Photo: Orestis Seferoglou

For Athenians, the city’s historic port is the place to head for seaside cafés, gritty bars, and first-rate seafood restaurants.

Piraeus is much more than just a port. It’s a city in its own right. Yet most visitors fleetingly pass through on their way to the Greek islands and see little beyond the smoggy hustle of the ferry terminal. Take time to explore and you’ll find archaeological sights, stunning sea views, as far as the Saronic Gulf islands; and some of the best fish restaurants in Athens.

Piraeus was first incorporated into Athens in 515 BC. In 493 BC, the great naval strategist Themistocles began fortification works to enclose both cities behind Long Walls. These defences, still visible today, gave the Athenians uninterrupted access to the sea. Over three millennia, Piraeus has grown to become one of the largest passenger and cargo ports in the world. There’s more to this commercial hub and gateway to the Greek islands than meets the eye. Whether you have a few hours to kill before your onward journey or a full day (or more) to explore the area, this guide will help you get the most out of Piraeus.

Around the Port

Trainspotters can see carriages both past and present at Piraeus railway station.

Photo: Orestis Seferoglou

As fresh as it gets.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Downtown Piraeus

Neoclassical splendour at the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Get a new perspective on Piraeus in Kastella.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Kastella

Mikrolimano

A perfect spot for Sunday strolls by the sea. Or Monday or Tuesday...

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Classy Marina Zea is an Athenian favourite.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Marina Zea

Peiraiki and Hadzykyriakion

Cool off on the Peiraki peninsula.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis