If your cruise is stopping over at the port of Piraeus - only 12 kilometers from Athens - you might not have much time for sightseeing. You might prefer, instead, to pass half a day close to the port. Luckily, Piraeus is a busy, bustling city with interesting shops, fish restaurants, great views and some notable attractions.
View of Mikrolimano, a picturesque harbor in Piraeus — Photo courtesy of Nelly Paraskevopoulou
The best idea for transportation from your cruise ship is to take a cab, which will leave you close to the center, where you can do some shopping and enjoy a coffee at one of the small cafes on the shady sidewalk, or try the traditional ice cream at Stani. The main shopping district is in the streets around the Municipal Theater, some of which are pedestrian.
In the shopping district you can find traditional delicacies at Mandragoras and Halvas Drapetsonas, trendy fashion at Ivana Cappuccini, elegant jewelry at Dimitra Bitzou, original souvenirs at Epilekton, artistic creations at Pandora, handmade sandals at Le Cadeau and much more.
Your next stop would be the Hellenic Maritime Museum at the yacht harbor of Zea. The museum is famous for its exhibits regarding the nautical history of Piraeus. Or, if you are more interested in ancient history, the Archeological Museum of Piraeus on Harilaou Trikoupi Street boasts fascinating objects from ancient years.
To reach the highest point of Piraeus, Profitis Ilias, you definitely need a cab. The view is truly breathtaking. At the small, whitewashed chapel, the saints' name day is celebrated on July 20th with great fanfare and open-air stalls. The Veakeio Theater and the bowling center are also situated here. The central market of Piraeus is located around the train station. This market is interesting to visit, with its variety of aromas and all kinds of merchandise.
Another stopping point might be Kastella, an aristocratic neighborhood with several examples of neoclassical villas.
Old villa near Kastella — Photo courtesy of Nelly Paraskevopoulou
The small harbor of Mikrolimano offers a relaxing, picturesque view of the sea and the yachts. Picturesque Mikrolimano is the best place for lunch, where you can choose between various fish restaurants and taverns, such as celebrated Jimmy and the Fish, elegant Istioploikos, classic value Papaioannou and others, which serve fresh fish and seafood prepared on the spot.
If you prefer something more rustic and reasonably priced, opt for famous Margaro on Hatjikyriakou Avenue. Also, Pasalimani is a larger harbor close to the center, where many cafes and lively ouzo bars can be found.