I spent my birthday in Athens, and we decided to head to Pireas. This is the major port of Athens, where all the cruise ships dock (and apparently where you can buy an I-pad from a dude holding them up to the passing tourist buses!).
On the other side of Pireas, there is a large marina full of super-yachts. We enjoyed a simple birthday lunch of kebabs and coke overlooking the harbour, then strolled around the marina eating ice cream. This is a nice area with plenty of amenities (a supermarket, Starbucks, all the usual fast-food chains) and if you head inland up Grigoriou Lampraki, you come to a cute pedestrianised shopping street called Sotiros Dios. It is a pleasant area to wile away a few hours.
Beyond the headland, there is a sandy beach which was also fun for a quick paddle. It isn’t the most spotless beach in the world, which is perhaps to be expected given that it is around the corner from a major industrial port, but it made a pleasant change from the heat and bustle of the city.
If you continue east there is yet another marina, but this one is a bit more subdued – no super yachts, but more regular-sized boats. There were lots of nice looking seafood restaurants here, but as these have been built along the water’s edge, it blocks the view of the marina, so I wouldn’t rate this marina unless you are planning to eat here.
We took the big red topless tourist bus (that is, the bus is topless, not the tourists 😉 ) and this bus does a loop of all of these places – both harbours, the beach, and the cruise post, so you can hop off at any or all of these stops. If you have a spare couple of hours / half-day in Athens this is a lovely area to visit.
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