Piraeus

The Piraeus (Πειραιάς, official transliteration Pireas) is the ancient port of Athens and still functions as the chief exit point from the city by sea for destinations among the Aegean Islands and elsewhere in the east Mediterranean. Domestic destinantions include all of the Aegean islands except the Sporades and some smaller Cyclades and Dodecanese isles that require a connection. International destinations (apart from cruise ships) include Cyprus and the Middle East.

View of the passenger vessel's harbor and Karaiskaki Square

Understand

Piraeus occupies a huge territory. Check your gate number in advance so you know where to go. It may take 15 minutes of driving or 30 minutes of walking to reach one end of the port from the other.

Since privatisation of the Port of Piraeus Authority passenger facilities have improved greatly. Air conditioned tents have been set up at departure locations around the port and free wi-fi internet access is now available.

Sailings (arrivals and departures) are posted outside the Coast Guard Building at Karaiskaki Square, the main bus terminal for the Piraeus suburbs. Sailings are also available online from the Ministry of Merchant Marine.

The area can become hectic, especially during the summer period, so allow plenty of time to navigate to the correct departure point.

Get in

Most travellers arriving in Piraeus from Athens make use of the very convenient Metro. Line 1 terminates at the Port, from there it's a short walk to the Saronic Gulf ferries, hydrofoils and catamarans, or a free shuttle-bus ride to the ships sailing to Crete and the Dodecanses. Central Cyclades ferries conveniently sail from just across the metro station. Metro ticket costs €1.40 and allows unlimited connections on all modes of transport within 90 minutes.

Direct Airport Express buses run 24 hours between the port of Piraeus and Athens International Airport. Allow 90 minutes for the trip. The Airport is also accessible via the Metro, with a connection at Monastiraki. Bus tickets to the airport, available from the driver, cost €5.00; Metro tickets to the airport are €8.00.

Other public buses connect Piraeus with its outlying suburbs, the southern coastal zone and with central Athens. Bus and trolley-bus tickets cost €1.40 and are valid for unlimited connections(including metro) within 90 minutes. They must be bought in advance (generally from kiosks or inside metro stations) and validated once on board.

During the "season", a goodly number of cruise ships stop here. Modest sized ships dock within easy walk of the passenger terminal (approximately a mile south of the Metro station). Large ships dock about 2–300 meters farther away, closer to the busy entrance to this harbor. From the terminal, you could take a taxi, or you might find a city bus going toward the Metro terminal (ask in the terminal); otherwise, you face a walk with entrances to ferry and freight docks on the shore side, and various commercial and civic buildings on the other side of the very busy street. Those walkers who stay on the harbor side can use a pedestrian bridge over the street within sight of the Metro station.

Get around

The centre of Piraeus and the Port can be negoatiated easily on foot if you are not carrying luggage. Yellow trolley buses (trolley bus no 20) are useful for the run from the Port to Passalimani and then follow the very scenic route around the hill of Castella, terminating at the Line 1 Metro station of Neon Phaleron (Neo Faliro), near the Peace & Friendship and Karaiskaki Stadiums.

Free shuttle buses inside the Port run from across the Metro Line 1 Terminal Station, around the north side of the port to the ships sailing for Crete, the Eastern Aegean and the Dodecanese.

See

Mikroklimano Marina
The Municipal Theater
View from inside the Athens Metro (Line 1) Terminal Station

Do

The most important thing to do is to take a ferry to the Greek Islands. You also can have a nice walk in the Pasalimani/Mikrolimano area and look at many amazing yachts and ships.

Another major option is to take the Metro to various parts of Athens (see map of routes on main Athens page). Cost is very modest, and service is very frequent.

Buy

The main street for apparel shopping in Piraeus is Sotiros Dios, pedestrainized for the most part and quite nice to walk through, going uphill from the port and the downhill towards the Marina. There are also many shops and cafes along the harbor front, especially toward the cruise terminal and near the Metro station.

Eat

Piraeus, being a major port for centuries, offers numerous fish bistros (Greek: psarotaverna) spread along the coastline, especially along Pasalimani and Mikrolimano Bays.

The unfinished Piraeus tower dominates the skyline, being the second-tallest building in the Greater Athens area

Drink

Good cafes are very scarce in the port.

Marina Zea in Piraeus

Sleep

Karaiskaki stadium, home of Olympiacos F.C.

Stay Safe

Piraeus is a rather chaotic place with traffic that's horrendous even for Greece. Particular caution should be used when crossing the street, or when walking along the pavement by the ferry quays where cars, taxis, and trucks often drive randomly among the crowds of travelers walking to and from the boats.

Piraeus is a huge port filled with sailors, and parts of it are about as tough as you'd expect such a place to be. The areas right by the ferry quays are safe enough, but avoid wandering around the rest of Piraeus, especially at night, unless you know your way around.

Unlicensed taxi drivers often meet arriving ferries. Unlike in some countries, these taxis have a bad reputation and should not be considered as a cheap alternative to licensed cabs.

Pickpocketing gangs have been reported working on the Piraeus-Airport bus; for a full description see the Athens Stay Safe section.

One scam you may encounter in Piraeus is a rather subtle one. A man will walk up to you while you are waiting with your luggage in line to board a ferry. This gentleman is a consummate actor: though he doesn't actually claim to be working for the boat or port, his demeanor and behavior imply strongly that he is. He'll pick up your luggage, brushing aside any objections, and usher you with it to the head of the line, at which point he'll demand a hefty tip. In one reported case the bite was €7.00 (our respondent decided the performance was worth €2.00)

Go next

Piraeus is the largest port of Greece, which means that you have a large variety of destinations to choose from. From here flying dolphins and ships leave for the Saronic Gulf Islands (Gate Ε8), high speed catamarans and conventional ferries for the Aegean Islands (Gates E6,E7,E9,E10), ferries and cruise ships for Crete, Lesvos, Chios and the Dodecanese ( Gates E3, E2 and Gate E1 respectively) and bigger vessels for Cyprus and the Middle East (Gates E11,E12). Most major Greek Naval Companies have agencies here.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, January 17, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.