My wife and I will be finishing a cruise in Athens on April 30, and would like to travel to the PLAKA (to our hotel) from Piraeus on the subway, if possible. How far away is the nearest subway station from the cruise port? How much does it cost to travel by subway? How safe is travel on the subway?
The Piraeus Metro (not subway) station is quite far from the cruise dock about a mile at least ... the map shows the station, and the cruise pier is way on the other end of the port (under the word "Ideal"). Not walkable w. cruise baggage; most people taxi. However, I wonder whether you want to do the Metro or a new Express Bus that goes right from the Cruise Dock to Syntagma Square, the entry to the Plaka District. Metro costs about €1.5 and takes 30 minutes to Monastiraki station, but u must change to get to Syntagma ... and that's after you trudge or taxi to Piraeus station. The bus goes right from your pier, a limited-stop route -- details here -- http://mygreecetravelblog.com/2014/05/12/new-athens-x80-express-bus-links-piraeus-cruise-ship-port-to-acropolis-and-syntagma-square/ This link shows TWO maps... one of Piraeus, and one of all the stops on the Rt. 80 bus. If this Express bus is at all like the others from Airport etc, it has a central "pen" right inside the bus where you pile your luggage. It takes 30-45 minutes depending on traffic, costs €4.
Another advantage is almost no incidence of pickpocketing on the bus. Athens is a safe city, Greece has one of the lowest petty-crimes rates in Europe, but the 2 places that pickpocket rings (often Illegal Albanians) focus on, are the Metros from the Airport and Seaport. That's because those 2 Metros have the most tourists carrying lots of money, passports, credit cards etc, in a crowded situation; plus lots of these tourists (especially from USA) are "public transportation virgins," either having none in their area or declining to use them. Thus, they're busy looking around, saying, hey, this is nice, while Freddy Fastfinger is lifting their wallets. (Alas I must also report that vast majority of pickpocket victims are male, who swear they'd KNOW if someone touched their pocket! Women usually use shoulder purses with hand firmly on the zip). If you DO choose the Metro, keep valuables in a moneybelt or neck pouch. I myself use the bus vs. the Metro from the airport, because I can doze if groggy. At when these busses reach Syntagma, there's no frantic rush to get off... it's right at the curb, and you get time to get your baggage and exit.
Janet has said it all. Taxi or the new bus. Good info Janet I didn't know that route was running.
With that luggage the fare is probably going to be around 20 maybe 25 euros for a taxi which will take you right to your hotel. No hassle and you can get right into exploring central Athens right away.
The port is huge. Three consecutive taxis refused to drive us to the metro station. I suppose they wanted the better fares into the city. We tossed the towel and walked, with luggage, maybe about 45 minutes. Not for the faint of heart.
Never had a concern for safety when using the subways.
If you have a lost look on your face someone is likely to ask where are you going and point out how to get there.
Have not traveled from the port area, so cannot address that part of your query.
We walked from the port to the METRO and it took about 20 minutes. It didn't seem that far. The METRO works quite well and is cheap. Watch out for pickpockets.
This posting is in reference to Janet’s comments about pickpockets on the Metro. My wife and I just returned from a 14 day self-guided trip to Greece. Our experience on the Metro was not good at all, four rides and twice targeted by thieves. Both episodes were arriving to or departing from Syntagma station. First encounter cost me my wallet. Two pickpockets (young males) positioned themselves at the central luggage rack and I stepped in between them to retrieve our suitcases (matching Samsonite bags). As the train slowed for arrival to Syntagma, it lurched violently three times before coming to a stop. Everybody, seated or standing, was scrambling to hang on and I was struggling with two suitcases. Anyone standing was bumping into each other. After getting off the train I checked myself over and immediately realized my wallet was missing. In hindsight, the two suspects had arrived at the luggage rack within a minute or two of each other. They stood next to each other but never spoke or exchanged glances. Both played a similar video game on their phones. Their behavior was out of place enough to draw my attention, I was anticipating they might grab a suitcase when the train stopped at a station. Jetlag prevented me from realizing they wanted what was in my pocket. And yes, that will be the end of me ever carrying a visible wallet on a trip like this.
Second encounter was departing Syntagma, mid-morning when trains were still quite full. Group included myself, wife and Mother-in-Law. I was much more aware by this time and better prepared. First thing that caught my attention was young man pushing his way into the crowd to get in front of me. Before the train car doors closed he even stepped aside to make more room. (Why does a young guy do this when nobody else on the train looks at their neighbor?) Soon after the train departed the crowd was adjusting and moved back in my direction. Thief #1 pressed up against my side and I felt something by my pocket. At this same moment, my 75 year old Mother-in-Law falls to the floor (was pushed by thief #2) with her shoulders near my feet. I helped her up but maintained a tight grip on my backpack. I checked myself and realized a 10 Euro note was missing from my pocket. (That’s all I had in the pocket besides a few coins) I was quite sure who had taken the money but did not actually see him do it. I confronted thief #1 verbally, loud enough to be heard by other passengers. He looked at me and soon disappeared into the crowd, along with his accomplice. Purses and backpack remained in our possession. It took a few minutes of discussion to figure out what had just happened and that the two thieves were working together.
My wife and I were not new to public transportation. We have used it extensively in several large European cities (Rome, Paris, Vilnius) and never had a problem prior to this trip. We do not look like the locals but were not wearing anything expensive and very modest jewelry. First incident was reported to Tourist Police but since I did not lose a large amount of cash or passport, they were not interested in hearing from me. I had to insist on filling out a report, which I wanted in case of later identity theft. Their advice was to be careful on the Metro, especially when train doors were open. Told us there are no cameras on Metro and thieves know it.
Besides these two incidents there were a number of other attempted scams that included short changing and trying to charge inflated prices. I have to say the attractions in Greece are great and most people are decent. The two incidents with thieves and numerous other minor scams detracted from the overall experience. We were constantly on guard against the next attempt. I came away from this trip with mixed feelings.