Piraeus – Colourful, authentic, and versatile
A breath away from Athens, Piraeus is a cool escape to the breeze of the sea. Home to Greece’s largest sea port, it is a place of departures and arrivals, hellos, good-byes and see you agains! With ticket in one hand and suitcase in the other, thousands of travellers pass through Greece’s largest port, often not realising just how vibrant and interesting the host town is.
Piraeus is subtly assimilating a variety of influences into an impressive mix of authenticity, from the hills of Kastela and Profitis Ilias, with its neoclassical homes, to the refugee residences of Drapetsona. In Piraeus you can enjoy top-notch cuisine at award-winning restaurants and tasty street food.
Of course the traditional tavernas delight with the Greek staples, ouzo and meze. The underground Rebetiko music scene, where the Greek blues was born, continues to entertain fans of the genre, as do venues with contemporary and popular music. Mikrolimano (literally, small port) is where the traditional fishing boats dock, while luxury yachts and smaller cruise ships sail into the port of Zea. The Municipal Theatre of Piraeus features a comprehensive calendar of theatrical performances, whereas a number of concerts take place daily in various musical spots around the city.
Make sure to bring enough time to explore this vibrant and colourful city.
Piraeus is the largest port in Attica and, indeed, the whole country. It has all the main characteristics of a port, such as a large market and good food options. One can find some major attractions in downtown Piraeus, while the areas around the port have very good taverns serving great food and ouzo, overlooking the fishing boats and little private boats.Kastella, Mikrolimano and Pasalimani stand out as having the best food and the most buzzing nightlife, all complemented by a view over the Saronic Gulf.
Piraeus Food Market: All the ingredients of Greek cuisine
Just behind the bustling port of Piraeus, you’ll find the Central Food Market, where you can shop to your heart’s – and stomach’s – content. The freshest fish and seafood and an amazing variety of Greek cheeses, salamis, country sausages, vegetables and fruit are sourced from around the country and brought to this market daily. Also abundantly available are other staples of the local diet, such as fava beans, green peas, lentils, walnuts, almonds and pomegranates, as well as herbs, spices and dried fruit and vegetables. Be sure to leave space in your grocery bag for a few bottles of olive oil, wine, ouzo and tsipouro, as they’re all from several of Greece’s finest producers. If you feel that you’ve worked up an appetite, just walk a few steps over to Gounari Street for a delicious bougatsa, peinirli, piroski, cheese or spinach pie.
SEE PIRAEUS BY TRAIN
No, it’s not a giant locomotive with dozens of cars. It’s just a small city train that will recapture your childhood as you zip by the most famous sites of Piraeus: the churches of Aghios Spyridonas and Aghia Triada, Dimotiko Theatro, Korai Square, the majestic port of Zea and the Archeological Museum. You can catch the train in front of the OLP Exhibition Centre, close to the cruise ship docking area.
Departure point: OLP Exhibition Centre.
Stops: Korai Square, Archeological Museum.
Departure times: Every 30 minutes, from 8:00 to 16:00.
Tickets: 5 euros for unlimited rides per day.
Information: 210-4176144 / www.trenaki.gr
Εmail: [email protected]
Piraeus Flea Market: Combining people-watching and smart shopping
Every Sunday morning, the Piraeus Flea Market comes to life at Ippodameas Square. However, this is ordinary flea market. It’s a true melting pot, where sellers of nearly every nationality advertise their wares. Visitors here can find clothes, shoes, every conceivable household item, hundreds of useful and seemingly useless accessories, toys, underwear, cookware and utensils, birdcages with or without their occupants, real and plastic plants and… well, you get the picture. Besides all the above, you may discover old coins, rare LPs and under-appreciated works of art. Since most items go for one to five euros, it’s a bargain-hunter’s paradise. Of course, this being Piraeus, food is ever-present and the aroma of grilled sausages and souvlaki will surely have you lining up in front of one of the improvised outdoor grills.