Patras: The “home” of the carnival with the intense temperament


Μητροπολιτικός Ναός Αγίος Ανδρέας, Πάτρα

Patras is a summer and mountainous destination with many hotels, inns, restaurants, cafes and bars offering high quality services to the visitor. The hotels and rooms you will find in Patras are of different categories and can satisfy a large variety of preferences and accommodation needs.

Patras, the third largest city of Greece and the capital of the prefecture of Achaia, combines exceptional beauty, long history and living tradition that make it interesting and unique. It has one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean that connects Greece to Italy.

According to tradition it was founded by the Achaeans of Sparta when they were expelled by the Dorians, who came under the leadership of Prevgenis and his son Patreas in the end of the Mycenaean era.

By the Ionians throughout Achaia was called by then Ionia, and Aigialos by the king of Sicyon Aigialos or because it stretched along the seashore. The Ionians initially fled to Athens and from there to Asia Minor, where they founded 12 cities, the Ionic Dodecapolis, in memory of the twelve cities they left behind.

Patras Map

Prefgenis and Patreas joined three Ionic towns, Aroi, Mesati and Antheia and with Aroi as the center they founded the new city Patres, that took its name from Patreas.

The city became a magnet for many invaders – Romans, Gauls, Franks, Venetians and Turks – that successively conquered the area because of its port. After its release Patras was growing rapidly because of the trade carried on by the port. Beautiful neoclassical buildings adorn the city, of which the roads are leading to sea, the industry gradually grows while the intellectual and artistic life is intense.

Today Patras, favored with a temperate-moderate climate, fertile land, dotted with monuments of great cultural value, attracts Greek and foreign visitors throughout the year.

The city counts 215.000 inhabitants and the port is considered the western gate of Greece to Europe.  It is a historical city with rich past, home to many prime ministers (St. Gonatas, D. Gounaris, C. Papandreou, A. Michalakopoulos, P. Kannelopoulos, K. Stephanopoulos) and birthplace of Kostis Palamas and of other distinguished personalities.

It has good street layout, many neoclassical buildings, dozens of impressive monuments, houses with arches forming arcades that adorn the city and give special style and color.

Patron saint of Patras is Agios Andreas – an ornament for the city of Patras which is the biggest Byzantine church in the Balkans. On the roof of the central dome is located a five meters gilt cross and twelve smaller symbolizing Christ and his twelve disciples. In the church is kept the skull of St. Andrew, which was transported from Italy in 1964.

Large conference centers, hundreds of restaurants, bars, cafes and restaurants, museums, theaters, places for conducting commercial exhibitions, excellent sports facilities that attract the European and global interest, rich cultural life that culminates in the annual International City Festival and finally the famous Carnival of international reputation – known for its boundless enthusiasm, vitality and the ceaseless fun that entices the visitors – Patras is a city that is constantly evolving, with a multifaceted personality that causes the visitor to discover it…

Patras has also the privilege to give easy access to three major archaeological sites in Greece, Ancient Olympia, Delphi and Epidaurus, making it “passage” of thousands of tourists every year.

The climate of Patras like all cities of Western Greece is Mediterranean with relatively cool but humid summers and relatively mild winters.

The winds that prevail in Patras reach 7 Beaufort and the rainfall is sufficient. During the winter in the mountainous areas there are snowfalls. Extreme weather conditions do not prevail neither the winter nor the summer. The annual average of humidity in the area is 65.6%. The average winter temperature is 10°C and in the summer is 26°C.

Patras Attractions

Apollo Municipal Theatre: The Apollo Municipal Theatre (copy of Milan’s ladder), dominates the center of Patras, in Geogiou square and it was built in 1872 by the German architect Ernesto Tsiller, who also designed the beautiful building of the Merchants’ association and several temples in Aigio.

Psilalonia: In Psilalonia, a green area that is a great natural balcony to the sea, you will find the statue of Palaion Patron Germanos.

Dassylio (Grove): In the Upper Town starts Dassylio, a pine-clad hill called the “terrace” of Patras for the spectacular views it offers. On this hill is the Roman castle. It is built on the ruins of the ancient citadel of Justinian, about 800 meters from the coast with amazing views of the Gulf of Patras. The castle took its present form in the early 13th century AD by the Franks conquerors and it worths studying it, because it rolls out a major piece of the city’s history.

Roman Odeon: Built to the west of the citadel in the old Patras area, it is kept in excellent condition. The conservatory was built in the 2nd century AD and has a capacity of 2.500 people. It is considered one of the oldest theaters in Greece.

Pantocrator Church: The Church of Pantocrator was built according to the plan St. Sophia in Istanbul. The temple is a miniature of St. Sophia with a history that goes back to centuries. At the point where there is the church, in ancient times it was built the temple of Olympian Zeus.

Church of St. Andrew: The Church of St. Andrew. The old church was built in 1836-1843 in the place where there was a sanctuary of Demeter. At the same point in 66 AD found crucified death the first disciple of Christ and patron saint of the city. The jewel of Patras, the youngest church of St. Andrew, was founded in 1908 with a capacity of 7.000 people and it is the city’s patron saint. It is the largest temple in Greece and the largest Byzantine church in the Balkans. Inside there is the skull of the saint and part of the Cross in which he martyred.

Mycenaean Cemetery: The Mycenaean Cemetery is located only 7 km. outside Patras, in the settlement Voudeni. The cemetery dates back to 1500-1100 BC and occupies an area of ​​80 acres.

Old Municipal Hospital: An impressive neoclassical building which is the creation of the Danish architect Hansen. Today, it operates as a cultural center.

Roman Bridge: At the northern entrance of Patras is the beautiful double-arched Roman bridge and part of the Via Militariam connecting the city with Aigio.

Winery ACHAIA CLAUSS: One of the most important attractions of Patras, which stands out until today are the facilities of the winery Achaia Clauss. Itis located just 8km from the center of Patras in a green hill with spectacular views.

Founder of the winery was the Bavarian Gustav Clauss who arrived in Patras in 1854 to work in a German raisin export company. Then he bought a vineyard to make his own wine and resulted in the founding of the winery in 1861. The exceptional quality of wines including Mavrodaphne, conquered the Greek and international market.

The visitors can admire the one-century carved oak barrels, the stone buildings and taste fine wines in the traditional wine cellar for the reception of visitors. The stone buildings, the large carved oak barrels with Mavrodafni of a century, the traditional cellar for the reception of visitors and the unique landscape with the breathtaking views attract around 200.000 people annually.

Roman Aqueduct: The Roman Aqueduct was a necessary project  in a populous city like Patras and it was made with Roman emperors’ expenses. The Romans built a reservoir in the form of artificial barrier. At that time Patras was going through the greatest prosperity in its history being the gateway of Greece to Italy.

Rion – Antirion Bridge: The newly constructed bridge of Rio – Antirio is an ornament for Patras and the whole Greece. It is a cable-stayed bridge 2.280 meters long, which was completed in 2004. It connects Peloponnese with mainland Greece to the west and up to the rest of Europe.

The Archaeological museum is in the National Resistance Square and it is one of the most important archaeological museums in Greece. It is housed in the old mansion of Karamandani family. Of particular interest are the mosaics, terracotta and alabaster vases, antiquities of Classical, Hellenistic and Roman times, the marble statue of Athena, the great Roman flooring and ceramic classical and Hellenistic period.

The Folk Art Museum, was founded in 1977 and it is housed in a building of Skagiopouleio legacy. Its exhibits include tools of rural life, furniture of popular housing and everyday objects etc. The museum has a library and photographic archive.

The Historical and Ethnological Museum, was founded in 1973 and it is housed in the Hall of Literature and Art. Its exhibits include weapons, table with signatures of 1821 fighters, swords and more.

The Press Museum, was established in 1952 and it is housed in the Journalists Union building. Its exhibits include documents of historical value, rare editions, book collection, etc. One of the most remarkable exhibits of the museum is the official document that the Third National Assembly of the Greeks sent in the first prime minister of Greece Ioannis Kapodistrias (1827), with the signatures of all the fighters.

Parks & Squares
King George’s Square: It is the central square of Patras previously called Kalamogdarti, Otto and after 1862 was called National. In 1863, when the royal throne came to George A’ the square took his name. Today George Square is, as before, the square of political meetings, rallies, cultural happenings and carnival events.

Square of Three Allies (Trion Symmachon Square): The old name of the square was Teloniou (Customs) because there was  the customs. Now, bears the name of the Three Allied Powers (England, France, Russia) with Greece in the struggle for liberation.

Olga’s square that bears the name of King’s George wife. The older name was Omonia Square. In this square spent Kostis Palamas his childhood as his house was there. Today, this tree-lined square has renamed to the National Resistance Square.

Boud Square: The square was named by Thomas Boud, who came in Patras in 1843 from England and due to the economic development of the port from the raisin trade,  was lured and dealt with it. Today, it has renamed Fighters Square in 1821 as a small tribute to the fighters of the glorious revolution.

Marouda Square: The first name of the square was Giannias to his honor, when the Turks attacked him and his companions refused to surrender. Today, the square bears the name Marouda of the family who lived there.

Surrounding Area

You can see and visit many destinations in the surrounding area, just a few kilometers from Patras. Some of these are Rio, Kato Achaia, Agios Vasilios, Chalandritsa, Kalentzi etc.

Campus: Entering the town is the campus and the modern university hospital.

Kalentzi: A short distance from Patras, you will find the mountain village Kalentzi, where George Papandreou was born. In the village school is housed a museum with his personal items. Visit the monastery of All Saints located 6 km. from the village. On July 26 Agia Paraskevi a festival is organized.

Chalandritsa: Chalandritsa is located in the provincial road Patras-Kalavryta and connects the city with Kalavryta. There you can see the ruins of the Frankish castle and a large square tower and several old churches like St. Theodore, Assumption, St. Athanasios and St. John.

Patras Beaches

There are many wonderful beaches along the coastline of Patras. Other cozy, with sand and relatively shallow waters and others with blue water, sparkling golden sand, glossy multicolored pebbles and white-washed rocks. The county is surrounded by sea of 125km length with dozens of beaches making the area irresistible for your summer vacation.

Agyia Beach: In Patras, there is an organized beach with sand at Agyia.

Rio Beach: The beach in Rio has sand and pebbles and there are many trees for shade as well as many taverns for your food.

Agios Vasilios Beach: Before Rio you will find Agios Vasilios beach with pebblers, trees and very good restaurants to enjoy your food.

Kalogria Beach: The organized Kalogria beach is undoubtedly the most ideal place to enjoy the sun and the shallow and warm waters. Vast sandy beach that will impress you.

To the southwest are the beautiful beaches of Kaminia, Alissos, Kalogria, Lakkopetra, Niforaiika and Kato Achaia.

To the east you can find the beaches of Rio, Arachovitika, Agios Vasilios, Rodini, Psathopirgos, Lambiri, Longos, Akoli etc.

Patras Activities

Patras offers many activities that combine relaxation and fun. Some of the activities you can do in Patras is climbing, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, etc. In Patras and throughout Achaia there are many beautiful landscapes and numerous activities which can satisfy sports lovers.

Riding: Just 10 minutes from Patras operates the Patras Riding Club, a school with fully equipped facilities and well-trained coaches.

Sea Horse Riding: Patras is appropriate for water riding. In the area of ​​Kalogria there is an activity center with riding arenas. Within an area of ​​4 acres you can do horse rides on the beach or in the forest.

Hunting: Throughout Achaia operate seven organized hunting clubs that you can contact if you are hunting enthusiasts. In the county you can choose from a very wide range of prey.

Hiking: There are many beautiful trails in  Panachaikon area where you can go hiking or climbing in an idyllic environment with very healthy climate. Some of these are:
Pournarokastro – EOS Refuge (Psarthi) Mountain Giorgis (1.806 m.) – Upper Kastritsi: A magical journey with a moderate degree of difficulty. Travel time 8h.
Pournarokastro – Shelter Psarthi – Koryfi: A wonderful trip lasting five hours.
Upper Kastritsi – Source Paschanianon – Dritselo – Prasoudi: A spectacular route with a moderate difficult. Duration 4 hours.
Pournarokastro – EOS Refuge (Psarthi) – Vodias – Shelter Prasouda – Palavos Tower: A wonderful route with a moderate difficulty. Walking time to the Top 6 hours.

Climbing: Near the unique sea of ​​Kalogria and opposite of the forest of Strofilia and the Lake Prokopos is located in Kalogria climbing field. It is 45 km from Patras and includes 5 tracks. The magnificent views from the tops of the rocks will impress you as it combines mountain and sea. Ideal season for climbing is from April to October.

Paragliding: In Patras operates a parachute club which is a member of the Greek Air Sports Federation. The sites for paragliding are many such as Santameri and Skiada, where are organized Panhellenic Games, Panachaikon and Yianniskari ideal for flights over the sea, Erymanthos and the ski center of Kalavryta.

Mountain Biking: You can enjoy wonderful trips by mountain bike through the unique beauty of nature of Achaia. In the area of Tritaia between Alepochori and Kalentzi, in Ladon river and the mountainous area of ​​Kalavrita with its magnificent forests.

Skiing: The prefecture of Achaia has one of the best ski centers in Greece, Kalavryta ski center. The ski runs daily during the winter season, which lasts from mid-December to late April. The visitors of the center reach 100.000 during the winter season.

Rafting – Kayaking: The lovers of rafting and kayaking can enjoy their favorite sport in the river Ladon and Erymanthos.

Activities to the sea: In Patras operates the Patras Sailing Club which organizes many local races and in the area you will find two sailing schools. Throughout Achaia you can enjoy many water sports like wind surfing in the beach of EOT in Patras, diving in Panagopoula beach, beach volley in Kalogria beach and fishing.

Local Flavours & Products

In Patras you will enjoy the tasty feast of unique local specialties served inside and outside the city.

Patras is famous for its delicious wines produced by the fertile land, some of which, such as Mavrodafni are known worldwide.

In the local restaurants you can taste local meat cooked with local specialties such as rabbit stew, rooster spaghetti, veal, lamb and goat in the pot or with oil and oregano, boiled goat , are flavors that you will never forget. In the seaside taverns you will find fresh fish of all kinds and don’t forget to taste fish bourgeto and lubricator anchovy. Accompany your meal with local wine, ouzo or raki.

During your visit in Patras do not forget to taste or buy local cheese, beans, bread, eggs, rustic pasta (trachana, noodles, etc.), raisins, herbs, trout, honey etc. Leaving the area buy sweets or griddle, local halva and Turkish delight which you will never forget.

Cultural Events

The top of Patras event is the carnival, combined each time with a variety of cultural and entertainment events. In the weeks of Carnival dances take place, the Bourboulia, the hunting of lost treasure which ends on the last Sunday with the great parade of the crews involved.

Throughout the summer many events take place such as the International Festival of Patras, Poetry Symposium, International Shadow Theatre Festival, Naval Week, cultural events, University of Patras and many other events.

Patras International Festival: The events of the International Festival  are spread across Patras and combine all forms of art, theater, music, film, dance and visual arts.  The International Festival of  Patras takes place from July to September and it is an important center of trans-European cultural meetings.

Festival of Artistic events-Institution of Ancient Drama: It takes place during the summer months, especially in August with important theatrical performances.

Patras International Festival of Film and Culture: It deals with photography, poetry, art music and visual arts.

International Festival of Theatre of Shadows: Patras is directly connected with the Theatre of Shadows, as the puppeteer Mimar Patrinos (Sardounis Dimitrios) is the one who brought the localization of the art of Karagiozis.

Particularly honored on November 30 (a holiday for Patras), the city’s patron Saint Andrew.

Cherry Festival: It is held the last ten days of June in Ano Kastritsi  of the municipality of Rio. Free cherries, music and dance for two days.

Feast of Agia Kyriaki on July 7 in Agios Vasilios municipality of Rio.

Feast of Agia Marina on July 17 in Sella area of ​​the municipality of Rio.

Wine Festival: It is held the last ten days of July in Ano Ziria of Erineos. Free wine, music and dance.

Feast of the Holy Cross on September 14 in Kato Achaia.

Fairs of St. John on June 24 in Kato Achaia.

How to get there

 From Athens: The distance is about 210 km: Through the national road Athens – Patras route.

There are daily routes by bus from Athens to Patras.

You can also choose the train to go to Patras. There are daily itineraries by train from Larissa Station from Athens to Patras. Also, you can choose the suburban railway to Corinth and from there the conventional train to Patras.

Patras daily is connected with Kefalonnia, Ithaca, Igoumenitsa and Italy. There are daily routes from Agios Nikolaos of Fokida to Aigio. Also, there is a connection of Patras to the Aitoloakarnania prefecture via Rio-Antirio Bridge.

Patras Useful Telephone Numbers (Calling code for Greece 0030)

Achaia Prefecture
2610 638301-2
Post Office Patras
2610 224703
Municipality of Patras
2610 966200
Radiotaxi Patras
University Hospital of Rio
2610 999111
University of Patras
2610 997120
St. Andrew Hospital
2613 601000
University Conference Center
2610 993999
Karamandaneio Hospital
2610 622222
Carnival Commission
2610 390915
Police Station Patras
2610 420716, 2610 623061
Municipal Library of Patras
2610 224813
Traffic Police Patras
2610 695086
Municipal Odeon of Patras
2610 277630
Tourist Police Patras
2610 695191
Winery Achaia Clauss
 2610 325051
Patras Port Authority
2610 365113
Suburban railway
Aigio Port Authority
26910 28888
Tofalos Athletic Center
2610 439464
Rion Port Authority
2610 991203
Archaeological Museum of Patras
2610 420645
Bus Station Patras
2610 623886-87, 421205
Municipal Gallery of Patras
2610 276540
Bus Station Athens
210 5136185
Kalavrita Ski Center
26920 24451-2
Railway Station Patras
2610 693102
Pampeloponnisiako Stadium
2610 456130
Railway Station Athens
210 5131601
Patras Sailing Club
2610 423939
Firebrgade Patras
2610 333211
Patras Riding Club
2610 433636

Patras Photos