Destination Piraeus: a beautiful city that… takes you away!
Starting point for sea excursions to the islands of Attica, and destination for relaxing strolls by the water, tours around stunning neighbourhoods, good food, shopping and entertainment, Piraeus enchants and surprises. It is a city that is always exciting and always on the move; not only due to its port, the greatest in Greece and one of the biggest in the Mediterranean and the whole world. Piraeus is full of life, vibe and a special atmosphere that you feel the minute you arrive in this unique city of Attica.
The port of Piraeus is the main link between Greece’s mainland and the Aegean islands and Crete, while also being the main sea gate of the European Union at its southeastern edge. It is here that the journey to the Saronic islands begins, the moment you arrive at the imposing terminal station of the Piraeus-Kifissia Electric Railway, full of anticipation, and head to the ferry that will take you to Aegina, Agistri, Poros, Spetses, Hydra and Kythera.
However, behind the port, literally a step away, is enough to “take you back” to the history of the place, to neighbourhoods that seem as if they were taken from old, black and white Greek films. Spots and locations, districts and buildings that hide stories, small markets and alleys, where if you happen to stand for a while you may be able to hear the merchants talk with the craftsmen and passers-by, just like the old times.
Around the corner, the modern city of Piraeus starts to unfold. This is where numerous stores and shops co-exist harmoniously with neoclassical buildings, such as the iconic Municipal Theatre of Piraeus. Along the routes within this city, images alternate constantly. Here, the Greek refugee neighbourhood intersects with the cosmopolitan district, Kastela with Peiraiki, and Mikrolimano with Passalimani.
The narrow uphill streets in Kastela, full of colourful neoclassical buildings, offer an ever more beautiful view of the sea as you walk them up. In the quiet alleys with the citrus trees, the sense of old neighbourhood is vivid, with the flowery balconies and the stunning reconstructed mansions. And then, you walk down, towards Mikrolimano, and the scenery changes. The mansions on the left, along the ridge of the hill, become more and more splendid, and the view of Mikrolimano gives its place to the ultimate… Attica panorama: from Faliro to Glyfada, and the whole city of Athens spreading behind you.
In the shadow of Kastela hill, Mikrolimano with its rich history and vivid social life mesmerizes its visitors. Here you will enjoy your coffee and drink by the sea, and savour fresh and delicious fish and seafood.
The stroll along Peiraiki is simply magical. You can’t get enough of the sea, which spreads out, as far as the eye can see. The wide sidewalk above the water, with the rocks of Peiraiki on the background, takes you to Zea Marina and Passalimani. Every few metres, there are stairs that take you down to the waterside, where you can take a break and enjoy the beautiful sunset. A stop for a bite of fresh fish and a glass of ouzo in one of the fish tavernas of the area is a must. After all, Peiraiki is famous for its delicious seafood.
Zea Marina, one of the “jewels” of Piraeus, is ideal spot for relaxing strolls and bike rides by the sea. Here, you will find countless cafes, tavernas and restaurants that satisfy all preferences and attract both locals and visitors of Piraeus. Enjoy your meal or drink, marvelling at the stunning luxurious boats moored a few metres away. Then, take a walk as far as Alexandras square, all the way to the end of Passalilmani. Unlike its neighbour, Zea Marina, Passalimani hosts traditional wooden sailboats with tall masts and small fishing boats with their tangled nets smelling like fresh seawater.
At the end of the route, Alexandras square emerges, literally above the sea. With its many benches and small green parks, with the unobstructed view to the open sea and the neighbouring Mikrolimano, the square is the perfect place to end this tour in Piraeus, rich in images and senses, history and sea breeze.
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