From Themistocles to Melina Mercouri through the great Greek shipowners, the port of Athens never ceases to solicit the imagination. This gate is open to the sea especially in its central part, the location of preferred passage (the remaining aircraft of marginal use) towards the other Greece, the islands. Early morning, the crowd of islanders press packs loaded arms to large ferries lined the docks like a parade. They will take all these people to blue and white household gods, in a quiet crossing. If the Meltemi starts the game, hands then quickly let go and Turkish delight sweets purchased before departure to perform devout signs of the cross that will be accompanied by silent prayers.

Throughout the year, the animation is undeniable: the summer, are the crowds of foreign vacationers who stormed the corridors, back screwed bag on shoulders, competing every Friday night with the mass of Athenians escaping the heat of the capital, Scent of a Woman.

Although no boat waiting for you, do not deprive yourself of a visit to Piraeus, time to mingle with the crowd voluble pitching to ferry moored he seems on the edge of the avenues, so great is the union of the city and its port. You can also offer you a pleasant lunch on the terraces of the picturesque harbor of Passa Limani or Mikrolimano.

Piraeus in history

A port for Athens

The creator of Piraeus was one of the Athenian navy, Themistocles in the early ye s. av. BC Until then, Athens used the anchorage of the eastern coast, Prasiae, Thorikos, or the Faliro, a little to the east of Piraeus is Faliro, according to legend, Theseus left for Ridge. Under successive governments of Themistocles, Cimon and Pericles, Piraeus was connected to Athens by the Long Walls that protected the road connecting the city to its port. Three windows were equipped with dressing rooms for warships (the great -Kantharos- harbor, Zea, the most importanr with 196 lodges basin and Munichia, the current Mikrolimano). Finally, a city was built on the plans Hippodamos of Miletus), following a regular grid always observed by the current street layout. It is still Hippodamos who conceived the idea of ​​a truly autonomous trade space in the city (the emporion), consists of five halls and a warehouse for wheat, with agora, theater and shrines.

A thriving commercial port

V and IV s. av. BC, when Athens dominated the Aegean and the bulk of the wheat supply came from the Black Sea, Piraeus enjoyed extraordinary prosperity that allowed Xenophon assert that Athens owed everything to the situation Central to its port in the Aegean. The ancient Piraeus knew cosmopolitanism equal to that of the modern port. This is where settled with their cults of Eastern colonies, Thracians and Scythians came from the Black Sea.

Rise and Fall

Possession of Piraeus assured that of Athens. That is why, after his victory in 404 Sparta demanded that are demolished the walls of Piraeus and part of the Long Walls, and that it be delivered the boxes of triremes. In 411-410 and 404-403, Piraeus was the center of the democratic reaction waged against the oligarchic governments installed in Athens. From 394, Conon, winner of the Spartan fleet at Cnidus, restored the walls and arsenals with help and money of the Persian king, developments that were completed with the arsenal Apparatus (skeuothèque), built by the architect Philo to Zea between 346 and 329. Victorious Athens in 322, the Macedonian kingdom maintained a garrison in the Piraeus until 229, when the Athenians were able to buy the departure of the commander and his troops.

After the conquest of Alexander the axes of navigation and commerce had moved to the east, to the benefit of Rhodes and Piraeus costs. However, the port still took advantage of the rise of Delos in the second century. av. l-C, but declined under the Empire.

Modern Piraeus

Fishing village on release, in 1827, Piraeus was developed and redeveloped in the mid nineteenth century. German architects of the Bavarian dynasty, Schaubert, von Klenze and E. Ziller, an interest and it all made plans. The geometric plan Hippodamos was restored and public and private buildings of that era have a curious blend of classicism and neo-Gothic. The city has expanded considerably since the postwar period.

Visit Piraeus


From Athens airport, use our vehicles with driver or from Athens, embark on the subway that connects the downtown to the central port in 20 minutes. Avoid taking your car because of the problems of parking and traffic.


Half a day is enough to discover the essence of Piraeus: the central port, the Archaeological Museum and the navies of Zea and Mikrolimano, where you can lunch in one of the many fish taverns.

Suggested walk

Since the metro terminus, stroll along the quays of the central harbor, either side of the square Karaiskakis which is in the center: this is where is the passenger terminal (luggage storage if you are in transit) and are grouped offices of shipping agents. In advancing towards the Customs, you will walk along the pier for small boats to the Saronic islands (hydrofoils are in the Navy Zea).

You then climb left the Trikoupis street which goes down to the other side of the Piraeus promontory, where the home harbor of Zea, Passa Limani and Mikrolimano, the latter being dominated by the popular neighborhood of Kastella. Along the way you can visit the Archaeological Museum and the Naval Museum.