Located on the northern side of the Peloponnese, Patras is Greece’s third-largest city. A place with a long, rich history etched in the various archaeological sites and museums, it’s also a vibrant city with lively spaces, cafes, and restaurants.
Wander in the beautiful old town, explore the squares, sidewalks, and the bustling port, linking Greece with Italy- there are so many glorious spots waiting to be discovered.
Here we share 20 of the Best Things to See and Do in Patras
Located on a hill above the town, the Castle of Patras dates from Medieval times and offers great views of the town and the port. In summer, cultural events are also organised here.
This architectural masterpiece was built in 1972 by famous German architect Ernst Ziller and it is located on the east side of King George I Square, one of the most popular squares in the town.
Folk Art Museum
Opened in 1977 by the Cultural Organisation of Patras, the museum’s aim is to collect and exhibit photos, clothes, furniture, and other artifacts that date from a few centuries ago- highlighting the rich folk history of the town. Presently, the rooms of the museum are divided into sections including agricultural tools, home furniture, traditional musical instruments, and dance costumes.
The Archaeological Museum of Patras is the second biggest museum in Greece. Although the plans for its construction started in the late 1980s, the museum actually opened in July 2009 and it features a charming garden with a pool.
The magnificent chapel of the Patron Saint of Patras, Agios Andreas (St Andrew) was built in the Byzantine style, and it’s said that the church has been built on the site where Saint Andrew, the student of Jesus Christ, was killed by the Romans in 66 AD. Close to the church, there is the “Spring of Agios Andreas”, which pours out holy water. Also, the church of Agia Varvara (Saint Barbara) is impressive and has also been built in the Byzantine style. Inside, you will find holy icons and beautiful frescoes depicting saints and archangels. Also make sure you climb the 193 steps up to the Church of Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas), which was initially built in the 14th century, however, the present chapel was constructed in 1885 because the former building was destroyed.
Stroll around the grounds of the theatre
The Ancient Roman Odeon of Patras was accidentally discovered in 1889 by workers and since then it has been renovated. Since being rebuilt, the amphitheater now hosts summer events, musical concerts, and theatrical performances year-round.
Explore the Upper Town
One of the highlights to Patras is walking through this picturesque part of town, with its narrow streets, archways, attractions, and unique architecture. Here you’ll see the castle, the ancient conservatory, the Pantokratoras church, built in the 19th century, the Roman Amphitheatre, and the Old Municipal Hospital built in 1857. Originally designed by the Danish architect Theophil Hansen, it’s been turned into an exhibition space and cultural centre.
Visit the Town Squares
Patras has so many lively town squares and that all are filled with locals and visitors enjoying a coffee and a catch-up. Start at Psila Alonia, buzzing with tavernas and bars- the views from here are great! At the centre you will come across Agios Giorgios Square (where the Carnival’s opening ceremony takes place), here you will find the famous Apollon Theatre (mentioned above), at Olgas Square- make sure you sit for a coffee and then head to the Archaeological Museum.
The Lighthouse of Patras
The lighthouse was originally built at Agios Nikolaos harbour, where it remained until 1972 when it was demolished. A model of the lighthouse was built in 1999, near the church of Agios Andreas.
Take a bath at the Old Hammam
The Turkish baths in Patras, also known as hammams, have been open since the 15th century AD and are a wonderful place to relax and rejuvenate. Built by the Venetians, they are the only Turkish baths still in operation in Greece today.
Visit one of Greece’s oldest wineries
Sip a small glass of the famous Mavrodaphne wine at the Achaia Clauss winery, one of the oldest and most famous wineries in all of Greece. For Patras, this is a historical winery as it contributed to the financial development of the town in the middle 19th century. Founded in 1861, the winery is known to produce the best mavrodaphne (a sweet and strong wine.)
Slowly sip on Tentura
Speaking of drinks, don’t leave Patras without trying its famous Tentura, the nectar of Patras, a local liqueur produced here since the 15th century.
Visit the House of one of Greece’ most Famous Poets
Kostis Palamas is one of Greece’s most renowned poets and the artist who wrote the lyrics to the Olympic Anthem, which is sung today in the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. His 19th-century neoclassical house has become a museum. Here you can see where he was born and the environment in which he was raised.
Get lost in the Street Art
Patras is a city filled with joyful students from university, and it has a cool urban vibe, which includes plenty of street art that is displayed pretty much on every second corner of town.
Enjoy the Festivities
Patras’ annual Carnival is a huge event and is the second biggest carnival in all of Europe; and the third biggest in the world. The carnival festivities take place each year between mid-January to mid-February (dates vary) and if you are here during this time, you are in for a good time. This modern event that first started in 1829 (with a high-class masquerade ball in a rich merchant’s mansion) has evolved into a huge extensive event that nowadays includes floats, colourful festivities, dancing, floats, masqueraders, and the famous treasure hunt.
Cross the modern bridge
The Rio-Antirrio bridge is a bold and modern landmark. It is one of the world’s longest multi-span cable-stayed bridges and the longest of the fully suspended type. It crosses the Gulf of Corinth near Patras, linking the town of Rio on the Peloponnese peninsula to Antirrio on mainland Greece.
Admire neoclassical buildings
Discover the neoclassical landmarks of the city, built from the 1830s onward, during the time of King Otto, and throughout the remainder of the 19th century. Some of the stand-out features include marble staircases, ornate railings, impressive doors, and intricate murals.
Eat & Drink your way around Patra
The most popular restaurants and taverns in town are found at the port promenade, offering delicious dishes and nice views of the sea.
Many cafes and bars are located in the city centre, mostly at the square of King George and along the main avenues of Patras. Seafood taverns are also found in seaside villages close to the city, such as Vrachneika and Rio. For brunch or coffee head to Cuccuvayia, Bodegas, and Big Ben.
For food in the centre of the town make your way to Ifaistou. At the port, there are many cafes to pick from if you are looking for a place to grab breakfast, coffee, dessert, or just a drink- look out for Theatraki and Yayaz. Also, 10 minutes drive from the centre along the coastal road there are plenty of places to try- standouts are Distinto, which is a great all-day restaurant and Naftiko– ideal for dinner.
If you are after a picturesque seaside dining experience, head to Vraxneika. Come here for brunch, late lunch, or a casual dinner. If you are after some traditional Greek meat platters head to Xeiropoihto, for good seafood there is Meltemi and for great all-round Greek dishes make your way to I Oura Tou Kokora. And for a cocktail or glass of wine, add Divani and Omega to your list- they also serve great food. Also check out Abbey Kitchen Bar, Baraki, and for wine bars head to Salumerio and Carousello.
Stay in style
If you are looking for a beautiful place to stay, look no further than The Bold Type Hotel. Located in the historic district of Ano Polis, near the Medieval Castle and Roman Odeon- two historical monuments of Greece, this new hotel opened in 2020.
Set in a stunning classical building, the luxury 5-star hotel features a fourth floor with a Roof View, offering a prime position facing the Fortress, the Ancient Roman Conservatory, as well as the Gulf of Patras. At the back of the hotel, you will find a magnificent courtyard, which has been transformed into a fine dining restaurant. Run by talented chef Giannis Skentzos, it’s also an ideal spot for brunch, late lunch or dinner.
Visit nearby places
Patras is referred to as the “Gateway to the West”, as you can take a ferry to Bari, Italy, or hop over to the Ionian islands of Lefkada, Kefalonia, Corfu, Zakynthos, Ithaca, Paxoi, and Kythera. Patras really is a central location and ideal for road trips to Olympia, Nafpaktos, Messolongi, and Delphi.
How do I get to Patras?
There are many ways to get to Patras from Athens and the most convenient way is to drive. The trip is just over two hours long by car and you can also get to Patras by bus; otherwise, you can take the suburban railway from Athens to Patras.