Prophet Elias Monastery is located approximately 2.5 miles and almost 1,700 vertical feet above the harbor on the island of Hydra in Greece. The hike is a strong intermediate hike with a significant amount of climbing, but mostly on stone stairs and paths that are well maintained and even. If you’re making this hike in the Summer, make sure you bring plenty of water. We didn’t see any places to refill ours on the way up to the monastery.
The stairs and paths are a combination of old and new, and are clearly the product of an amazing amount of manual labor moving a huge amount of stones up the mountain and into place on the path. You can easily imagine the countless monks and pilgrims who have traversed these trails over the last 200+ years.
Make sure you turn around frequently on the way up, the views of the port, the island, the Aegean, and nearby islands is amazing from frequent landings and overlooks. If you zoom into the picture below, you can see our boat the Panagiota waiting for us below.
The monastery is male only, and was established in 1813 by thirteen monks who arrived on the island from Mount Athos. They constructed the monastery on the site of another chapel that was built in 1771. The monastery today is cared for by a small community of monks, and includes a courtyard enclosing the main church, other attractive buildings, stables, and a vegetable garden.
The view from the top is equally amazing, with clear views across the channel to mainland Greece and the island of Dokos in between.
Hydra was one of our favorite islands. It’s quiet, relatively unsettled, and cars and trucks are forbidden on the island. The great restaurants around the marina and friendly people made Hydra especially inviting and a great addition to our trip.