Piraeus (Athens), Greece
Located on the Saronic Gulf and overlooking the Martoum Sea, Piraeus is part of metropolitan Athens. With a history dating back to 450 BC, these days it is an important commercial and shipping hub and transport centre, owing to its 3 natural harbours: Megas Limani, Zea Limani and Mikrolimano.
The Port of Piraeus is the largest seaport in Greece, and one of the largest in Europe. It is also the busiest passenger port in Europe and one of the largest in the world, with passenger numbers exceeding 20 million per year. The port also offers ferry services to Crete, the Cyclades and the Dodecanese.
The port has 2 terminals for cruise ships, and both offer easy access to downtown Athens and Athens International Airport. Piraeus, the gateway to Athens, is a destination town in its own right, well equipped with a beach, a range of shops and eateries and a charming harbour area.
The Port of Piraeus is conveniently located some12 kilometres south west of the centre of Athens, and 40 kilometres from Athens International Airport. The terminals are set about 500 metres apart and both are within walking distance to hotels, eateries, several shops and Piraeus train station.
There are 3 natural harbours in Piraeus and cruise ships dock at Megas Limani, which has 2 terminals and 11 berths. Terminal A (Miaoulis) sits in the centre of the harbour and welcomes small to medium ships, while Terminal B (Themistocles) is located near the harbour entrance and hosts larger cruise vessels. Following an impressive upgrade of Terminal B in 2013, the Greek Government and European Union have invested €162 million to further expand the port.
- Public telephones and luggage lockers
- A bar and cafe
- Air-conditioned lounge and Wi-Fi
- Duty free shopping
- Taxi service and parking area.
How To Get Around
As a result of upgrades and infrastructure built for the 2004 Olympic Games, the public transport system is fast, efficient and easy to navigate. There are frequent bus and train links from the port to the centre of Athens, and the Airport Express Bus operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week direct to Athens International Airport.
Taxis are available 24 hours a day at the terminal exit, however Piraeus Station is just a short walk away and it connects passengers directly to downtown Athens. Once in Athens, the metro underground rail system is an inexpensive and safe way to get around the city. It operates from 6am until 11pm and tickets offer unlimited access from 90 minutes to 7 days, depending on the fare chosen.
Athens is easy to discover by foot and many historic sites including the Parthenon, Odeon, Acropolis and Temple of Athena are linked by pedestrian-friendly walkways that are lined with shops and restaurants.
- Currency: The currency in Piraeus is the Euro (EUR). Coin denominations include: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. Note denominations include: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros.
- Time Zone: Piraeus uses Eastern European Time (EET), which is 2 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+2). Eastern European Summer Time (EEST) is 3 hours ahead (UTC+3).
- Weather: Piraeus enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Temperatures range from an average of 28 degrees Celsius in July and August to 19 degrees Celsius in January and February. The driest months are July and August, with an average rainfall of 12 millimetres.
- The Acropolis - Greece’s premier attraction, and one of the most important historic sites in the Western world, the Acropolis is the ancient citadel that presides over Athens. This ‘hill city’ is home to the 24-centuries-old Parthenon, the semi-circular Theatre of Dionysus, and the Erechtheion, which is famous for the 6 pillars that support its facade.
- National Archaeological Museum - One of the great museums of the world, the National Archaeological Museum houses ancient Greek sculpture, jewellery and pottery. It also holds the Antikythera mechanism, a 2,000-year-old computer found in a shipwreck off the island of Antikithera, which points to how advanced the ancient Greeks were.
- Plaka - Clustered around the eastern and northern slopes of the Acropolis, this historic neighbourhood is home to quaint and quirky shops, quality restaurants and traditional ouzeries. Highlights include the famous Brettos distillery and the outdoor Cine Paris. Ancient Greek and Roman ruins are also found here, along with 19th century buildings and Byzantine churches.
- Monastiraki Flea Market - Set in Monastiraki Square, this bustling market is known for its clothing, fur, jewellery, vintage records, antiques and souvenirs. With an atmosphere closer to a Turkish bazaar than a flea market, this vibrant collection of shoppers and stallholders is open every day of the week.