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Day Trip to Hydra

Ohio
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Day Trip to Hydra

We will be in Athens for a few days before taking a small ship cruise through the islands. After 3 days in Athens, I thought it would be fun to take a Cat to Hydra for the day. I am not finding a lot of departures in the morning (8 or 10 am), and the cost will be over 50 euros per person (over $200 US for the three of us).

I'm a bit hesitant to purchase in advance due to strike or weather issues but feel that I should given the limited number of seats. Will they refund in the event of strike or weather? Or should I wait and purchase tickets on the travel day at Piraeus? Thanks!

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1. Re: Day Trip to Hydra

Yes, Hydra ferry ticket is quite expensive. Lack of competition on the line makes prices rise.

If you want something much more affordable, Aegina costs on a conventional ferry is less than 10 euros a person, or around 16 if i remember correctly round trip per person.

Some people prefer Aegina, some Hydra. Aegina ticket is a much cheaper one cause distance is smaller, conventional ferries are always cheaper, more lines also serve the route.

--------------------------------------------------

Purchase ticket when here, deciding what to do when here. I doubt they will be full. You cal anways purchase tickets a couple of days before, again when here.

We don't have strikes this year, no one can predict the weather, it's a rare occurence though too. . . still there is no reason to commit to a trip so early. In case of a weather cancellation as far as i know you have to wait for next route, no refund there. In case of a strike refund depends on the specific company policies.

I would not stree about thios a lot though. This summer seems a very "quiet" one. No strike up to now affecting any tourism operation, weather is meellow, still you can always decide when here and either purchase a couple of days before or purchase on the day of departure.

What i would double think is indeed the price of tickets. Hydra is definitely more expensive than Aegina. Some people prefer one over the other. Both are great options for a day trip, so think a bit about it and decide when here.

Ohio
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2. Re: Day Trip to Hydra

Thanks, Nick, as always for your sound advice. I will definitely look into Aegina as an option. Would love to see Hydra, but a 1 day trip makes for only a few hours on the island, taking into account the length of the transfer. I will wait until arrival in Athens to purchase tickets. Can they be bought from a travel agent in the central area a couple of days ahead of time? That seems to make the most sense to me.

Thanks again!

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3. Re: Day Trip to Hydra

If you are going to Aegina you 'll have absolutely no problem, especially since i 'd suggest getting the slower ferry, not the hydrofoil. Just go to Piraeus, walk to the dock and purchase tickets.

If going to Hydra and definitely want to secure a seat for the unlikely case of a fully bokked vessel you have to purchase from the specific company offering the route. Bigger companies do have agencines in the center so no problem there ( of course they also sell tickets from booths right in front of the vessel, Aegina and Hydra booths are some feet apart from each other, same dock near the subway station ).

1. How to locate routes for the day you are interested:

Check "Open Seas" site. That's a site reporting all departures for a specific date.

http://www.openseas.gr/openseas/index.html;jsessionid=8A618A0B3BAF4A571B5539BA60F8B645

2. Which vesell to pick - Aegina:

Let's take Aegina departures, for June 15th 2014 as an example. 25 departures that day. The hydrofoils ( no decks ) are those with a name like "Flying Dolphin" or "f/d". They are also faster. Pick the simple ferry. It's slower, more relaxing, less noisy and you get the views both to Athens and to Aegina. Which company does not really matter, pick whatever seems as a good timing.

3. Which vesell to pick and how to prebook or purchase in advance - Hydra:

Let's take Hydra departures, for June 15th 2014 as an example. Only 5 departures that day. Only one company: Hellenic Seaways. This is the only company going to Hydra, either flying dolphins or catamarans, all have no deck, stil this is a much longer trip that would take hours on a conventional ferry.

Hellenic Seaways has booths at the docks + offices in the port. You either book in advance and recive paper ticket with your booking code from the offices, or more convenient, walk in a main travel agency in Athens and get a ticket beforehand.

First chek timetables in openSeas site for the date you want though and pick the time you want. Especially for Aegina daily departures are very frequent. I would not bother booking in advance for Aegina; i 'd just take subway to the port way earlier than my desired departure and get a ticket when at port.

Ohio
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4. Re: Day Trip to Hydra

What great information! We are staying at the Hilton, so they should be able to point me in the direction of a travel agency in the case of Hydra. Aegina is sounding tempting with a relaxing ferry ride and charming island, so now I have to weigh the pros and cons. I'm printing this out so I don't forget anything. You are a jewel.

:0 )

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5. Re: Day Trip to Hydra

:-))

Hilton is a nice property. Definitely have a late drink up there on the roof top terrace. It is somewhat pricey, drinks in the 8 - 14 euros per drink range, when you can find a beer for 2 - 3 euros in the center, still views are great. Pool is great too, do stel some time from sightseeing to enjoy the pool area. That's a nice hotel and a good area. Benaki is walking distance, bus stop to go to the airport right outside the hotel door.

Aegina is more relaxing to me. Taxis are waiting where the ships dock Go there and arrange with a driver to take you to Afaia Temple ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Aphaea ) then to Ag. Nektarios Monastery, then drive you to the beach nearby the town. Swim there, then have a snack. Have a local mobile phone ( get one for 25 euros from airport landing, talking time included ) or use the local landline in one of the cafeterias to order a taxi back to town. First leg ( temple, monastery, to beach ) costs 40 euros per vehicle, then it's another 8 euros back to town for the finale to enjoy pastries in a local shop, have a coffee and shop pistachios ( the local thing there ).

So, all in all, for a family of 4 it's gonna be 48 euros. Another 20 per personfor the ferry trip from Piraeus and to Piraeus. For a total of appx. 130 euros you 'll spend 35% less less than Hydra, see more than Hydra, see a Temple, a museum, a monastery, a beach and a wonderful town. Easier trip, shorter, more to see. If you are bored to do all these, just walk in the town get photos have a glorious lunch in the Fish Market and return. It will cost around 80 euros, appx. ferry trip tickets.

Hydra on the other hand screams photogenic. Quaint, i find it a bit more "romantic". I love it but i also find myself tickets a bit more expensive. If it's a family it gets a bit high, still it's understandable: longer trip and fewere companies.

Thing is you have options and are good.

Since you 'll be travelling with the metro to go to Piraeus, please read carefully the "pickpocketing" thread. It is essential to take simple and intense precautions against pickpocketing. This applies especially for men that travel with their wallet in a back or side pocket. Even with a velcro it is a huge no-no-no anywhere in Southern Europe where tourists flock, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Athens included. Please do take this very seriously. It's very very simple to avoid, so please do so.

I lose no chance to underline it. Better to tell it a 1,000 times, rather than someone staying uninformed. Athens is safe and a kindergarden compared to let's say Barcelona in Spain, still it can be an issue. Simply avoid it.

Ohio
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6. Re: Day Trip to Hydra

When ARE you going to write your book on how to travel in Greece? Thanks for affirming the Hilton. I thought, instead of stuffing in too many day trips, that we would take 3 full days in Athens to see the sights and still have time to come back in the afternoons for some pool time. (It will make for a happier 16 year old daughter.) We are actually going to Santorini first for 4 nights and then flying back to Athens for 4 nights before the cruise. The flight gets into Athens at 8 a.m. on a Tuesday (NOT my original schedule), and I have been debating whether, at that hour, to take the metro or bus to the Hilton. Any thoughts on timing and traffic?

We plan to visit the Benaki Museum as well. I hear it has a wonderful rooftop restaurant and stays open late on Thursdays, but I cannot figure out how to make a dinner reservation, which was recommended by someone else.

Your recommendation for Aegina sounds great. Is there a taverna at the beach? We can do the entire Aegina day for $60 less (there are 3 of us) than just 3 Cat tickets to Hydra! I would love to see Hydra but now think it would make better sense to go there sometime and spend a night or two to maximize the value of getting there.

And thank you for the warning about pickpockets. In large cities, we both wear the hidden wallets for our valuables. We were in London last summer and did the same thing. The crowds were a zoo! And we were approached once in Rome near the Forum by a crowd of gypsy women and children squawking and flapping newspapers at us. That was interesting! But it just takes a moment for your vacation to take a really bad turn. Is there any reason for tourists to carry their passports on them in Greece, or should we leave them at the hotel? Thanks, Nick!

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7. Re: Day Trip to Hydra

He he :-) I write the book every day here in TA :-)))

- < In large cities, we both wear the hidden wallets for our valuables> Exactly.

- The passport thing is a bit tricky indeed. Typically, in Greece, you are obliged to carry proper identification with you all time. We all are. Same in Italy too and other European countries. Nevertheless, i also understand that carrying around a passport which is a rather bulky document is a pain. I am not sure what to suggest here. I understand the dangers but it is a typical obligation to carry it. Although i have never suggested it, i 'd try to think of some alternative, like a photocopy, perhaps carrying some credit card shaped driver's license ( although this is NOT a proper id document here ). I still am not sure what to suggest. One way or another, if you carry it along, passport has to be in the hidden wallet ( or money belt ) , *especially* on day of arrival, departure or domestic travellign where you carry luggage too. Typically you have to carry them, but it is a pain to replace them if something goes wrong indeed.

- The beach the drivers get you has beachbars along the sand. Some tavernas too, not something posh though. . . think of sand, flipflops and similar attire.

- Hilton Hotel is ion the traffic ring where the flat rate applies. Since you 'll be three people, bus will cost 12.50 euros ( 2 times 5 euros per person + 2.50 for the daughter ), metro will cost 20 euros ( a 3-pax ticket ) and a taxi will cost 35 euros. I 'd take the taxi = no luggage dragging, no public transporation, fastest way to do it under normal circumstances and gets you right to hotel door. Remember flat rate means all, again ALL, surcharges, fees, taxes, tolls, fuel are included and that's price per vehicle. Have ready before hand 35 euros exactly and hand them over to the driver, we had some limited reports here of "the bill trick" from some Athenian taxi drivers ( "ahem, sorry you gave me 20 only ), so have the exact amount before hand to avoid the rare case of such a trick.

Taxi will be the easiest. Bus won't be that hard too, it is traffic dependent, still it's an introduction to the whole thing, subway too. But i 'd take taxi to make it easier and go right to the hotel door.

Hilton is near a main subway station ( a nice station too, most stations are really stylish ), you can also walk it, over all a good location.

- You don't have to book in Benaki restaurant. It may be busy and you may have to wait for a bit, since no bookings there. Things with booking work pretty different here in Greece; only places i 'd consider book ahead would be resturants during Christmas or NYE, or places with Acropolis view.

- Yeap, the 8am arrival means you 'll wake up very early this day, still. . . you 'll have a nearly full day in Athens. Landing at 8am you 'll be at the hotel at around 09.30am. Great time to get the hidden wallets on position and go for the first coffee break in Athens :-)

- All in all using subway or walking around the center is the best way to do it, taking taxis from airport or to seaports etc works fine. Airport -> center and vice versa is 35 euros at daytime, Seaport <-> center and Hilton should be around 20, 25 tops, not more and meter must be running in all ocassions ( it has a small number somewhere, it's the tarrif, 1 is daytime, 2 is nighttime, always check this one ). Subway is great too, i consider it a fast and clean subway except the rare pickpocketing problem, just wear the hidden wallets, carry less and go to the first wagon. It's better over there and less crowded, pickpocketers usually go towards the middle where most people swarm in. So, first wagon, right behind the driver is the best point imho.

- I don't know if you are the husband or the wife, or which members the travelling family has. . .no gender indication here and modern families tend to be a bit different nowadays than the 60's i guess :-))). Anyway. . . if you are the husband, remember to steer them away from Ermou str., This is the main commercial street and wife with daughter will go berserk when they see the shoe shops. . . women tend to behave when they see shoes, as bees when they saw a big bright light. . . I think magnetism has to do something with this. . . and if you are the wife. . . well. . .i spilled the bucket of milk and told it. . . now you know where to shop. . . he he he. Ermou str. is the street connecting Syndagma and Monastiraki. that's walking distance from Hilton, a good 20' walk but definitely walkable. . . so . . . a lot of shopping there, especially shoes, clothes, oh Gosh!! just don't tell the husband i was the one to inform you about the main shopping street, he he he :-))

Edited: 09 June 2014, 21:07
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8. Re: Day Trip to Hydra

<Hilton is near a main subway station ( a nice station too, most stations are really stylish ), you can also walk it, over all a good location.> I mean you can walk from subway station to Hilton. When you exit from "towards Evagelismos Hospital" from tickets level at Evangelimos station, hotel is visible.

You also check the location in Street view in Google Maps. Athens and many places in Greece have been added 4 days ago :-)

Here: Google Street View link: http://tinyurl.com/EvangelismosEscalators

Subway exit is on your left, Hilton is the tall building ahead. Photos are aready 3 years old, but they have very recently been published.

Edited: 09 June 2014, 21:20
Ohio
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9. Re: Day Trip to Hydra

Oh come on, Nick, when is the last time a man called you a jewel! I'm a girl, silly. My big boy elephant shot may have thrown you off. And I already read all about Ermou Street. Twenty years ago I bought a pair of sandals from the famous poet sandal maker. Is he still around?

A taxi upon arrival it will be. We plan to walk a lot and take the metro when needed, including to Piraeus. I don't mind carrying the passports, but, let me tell you, they can get sweaty in their little hidden pouch!

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10. Re: Day Trip to Hydra

Yeap he is still around, although his son has slowly taken over.

<Oh come on, Nick, when is the last time a man called you a jewel!>

lol :-))) You made my day :-)))