Piraeus, Port of Athens
Piraeus has been a major port even since the Golden Age of Greece. The city was planned by Hippodamus, an accomplished architect. Further development took place during the times of the Persian War, when Piraeus was integral to the defence of Athens, as the linking corridor between the city and port was strengthened by stone walls.
Later, during the Renaissance era, Piraeus was named 'Porto Leone', due to the beautiful marble lion standing over the harbor. Unfortunately, the lion was stolen and moved to Venice, where it still stands.
Today Piraeus is the biggest port in Greece, and one of most important in the Mediterranean Sea.
Cruises from Piraeus leave for a multitude of destinations in the Greek Islands and beyond. Most cruise passengers arrive by air, and it's an easy transfer from Athens airport to the port.
Note that the Greek spelling of Piraeus is Pireas, and all signs show the Greek name.
The Port of Piraeus is on the southern edge of the city, on the Saronic Gulf coastline (part of the Aegean Sea). The port is first and foremost a ferry terminus, serving the Greek Islands. Greece has many islands, so ferries are essential and sail in and out of Piraeus 24 hours a day.
The cruise ship berths are on the quays to the southern side of the port. Cruise ships moor at Cruise Terminal A or Cruise Terminal B.
Cruise Terminal A (Miaoulis), approached by entrance E11, is located in the middle of the harbour between the Mioulis and Xaveris docks.
Cruise Terminal B (Themistocles), approached by gate E12, sits at the entrance of the harbour, inside the Termistokleous breakwater. Terminal B is often closed, and all passenger facilities are handled by Terminal A. In this case a shuttle bus links the ship(s) docked at Terminal B to Terminal A.
Cruises from Piraeus
There's a wide selection of cruises from Piraeus, including the Aegean sea and its marvellous Greek Islands, mighty Istanbul towering over the Dardanelles, the fascinating Ukrainian ports of the Black Sea or southwards to the archaeologist's dream Egypt.
Travelling to Piraeus Cruise Terminals
Travelling from Athens Airport to Piraeus Port
If you're boarding one of the cruises from Piraeus, you'll probably arrive at Athens airport. You have 2 options for the transfer, Metro Line, or Taxi. The latter is obviously easiest if you have a lot of luggage.
Blue Line 3 joins the airport to Monastiraki where you switch to Line 1, taking you to Piraeus. The journey time between the airport and Piraeus is approximately 75 minutes. On arriving at Piraeus do not be tempted to try walking to the cruise port as it's around one mile from the rail station to Cruise Terminal A, and around a mile and a half to Cruise Terminal B. Instead walk over the main road via the new bridge for pedestrians. Catch a bus to the cruise terminal. (Terminal A numbers 832, 833, 843 or 859, Terminal B numbers 843 or 859)
A surcharge is added for trips from the airport, luggage costs more per item and the journey takes more than one hour (it's 30 km between the airport and Piraeus port) so the cab fare can come to 50 euros or even more.
From Athens City Center to Piraeus
The X80 bus service runs every 1/2 hour between Athens center and the cruise port. In Athens center there are two stops, Syntagma and Akropoli, and at the cruise terminals there are also two stops, OLP (cruise terminal A) and Afteria (cruise terminal B).
Metro Rail Line
Another method of travelling from Athens to Piraeus Port is via the metro railway. ISAP Line number one (green, Kifissia - Piraeus) links Athens directly to Piraeus Port. The trip takes about 45 minutes. Continue to the cruise port by bus.
Cab fares are generally low in Greece, but dishonest taxi drivers are not uncommon, so it might be best to use the service recommended by your hotel. You will be charged more for baggage, and extra for entrance to the port. The trip between Athens' center and Piraeus takes around 40 minutes, but can be a lot longer in times of busy traffic.
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