Piraeus
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Piraeus


The city of Piraeus is part of the Athens metropolitan area and has long served as Athens' port. According to the 2021 census, 168.151 inhabitants lived in Piraeus as of the reference date. The city is densely populated and plays an important role in the greater Athens area.

Piraeus - Panorama


Piraeus - Panorama


Piraeus - Panorama


Piraeus - Panorama 


Piraeus is the largest port in Greece and one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean. The city plays a central role in the Greek economy and tourism thanks to its rich maritime history.

City panorama with the tower of Piraeus

City panorama with the tower of Piraeus


Piraeus – port city in antiquity

The location of Piraeus was already of great importance as a trading and military port before the Christian era. In the 5th century BC, Athens' statesman and general Themistocles designated the three natural harbor basins of Piraeus as the port of Athens. The city was later fortified; the grid-like layout of the streets gave it a modern cityscape. In the Middle Ages - under Venice's dominance - Piraeus' port was called "Porto Leone".

The port of Piraeus today

The port of Piraeus is the largest port in Greece and – in terms of the handling of standard containers – is the second largest port in the world after Tangier and Valencia the third largest port in the Mediterranean. It acts as a hub for the transport of goods between Europe and Asia. The port's activities are divided into the areas of freight, ferries and cruise ships.

The ferry port of Piraeus is one of the busiest in Europe, serving a number of islands in the Aegean Sea as well as international destinations. Numerous ferries operate daily between Piraeus and Greek islands such as Mykonos, Santorini, Crete and Rhodes.

Piraeus - Ferry Port


Piraeus - Ferry Port


Piraeus - Ferry berths


Piraeus - Ferry berths 


Piraeus is also an important stop for cruise ships. After the slump in previous years caused by the corona pandemic, the cruise port registered a new high in 2023 with around 1,5 million passengers. According to preliminary figures, 760 cruise ships called at one of the port's three terminals.

Piraeus - one of three berths for cruise ships


Piraeus - one of three berths for cruise ships


Piraeus - additional berths for cruise ships


Piraeus - additional berths for cruise ships 


The economic importance of Piraeus

Shipping is at the centre of all economic activities. Numerous shipping companies and logistics companies have their headquarters in the city. Of crucial importance for trade with Asia - and especially with the People's Republic of China - is the 100 percent stake held by the Chinese state-owned company COSCO in Piraeus' port company.

Significant industrial activities come from shipyards and engineering companies in the area surrounding the city. The city also benefits from tourism, although this is mainly directed towards the cultural and historical sites of Athens.

Piraeus – Science, Education and Faith Affairs

The city of Piraeus is a center of higher education. The university is primarily devoted to economics, finance, computer science and shipping. In addition to the university, there are specialized educational institutions that focus on maritime studies and shipping management.

Piraeus is a bishopric. The metropolis of Piraeus has its seat in the Hagia Triada Cathedral, which we present under Piraeus Sights.

Piraeus Attractions

As far as sights are concerned, the port city is completely overshadowed by Athens. And yet there are still some attractions: the magnificent cathedral, museums, two selected ports and, more recently, the Pyrgos tou Pirea, the Piraeus Tower.

Holy Trinity Cathedral

The magnificent interior of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral is located in the city center of Piraeus, 500 meters from the metro station. The historic-looking building was only consecrated in 1979. The first church on this site was built 150 years earlier and was completely destroyed in Allied bombing raids in January 1944.

Piraeus - Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

Piraeus - Cathedral of the Holy Trinity


In 1956, construction began on the current three-aisled Byzantine-style cathedral. It has an interior floor area of ​​835 square meters and can accommodate 3.100 believers. The wide dome with its 40 windows is unique. Countless murals and icons adorn the cathedral.

Piraeus - Holy Trinity Cathedral - Mosaics
Piraeus - Holy Trinity Cathedral - Nave
Piraeus - Cathedral of the Holy Trinity
Piraeus - Holy Trinity Cathedral - Murals

Piraeus - Dome of the Holy Trinity Cathedral

Piraeus - Dome of the Holy Trinity Cathedral


Two selected museums

Archaeological Museum of Piraeus

The museum's origins date back to 1935. It was founded on the basis of finds from excavations in ancient Piraeus. The collection grew steadily, so that it became necessary to build a larger museum. It was opened in 1981. The collection includes reliefs, sculptures and ceramics. The finds cover the Mycenaean period, Greek antiquity and the Roman imperial period. Most of the exhibits were found in the area around Piraeus.
Location: The museum is located next to the ancient theater of Zea at Char. Trikoupie 31

Greek Maritime Museum

Piraeus' Nautical Museum offers insights into Greece's maritime history. Exhibits include model ships, navigation instruments and historical documents.
Location: Akti Themistokleous

Two historic ports

Piraeus has three natural harbors: the harbor area for ocean-going vessels, the Mikrolimano harbor and the Zea Marina.

Microlimano

Archaeological finds prove that the round basin has been used as a harbor since ancient times. The picturesque, former fishing port of Mikrolimano is located on the Kastella hill. Restaurants, bars and cafés are grouped around the harbor basin, which made the area a party zone in the past. The post-Corona period was used to renovate and redesign the area. Above all, the harbor promenade was cleared of the illegal buildings that had been built over decades.

Piraeus - Mikrolimano Port
Piraeus - Mikrolimano Port - Restaurants in front of the harbor
Piraeus - Mikrolimano Port - Bars and Restaurants
Piraeus - fishing boats in the Mikrolimano port

Zea Marina

On the east coast of the Piraeus peninsula lies Zea Bay, better known as Zea Marina. In ancient times, this bay was the largest military port and in modern times it hosted the swimming events of the first modern Summer Olympics in 1896. Today, the port is one of the largest marinas in the Mediterranean and a popular destination for yacht owners and sailors. The marina offers first-class facilities and is surrounded by restaurants and shops.

Piraeus - Zea Marina


Piraeus - Zea Marina


Piraeus - Zea Marina


Piraeus - Zea Marina 


Pyrgos tou Pirea – a modern building

The building is not necessarily a tourist attraction, but more of a curiosity. During the Greek military dictatorship, construction work on the second tallest building in the greater Athens/Piraeus area began in 1972. It took more than 50 years to complete the construction. The building was originally intended to house the port authority. The rest of the building was intended as a trade and shipping center. These plans were not feasible.

Pyrgos tou Pire - the Tower of Piraeus

Pyrgos tou Pire - the Tower of Piraeus


But good things come to those who wait: The ceremonial inauguration of the striking Piraeus Tower took place on June 4, 2024. The building is 84 meters high and has 22 floors. According to current media reports, they are 100 percent rented.
Location: Akti Posidonos 2, near the cathedral.

Piraeus for cruise passengers

Cruise ships regularly dock in the port of Piraeus. There are three cruise terminals in total: Terminals A, B and C. Terminal A is particularly close to the city. It is two kilometers from the metro station. The metro is just under three kilometers from Terminal C. Terminal area B is around four kilometers from the center.

The terminals are well equipped and well connected to transport. The express buses on line X80 (Piraeus to Athens-Syntagma Square) stop at all three stations. The buses are also equipped to transport luggage. Taxis are also available. In June 2024, we paid 15 euros including luggage for the relatively short distance between Terminal A and the metro station. In such cases, no Greek taxi driver thinks of turning on the taximeter.

July 2024

My Shore Excursions Piraeus

 

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