Best Greek island for: a long weekend with the art crowd
You know when Dakis Joannou, Greece's foremost art collector, is on Hydra. His yacht, Guilty, is painted in garish 'camouflage' by Jeff Koons. Every summer, Joannou invites big hitters such as Matthew Barney and Maurizio Cattelan to create site-specific installations in the Greek island's old slaughterhouse. Even the school is commandeered for exhibitions in the summer holidays. Car-free and protected by a preservation order, Hydra has always been the artists' muse of the Greek Islands. Leonard Cohen, Brice Marden and Juergen Teller have homes here. Athenian artists take up residence at the School of Fine Arts, one of the vast, grey, stone mansions overlooking the horseshoe harbour.
Less than two hours from Athens, Hydra fills up with chic Greeks at weekends. Wily cats and weary donkeys patrol the back alleys, but all the action happens along the waterfront. Oh look! There's Olivia Palermo at The Pirate Bar and Chloë Sevigny shaking her tail feather at Hydronetta beach bar. Who cares if there are barely any beaches? You can always find a slab of rock from which to dive into the clearest water in the world.