Patras

Patras, or Patra, in the Peloponnese is Greece's third-largest city, home to Greece's largest Carnival, with many Roman and Greek remains, museums and churches.

Part of the Harbour at Patras in the Peloponnese, GreecePart of the Harbour at Patras

Although it is Greece's third-biggest city, Patras in the Peloponnese isn't much on the tourist trail. It doesn't even have a direct flight with Athens, although you can drive there from Athens in 2-3 hours, or get there on the bus in 3-4 hours. If it's known for anything it's for being a busy port and for having the biggest Carnival celebrations in Greece.

Part of the Harbour at sunset in Patras in the Peloponnese, GreecePatras Harbour at Sunset

When to Visit Patras

Patras has a Mediterranean climate and you can happily visit it at any time of year. Most rain falls in the winter and December is the wettest month with an average of 13 rainy days. However, the average temperature in December is 11.9C (53.4F) and it never falls below freezing.

The driest months are June to September, with very little rainfall. The average temperatures for those months ranges from 22.7-25.3C (72.9-77.5F), making it a very pleasant time to visit. 

Many people visit in February when Patras holds the most famous Carnival in Greece. The average temperature in February is 10.7C (51.3F) with about 10 rainy days during the month. If you plan to travel then, you should book accommodation well ahead.

Rio-Antirio bridge near Patras in GreeceRio-Antirio Bridge near Patras

Getting To and From Patras

By Air

Patras has an airport which gets seasonal charter flights from several European cities, though there are currently no direct flights between Patras and Athens.

By Bus

Patras is well-served with bus connections on the main KTEL network, including with Athens. with a journey time of 3-4 hours.

By Rail

There used to be a rail connection with Athens and this is now being restored. At the time of writing the final part of the journey to Patras has to be completed by bus, but soon the service should be restored in full.

Rio-Antirio Bridge near PatrasRio-Antirio Bridge near Patras

By Road

It takes about 2-3 hours to drive from Athens to Patras. From Patras you can easily get around the Peloponnese. If you want to avoid driving into the city then there is a ring road which takes you around it. You can also cross the Gulf of Corinth into Northern and Western Greece using the impressive and graceful Rio-Antirio Bridge. 

By Sea

Patras has long been one of Greece's major ports, both for commercial trade and passenger transport. It has ferry connections with several of the Ionian Islands, with the city of Igoumenitsa, and with several Italian ports, including Venice.

Yachts in the Harbour at PatrasYachts in the Harbour at Patras

Ferries in Greece

Ferries in Greece has an excellent and very thorough website where, in addition to checking ferry schedules and times, you can also book tickets and get lots of useful information about travelling by ferry in Greece.

Rio-Antirio Bridge near PatrasRio-Antirio Bridge near Patras

Things to See in Patras

Although it is a busy port, and many people pass through it every day, Patras has more than enough things to see to warrant a stay of a few days.

Patras Archaeological Museum

The building itself is strikingly modern, and it houses an impressive collection as Patras has many fine ancient archaeological sites.

Roman Remains

Patras was a major city when the Romans invaded Greece, and many Roman remains can be seen. These include the Roman Theatre from 160AD, a nearby Roman amphitheater, an aqueduct, the ruins of a stadium, and parts of walls and bridges.

Beach near the Rio-Antirio Bridge near Patras in GreeceBeach and Bridge

Greek Remains

Just outside Patras is the Mycenean Cemetery of Voudeni (or Skioessa), which is one of the most important Mycenean sites outside of Mycenae itself.

Patras Castle

Overlooking the city, the castle dates back originally to the 6th century AD, although the walls you see today are from the Venetian period of the 17th-18th century. The interior has been turned into a public park.

The Church of St Andrew of Patras

The Church of St Andrew of PatrasThe Church of St Andrew of Patras

The Church of St Andrew of Patras is the most imposing church in the city and is dedicated to the St Andrew, who was crucified in Patras in 69AD. The church was built on the spot where it is said to have happened.

Patras Carnival

Patras Carnival is famous throughout Greece, and is in fact one of the biggest Carnival celebrations throughout the whole of Europe. It's been taking place for over 160 years. Events usually start in late January, depending on the dates of Greek Easter, and go through till the first Monday in Lent, known in Greece as Clean Monday. You can find out all about the Patras Carnival on the Carnival website.

Where to Stay in Patras

More Peloponnese pages

  • Kalamata

    Kalamata in the Peloponnese is the area's second-biggest city and is world-famous for the quality of its olives and for the nearby site of Ancient Messene.

  • Epidavros

    The ancient theatre at Epidavros is one of Greece's greatest attractions, ranking alongside the Acropolis and the Palace at Knossos in Crete, and it is easily the finest theatre in Greece.

  • Corinth

    Corinth has four aspects to it, which are the Corinth canal, the modern town of Corinth, nearby Ancient Corinth, and above that Akrokorinthos or Upper Corinth.

  • Bradt Guide to the Peloponnese

    The Bradt Guide to the Peloponnese is the best book on the Greek region which includes attractions like Mycenae, Epidavros, Olympia, Monemvasia and Nafplion.

  • Ancient Olympia

    Travel guide to Ancient Olympia in the Peloponnese of mainland Greece, home to the original Olympic Games.

  • Mystras

    The ruined Byzantine city of Mystras sits on the top and the slopes of a hill that juts out from the plain and is one of the most remarkable places in Greece.

  • Top Archaeological Sites in the Peloponnese

    The top archaeological sites in the Peloponnese in Greece include Epidavros, Olympia, Mycenae, Mystras, Tiryns, and Argos.

  • Peloponnese: Travel Information about the Peloponnese in Greece

    The Peloponnese in Greece has such sights as Olympia, Mycenae, the Mani, Nafplion, Corinth and Epidavros.

  • Sparta

    Sparta (or Sparti) in the Peloponnese of Greece was one of the most important city-states of ancient Greece and has significant archaeological remains.

  • The Mani

    The Mani in the south of the Peloponnese is the most southerly part of the Greek mainland and famous for its rugged landscape, feuds, and tower houses.

  • Nafplion

    Nafplion in the Peloponnese was the Greek capital before Athens and today is a charming waterfront town with good restaurants, museums, shopping, beaches, old fortresses and a delightful atmosphere.

  • The Nemean Games

    The Nemean Games, like the Olympic Games, take place every four years but, unlike the Olympics, anyone can apply to take part and run in the original stadium.

  • Mycenae

    Mycenae in the Greek Peloponnese was a royal palace and is famous for the royal tombs, Lion Gate, and was excavated by archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann.

  • Monemvasia

    Monemvasia in the Peloponnese is the Greek Rock of Gibraltar and is a huge offshore rock which conceals a tiny town connected to the mainland by a single road.

  • Monemvasia Book Review

    Greece Travel Secrets reviews the photography book Monemvasia with extracts from works by Yiannis Ritsos and Nikos Kazantzakis.

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