Piraeus

1. Welcome to Piraeus

Piraeus port, Greece
Piraeus port, Greece

The port of Piraeus is the chief port in Greece, the largest passenger port in Europe and the third largest in the world, servicing about 20 million passengers annually. With a throughput of 1.4 million TEUs, Piraeus is placed among the first ten ports in container traffic in Europe and the top container port in Eastern Mediterranean. The city hosted events in both the 1896 and 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens.Piraeus is a city in the periphery of Attica, Greece. Piraeus is located within the Athens Urban Area, 12 km southwest from its city center (municipality of Athens), and lies along the east coast of the Saronic Gulf.

According to the 2001 census, Piraeus had a population of 175,697 people within its administrative limits, making it the third largest municipality in Greece and the second largest within the urban area of the Greek capital, following the municipality of Athens. The municipality of Piraeus and several other suburban municipalities within the peripheral unit of Piraeus form the wider Piraeus Urban Area or Greater Piraeus, with a total population of 466,065.

Piraeus has a long history, which dates back to ancient Greece. The effects of its natural space and geographical place have been critical factors for the configuration of the historical fate of Piraeus. The development of the harbour has been always combined with periods of proportional acme and progress of the city, while in the periods of the harbour’s decay the city languished. The city was largely developed in the early 5th century BC, when it was selected to serve as the port city of classical Athens and was transformed into a prototype harbour, concentrating all the import and transit trade of Athens. Consequently, it became the chief harbour of ancient Greece but declined gradually after the 4th century AD, and began to grow again in the 19th century, especially after the declaration of Athens as the capital of Greece. In modern era, Piraeus is a big city bustling with life and an integral part of Athens, having the biggest harbour in the country and all the typical characteristics of a huge marine and commercial-industrial center.

Piraeus port, Greece
Piraeus port, Greece

We have collected alot of information about Piraeus port and city, you may also take a look at the hotels in Piraeus that we recommend, the bus from Piraeus port to the main airport of Greece Eleftherios Venizelos, taxis in Piraeus, buses in Piraeus, trains and metro in Piraeus, Sightseeing in Piraeus, accommodation in Piraeus, closest islands to Piraeus, hotels in Piraeus, Night life in Piraeus, Coping with Piraeus and much more.

If you require any extra information about Piraeus then please contact: information@abettergreece.com

or telephone +30 69 34 62 05 01 / +30 2284 0 24 879

We will do our best to help you out.

Please be careful, while waiting to get on the ships in Piraeus as there have been many reports about thefts in the area of the main port. People might appear to want to help you out, please do not trust any strangers and keep your luggage very close to you at all times.

2. Activities on Piraeus

Archaeological Museum of Piraeus:  Although the museum was founded in 1935 a wide restructuring was made in 1966. Traces of the city’s prosperity are exhibited at the archaeological museum near the Zea Harbour. A fine collection of sculptured grave monuments, reliefs and pottery mainly from the 5th and 4th centuries BC are put on a display over there. Just beside the museum are the ruins of the ancient theatre.

Address: 31 Harilaou Trikoupi, Piraeus, Athens, Greece.

Tel.: +30 210 452 1598

Open Hours: Monday: Closed, Tuesday Sunday: 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM

Piraeus port, Greece
Piraeus port, Greece

Municipal Gallery of Piraeus:  The gallery was inaugurated in 1957 that displays works by Greek artists such as M. Axelos, K. Volanakis, P. Vyzantiou, A. Geralis, E. Doukas, D. Kokotsis, Th. Lazaris, N. Lytras, K. Maleas, M. Ekonomou, K. Romanides, A. Christofis and works of other young artists as well. It started its operation as a section of the Municipal Library in the building of the Municipal Theater.

A collection of around 80 sculptures by George Kastriotis, a collection of 156 works by artist St. Lazaros and the collection given by the famous Greek actor Manos Katrakis (that comprise theatrical costumes, photographs, theatrical material and personal belongings) are beautifully exhibited in the gallery that fetches the attention of millions of visitors.

Thus, it is one of the most visited tourist destination in Piraeus.

Address: 91 Iroon Polytechniou Str, 185 36 Piraeus, Greece

Tel.: +30 210 419 4585

Open: Throughout the year (Jan 1 thru Dec 31)

Railway Station (Piraeus-Peloponnese):   The buildings of Piraeus Railway Station are decorated with “Bouniato” on all the four sides which are in fact the first example of industrial architecture in Greece. The frames of doors and windows, the false-roofs, the big wooden-bar doors and the decorating strips that run across the walls of the buildings are all made of stone and are covered by wooden roofs of tiles. Even the toilets have stone-made water reservoirs.

Nautical Museum Piraeus:  Nautical Museum Piraeus, also known as Maritime museum highlights the whole Greek Navy’s history that was founded in 1949. The oldest objects are some worked obsidian stones that represents the era around 8000 BC. The museum has nautical pieces spanning the history of the Greek navy from ancient times to the present day. Besides this, there are paintings, ship models, maps, flags, and nautical instruments. The museum also has a library with 10,000 volumes and a photographic and film collection as well.

Address: Akti Themistokleous, Freattys, 185 37 Piraeus, Greece.

Tel.: +30 210 451 6822, 451 6264

Open: Tues to Sat- 9:00 AM- 2:00 PM

Zea Marina:   In Greece, Zea’s marina is the place where some of the most impressive yachts and cruisers are moored. The coastline is full of restaurants, tavernas, bars and shops that cater to the needs of yachtsmen. Here, you can also find the Flying Dolphins (hovercrafts), if you want to go to the Saronic Gulf islands.

Pasalimani, Piraeus port, Greece
Pasalimani, Piraeus port, Greece

Mikrolimano:   Once protected by the goddess Mounichia Artemis, this port is today a popular hang-out for tourists. It is a lovely little harbor full of fishing boats, small vessels and some very beautiful yachts.

Kastella:  Also known as Prophetis Elias built on a hill; Kastella is Piraeus’ most fashionable neighborhood. If you walk towards the top of the hill you will find yourself in narrow streets surrounded by picturesque houses. The view of the central harbor, Zea and Mikrolimano from here are just marvelous.

(I.e. Tourist attractions in the vicinity of the beautiful tourist city Piraeus are as under)

Athens Contemporary Architecture:   Two specific features distinguish urban architecture in the Greek capital: The heavy legacy of Athenian 19th century Neo-Classicism and the sentimental attachment of its creators to the indigenous vernacular tradition.

Address: Athens, Greece (Around 5.33 miles from Piraeus).

Tel.: +30 210 643 4265

Kessariani Monastery:   For a total change of scenery, around 5.33 miles from Piraeus, one can grab a taxi to the Kessariani Monastery. A short drive takes you to the famous Byzantine monastery, located in the forest on the slopes of Mount Ymittos which is altogether different experience.

Address: Kessariani Forest, Athens, Greece.

Tel.: +30 210 723 6619

Ancient Agora:  This unique archaeological park served as the city’s marketplace from the 6th century BC to the 6th century AD. Scattered throughout the Agora are statues and ruins of numerous buildings, the most interesting of which is the well-preserved Temple of Hephaistos or Thission, built in the 5th century BC.

Address: Athens, Greece

ISLANDS NEAR PIRAEUS:

Saronic Islands

map of Hydra, Saronic Gulf, Greece
map of Hydra, Saronic Gulf, Greece

Under the name Saronic Islands a big group of islands near Piraeus and under Piraeus prefecture can be found. The name comes from the Gulf, Saronic Gulf, which washes Piraeus’ banks.

Hydra

Hydra is another of the Saronic Islands located between the Saronic and Argolis Gulf. Its rocky area is spread across 50 sq. km. area & its shoreline across 55 km that has a population of 3000. Hydra is also famous for as the most unspoiled island due to its limited growth, besides being the most ecological island without cars.

The tourists can simply visit the place and can finish it in just one day. From Piraeus, Hydra is well connected, thus it is easy to reach this island using the Ferry or the Flying Dolphin.

3. Best beaches on Piraeus

There are a number of excellent beaches scattered around the city of Piraeus, all of which are managed by the Greek National Tourist Organization. Beach facilities are good and often include changing areas, cafes and even pitches for volley ball, although there is usually a charge for entry onto the beaches, since many are private.

Piraeus port in Greece
Piraeus port in Greece

There is a good beach located alongside the Piraeus Peninsula, where sightseers may also be interested in the remains of the city’s ancient walls, indicating the former grandeur of this ancient city. Apart from the beaches around the city, Piraeus is also home to some charming marinas and harbours, particularly along the Koumoundourou coastline.

Piraeus beaches have something in common with many in Greece, with traditional Greek taverns never being far from hand and usually specialising in freshly caught fish, which is often both tasty and very affordable. There are often also modern cafes and small small shops close by.

LIST OF THE MAIN BEACHES AND NEARBY RESORTS

Glyfada Beach – just a short drive from Piraeus city center. Glyfada Beach has become a major seaside resort, with some excellent marinas and very popular stretches of sand. Tourists come here not only to sunbathe, but to enjoy the selection of water sports on offer

Kavouri Beach – an upscale resort and very much a favorite of the local Athenians. Kavouri Beach is perfect for those who enjoy sports, being home to tennis courts and a rather swanky marina

Piraeus port in Greece
Piraeus port in Greece

Varkiza Beach – a lively resort near to Vouliagmeni and located directly to the south-west of central Piraeus. Varkiza Beach is simple to reach by car, lying off Alkyonidon Avenue, and the drive here is particularly scenic. Vari is very nearby and a good place to find a bite to eat, being filled with Greek-style taverns

Voula Beach – very much a beach for the younger holiday makers, offering something of a party atmosphere

Vouliagmeni Beach – around 30 minutes from downtown Piraeus and just a short distance from the beaches next to Poseidonos Avenue

Votsalakia Beach – one of the very best beaches that you are likely to encounter in Piraeus and this part of Greece. The sand is fine, the views are gorgeous and there is even a central open-air cafe, right in the middle of the beach itself. Votsalakia Beach is also home to a volleyball court, tennis courts, a swimming pool, bars and many beachfront restaurants. Pasalimani is relatively close by, as is Alexandra Square

4. Sightseeing on Piraeus

Archaeological Museum of Piraeus:  Although the museum was founded in 1935 a wide restructuring was made in 1966. Traces of the city’s prosperity are exhibited at the archaeological museum near the Zea Harbor. A fine collection of sculptured grave monuments, reliefs and pottery mainly from the 5th and 4th centuries BC are put on a display over there. Just beside the museum are the ruins of the ancient theater.

Address: 31 Harilaou Trikoupi, Piraeus, Athens, Greece.

Tel.: +30 210 452 1598

Open Hours: Monday: Closed, Tuesday Sunday: 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM

Municipal Gallery of Piraeus:  The gallery was inaugurated in 1957 that displays works by Greek artists such as M. Axelos, K. Volanakis, P. Vyzantiou, A. Geralis, E. Doukas, D. Kokotsis, Th. Lazaris, N. Lytras, K. Maleas, M. Ekonomou, K. Romanides, A. Christofis and works of other young artists as well. It started its operation as a section of the Municipal Library in the building of the Municipal Theater.

A collection of around 80 sculptures by George Kastriotis, a collection of 156 works by artist St. Lazaros and the collection given by the famous Greek actor Manos Katrakis (that comprise theatrical costumes, photographs, theatrical material and personal belongings) are beautifully exhibited in the gallery that fetches the attention of millions of visitors.

Thus, it is one of the most visited tourist destination in Piraeus.

Address: 91 Iroon Polytechniou Str, 185 36 Piraeus, Greece

Tel.: +30 210 419 4585

Open: Throughout the year (Jan 1 thru Dec 31)

Railway Station (Piraeus-Peloponnese):  The buildings of Piraeus Railway Station are decorated with “Bouniato” on all the four sides which are in fact the first example of industrial architecture in Greece. The frames of doors and windows, the false-roofs, the big wooden-bar doors and the decorating strips that run across the walls of the buildings are all made of stone and are covered by wooden roofs of tiles. Even the toilets have stone-made water reservoirs.

Nautical Museum Piraeus:   Nautical Museum Piraeus, also known as Maritime museum highlights the whole Greek Navy’s history that was founded in 1949. The oldest objects are some worked obsidian stones that represents the era around 8000 BC. The museum has nautical pieces spanning the history of the Greek navy from ancient times to the present day. Besides this, there are paintings, ship models, maps, flags, and nautical instruments. The museum also has a library with 10,000 volumes and a photographic and film collection as well.

Address: Akti Themistokleous, Freattys, 185 37 Piraeus, Greece.

Tel.: +30 210 451 6822, 451 6264

Open: Tues to Sat- 9:00 AM- 2:00 PM

Zea Marina:  In Greece, Zea’s marina is the place where some of the most impressive yachts and cruisers are moored. The coastline is full of restaurants, taverns, bars and shops that cater to the needs of yachtsmen. Here, you can also find the Flying Dolphins (hovercrafts), if you want to go to the Saronic Gulf islands.

Mikrolimano:  Once protected by the goddess Mounichia Artemis, this port is today a popular hang-out for tourists. It is a lovely little harbor full of fishing boats, small vessels and some very beautiful yachts.

Kastella:   Also known as Prophetis Elias built on a hill; Kastella is Piraeus’ most fashionable neighborhood. If you walk towards the top of the hill you will find yourself in narrow streets surrounded by picturesque houses. The view of the central harbor, Zea and Mikrolimano from here are just marvelous.

(I.e. Tourist attractions in the vicinity of the beautiful tourist city Piraeus are as under)

Athens Contemporary Architecture:  Two specific features distinguish urban architecture in the Greek capital: The heavy legacy of Athenian 19th century Neo-Classicism and the sentimental attachment of its creators to the indigenous vernacular tradition.

Address: Athens, Greece (Around 5.33 miles from Piraeus).

Tel.: +30 210 643 4265

Kessariani Monastery:  For a total change of scenery, around 5.33 miles from Piraeus, one can grab a taxi to the Kessariani Monastery. A short drive takes you to the famous Byzantine monastery, located in the forest on the slopes of Mount Ymittos which is altogether different experience.

Address: Kessariani Forest, Athens, Greece.

Tel.: +30 210 723 6619

Ancient Agora:  This unique archaeological park served as the city’s marketplace from the 6th century BC to the 6th century AD. Scattered throughout the Agora are statues and ruins of numerous buildings, the most interesting of which is the well-preserved Temple of Hephaistos or Thission, built in the 5th century BC.

Address: Athens, Greece

ISLANDS NEAR PIRAEUS:

Saronic Islands

Hydra harbor, Greece
Hydra harbor, Greece

Under the name Saronic Islands a big group of islands near Piraeus and under Piraeus prefecture can be found. The name comes from the Gulf, Saronic Gulf, which washes Piraeus’ banks.

Hydra:  Hydra is another of the Saronic Islands located between the Saronic and Argolis Gulf. Its rocky area is spread across 50 sq. km. area & its shoreline across 55 km that has a population of 3000. Hydra is also famous for as the most unspoiled island due to its limited growth, besides being the most ecological island without cars.

The tourists can simply visit the place and can finish it in just one day. From Piraeus, Hydra is well connected, thus it is easy to reach this island using the Ferry or the Flying Dolphin.

5. Areas of Piraeus

COMING SOON

6. The history and mythology of Piraeus

Despite the fact that Piraeus has been inhabited by the middle of the 3rd millennium, for many centuries, it remained an insignificant small city without any particular interest for the Athenians until its exploitation (5th century BC). The appointment of Piraeus that was declared a municipality in 517 BC based on the administrative reform of Klisthenis, the founder of Athenian democracy, coincides with the period of acme of democracy. This is due to interest and the creative realisations of two important political people of that time: Themistocles and Pericles.

Themistocles’ interest for Piraeus was primarily expressed after the battle of Marathona in 492/493 BC when he was elected as ‘eponymous leader’. The works for city fortification began before the naval battle of Salamina (480 BC) but it was completed between 471 and 465 BC. Later on (461-465 BC) more works followed for the extension of the Long Walls so that the linking of Piraeus with Athens could be achieved. Finally, during the years 451-431 BC the building and the final configuration of the city was completed with a pioneering – for its time – urban plan constructed by the famous architect and city planner Milisius.

The choice of Themistocles who had been the creator of ancient Piraeus was successful. Combining its natural advantages due to its three ‘autonomous’ ports (Mega, Zea, Mounichia) and the works that took place, Piraeus soon evolved not only into the safest war port but also in the most perfect in construction, organisation and exploitation commercial port. This port included:

Excellent fortification, traces of which have survived to date.

  • All the necessary facilities to serve the port’s traffic such as quays and docks for the ships to anchor, five stock houses for the merchandises to be deposited, market places, shipyards for ship building, stock rooms for keeping the ships equipment.
  • Public buildings, temples and theatres.
  • Excellent street layout.

Generally speaking a city bustling with life, Piraeus had been fairly called the trade land of Greece. According to Thoukididis ‘Due to the city’s size, in this land, someone can find everything from everywhere’. A huge import port in antiquity Piraeus has still maintained this trait through centuries since nowadays it is the biggest import port in the country with a constant proportion of imports-exports: 7:3.

The commercial harbour of ancient Piraeus, the well known ‘trade’, extended from the region of the current central customs office to the Ietionia edge that is the place where the silo is found and until recently the stock houses of the FREE ZONE excluding the basin of the Alon port which was not used in antiquity because it was shallow. Having all the necessary facilities and pioneering administration with all bodies responsible for the customer’s service (commissaries of trade, customs officers, tax collectors, policemen, food keepers etc.), ‘trade’ ensured all the pledges for the unhindered conduct of harbour work. Strict measures had also ensured the smooth conduct of commercial transactions in the ‘market’ which inadequacy constituted the centre of the city’s economic life. The ‘market’ was found in the region of ‘trade’ while another one responsible for the daily needs of the residence, the so called ‘Ipodamios’ functioned in the interior of the city near the port of Zeas (Pasalimani).

In antiquity Piraeus was mainly an import harbour with huge shipping and merchandising traffic, particularly from October until April when weather conditions facilitated the travel of sailing ships. The biggest shipping lodge came from Medditerennean and Black Sea ports, particularly from Skithia where crops were imported. The export commerce was limited to shipping lodge of certain products of Attica (such as oil, wine and honey) and pottery products. The ports huge import traffic and the application of the principles of free economy in the daily exchange of products contributed to the growth of considerable commercial traffic in the city as well.

The tradesmen were mostly foreigners that had permanently settled in Piraeus – the so called ‘Metiki’- to whom certain rights for the exercise of their profession were given. They were obliged to pay a special tax called ‘Metikio’. The presence of such a huge number of foreigners, holding more progressive thoughts and opinions than the local people and the vast traffic of passing by people resulted in the free exchange of the new ideas. To an extent, this can explain why Piraeus had developed a ‘free spirit’ and a mere democratic conscience so as to be considered the Port city not only in the socioeconomic but also in the political world.

Apart from commerce, industry was also considerably developed. Firstly, ship building, metallurgy and pottery and secondly weaving were some of its representative branches. Moreover, in Piraeus the stock market price of various products was shaped and the range of ship fares was determined. All issues with regard to commercial transactions were regulated in the city so that it was fairly considered as ‘London of the antiquity’.

The social and economic bloom that Piraeus met, during the period of its acme resulted in the simultaneous development of its intellectual and artistic life. Not only people of spirit and art but also powerful wealthy people of the time were actively involved having the port city as a base for their commercial activity. Plato, Socrates, Lysias, Meton the astronomer, Xenophon and later on Demosthenis the speaker, used to gather at either the house of Kefalos the industrialist, Pasion the banker, Kallias the politician, Timotheos the general and many others and talked about scientific, artistic and social issues of the time. This can be seen in the choice of setting made by Xenothon and Plato in their works. In ‘Politeia’ “The republic” the most famous of Plato’s works the setting of the dialogue is placed in Piraeus. Finally, in the renowned theatre of Mounichia works of Aischylus, Sophocles Euripedes, Aristophanes and Menandros were occasionally taught and performed attracting a great number of audience from all over Greece.

7. Rent a car on Piraeus

Reserve low-priced car rental at Piraeus city or port of Piraeus. The Port of Piraeus, the largest Greek seaport, is one of the largest seaports in the Mediterranean Sea. Due to many famous attractions of Greece lying near by, Piraeus rent a car is a great option. To get the facility of a wide selection of cars and economy rates during your stay at Piraeus and a full inclusive package including unlimited kilometers,

For travelers arriving at Piraeus Port and need a car to discover Athens and suburbs of Attica they can get a car upon arriving at the port.
Our Staff will be waiting for you at the port of Piraeus in front of the boat you have already informed us, holding a sign with your name.

For travelers wishing to have a car at the marinas near by Piraeus and coastal areas it is also easy to have any car during the day. We also offer car hire services at the Port of Rafina and car rentals at Lavrio Port.

Morphis car rental agency in Piraeus

Kosmos car rental agency, Piraeus

8. Useful information about Piraeus island

map of Piraeus port, Greece
map of Piraeus port, Greece

COMING SOON