Piraeus, Greece

Piraeus, An Athens Alternative for Cruisers

Every port city has Its day in the sun and none shine brighter than Piraeus, Greece. No seafaring sailor is worthy of the title without a call on this ancient port sometime in his career. Of course Athens gets its fair share of the Aegean spotlight, but without Piraeus it would be landlocked for cruise guests.

It would be unthinkable to visit Athens without viewing the wonders of Greece, the Acropolis, the Parthenon and the alleys of Plaka. But for guests that have been to the Greek capital before, why not expand those inquisitive horizons and explore Piraeus with its treasure trove of history, basking in a world of its own.

Start with a visit to the Archaeological Museum featuring ruins of the ancient theater and bronze statues recovered from the sea as recently as 1959. The ruins of the Hellenistic Theater of Zea, built in the 2nd century are adjacent to the museum.

Entering the The Bay of Zea through the remains of the ancient walls is well worth a stroll reliving the city’s endemic maritime history. The view of modern Piraeus and the marina loaded with luxurious yachts paints a colorful contrasting landscape.

The oval shaped harbor of Mikrolimano was at one time Athen’s main naval port. Today it is a sought after destination renowned for its upscale seafood restaurants although the daily catch of seafood at more reasonable rates can be found almost anywhere in the city

Destroyed by bombing in 1944, the Church of the Holy Trinity has been rebuilt and serves as a focal point of the city. Although the city maintains its own colorful appeal, it’s the access to the islands of the Aegean that contributes to its popularity.  Dozens of ferries depart from the Port of Piraeus on scheduled trips to over 20 different islands of the Greek archipelago. Make it a day trip or stay overnight or longer on these havens of paradise.

The city’s character is one thing but it’s the convenience for cruise passengers that contributes to its popularity. You’ll find hotel rates far less than those in the metro area of Athens and the slower pace of life is a calmer alternative for a pre or post cruise stay.


Piraeus Hotel
Photo: The Alex Hotel

Inspired by the street scenes of the Kastella neighborhood, The Alex Hotel is perched on the hillside overlooking a colorful marina. Secluded from the bustle of the city yet only steps away from the sea and the coast’s restaurants and bars, this charming boutique style hotel with contemporary decor makes for a perfect short stay destination. The  well designed cruise pier hosts dozens of cruise ships each week and is just a short taxi ride away,

If you prefer to relax in preparation for your upcoming cruise, the property’s rooftop restaurant, Nest is perfect for soaking up the city’s seaside vibe in a sophisticated and trendy ambiance. Featuring delicious seafood, typical Greek dishes and vintage wines of the country.

Piraeus is an ideal gateway for your next Aegean cruise adventure, whether it be by cruise ship or ferry to the island treasures of the Greek archipelago.

As a former Cruise Director, Steve has been cruising the world for the past forty years. Bringing a new dimension to cruise journalism, he continues to spin the globe searching for off the grid cruise adventures and unplugged destinations to share with Porthole Cruise Magazine readers.