"donkeys" (mules and horses)
These days there aren’t many donkeys on Hydra, and those around tend to be reserved for private use. But people still often refer to Hydra’s working equines (mules and horses) colloquially as “donkeys” (e.g., hire a donkey, take a donkey ride). Mules (a horse/donkey hybrid) are the sturdiest of the equines and thus do the most heavy lifting. Because people on Hydra get around mostly on foot or by boat, they often hire muleteers (mule handlers) to transport larger items, baggage, and heavy shopping to their homes.
Some muleteers and horsemen specialize in giving tourists rides and often ride their equines around themselves; generally, however, Hydriots and island residents do not hire equines to transport themselves to their destinations (barring emergency, disability, or other necessity).
The equine rank is located directly in front of the Alpha Bank in the east corner of the harbor. This is the place to find muleteers who specialize in transporting luggage and other items for residents and visitors. (The various mules “parked” around town are generally owned by individuals or businesses and reserved for their own use.)
Rates per equine used in transfer depend on the delivery area: Zone A, with a rate of €10 (2019), includes the following sections of Hydra Town: the Harbor area and level areas of town. Zone B, at a rate of €20 (2019), includes Kala Pigadia, Kiafa, and all of Kamini. Rates for areas further afield must be arranged directly with the muleteer.
Muleteers are happy to give your their mobile numbers so that you may call them directly to book their services.
“Donkey” rides start and finish just to the left of the Alpha Bank on Tombazi Street. There is a set of wooden steps there to help riders climb aboard and back down. A short ride around Central Hydra Town will cost €15 per mount (€10 per mount for groups of 20 or more). A longer ride of 25 minutes will cost €25 per mount. Rates for longer rides must be negotiated with the individual equine handler.
If you are a larger group, be sure to prebook the ride as it takes some preplanning to organize a large number of mules/horses. If you would like to take a horse trek to Hydra’s remoter beaches, into the mountains, or up to the monasteries, you can organize such a trip with one of Hydra’s horse-trekking services.