Executive summary by darmansjah
Hydra is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece, located in the Aegean Sea between the Saronic Gulf and the Argolic Gulf. It is separated from the Peloponnese by narrow strip of water. In ancient times, the island was known as Hydrea (derived from the Greek word for "water"), which was a reference to the springs on the island.
The municipality of Hydra consists of the islands Hydra (area 52 km2 (20.1 sq mi)), Dokos (pop. 18, area 13.5 km2 (5.2 sq mi)) and a few uninhabited islets. The province of Hydra was one of the provinces of the Piraeus Prefecture. Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipality. It was abolished in 2006.
There is one main town, known simply as "Hydra port" (pop. 1,900 in 2011). It consists of a crescent-shaped harbour, around which is centered a strand of restaurants, shops, markets, and galleries that cater to tourists and locals (Hydriots). Steep stone streets lead up and outwards from the harbor area. Most of the local residences, as well as the hostelries on the island are located on these streets. Other small villages or hamlets on the island include Mandraki (pop. 11), Kamini, Vlychos (19), Palamidas, Episkopi, and Molos.
Hydra depends upon tourism, and Athenians comprise a sizeable segment of its visitors. High speed hydrofoils and catamarans from Piraeus, some 37 nautical miles (69 km) away, serve Hydra, as do daily island ferry boats. (The ferries take about three hours for the transit; the hydrofoils and catamarans substantially less.) The island also has ferries to Aegina, Poros, Spetses, Nafplion and Monemvasia.
Rubbish trucks are the only motor vehicles on the island, as cars or motorcycles are not allowed by law. Donkeys, and water taxis provide public transportation. The inhabited area, however, is so compact that most people walk everywhere.
Hydra benefits from numerous bays and natural harbours, and has a strong maritime culture. The island remains a popular yachting destination, and is the home of the Kamini Yacht Club, an international yacht club based in the port of Kamini.
In 2007, a National Geographic Traveler panel of 522 experts rated Hydra the highest of any Greek Island (ranked 11th out of 111 islands worldwide) as a unique destination preserving its "integrity of place".