SNG Destination Spotlight: Piraeus (Athens, Greece)©
Spotlight: Piraeus (Athens, Greece)
The Port of Piraeus is one of the largest in Europe and the main port for Athens, Greece. The 2004 Olympics hosted in Athens provided major improvements to the cities of Athens and Piraeus still reflected today. Modernized check in buildings, new entrance gates, wheelchair friendly terminals, free WiFi, duty free shopping, cafeterias, cantinas and restaurants have all been upgraded at Greece's main port which services passenger cruise ships and Greek ferries.
The port was the location in which ancient Greek ships sailed to Athenian colonies in South Sicily, Sicily and other Greek colonies in the Mediterranean prior to the Middle Ages during classical times. The Olympics improved transportation to the Port of Piraeus as well with a fast and efficient freeway from the airport straight to the port. In addition to the new freeway, the city’s Metro underground system received an overhaul now providing inexpensive, safe and seamless travel for guests exploring the city. Pre- and/or post-cruise stays are popular with visitors.
Port of Piraeus is not solely a port, but the site of Pasalimani also known as Zea Marina with fashion shops, cafeterias and restaurants surrounding the area. The marina is also home to the naval exhibits archive, Hellenic Maritime Musuem, Municipal Theater, referred to as the jewel of Piraeus featuring neo-classical architecture and the city’s still-standing remains of the ancient, Cononian walls. A short distance away is Piraiki; the area is best known for its “fish-taverns” and nightlife. Visitors are able to enjoy Greece’s national drink, ouzo, an anise-flavored aperitif, similar in taste to sambuca, local wines including Red and White Strofilia, Chateau Matsa White, and Hatzimich, Cuvee Maison Red, along with local seafood fare while viewing the amazing sunsets and Saronic Gulf.
The renovated transportation system allows guests without hassle to visit Athens’ most impressive sites including the Parthenon, Acropolis, Odeon and Temple of Athena. Under the Acropolis, the Plaka district, which are cobblestone streets lined with cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops, sits and spreads out to Syntagma; the village is like an island within the heart of Greek’s capital which provides the visitor an authentic experience of Greek culture. Syntagma Square is a significant site at which the changing of the guards by the Evzones, members of the elite ceremonial Presidential Guard, occurs in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Sport has always played an important role within Athens’culture. While having hosted the aforementioned 2004 Olympic Games, Greece’s capital city first hosted the Summer Olympiad in 1896. The port city, Piraeus, is home to Oympiacos F.C. which is the Greek professional soccer club with its name inspired from the Ancient Olympic Games. Founded in 1925, Oympiacos, the most successful club in Greek soccer history, plays at the Karaiskakis Stadium.
Presently, the Port of Piraeus serves the following cruise lines: Azamara, Carnival, Celebrity, Crystal, Holland America, Oceania, Princess, Regent Seven Seas, as well as Silversea Cruises including this month’s feature ship Silver Muse. Special Needs Group is pleased to provide service to those cruising out of Piraeus. In addition, SNG can also provide Hotel pick-up and delivery at the start or close of a cruise. The Athens International Airport is approximately an hour from the cruise port terminal; guests can transfer via bus, taxi or metro, the suburban rail. For more information, please visit us at www.specialneedsgroup.com.