Cruise Travel

Chinese-owned Piraeus is the port of Athens, 11 km (7 miles) southwest of the city center, and is itself the third-largest city in Greece, with a population of about 500,000. In anticipation of a flood of visitors during the 2004 Olympics, the harbor district was given a general sprucing up. The cruise port has 12 berths, and the cruise terminal has duty-free shops, information, and refreshments.

The cheapest (and often fastest) way to get to Athens from Piraeus is to take the metro. Line 1 (Green Line) reaches the downtown Athens stops most useful to tourists, including Platia Victorias, near the National Archaeological Museum; Omonia Square; Monastiraki, in the old Turkish bazaar; and Thission, near the ancient Agora. The trip takes 25 to 30 minutes. The Piraeus metro station for Line 1 (Piraeus-Kifissia) is off Akti Kallimasioti on the main harbor, a 20-minute walk from the cruise port, and you must walk all the way around the harbor to reach these piers.

You can also take the express X80 bus line, leaving the OLP cruise terminal for Acropolis and Syntagma Square (for info, visit www.oasa.gr).

Taxis wait outside the terminal entrance. Taxis into the city are not necessarily quicker than public transport because of traffic, and cost around €15 to €18. Make sure the meter is running from the moment you start your ride. If a driver wishes to pick up other passengers if there is room in the cab, you have the right to refuse having others cramp your style. Taxis are also readily available at the port to get you to the airport for around €45.

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