“I wish I had two and three and four boys, that will become brave young men for the sake of Piraeus”, says a song sung by Melina Merkouri in “Never on Sunday” ; this song is still the hymn of Piraeus, the central port of Greece and Athens, a place of unique history and a enchanting atmosphere. There is something about this port. Is it the fact that it is the focal point of the tourist concentration in the summer? Is it its long history, the castle and the ruins that remind of its illustrious past? Or is it just the bustling and vivid atmosphere that comes as a result of the harmonious blend of traditional Greece with the modern Athenian ambience?
Nobody knows, but everybody agrees that there is something very nostalgic and romantic about Piraeus that attracts both the Athenians and the visitors, who spend days and nights indulging in this unique atmosphere. Piraeus was modernised for the Olympic Games in 2004 and since then it is considered one of the most beautiful commercial and touristic ports of the Mediterranean Sea, being one of the biggest as well. It is the main port for the transfer of tourists to the numerous Greek islands and the first place that most of the tourists see when visiting Athens by the sea.
Piraeus has a long history laying back to the glorious days of the Athenian golden Era. There are still the ruins of the walls that connected the municipality of Athens with Piraeus and visitors can see some great part of them in the Marina of Zea, where many sailing and charter boats stay these days. When visiting Piraeus there is an array of places to see : Kastella, Tourkolimano also known as Mikrolimano, which means a small port and which is one of the most popular places among Athenians and tourists, who flock here to enjoy some of the best cuisine of the city, on the waterfront, watching the sailing boats coming and going from the small port. This is the place where most of the sailing clubs and sea sport clubs headquarter so you can easily see many furious athletes and wannabe sailors running up and down, sometimes carrying part of the boats or other sea sport equipment.
When you want to enjoy a panoramic view to Piraeus and its suburbs then you have to mount the Profitis Ilias hill, which features lovely restaurants overlooking the port and the city, and a magnificent open air theatre, the Veakeio theatre, where numerous cultural events take place in the summer months. If you are one of those romantics who like watching the boats entering or leaving the port, and if you want to wave at the tourists and travelers, then you have to visit the famous ‘Clock’, or as it is in Greek the ‘Roloi’, a café at the edge of the port where you are as close to the exit of the harbor as you can be. You can almost jump on the boats while they leave; this is a place much appreciated by everyone in Athens, local or not.
As the prefecture of Piraeus is divided in many suburbs visitors have a wide selection of places to stay and visit. The accommodation solutions in Piraeus are unlimited, for all pockets and tastes. Hotels and apartments, studios and small lofts are available. There is no chance that you cannot find something nice to stay in Piraeus, and there is absolutely no chance that you won’t find something really enjoyable to do. Piraeus is the beating heart of Attica and Athens, and you can only let yourself follow its beats.