I feel comfortable admitting now that I spent the majority of my time in Spetses wishing there was someone else with me on the trip. Someone, say, who’s used to me opening bags of potato chips at restaurants to use in place of bread for dipping in tzatsiki, and someone who would agree that the Greek table wine tastes better when chased with a mouth full of olives.
I’ve traveled to about a half dozen countries by myself (including here and here), and learned that some are better than others to do solo. Greece is a particularly sad place to eat alone, as all the meze come separately and are meant for sharing. But I’ve also learned over the years that you have to be in the right mindset for solo travel. It can be great when you’re single and feeling confident and self-indulgent and you want to try and compare every shrimp skewer in a 10-block radius, or go night swimming with a pair of male Dutch field hockey players, just to cross it off your bucket list. But if you’re in a lonely depressive mood, solo traveling can make your mind a more inhospitable place to be than a 5 Euro youth hostel in Latvia.
My time in Spetses was not this type of dire circumstance. But still, in a place as romantic as Greece, you’ll find yourself missing your partner in crime more than usual. So after my Alive Tribe retreat was all said and done, I was particularly excited to meet up with my favorite dinner date in Hydra and to commit some crimes on a plate or two of whole grilled fish.
It was my first real trip with Charlie and I think we chose the perfect island, in the perfect part of the world to have a safe, conflict-free adventure. Part of the beauty of Hydra, both physically and emotionally, is that there are no wheeled vehicles on the island. This means that the majority of your adventures must be had by foot, and that most of said adventures are in close proximity to the main harbor.
We spent our days walking the shoreline from beach to beach and exploring the small one-horse fishing towns along the way. At night we scoped out the town for the best traditional tavernas and the tastiest tourist traps right on the water. The process of scoping can easily go horribly awry. So I was relieved that we didn’t fall victim to one of those catastrophically typical and stupid travelers fights that couples get into when they’re hungry and can’t find a good restaurant on the cartoon hotel map.
Our restaurant wandering did at one point take a turn for the creepy when we spotted the infamous Jeff Koons yacht, “Guilty,” and decided to casually stalk its owner, Dakis Joannou, to see where he was eating dinner. Unfortunately, we didn’t end up making it to his pick at a later, less blatant hour. But I’ve included the recommendation below, along with all our other picks for where to eat, sleep, and beach, should you not have access to a neon purple and yellow floating mansion and have to travel by donkey like the rest of us.
Getting There and Around
Hydra is one stop closer to Athens on the same ferry line as Spetses. By hydrofoil (hellenicseaways.gr), it’s only 1 1/2 hours from Pireaus, though I found that every ferry in Greece took 30 minutes more than the ticket estimated, so plan accordingly. “Greek Time” is definitely a thing.