PÁTRA (Patras) is the largest city in the Peloponnese and, after Pireás and Igoumenítsa, a major port of Greece; from here you can catch ferries to Italy as well as to certain Ionian islands. The city is also a hub of the Greek-mainland transport network.

Unless you arrive late in the day from Italy, you won’t need, or want, to spend more than a few hours here. There are no beaches and no truly essential sights. Traffic noise goes on well into the night and starts earlier than you’d want to get up. Add to that the gangs of unemployed men, who hang around the port, and it’s preferable to move on quickly. That said, if you find yourself here for some time, there are a few reasonable attractions: the Kástro, the new archeological museum, and the massive church of Áyios Andhréas. Swimming near Pátra isn’t advisable – the sea is polluted for some kilometres to the southwest. Locals head to the beaches around Río (7km northeast; bus #6) or to Kalogriá.

The Kástro

The Kástro, a mainly Frankish-Byzantine and partly restored citadel fifteen minutes’ walk up from the water, is not particularly exciting, but it is up away from the city bustle, surrounded by a small park and with woodland beyond. Nearby, at Boukaoúri 29, is the hammam (Turkish baths,26102 74267; €5), still good for a steam after six hundred years.

The archeological museum

Located about 3km from the centre, at the north end of the city, the new, crisply contemporary archeological museum is now second only in size to the new Acropolis Museum in Athens. Themed exhibits include a vast quantity of everyday objects from Ahaïa dating from the Mycenaean to the Roman eras, most of which have been in storage for the past thirty years. Though it houses one of Greece’s biggest Roman mosaic collections, there’s no single item of great import, and the whole approach can be a little too didactic for most.

Church of Áyios Andhréas

This huge neo-Byzantine confection lies at the southwest end of the waterfront on the spot where St Andrew is said to have been martyred in 69 AD, and where an ancient temple to Demeter once stood. The saint’s relics are housed within, including his skull.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Greece features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
11 tips for travelling in Greece

11 tips for travelling in Greece

Although the news has been full of negative stories about the financial and immigrant crises which have engulfed Greece in recent years, there are still many r…

02 May 2017 • Nick Edwards insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right