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Piraeus (Athens), Greece

Acropolis, Athens
Acropolis, Athens


Introduction

Piraeus (pronounced pee-reh-us) is the port for Athens and a major departure point for ferries to outlying islands. It is very easy to get into Athens from Piraeus with central Athens only six miles to the northeast.

Where You're Docked

Cruise ships dock at multiple piers on the south side of the port. Cruise Terminal A is the main terminal with some small shops, cafes and taxis waiting outside. The previously unused Terminal B, renamed Themistocles, opened in June 2013 approx 500m west of Terminal A at gate E12. A shuttle bus may operate between the two terminals. See the Local Transportation section on how to get to Athens.

Cruise shuttles or "Own Your Own" tours have been know to drop off and pick up on the west side of Syntagma Square (by McDonalds) or across the street from Hadrian's Arch by the Temple of Zeus.

Cruise schedule available from the port authority http://www.olp.gr/en/cruise-greece/cruise-programme

Cruise Terminal A

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Terminal B Themistocles

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Port Map

Piraeus Port Map

Cruise Ships Docked in Piraeus

Money and Tipping

Greece's currency is the Euro (EUR). In Europe, it is common to leave a small tip (5-10%) when dining at restaurants. Just round the bill up. Taxi drivers don't expect to be tipped, especially if they've overcharged you and not used their meter.

Local Transportation

Update - Athens is transitioning to a smartcard based system in 2017 like London's Oyster card. You can also buy tickets (single, 24hr, express buses) with the TfA tickets (Transport for Athens) app introduced in 2015.

Fares have increased as of Feb 1 2016 but ticket duration has increased to 90 minutes. http://www.ekathimerini.com/205563/article/ekathimerini/news/basic-fare-on-athens-public-transport-rises-from-120-euros-to-140

An express bus service introduced in 2015, X80, provides service between the cruise terminals and Syntagma Square with only four stops along the way including one stop near the Acropolis. Ticket price is €4.50 for a 24hr transit pass available from the driver. Buses operate from 7am till 9:30pm, and run approx every 30 minutes. Route and timetable here http://telematics.oasa.gr/en/

Update: For the 2017 cruise season, X80 service restarted on May 9th. http://oasa.gr/news.php?id=funk103

Taking the metro is also a convenient way to get into central Athens. The metro station is a 20-30 minute walk from the terminal following the harbor. You can take a bus but they don't sell tickets onboard but at kiosks, newsstands and mini markets. From cruise terminal A, head north crossing the main street and look for a newsstand to buy tickets. The bus stop is nearby across the side street. If you can't find it or if they are sold out, keep on walking north towards the metro station keeping the harbor on your left to find another one. Tickets are good for 90 minutes (valid for buses, metro or tram) and only €1.40 (Mar 2017). Bus stops should be signed for the 843 or 859 bus (google maps have the bus stops marked). You will need to validate your ticket onboard by time stamping your ticket in the machines. Ask the driver to stop at the metro station or you can spot it by looking for the pedestrian overpass. http://www.oasa.gr/

If you've decided to walk all the way, you can buy your ticket at self serve machines at the station when you enter but staffed service counters are to your right. Remember to validate your ticket before boarding. If you plan on doing more than three trips, it is more economical to buy a day pass (€4.50, Mar 2016, not available at newsstands). You will probably get off at Monastiraki, Syntagma, or Akropoli station (last two require changing lines).

Coming back, use the pedestrian overpass to cross the street where you can catch the 843 or 859 bus back to the terminal.

Beware of pickpockets on the metro and in crowded areas in Athens!

Taking a taxi to Syntagma Square from Piraeus should be around €20-25 per cab (not per person). You will need to negotiate the rate in advance with the driver but most drivers waiting at the port will be looking to take passengers on an all day tour. Outside the port, the ride should only cost around €15.

There is a tourist mini-train tour both in Athen and Piraeus. In Athens, you'll find it passing through Monastriki and in Piraeus, it is a couple of blocks past the cruise ship pier on the harbor side when walking towards the metro. http://www.athenshappytrain.com

To/From the Airport

Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH) is served by metro line 3. To get to Piraeus, change at Monastiraki station to metro line 1. Estimated journey time is 60 minutes and the fare €10. You can also take the X96 express bus (€5) and get off at the Piraeus metro station. Fare is €6 and travel time is between 60-90 minutes depending on traffic. From the metro station, you will need to transfer to the 843 or 859 bus heading south. Route and timetable here for X96 http://telematics.oasa.gr/en/

Line 3 of the metro is being extended to Piraeus and will provide a direct line to Monastiraki, Syntagma, and the airport by 2019.

Hotels

Staying in Athens is recommended since Piraeus is a short metro or taxi ride away. Search hotels in Athens here.

Must See Sights

Prices updated Mar 2017

  • Acropolis - No visit to Athens is complete without heading to the Acropolis. There are a few temples at the top with the most famous being the Parthenon. Admission is €20. Special 5 day ticket including admission to other sites including the Agora and South Slope of the Acropolis/Theatre of Dionysos is €30. Since you will pass the South Slope entrance if walking from the Akropoli metro, buying your ticket here could bypass the potentially longer lineups at the main Acropolis ticket office. Getting to the Acropolis early will avoid the crowds, tour groups, and hotter weather later in the day. Opens at 8am daily in the summer but later at 11am on Mondays. Main entrance is on the west side signposted from either Thissio or Akropoli metro. http://odysseus.culture.gr
  • Acropolis Museum - This new museum at the foot of the Acropolis showcases some of the site's treasures still remaining in Greece. Be sure to catch the film on the top floor and the original Erechteion statues. Open Mondays for summer tourist season only but not late. Admission is €5. http://www.theacropolismuseum.gr
  • Syntagma Square - This is the city's central square. Beside Syntagma are the parliament buildings where you can catch the changing of the guard. If you are there on a Sunday, there is a more elaborate ceremony at 11am. Syntagma Square is also the site of most government protests so check the news before you visit unless you like the smell of tear gas.
  • National Archaeological Museum - This museum houses Greek's famous antiquities. Five minutes from Metro Viktoria. Admission is €5 increasing to €15 Apr 1 2017. Opens later at 1:00pm on Mondays. http://www.namuseum.gr/
  • Panathenaic Stadium - Constructed of marble, this stadium hosted the first modern Olympic games. You can peer through the gates.

Beware of friendly locals offering to take you to a bar for a drink. You will be presented an outrageous bill at the end. Single, male tourists are usually targeted by the Akropoli metro.

Shopping & Restaurants

  • Ermou Street off Syntagma has designer goods and boutiques.
  • The Plaka area between the Acropolis and Syntagma has many restaurants and souvenir shops.
  • Monastiraki Flea Market is a street full of shops west of the square.
  • Adrianou Street bordering the metro tracks directly off the southwest corner Monastiraki is lined with restaurants with views of the Acropolis. Antica Cafe is a recommended restaurant here.
  • For excellent takeaway street food, try a Gyro (pronound Yuro) pita sandwich. Meat (usually pork or chicken) is shaved off a vertical rotisserie and rolled into a lightly grilled pita bread with tzatziki, onions, tomato and fries. Savas restaurant has takeaway on Mitropoleous beside the small church in Monastiraki. Bairaktaris is just across the street. Thanasis restaurant next door does excellent souvlaki beef meatball pita sandwiches. There are several Gyro shops near the Piraeus metro if you are still hungry on the way back. Nice restaurants can be found around Zea Marina on the opposite side of Piraeus from the port.
  • Athens Central Market is located on Athinas St midway between Monastiraki and Omonia metro stations. A block esast of the central market is Aiolou pedestrian street where you can find Krinos Cafe. They specialize in loukoumades, greek donuts drenched in honey and sprinkled with cinammon.
  • There is a Carrefour supermarket close to Piraeus metro station by the food markets in the area and a Sklavenitis supermarket about a block south of cruise terminal A at Chatzikyriakou 24 & Flessa (see google map below).

Post Offices

There is a post office on the west side of Syntagma Square in Athens (open weekend mornings) and another four blocks south of the metro station in Piraeus at Aristidou 27-29. Shops in the cruise terminal sell stamps and postcards and there is a mailbox inside the terminal.

Internet

The cruise terminal has free wifi but you will be competing with crew for limited connections and bandwidth. You can also try cafes, restaurants and McDonalds for wifi.

Been Here Before

Take a tram to the beaches. From the Metro, transfer at Faliro station to the tram line 2 and get off at Zephyros stop. Alimos Beach is the closest to the city (11 km) and the busiest.

Eight Hours in Athens

Get to the Acropolis first since getting there early will avoid the crowds and tour groups. Head next to the beautiful Acropolis Museum. Walk through the Plaka area toward Monastiraki and then have lunch at either Monastiraki or the Plaka. There are a few ruins near Monastriki you can visit. Next, head to Syntagma and you may be able to catch the changing of the guard and then metro to the National Museum. Return to Syntagma and walk southeast through the National Garden to see the Marble Olympic Stadium. Head west to view the ruins of the Temple of Zeus and continuing west will lead you to Akropoli Station.

Maps

Some nicely marked google maps of Athens attractions and the Acropolis.

Athens (right-click to save)

Athens Map

Metro

Athens Metro Map

Weather

Athens Weather Forecast

Find more about Weather in Athens, GR
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