A cruise in the Mediterranean or a trip by ferry to the Greek islands? It is unlikely that you will be able to pass the Athenian Piraeus – the sea gate of Greece and one of the largest ports in Europe. Every year, the port of Piraeus serves more than 20 million passengers. Grekoblog has already written a detailed article on how to get to Piraeus from the airport or the center of Athens. Now we will talk more about the port itself.
The history of the Athenian port of Piraeus has more than 25 centuries. Up to V c. BC. in its place was only a small village, and the Athenian ships used the harbor of Phalera Bay, geographically located closer to the city, but more open, and therefore more vulnerable to bad weather and attacks.
At the beginning of V in to
Up to V c. BC. in place of the port was only a small village
All the harbors of the Athenian port – Piraeus proper, divided into western and eastern parts, Zeya (now the port of Psalimani, intended for private yachts) and Munichia – were enclosed with a wall, united with Athens through the famous Long Walls.
During particularly severe storms or because of the threat of attack from the sea, the entrance to the mouth of the Piraeus was blocked off with chains.
Very soon, Piraeus became something of a new commercial policy-satellite of Athens. Seamen and merchants settled on its streets, preferring to do business with overseas partners right at the docks.
March 1, 86
In the Middle Ages, it was restored by the Turks, who placed one of their naval bases on its territory. At the entrance to Piraeus, a statue of a lion was erected, which is why he was often called the “lion” (Porto Leone). In 1687, the Piraeus briefly captured the Venetians and transported the statue to Venice.
How to get to Piraeus and how to get around
In the 70s of XX century, Athens and the port of Piraeus itself were completely rebuilt. At the entrance to the central harbor of Piraeus there appeared a copy of the taken statue. Interestingly, in Greece for many years, there is a movement “Committee for the Return of the Lion.”
As we wrote above, the details of how to get to the port of Piraeus, should be found here. And with this special difficulties should arise. Another thing is when you get directly to the port – its territory is huge and, in order to have time to find the vessel you need, it is better to come a little earlier.
On the berth you need to be no later than 30 minutes before the departure of the vessel.
To make it easier to navigate in the port of Piraeus, it makes sense to purchase or download its map, and here you should be careful. In 2013, 2 new terminals were commissioned in Piraeus. Thus, port cards issued before 2013 may contain inaccuracies.
To avoid unpleasant consequences, we decided to publish the latest map of the port of Piraeus – you can download it here.
Regarding navigation around the port, it is easier for travelers going on a cruise: a few hours before the liner departs, free buses appear at the main gates of Piraeus, which will take tourists to the desired pier. The plate with the name of the vessel is usually located behind the windshield of the bus.
A few hours before the liner departs, free buses appear at the main gate of the port, which take tourists to the pier.
If you are going to Eastern Cyclades (berths E6 and E7), you will only need to get to the main entrance to the port of Piraeus by metro or bus, and then go over the bridge or across the road to the main entrance, from where you can reach the necessary moorings.
The remaining berths of the port of Piraeus are located further, so free shuttles also go to them right from the main entrance.
You can try and walk to the desired port berth. Moreover, what to see in Piraeus is what. The port constantly has a large number of the most diverse vessels: from small “cats” (FlyingCat) to giant multi-storey liners. So it’s better not to hide the camera.
Port passenger harbors
If you have already downloaded the map of Piraeus, which we gave on the link above, now you should have it in front of your eyes in order to understand where your ship can go from:
- Berth E1 (Akti Vassiliadi). From here there are ferries to the Dodecanese archipelago (Rhodes, Kalymnos, Kos, Leros, Patmos).
- Berth E2 (Akti Hetiona). From this pier depart ferries to Lesbos, Chios, Ikaria, Samos, Crete.
- E3 (Agios Dionisios, Akti Condili). Serves ferries to Kifira Island and Crete. The shuttle’s parking is located closer to the pier E4 and the entrance zone E5.
- E4 is intended only for travelers arriving from Kifira.
- Zone E5 – designation of the bus stop, the main entrance to the port and the main passenger terminal.
- Berth E6 (Akti Calimasotti). Ferries to Crete (Rethymnon) and Eastern Cyclades (Santorini, Paros, Syros, Tinos, Naxos, Mykonos) depart from it.
- E7 (Akti Tzelepi) also serves ships going to the Eastern Cyclades. At the landing area are ticket offices, cafes and taverns.
- E8 (Akti Poseidonos). From here there are ships to the Saronic Islands. Here is the entrance for tourist cars.
- E9 (Akti Miauli) is designed for ferries and high-speed “dolphins”, departing to the Western Cyclades, to Samos and Ikaria. Nearby is one of the new terminals.
- E10 – for those who arrived from the Western Cyclades, Samos and Ikaria.
- E11 and E12 only serve cruise liners. There are also terminals where there is everything: ticket offices, cafes, rental agencies and travel agencies (for example, for travelers who wish to go on a trip to Athens during a stop).
Useful tips on the road
If you want to walk to the desired harbor of the port of Piraeus on foot, it is worth remembering that you need to be on the pier no later than 30 minutes before the ship departs. Passengers arriving later may well be considered late with all the ensuing consequences.
A “walk” to the port’s necessary berth can take up to an hour, depending on where you were disembarked from transport (one of the arguments in favor of a taxi). There are no automatic storage rooms in Piraeus, but they are available at the Piraeus metro station, which is convenient only for those who, if they have time, decided to walk around Athens.
In order not to run around the port in search of a ship, you should take a taxi.
If you arrive in the port of Piraeus in the evening, and sailing, say, in the morning, then it makes sense to take the hotel while waiting.
Piraeus is a full-fledged city, and its hotel infrastructure is well developed. The best selection of hotels with a map, remoteness from the port, photos of the rooms and reviews of guests who have visited here is available here, and the actual discounts of hotels are given below.
If there is a desire to spend time waiting with benefits, you can go to see Athens – it will take less than an hour by this metro.
If you are the first time in the city and your time is limited, then the ideal option would be to hire a local Russian-speaking guide who will conduct a tour of the city, show and tell about the main attractions. Detailed feedback and contacts of one of the guides are on Grekoblog in this article – there is also his contact and contact form for those who want to book a tour.
The port has no automatic storage rooms, but they are at the Piraeus metro station
Read the ticket in advance. The port of Piraeus operates daily from
The period specified in the ticket may include the time reserved in the port in case of a storm, strike or any other unplanned situation.
The time of the ship’s stay in the port may vary due to weather and strikes.
If you do not have a ticket yet, but you know for sure that you want to plan your trip by sea, then it can be purchased in advance online through the Ferriesingreece service.
All the details on how to make a purchase and get a ticket for the hands Grekoblog described in the video below. By the way, this video is part of a large video course in Greece, where ferries are only a small part. More details with all sections can be found on this page.
To minimize the risks of trying to get to Piraeus from Athens airport or from the ship to the hotel or airport you need, it makes sense to order a taxi online. You can do it here.