Cruise Port of Call Katakolo Greece, Home to Olympia

Land Ahoy – Cruise Port Katakolo Greece – Highlight Olympia – Home to the Classical Olympics

Our cruise ship, the Celebrity Constellation pulled into the port of Katakolo, also known as Katakolon, at 9:50 am. (Photo Album) We had big plans including Olympia to see the archaeological ruins, visiting a beach and seeing some of the beautiful greek countryside.  Wine tasting was also an option we discussed, however we had done a tour and greek wine tasting in Santorini so we skipped it this time in favour of other stops.

The docks are literally in the town! Our small group of 4 walked off the ship and did a quick jaunt down the main street of Katakolo.  Like most port towns, it was lined with little tourist shops and cafes.  After around 15 minutes, we turned back and headed to the car rental place we had spotted earlier.

Gisela from Dias Rent a Car (main street left) rented us a little car for €40 and we tanked €10 of gas.  Although she was very friendly at the beginning, when we dropped the car off, she was extremely surly – I guess she had a bad day!  It is worth noting here, if you prefer to take a tour bus to Olympia, the cost is anywhere from €3 to €5 p/p (one way) – there will be people selling it everywhere, so no worries!

Alternatively, the public bus is €1.70 to Pyrgos Town plus €2.20 from Pyrgos to Olympia – €7.80 p/p round trip, approximately 1.5 hours, the train €10 p/p – roundtrip, 45 minutes.  A taxi will cost around €80 roundtrip for 4 seats (approximately 4 hours).  Because we wanted to see more than Olympia, the above possibilities were not an option. Schedules can be found at www.katakolon.org.  I have embedded a map of the area below.

It was a 40 km, 45 minute relaxed drive to Olympia on very good roads, but there were LOTS of beggars at every stop and corner.  I think it was around 1/2 way there when we took the time to drive off the highway onto a rugged dirt path heading uphill.  Although we second guessed ourselves a few times, it eventually opened up to some amazing mountain views. (please note: we do not recommend doing this).

Olympia town is a cute tourist town with shops, cafes and restaurants.  There is ample parking everywhere, just remember exactly where you parked in case you exit at a different point than you enter.

Entrance cost for Ancient Olympia was €12 p/p which includes the Ancient Olympia grounds, the Botanical Gardens and the Museum.  It took us around 2.5 hours at a fairly fast pace, but reading everything to see all of the ruins.  A Security lady at the Temple of Zeus was extremely rude to the tourists (not to us). She was telling people they could take pictures, but no smiling, no silliness, no, no, no… Maybe she was having a bad day too.

After our enthralling self guided tour of the archaeological ruins, we headed past the Botanical Gardens – although they looked beautiful, we did not stop as we still had so much to do – and arrived at the Museum.  It was packed full of people, but if you like artifacts, I strongly recommend going in. You will need minimum 1 hour, much more if you want to read the plaques explaining statues and excavations.

After leaving the museum, we found a little cafe where we sat and all had €1 beers before hitting the road again. Our next stop was Spiaza Beach where the crazy one in our group went for a very cold swim. The beach was empty and houses were still closed, leaving the entire stretch completely to us!  It was interesting and sad to see anti German spray painted walls – it seems some locals do not like Germans.  After swimming and snacks, we made our way back towards the ship.

At one point, you can see the ship in the far distance – a huge block looking mysteriously out of place in this mainly farm area.

Katakolo Map – Train Station, Public Bus, Port, etc.

Costs per person:
Rent a car + gas: €50 = €12.50
Entrance to Olympia: €12
Beer: €1
Total:  €25.50 *

* We had brought snacks (fruit, muffin) and water from the ship, but certainly along the road, food and drink would have been very affordable.

Great place to visit – Do it!!!

Olympia and Katakolo Greece Photo Memories

Cruise Ship Port of Call, Katakolo, Greece.

Here are a few of my photos from the area including Olympia, the beach Spiatza and the countryside.  For tips, costs and more, visit my Blog.

Piraeus Greece – Cruise Ship Port of Call Athens

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.

Peace and Friendship Stadium - Piraeus, Greece
Peace and Friendship Stadium

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.

Celebrity Constellation in Port Piraeus, Greece
Celebrity Constellation in Piraeus

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.

Friendly Sales Man at Market - Piraeus, Greece
Friendly Sales Man at Market

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.

Greek Sausage - Piraeus, Greece
Greek Sausage

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.

Street Souvlaki Food - Piraeus, Greece
Street Souvlaki Food

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.

View from Kastela - Piraeus, Greece
View from Kastela

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.

Photos – Cruise Stop in Piraeus, Greece

A few of our photos taken while we were docked in Piraeus, Greece.  Rather than going to Athens, which we had already seen, we opted to spend some more time in Piraeus, a place that is starting to feel like home!  To read how, where and costs, check out my blog: Piraeus – Cruise Ship Port of Call Athens .

Mykonos, Greece – Island of Windmills, Chapels and Colours

Take me straight to the Photo Album!

The small cosmopolitan Greek island of Mykonos, also known as Chora, is a popular tourist destination and we found out why. Nicknamed “The Island of the Winds”, it offers beautiful beaches, a Little Venice, Greek Cuisine, windsurfing, vineyards, great photo opportunities, a few museums, a lot of churches and an incredible nightlife.

Fishing Boat. Mykonos, Greece
Fishing Boat. Mykonos, Greece

Known worldwide as a party island paradise, Mykonos attracts the rich, the famous and the

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