Athens, Greece – Mediterranean Cruise Destination – Next Stop, Port of Piraeus.
Piraeus, Greece is the often overlooked port city in the urban area of Athens. Of course, if you have not been to Athens, GO! Otherwise, why not while a day away in wonderful Piraeus. (photos) We have learned to love this little city by the sea and take every opportunity to spend some time here, often overnighting. Here is how we spent our most recent cruise stop in Piraeus – cruise port of Athens.
Our ship, Celebrity Constellation docked at 6am and was cleared by 7am. While we were still tucked snuggly in our beds, the majority of guests were frantically wolfing down their breakfasts, sneaking food from the buffet and not so discreetly stashing it into their free cruise ship totes and fighting to be the first off the ship, onto a tour bus, out to a taxi – whatever their choice of the day. Making the mad 12 kilomter trek to Athens.
At 8:30am, we casually crawled out of bed, showered and went to a very empty and relaxed breakfast. We sat on the open air deck enjoying our fresh squeezed orange juice, eggs benedict and fruit plate, without the regular morning hum of scraping chairs, clanking plates, and chatter. After breakfast, we went back to our cabin, grabbed our backpacks and were off without fighting any crowds.
We casually walked the 30 minutes along the port into the sleepy city of Piraeus. It was slowly starting to roll up the shutters, people greeting each other, coffee brewing, lots of smiles! Did I mention how much I love Greece?!
It was a Saturday, so of course the first thing we did was hit the local market. Although it is very small compared to other markets, it had everything you would expect; vegetables, fruit, fish, meat. Locals greeting each other, kissing, hugging, laughing, probably exchanging the latest gossip and of course, shopping.
After the market, we strolled the streets enjoying the weekend bliss. No surprise if you follow me, we stopped at a shop selling wine – well, specifically Greek Wine. The owner was an eccentric, wonderfully crazy joy. He showed us around, explaining the wines (unfortunately no tasting here) and other small treasures he sells. We bought 2 bottles of the homemade brew and were on our way.
Next stop was a sausage store; fresh smoked, dry cured, loukaniko – you name it, they had it. A lovely lady out front offered tasty samples, although she did not speak english, we had a lot of fun. Of course, we bought some delicious sausage to take home to my father in law.
The sausage sampling woke our taste buds, leading us to our next stop – Street Souvlaki (I have no financial gain or affiliation – simply love this place!). They have 2 fast food style restaurants in Piraeus and we visit it at least once every time we are in town. One wall is a barbecue where they are busy grilling meats of all kinds and vegetables – the smell of bbq wafts out the door enticing you in. The prices are very good and the food is amazing. Menus are available in english and the staff is exceptionally friendly. Think pitas, souvlaki, feta cheese, kebab, and my favorite addition to everything, Tzatziki! This time we ate souvlaki kebabs, kebab pitas and a side of tzaziki for a total of €10.50 with beer and a water.
After lunch, we negotiated a taxi to hit a few spots we still had not visited. Our driver was very friendly, chatty and accommodating. We drove up the windy, steep back streets of Piraeus and eventually found ourselves high on the hill of Kastela with fantastic views of the Saronic Gulf and Athens. We also had a nice view of the Peace and Friendship Stadium.
After spending some time walking around and enjoying the magnificent views, we slowly wound our way down to the yacht marina of Mikromilano for a closer look. Restaurants and cafes line the very busy, picturesque waterfront. From there we headed over to the equally busy Bay of Zea. Next time we will come directly to this area and enjoy the small port atmosphere!
Our taxi took us back to the ship where we paid him the pre agreed price of €18 (we gave him €20). The price was expensive, but we really wanted to check those areas off our list. Next time we will investigate taking the local bus.
Q & A
Can I walk to Piraeus? Yes, if you do not have any mobility issues. The walkways are are uneven.
How long does it take? It should take around 30 minutes – not rushing.
Do they speak english? Yes, many locals speak very good english. When they do not speak english, they are still very friendly and try hard to understand. So speak up and meet some very wonderful Greeks!
What is the currency? Euro
Is there a shopping district? Yes, here is the map. Short walk of 34 minutes if you go direct.
Are there pharmacies? Yes, lots. The prices are incredibly good, so if you need anything, this is the place to get it. Pharmacists are knowledgeable and speak english.
I want to go to Athens. Can I take the public bus? Yes! I found out that the X80 bus goes from the Port to the Acropolis in 30 minutes for EUR 4; it runs every 30 minutes and has some interesting stops. For more info, click here.