Piraeus: a port that's won an Oscar

Come meet a port like no other! Piraeus isn’t just a port of call for your cruise, it’s a unique destination.  


Does the title the “The children of Piraeus” (Ta paidia tou Pirea) ring a bell? You have probably heard at least once of the song composed by M.Chatzidakis and sung by Melina Merkouri in the film “Never on Sunday”. It’s the main theme of the film and it won the Oscar for best song in 1961 and first prize at Cannes for best actress the same year. It’s because of this movie that the port and city of Piraeus became known to a global public and turned Piraeus into a destination in its own right. The city pays an everyday tribute to the film when the main port clock strikes 5 minutes after every hour and the bell sings the rhythm of the song throughout Piraeus. Like the movie itself, this port is romantic at heart despite the industrial facade that the port holds. With three natural bays nested within the port, the area is bejeweled with the beauty that only endless sea view can offer. A historic symbol of the power of the Hellenic nautical history through the ages, the port of Piraeus is the biggest port in the Mediterranean with more than 20 million passengers passing through annually. Due to its strategic position in a short distance from Athens, the character of the city is influenced and shaped by all the cultural interaction, people and historic wins and tragedies that the country has faced.

The city’s fascinating identity can be spotted the moment you arrive at the Metro station “Pireaus”. An art-nouveau inspired arched dome mimicking the likes of Paris and London stations of the time. It’s impossible not to admire at the neoclassical buildings that are juxtaposed next to the commercial structures that most shipping companies have their offices. The ancient ruins of the Long Walls, a key element of Athenian military strategy, can still be seen on the seaside promenade. The tree-lined route will take you to Pasalimani, where lively bars and cafes can easily make you lose track of time. It’s the most cosmopolitan part of Piraeus and a unique place for entertainment and relaxation with a number of great fish taverns that are worth a visit for an original Greek experience of seafood and ouzo by the sea. Microlimano is the next bay you will spot. You’ll feel as if you are already on holiday. Wooden decks over the water and the yachts set the stage. At the edge of the picturesque harbor, it’s easy to believe that you’re already on your island. Moving uphill to Kastella neighborhood you can climb through the alleyways and up the steps of the city’s most upper-class neighborhood. The view is breathtaking and a stop for a coffee is mandatory.

Piraeus is also famous for its market. Spice-filled bazaars, fresh fish and meat markets, shopping malls and high-end boutiques, cohabitate through the avenues of the shopping triangle in the heart of the city. Then again there are spots of cultural interest that are not to be missed. The Municipal Theatre of Piraeus is a neoclassical marvel constructed in the 1880s by architect I. Lazarimo. Fully renovated in recent years, it’s an example of restoration and the usual meeting point for Piraeus’ locals and skaters. The Archaeological Museum of Piraeus located in Pasalimani, is the home to exhibits that date back to the 8th century B.C., and extend to the whole evolution of the Greek civilization from the Mycenaean and the Minoan civilization to the Classical and the Hellenistic years. Is only normal for a port as ancient as Pireaus to host a naval museum. Located in Freatida, the Naval Museum offers you a glimpse into the naval philosophy of ancient times and the history of recent tradition and history. 

Piraeus is not just the gateway to the Greek islands and Athens, is a destination. Find out the itineraries of our 2019 cruises here.