Piraeus, Greece’s biggest port and one of the biggest of the Mediterranean, is backed by a glorious industrial and ancient history. It is a cosmopolitan place offering countless entertainment proposals for all times of the day.
Piraeus offers museums, beach outings, sailing, theatre and marvellous views from the city’s Kastela district hill and Profitis Ilias church, making it an ideal place for a family outing. Piraeus adds to the options offered by the wider Athens area, a multifaceted destination that is safe and promises unforgettable experiences throughout the year.
Stroll around the elegant and elevated Kastela area, featuring well-kept neoclassical buildings, then head down to the Mikrolimano area for a coffee with a view of the sea and yachts. Carry on towards Pasalimani and its Archaeological Museum of Piraeus for insight into the port city’s history, from the Mycenaean to the Roman eras, through a series of artefacts discovered in the wider Piraeus area and the surrounding coastal region. The permanent exhibition includes ceramic and bronze vases, figurines, small objects, jewellery, musical instruments, statues, votive offerings and tomb reliefs, all dated between the 18th century BC and the 4th century AD. Some of the more significant exhibits at the museum include bronze statues, the impressive monument of Kallithea, as well as figurines of the Minoan sanctuary of Kythera and the Mycenaean sanctuary of Methana. Situated next to the archaeological museum, the ruins of the Ancient Theatre of Zea, built during the Hellenistic period (late 4th century BC – early 3rd century BC), offer traces of the ancient theatre. It was built with pale yellow Piraeus stone, along the lines of Athens’ Theatre of Dionysus. (Wed-Mon, 08:30-15:30, closed Tue, 31 Har. Trikoupi, tel. +30 210 4521598, odysseus.culture.gr).
Ruins of a Roman-era mansion may be seen behind the museum, at the area between Skouze, Leosthenous, Ir. Polytechniou and Filellinon streets, close to Terpsitheas Square. The space is fenced but visible from the streets.
The Hellenic Maritime Museum, situated close to the archaeological museum, at Akti Themistokleous, covers the extensive maritime history of Piraeus and all of Greece. On display at the museum’s outdoor area are anchors and sculptures. The turret of the Papanikolis submarine that took part in World War II is a focal point.
The museum’s semi-circle building hosts over 2,500 objects such as ship models, representations of historical events, paintings, photographs and maps. It covers the history of Greece’s navy and merchant marine from antiquity to modern history. The museum also has a maritime library with other 17,000 books and magazines covering maritime history, science and technology. (Tue-Sat, 09:00 -14:00, Akti Themistokleous, Freattis, +30 2104516264, www.hmmuseum.gr).