Guide to Piraeus Cruise Port
Let's Go Piraeus
Piraeus has had the function of the port for Athens since the Golden Age of Greece. The port at Piraeus was conceived at the beginning of the fifth century BC by Themistocles, who realized the possibilities for its 3 deepwater harbors. The early fortifications were extended by Pericles with the construction of 'the Long Walls' to line and fortify the road to Athens. Nowadays Piraeus can be considered an important center in its own right, as the home of much of Greater Athens' commerce and business. For most tourists, however, it is Piraeus's ferries that provide the reason for coming. The port sees the departure of up to sixty passenger ships per day.
Athens is just 7 miles from Piraeus, and most tourists will spend the visit in Athens. Athens is a hot, large, overpopulated and bustling city choking with traffic and people. But at its center stands the magestic Acropolis, an unmissable draw for tourists from all over the globe. Just North of the Acropolis lies the welcoming friendly district of Plaka, a place full of historic interest, and these two form the main draw for tourists.
Sightseeing in Athens
Most tourists make a beeline for Athens, and no wonder, since the Acropolis is one of the most magnificent historic sights in the world.
Things to See in Athens
The major sight in Athens is the Acropolis, a 150 m (512 ft) rock in the center of the city topped with a number of temples that were built in around 400BC. The beauty of these ancient monuments makes the Acropolis known all over the world. There is a 12 euro fee to enter. At the top of the Acropolis stands the magnificent Parthenon, an amazing classical Greek temple, a magestic sight from almost everywhere in Athens.Another iconic building is the Erechtheion. The six ladies that serve as pillars are reproductions, you can see 5 originals in the Acropolis museum. Number 6 is in the British Museum in London, together with substantial parts of the Parthenon frieze. The Greeks keep making strenous efforts and avid representations to the British for their return.
See the soldiers wearing their unique skirt with tights and bizarre shoes. Especially recommended is the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Just down from the Acropolis lies Plaka. This area is made up of pedestrianised meandering streets.
The Roman Forum is situated towards the west end of Plaka. Here you'll find the beautiful Tower of the Winds, an eight faced tower with a different wind god on each side. Joint ticket with Acropolis.
Shopping in Plaka
There are many local products worth considering. olive oil, small carpets, and leather shoes are all sourced locally and give great value for money. The local antiques market is always bustling and fascinating.
Restaurants in Plaka
Relaxing in one of the sidewalk restaurants enjoying a dish of good food with a glass of ouzo is a very enjoyable way to spend the evening (if you have time before the ship sails!)
Cruise Routes from Piraeus
The cruise ship routes from Piraeus include a selection from ports in the Greek Islands, Turkey, the Black Sea, Israel and Egypt.
A typical Eastern Mediterrenaen itinerary would be
Piraeus, Alexandria, Port Said, Ashdod, Limassol, Rhodes, returning to Piraeus.
Piraeus Cruise Terminals
Your ship will berth at the Piraeus Port situated on the southern fringe of the city. The port lies on the beautiful Aegean Sea. The port is first and foremost a ferry port, for the many Greek Islands. Greece includes a multitude of islands, so ferry traffic is vital and ferries sail in and out of Piraeus throughout the day and night. The cruise terminals arepositioned on the southern side of the harbor.
Cruiseliners berth at either Cruise Terminal A or Cruise Terminal B. Cruise Terminal A, accessed by gate E11, is situated in the middle of the harbour sandwiched by the Mioulis and Xaveris docks. Cruise Terminal B, approached by gate E12, lies at the mouth of the harbor, protected by the Termistokleous pier. The cruise ship capacity of the port is about 11 cruise ships.
Directions to the Cruise Terminal
From the Piraeus Metro Line station
It's about one mile from the station to Cruise Terminal A, and around a mile and a half to Cruise Terminal B. Walking's not practical, as its quite a hike on a boiling afternoon. Instead cross over the main road on the new pedestrian bridge. Catch a bus to your terminal (lines 832, 833 843 or 859).
From Athens City Center to Piraeus Port
Metro Rail Line
The easiest way to travel from Athens to the Piraeus Port is by the metro electric rail line. ISAP Line number one (green line, Kifissia to Piraeus) links the city of Athens directly to Piraeus Port.
Two buses that shuttle between Piraeus and Athens. Buses Numbers 040 and 049 operate all day, running every 20 minutes from 6am until midnight and then hourly. Bus No 040 runs between Syntagma square (Plaka district) in Athens and Akti Xaveriou in Piraeus (situated right between the cruise terminals). Bus No 049 links Omonia Square in Athens and Themistokleous Square in Piraeus. Alight at Karaiskaki square in front of gate E8, and from here take a 843 bus to the cruise terminals at gate E11 or E12.
Cab prices are relatively modest in Greece, but dishonest drivers are not uncommon, so use the cab service arranged by your hotel. You will be charged extra for baggage (officially EUR0,30 for each item), and more for entrance to the port ( EUR0,60). The trip between the center of Athens and PiraeusPort takes around 30 min and the taxi fare is around EUR20.
From Athens Airport to Piraeus
Line 3 links the airport to Monastiraki station where you change to green Line 1, taking you to Piraeus. The journey time between the airport and Piraeus is about 75 minutes.
Bus no E96 runs day and night between the airport and Piraeus's Karaïskaki Square, with services every 20 minutes. The bus departs from the lot outside arrivals Gates 4 and 5. On arrival at Piraeus take another bus to the cruise terminal (832, 833, 843 or 859).
A surcharge is added for journeys from the airport, luggage costs more per item and the trip takes more than 1 hour (iit's 30 km between the airport and Piraeus port) so the cab price can come to €50 or more.
As the Greeks would say, Kalo Taxidi! (Good Voyage!)