Visit this historically rich seaside town ! Don’t miss our selection of the 12 best things to do and see in Patras.
Patras is the third biggest city in Greece and is the capital of the region of Achaia. It has a balance of interesting archaeological sites and a lively nightlife as there are a lot of students living there. It is located near Delphi, Olympia and Epidaurus which are famous for ancient history, and together they form the heart of ancient Greece. Patras has stayed relevant throughout the history of Greece, it became one of the seats of the Greek resistance against the Ottoman Empire and in the 1920s enjoyed an era of reconstruction, embellishment and a thriving cultural scene. Today, Patras is a little off the beaten path and certainly doesn’t attract the number of tourists that the Greek Islands though, but it is also a much more living and authentic city. With its dynamic student population and its cultural community, there is no dearth of things to do in Patras!
Looking for what to do in Patras? We have prepared this little list of what we recommend you do and see on a visit to Patras!
1. Agios Andreas Cathedral
You will find numerous different churches when wandering in Patras, but St. Andrews is definitely the biggest and the most impressive one. It is after all the largest orthodox church in all of Greece. Even though it was built quite recently (1974) it doesn’t lack in taste and sets an example of fine architecture as it respects the Byzantine style of the previous church which it was built on. Stunning byzantine paintings and detailed mosaics recover the inside of the Cathedral. It is highly adorned with elaborated icons and a massive wooden chandelier. Any art lover will appreciate this inspiring atmosphere. Impossible to miss as it dramatically stands out from its surroundings, it will be one of the first things to do in Patras.
Next to the main cathedral is the old Agios Andreas Church, that also has quite some charm and is worth a complementary visit. The Cathedral is located close to the center, near the port so it is accessible by foot. The entrance is free as almost any church in Greece.
2. Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological museum of Patras is comparable in its high quality to the Acropolis Museum in Athens. It was built in 2009 and from the exterior it looks a bit like a flying saucer with its big metallic dome.The modern structure results in a beautiful and organised presentation of the exhibits, that are enhanced by well thought lighting. It presents a large collection of artifacts from everyday life representative of Mycenaean and Roman civilizations. The objects come from local excavations dating back to 1700BC and will give you a real grasp of the ancient history of the city. Come and contemplate the amazing mosaics that are displayed, you will not be disappointed. This museum is surprisingly not widely known so it is not too crowded. It is easily accessible by car, and there is a parking on the site.
The staff is friendly and helpful. The entry is six euros, but it is free for students.
3. Georgiou I Town Square
Georgiou I Square is the main town square of Patras. It presents few of the rare remains left of the ancient town, as it was destroyed several times by either the frequent earthquakes or by the war with the Turks. You can see from there the neoclassical Apollo Theater. The place is surrounded by cafes and restaurants where you will be able to order a typical iced coffee and relax.
4. Achaia Clauss Winery
The Achaia Clauss winery is in fact a small and beautiful castle, with a gorgeous domain and view on Patras. It was created in 1861, by Gustav Clauss, and is the second oldest business in Greece, after the Εθνική Τράπεζα της Ελλάδος, the National Bank of Greece. Guides will provide you with a historically rich and fun tour and propose at the end a generous wine tasting session that will probably convince you in buying a bottle or two of their very fairly priced Mavrodafni wines. This was one of our favorite things to do in Patras as the tour itself is completely free and the winery is open every day. It is located fifteen minutes away from the center.
5. Voundeni Mycenean Park
One of the most underrated things to do in Patras, the Mycenaean cemetery of Voudeni has over a hundred of ancient tombs. You can visit all of them as there is a nice path that goes around them. The artifacts found in the site are displayed in the Archaeological museum. A introduction video is available at the entrance if you ask the personnel. The settlement offers a spectacular view of the Patras gulf.
The entrance is two euros.
6. Castle of Patras
The castle of Patras is located on one of the highest points of the city so it offers a striking view of the city and the sea. It is a a great place to watch the sunset and the idyllic islands of Zakynthos and Kefalonia. The castle was built around 500 AD and was occupied and remodeled by a lot of different civilizations such as the Slavs, the Normans and the Franks. Today it presents a Frankish structure and is in a relatively good shape because of all the renovations. It is surrounded by a calm green park where you can picnic among the olive trees and flowers. To visit the site there are a lot of stairs, but the site itself is accessible by car.
The entrance is free.
7. Roman Odeon
The Roman Odeon is not only a archaeological site, it is also a place where modern and ancient theater representations regularly take place. It is in very good shape, even though it was built around 160 AD. You can come to just visit the monument, but seeing this place take life by the plays or by the occasional concerts is quite different and will give you a memorable experience. Catching a show here is definitely one of the things to do in Patras in our opinion. It has a capacity of 2300 people. Next to it are the ruins of the Patras’ amphitheater where sports events took place during antiquity. It is five minutes away from the city center.
The entrance is free.
8. Kostis Palamas House
The Kostis Palamas house was occupied by one of the greatest figures from the 1880 in Greek culture : the poet Kostis Palamas. He wrote the official lyrics to the Olympic Anthem. The house was built in a neoclassical style and was turned in 2018 into a cultural center where inside of which you will find interesting information about Greek poetry and culture. It is located in the center of Patras, at 241 Korinthou street, so it is easily accessible by car. There a few parking spaces available in this region though.
9. The Patras lighthouse
The Patras lighthouse offers a great view of the sea. It was created symbolically and has no maritime function whatsoever but still illuminates the night with its blue light. It was created in 1972, to replace another lighthouse. A cafe is situated at the main level of it if you wish to refresh yourself after taking a dip in the sea.
10. Rio-Antirio bridge
Rio-Antirio bridge is the third of the longest cable stayed bridge in the world. It is fully suspended and was designed by a the French company Vinci.
It was built to resist to high magnitude earthquakes. It allows a passage to the different Corinthian golfs, and has the advantage of being quicker than the ferry. It costs thirteen euros to pass by it by car and gives you a nice panoramic view while leaving or coming back to the city.
11. Spinney Hill
This small hill, called Spinney Hill or δασύλλιο , is covered with pines and offers one of the best views in Patras. It provides with good shade, something you’ll appreciate in the arid and hot Peloponnesian Summer, and is another perfect spot for taking pictures. It is commonly called the veranda of Patras and you’ll soon see why. You’ll want to sit down and relax as soon as you get there !
This carnival is famous for being one of the largest in Europe, as it is attended by more that 10 000 people. Its origins lie in the Italian domination of Patras in the 17th century, especially merchants from Venice who brought in the tradition of their own carnival. It lasts more than 3 days and takes place between the 17th of January and Ash Monday (forty eight days before Orthodox Easter). This carnival is unique in the country, with its multiple parades and fireworks show, so if you have a chance of being there early in the year go for it, it is a unique thing to do in Patras and you shouldn’t miss it!
How to get to Patras ?
- Flights :
- Ferries :
- Train :
- Buses :
- Car :
The Araxos airport is small and serves about twenty international flights per week, however they are mostly located in Easter Europe and Germany, with the addition of a direct flight from Brussels and from Milan. As such, if you are flying from the UK, you’ll need to change flights in of those airports if you want to land in Araxos airport. However we suggest you land in Athens instead, as Athens is only two and a half hours away by bus and Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport offers direct flights from London , either Stansted or Heathrow, as well as from Bristol or Dublin. You can find the most suitable option by comparing flights with Skyscanner. From the airport there are taxis that will bring you to Patras but you can also directly rent a car at the airport. The are no shuttles to bring you to the city and the trip will take about 45 min.
As Patras is one of the largest ports in Greece it provides all year around to Italy and other parts in Greece. You can book your ferry to Patras online on the DirectFerries website.
From Athens there is no direct line ; you have to stop by the city of Kiato and then take a train from there to Patras. It takes about 4 hours depending on the wait between the trains.
There is a direct line from Athens, almost every hour with the national company KTEL. It lasts 3 hours and costs about twenty euros. There is also an express bus that only lasts for two and a half hours.
From Athens and by taking the national highway to Corinth it takes about three hours to go to Patras.
Where to sleep in Patras ?
Patras is a narrow city that’s spread across the seashore. Near the sea and the city center you will mostly find luxury hotel. You will also find hotels offering the best views on the East side of the city, near the Rio-Antirio bridge. Hotels will usually be cheaper when further away from the sea and the center of the city which is up North, use an online booking platform to compare the rates and find the place most suitable for your stay in Patras. During the summer the prices go up but they stay affordable, and you can also find some great Airbnb accommodations as they are quite developed in the region.
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