that the dolphins don't sail even though it can still be calm at the Hydra end! The Metochi travel option is also useful for those who dislike travelling by flying dolphin.
The biggest plus for holiday-makers is that they can now drive or take a taxi from Athens International which goes via the Corinth Canal (always worth stopping for to take a photo) along the coast road through Galatas (mainland opposite Poros) and round to Metochi driving for about 3 hours, which provides a realistic alternative, to staying over in Athens or being stranded on Hydra potentially having to miss air flight, if the dolphins/cats get cancelled due to bad weather. So we now have a realistic means of getting visitors on and off the island as an alternative. Of course it depends on whether the conditions to sail are good enough between Hydra and Metochi, but often it's okay on this short run even though in the open sea between Piraeus and Poros might be too rough. So a useful and much needed alternative route.
The costs associated with driving from Athens International Airport to Metoxi are approximately €200 - 250 for a taxi (4
people) or a people carrier (7 people) which generally includes one suitcase each (you might have to have your handluggage on your lap) plus €6.50 each for the Freedom or Metoxi Express to take you to Hydra port. And obviously it is the same cost in reverse if you're heading home.
Whether you are driving to Metochi or heading away, the route with the least points of confusion is the road that runs more or less along the coast from Metochi through Galatas to the Corinth Canal.
The journey from Athens to Metochi takes approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes.
From Athens (or the Airport) take the National Highway to Korinthos, then follow the signs for Epidavros. Then make left and keep going for 30 minutes, following the signs from Epidavros to Ydra, Poros and Spetses, you'll do a right and left under the bridge.
After the bridge you have two routes to choose from; one goes through Galatas and the other via Ermioni.
The Galatas route takes approximatley 25 minutes and from Galatas Town follow the signs along the coast to for another 30 minutes to reach Metochi. This route has the least number of places or roads where you can get confused! You will turn left off the coast road to the Metochi Ferries for Hydra.
If you choose Ermionis way, after about 40 minutes you will reach a road sign (Ermioni-Kranidi-Porto Cheli) at this point you have to follow Ermionis direction and at the next sign that says Ermioni - Thermisia you turn off and follow the sign to Thermisia, drive through Thermisia and 15 minutes along the coast you turn right to the Metochi Ferries.
Metochi is a small hamlet with a jetty for the passenger ferries to moor up at, a short road from the jetty to a secure car park and next to it there is an area with two ticket offices (1 for Hydra Lines and 1 for Metochi Express) plus a large rambling building that is leased from the church (Agios Haralambos) part of which is a taverna and provisions shop selling minimal goods such as ice-creams and refreshments.
There is no local accommodation to stay at if you arrive in the night so you would have to stop off at Galatas or Ermioni if you don't want to sleep in the car or aim to reach Metochi during daylight hours which is when the passenger ferries run.
There are two passenger ferry operators for the short 25 minute sea journey between Hydra and Metoxi. Hydra Lines, operate 4 ferries, Freedom I, II, III & IV, and the other operator has the Metoxi Express. Both have ticket offices on the Metoxi jetty which are generally manned during daylight hours. However on Hydra, you just get on the boat and buy your ticket when you have boarded. If the ticket offices are not manned on the Metochi side, again, just go to the end of the jetty, and pay on the first available boat.
The opening up of a secure car park and the services of HydraLines (Freedom 1,2 & 3) plus the Metoxi Express, passenger ferries have made a huge difference to visitors wanting to get to Hydra using a route that doesn't include having to take one of Hellenic Seaways flying dolphins or cats. For Hydriots, it provides a place to keep a car so that shopping trips and days out on the mainland are much easier and enjoyable making the mainland so much more accessible.
The secure car park at Metochi is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and everyday of the year. The car park attendant has a small cabin with a reception, CCTV monitors and at the back a small bedroom for a nap - however when he is sleeping the gates are shut so people arriving have to press the bell - and in addition to CCTV and security gates there is also a very large dog who roams at will as a deterant! So even though customers park at their own risk and the car park does not insure or accept liability for any theft or damage, it's very much more secure than parking on the road.
It costs €5 per day per car and operates on a first come first served basis if you want to get under the limited number of sun shades available. You can park all day and night for as many days as you want - and the €5 per day applies regardless of the number of days. Please note that the day is actually measured by whether the car is parked before or after midnight. So if you arrive at 14:00 and retrieve your car at 23:00 it will count as 1 day. If you arrive at 14:00 and retrieve your car after midnight then you will be charged for 2 days.
The car park is huge and there is no need to pre-book a parking space.