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Tourism is becoming increasingly important to Hydra's economy, although it is by no means a mass destination yet. On the contrary, most tourists are still day-trippers from mainland Greece, especially Athens. Hydra is one of the more expensive Argo-Saronic islands. After the Second World War, many (rich) foreigners settled on Hydra, which made it a rather exclusive tourist resort.
There is no motorised transport on Hydra; handcarts, about 500 (mule) donkeys and water taxis take care of the transportation of people and goods. Ferries and much faster hydrofoils take visitors to Hydra from the port city of Piraeus (approx. 70 km) and Ermioni on the mainland. From Hydra, the ferries also go to nearby Poros, Spetses and Aegina.
During the Turkish occupation, from the beginning of the 19th century, Hydra developed a powerful merchant fleet, which brought much prosperity to the island. The trade routes ran from the Greek mainland, Asia Minor to America.
As the name of the island suggests, in ancient times Hydra had sufficient water to supply its own population. However, many wells have dried up and most water is now brought in by tankers. A desalination plant is scheduled to open in 2013, which will make Hydra less dependent on imported water.
There is a small shipyard in Palamidas Bay where repairs are mainly carried out.
Besides tourism, fishing is an important source of income for the population.
CIA - World Factbook
BBC - Country ProfilesLast updated October 2023
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