Europe

Hydra and Monemvasia, Greece

Hydra

An island with style

The small Greek island is located in the Aegean Sea and is off the Peloponnese peninsula. She belongs to the group of sarons. Like many of its neighboring islands, Hydra is particularly popular with day tourists. Daily ferry connections exist for example from Piraeus or Ermioni. Journeys to Hydra can only be made by ship, as the island does not have an airport.

Peace and relaxation far from mass tourism

An almost unwooded and rocky island awaits the visitor, which is characterized by dreamlike bays and picturesque villages. The originality and tranquility that Hydra exudes are intensified by the car ban. There is a network of hiking trails that connect the small towns with one another. If you don’t just want to get around the island, which is around 20 kilometers long and 4 kilometers wide, you can do so with a taxi boat or on the back of a donkey. The pack animal is still an important means of transport today.

The cultural island life

The main town of the same name has some sights to offer. The church of the former Panagia monastery, the Byzantine Museum or the Naval Museum are definitely among them. But Hydra is not just a study trip destination. The numerous bars, cafés and restaurants around the small harbor exude a Mediterranean island feeling and invite you to relax. Artists and intellectuals have always valued the inspiring backdrop. A cultural highlight is the Saronic Chamber Music Festival, which also takes place on Hydra every year from late July to early August.

Dream beaches and paradisiacal bays

In addition to churches and monasteries, which are also located in more remote areas of the island, it is above all the beaches that exert a special charm. The quiet bays can be easily reached from the port by taxi boat. A few kilometers east of the main town is Mandraki. The stone beach has a sufficient tourist infrastructure. There is a hotel and various water sports on offer. Also west of the main town you can enjoy the sun and the sea on the beach of Vlyhos.

Monemvasia

If you are on holiday on the famous Greek peninsula Peloponnese, you cannot avoid the small town of Monemvasia. The city, which was founded in the sixth century, can look back on a unique history. The most important starting point in the 5,000-inhabitant city are the ruins of a former Byzantine fortress on a 300 meter high rock plateau in the upper town. There are numerous remains of centuries-old Byzantine houses and public buildings around the fortress. From the upper town you also have a fascinating overview of the Peloponnese. Another major draw for tourists and locals in Monemvasia is the restored Agia Sofia Church. In the so-called lower town of Monemvasia, which has been extensively restored in recent years,

Picturesque beaches and delightful surroundings

At the foot of the rock plateau, which is already visible from afar, there are numerous picturesque beaches that are extremely popular with both beach holidaymakers and water sports enthusiasts. The city’s most popular beach is around 1,000 meters long Kakavos, which is surrounded by small hotels and a few cafes. The surroundings of Monemvasia also offer other attractive destinations for an excursion. The region with its unique flora and fauna can be explored on the well-developed hiking and cycling trails.

Elafonissi beach

Elafonissi – these ten letters not only stand for unadulterated holiday happiness, but also for wonderful blue water and an unusually romantic pink beach. Undoubtedly, this is a pearl among the beaches of Crete. Anyone who speaks of Elafonissi as an island must know that this island is only a few meters away from Crete. The Mediterranean only reaches the knees for holidaymakers and thousands of people pass this strait every day in the main season.

Home to endangered sea turtles

And they are then rewarded with paradisiacal conditions and a sandy beach that is not afraid of comparison with the Caribbean. Elafonissi measures just 1300 meters in its longest extension and is four hundred meters wide. The entire island landscape is under intensive nature protection, because this is also the home of the endangered saltwater turtles with the Latin name Caretta Caretta. Beach life is particularly popular with families, as the children can safely splash around in the warm water here in the shallow sea. In some areas, Elafonissi resembles a large lagoon with weak waves.

Memory of a ship disaster

If you go to the island of Elafonissi, you should have drinks in your luggage, because there is no kiosk here. Several paths lead across this barely inhabited area. A wooden cross and a lighthouse are reminiscent of a ship disaster on the beach. In 1907, the passenger ship “Imperatrix” sank off Elafonissi, and forty passengers lost their lives. There is also a small chapel designed to keep memories of a 1928 massacre alive. It is said that numerous Greeks were murdered by Turkish invaders at the time. The shells that give the sand its special color are pink. A reef in front of the beach is the Eldorado for vacationers who like to dive or snorkel. Sun loungers and parasols can be rented on Elafonissi. And there are also a couple of chemical toilets.

Monemvasia, Greece