One of the largest and important Greek cities is Patras, the second largest port city of Greece, nestling at the heart of the Peloponnese peninsula, just 200 kilometers away from Athens.
Patras is renowned for many reasons, among which the famous Carnival, which is the second largest celebration in Europe after the Venetian and which resembles more to the one celebrated in Rio, Brazil. Patras is also the hub of many commercial boats from all over the world, as it is the main connection port between the East and the West, as well as the departing port for all the tourists from Greece or the East who want to visit Italy. Actually a boat trip from Patras to Ancona or Bari doesn’t last for more than 7 hours.
Patras is a historical place of course, as a part of the rich Peloponnese past, but also a very important place for the Roman and Byzantine years. There are still numerous remains of these eras, reminding how significant for the development of the city was this diverse and rich past. Ruins of ancient Theatres, a wonderful Roman Agora still standing, byzantine monasteries and lovely architecture, along the coastline synthesize the ambience in Patras. For tourists, the vivid nightlife and the very rich day activities compound an ideal package for winter and summer vacations. Due to its mild weather, Patras is a great choice even for the winter, especially for those who indulge into gambling and casinos, as close by in a place called Rio, there is the biggest Greek casino and one of the most popular gambling resorts.
Due to the concentration of tourists and the significant importance of its location Patras boasts a very well appointed network of hotels and apartments that can accommodate thousands tourists. Prices are very affordable and although that Patras is the third largest city in Greece, the prices are significantly lower in comparison with the capital or Thessaloniki.
The ideal time to visit Patras is in late February, during or at the end of the famous Carnival. The residents of Patras prepare for one year the celebrations of each Carnival and they claim that the once the carnival of the current year is over they start preparing the next, the very following day. Visitors and locals go out dressed in costumes, parade and dance for days, but the main attraction is the last day of the carnival, where the parade of Carnival Vehicles takes place. Approximately 50.000 people officially participate in the parade and some millions follow the participants dancing and singing all night long. After the official parade and the float finishes there is the burning of the Carnival King, which signals the end of the carnival for this year and the beginning of preparation for the next. This is definitely an event you cannot miss when visiting Patras.
Patras is a lovely city and despite its large size it maintains something of its picturesque past which makes it very attractive and charming to its residents and visitors.