Mediterranean Port of Departure - Piraeus, Greece
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1 Introducing Piraeus

Piraeus has been a major Greek city and port from Classical times. The city was originally designed by Hippodamus, a clever builder. Further development occurred during the early Persian Wars, when Piraeus played a significant part of the Athens war campaign, as the connecting route between the city and port was strengthened by strong walls. Later, during the Venetian period, Piraeus was named 'Porto Leone', due to the magnificent stone lion standing in the harbor. The statue was removed and transported to Venice, where it can still be seen today. Nowadays Piraeus is the biggest deep water port in Greece, and one of most significant in the Mediterranean. From Piraeus, passengers depart for a multiple of destinations in the far flung Greek Islands and beyond.

Note that the official spelling of Piraeus is now Pireas, and all signs have been altered to match.

It's only 7 miles from Piraeus to Athens, and the majority of travellers will spend the visit in Athens. Athens is a hot, large, heavily-populated and busy city packed with traffic and people. But at the city's heart stands the magnificent Acropolis, a must-see attraction for travellers from all around the world. Jusrt North of the Acropolis lies the cosmopolitan friendly area of Plaka, a place full of historic interest, and the Acropolis and Plaka are the staple of tourists.

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2 The Port of Piraeus

Cruise ships dock in the Piraeus Port located on the southern side of the city. The port lies in the Saronic Gulf, on the Aegean Sea. The port is an important ferry terminus, for the numerous Greek Islands. Greece includes many islands, so ferry traffic is vital and ferries sail in and out of Piraeus round the clock. The cruise ship berths are on the quays to the southern side of the harbor.
Cruiseliners berth at Cruise Terminal A or Cruise Terminal B. Cruise Terminal A, approached by entrance E11, is located in the middle of the harbour between the Mioulis and Xaveris quays. Cruise Terminal B, approached by gate E12, sits at the entrance of the harbour, protected by the Termistokleous breakwater. The cruise ship capacity of the port is about elevent cruiseliners.
For a plan of the port see Guide to Piraeus Port. The cruise ship routes available from Piraeus include a selection of fabulous itineraries, including ports-of-call in the Ionian Sea, the Black Sea, the Holy land and Egypt. See cruises from Piraeus Greece for a comprehensive listing of cruises available.

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3 Out and About in Piraeus and Athens

The Acropolis, Athens
The main focus of the visitor's attention in Athens is the Acropolis. There is a 12 euro fee to gain entrance into the Acropolis.
The top attracation in Athens is the Acropolis, a 150 m (512 ft) rock in the center of the city topped with a series of temples that were erected in around 400BC. The archeological importance of these ancient buildings makes the Acropolis world-famous. There is a 12 euro fee to enter.
At the top of the Acropolis stands the magnificent Parthenon, an amazing ancient Greek temple, a magestic sight from almost everywhere in the city.
Nearby stands is the Erechtheion. The 6 ladies that act as pillars are reproductions, you can see 5 originals in the Acropolis museum. Number 6 is in the British Museum in London, as well as large pieces of the Parthenon frieze.

Syntagma Square, Athens
See the guards wearing their unique skirt with tights and strange shoes. Don't miss is the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Plaka, Athens
Just down from the Acropolis is Plaka. This area is made up of pedestrian streets.

Roman Forum, Athens
The Roman Forum can be found towards the west end of Plaka. Here sits the interesting Horologion of Andronikos, an eight faced tower with a different wind god in a frieze on each side. Shared ticket with Acropolis.

Shopping in Plaka, Athens
There are a ton of local products worth purchasing. olive oil, small carpets, and leather shoes are all manufactured/grown nearby and offer good value. The local antique market is always busy and fascinating.

Marina Zea, Piraeus
Zea, is the port for ferries to the Greek islands in the Saronic Gulf. It is also home to a variety of amazing private yachts and motor cruisers. So if you love people and boat-watching, sit outside a tavern and enjoy the life of the busy harbor.

Hellenic Maritime Museum, Athens
This nautical museum has a good collection of exhibits showing the history of Greek nautical endeavours, from classical times to the present.

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4 Travelling to the Piraeus Cruise Terminals

From the Piraeus Electric Train station
It's about 1 mile from the rail station to Cruise Terminal A, and around a mile and a half to Cruise Terminal B. Don't be tempted to walk, as its a substantial hike on a swelteringly-hot day. Rather cross over the main road via the new bridge for pedestrians. Take one of the following coaches to the terminal: 832, 833, 843, 859.

From Athens City Center to Piraeus
Metro Rail Line
The best method of travelling from Athens to the Port of Piraeus is via the metro rail line. ISAP Line number one (green, Kifissia - Piraeus) connectsAthens directly to the port. Consult the metro map (http://www.urbanrail.net/eu/ath/athens.htm) for the right route to take from your position in Athens.
By Bus
There are two buses that travel between Athens and Piraeus. Buses Numbers 040 and 049 operate 24 hours a day, running every 20 minutes from 6am until midnight and then every hour. Bus No 040 runs between Syntagma square (Plaka district) in Athens and Akti Xaveriou in Piraeus (situated right between the cruise terminals). Bus No 049 links Omonia Square in Athens and Themistokleous Square in Piraeus. Get off at Karaiskaki sq which is opposite port gate E8, and here get a 843 bus to the cruise terminals at gate E11 or E12.
Taxi
Cab fares are relatively low in Athens, but dishonest drivers are not uncommon, so it's best to use the cab service arranged by your hotel. You will be charged extra for baggage (EUR0,30 for each piece), and extra for entrance to the port ( EUR0,60). The journey between the center of Athens and Piraeus Port takes about 30 min and the cab fare is around EUR20.
From Athens Airport to Piraeus Port
Metro Line
Blue Line 3 joins the airport to Monastiraki station where you switch to green Line 1, taking you to Piraeus. The journey time between the airport and the port is about an hour and a quarter.
By Bus
Bus number E96 runs 24 hours a day between the airport and Piraeus's Karaïskaki Square, with a bus each 3 times an hour. The bus departs from the lot outside arrivals Gate 5. On arrival at Piraeus you need to catch a further bus to the cruise terminals (number|no 832, 833, 843 or 859).
Taxi
There's an additional charge for trips from Athens' airport, Baggage costs more per item and the journey takes more than 1 hour (iit is 33 km between the airport and Piraeus port) so the taxi fare can come to over €50.

5 Other Useful Information
Language: Greeek
Currency: EURO

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