20 Best Things to do in Patras

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 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Apollon Theatre in Patras

Medieval Castle

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. 

Apollon Theatre 

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 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Archaeological Museum of Patras

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.

Archaeological Museum

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.

Historic Churches

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Agios Andreas Cathedral

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.

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Views from up high

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

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
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

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Famous poet’s home

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. 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Crossing the modern bridge

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.

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Divani Restaurant

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.

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Naftiko for a drink

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. 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Bold Type Hotel by © Pygmalion Karatzas

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. 

Traditional Handmade Gifts From Greece

If you are searching for some beautiful handmade gifts from Greece that are made by talented local artisans, including traditional ceramics and paintings, you can find them at Delfis Art Studio in Kos. 

Delfis is an art workshop and gift store located in the beautiful mountain village of Zia. It’s doors first opened in 1997 and here you will meet owner and local artist Maria, who launched her studio with the idea of satisfying the wishes and needs of local and international visitors looking for unique handmade Greek creations that are affordable.

Insights Greece - Traditional Handmade Gifts From Greece

“The idea is for the pieces to have authenticity and Greek identity, away from the mass produced and imported “tourist” products. This is the main idea behind our work,” says Maria. 

Every object is original and reflects the personality of each artist who created it. Here you will find a wonderful selection of ceramics, paintings on wood, as well as paintings on Greek marble. Maria cooperates with small workshops from Crete, Athens, Patras and other regions of Greece to ensure all the pieces in her store are different to what you will find at an average tourist shop. 

Inside the studio is a ceramics workshop, where Maria herself produces a wide variety of pieces that are both made for use and as decorative pieces. The ‘Delfis‘ range is one of the most popular amongst international visitors who purchase the tiny ceramic Greek churches and homes to take home with them as a reminder of their holiday to Greece. 

In the wide selection of products you will find dinnerware, coffee and tea sets (made without toxic colours and glazing) that are all available in a variety of colours and designs. Each item is painted with fire colours and baked in the oven with lead-free glazing.

Insights Greece - Traditional Handmade Gifts From Greece

Maria also works with her clients to create one off pieces that can be custom ordered in the colours and designs of your choice. Orders can also be shipped internationally. 

However, if you are in Kos, we definitely recommend you pay Delfis Art Studio a visit! 

Where is Zia? 

Zia is a picturesque mountainous village scattered on the northern slopes of Mountain Dikeos (17 km from Kos town). It is one of Kos’ most popular spots thanks to its breathtaking sunset. The area around Zia boasts outstanding natural beauty with free-flowing springs and the village itself has been declared a traditional settlement. Here you will find restaurants, cafes and shops. 

A: 85300 Zia – Kos

Cathedral of Agios Andreas in Patras: Greece’s Largest Church

The Cathedral of Agios Andreas (Saint Andrew), the largest church in Greece, is located in the west side of the city centre of Patras. Along with the nearby old church of Saint Andrew, it is a sacred place of pilgrimage for visitors from all over the world, especially on November 30, the Feast Day of Saint Andrew.

Getting there Insights Greece - Cathedral of Agios Andreas in Patras: Greece’s Largest Church

Patras, the modern capital of the Peloponnese and Achaia, is the third largest town in Greece. From Athens, you can get there by car (2.5 hour drive), ferry or bus. There are coach services from Athens KTEL to Patras, which normally take around 4 hours, or a ferry from Piraeus to Patras takes about 3.5 hours.

Protector Saint of Patras

Apostle Andreas is the Protector Saint of Patras. According to tradition, Apostle Andreas, the first student of Jesus Christ, was crucified in this town, on a site near the port. The large church here has been built on the exact spot where Apostle Andrew was crucified.

Apostle Andreas

Insights Greece - Cathedral of Agios Andreas in Patras: Greece’s Largest Church

The first Apostle called by Jesus was Andreas, who had previously been following John the Baptist. Upon encountering Jesus, he became his follower along with his brother Peter. Saint Andreas is renowned for bringing Christianity to Patras, Romania, Ukraine, Scotland and Russia. Agios Andreas is esteemed as an example of humility for the fact that he refused to be crucified on the same type of cross as Christ because he was not worthy. Many countries venerate Andreas as their patron saint including Scotland, Russia, and Romania.

Agios Andreas Cathedral

The neo-Byzantine style cathedral is the largest church in Greece and was completed in 1979. The Cathedral of Saint Andrew also has the largest dome in the Balkans. With Byzantine architecture, it has many arches and a bell tower. The church has a length of 60m, width of 52 m and has a capacity of 7,000 people. Over the central dome there is a 5-metre-long, gold-plated cross and over the other domes, there are 12 smaller crosses. These crosses symbolize Jesus and His apostles. The interior of the church is decorated with Byzantine-style wall paintings and mosaics. The Holy icons of Saint Andrew and of Panagia, the “Source of Life”, are to be found at the end of the nave; there is also an impressive carved wooden chandelier.

Smaller Church

Opposite this church, there is an older church, also dedicated to Agios Andreas, that was built in 1835 and was designed by the famous architect Lysandros Kaftatzoglou. Right next to it, there is a water spring and it is said that this is where Apostle Andrew left his last breath in 66 A.D.

Insights Greece - Cathedral of Agios Andreas in Patras: Greece’s Largest Church

Relics of Agios Andreas

Relics of Apostle Andreas are found in the church and are displayed at the end of the side aisle in a chased gold casket. They consist of the Saint’s small finger, part of the top of the cranium of the Apostle, and small portions of the cross on which he was martyred. The holy skull of the Apostle was sent there from St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome in September 1964.

A: Evmilou 4, Patra 262 22, Greece

Step Inside Patras’ New Luxury Boutique Hotel

In the city of Patras, a stunning classical building has now become a new luxury 5-star hotel.

Opening its doors in May of 2020, The Bold Type Hotel is located in the historic district of Ano Polis, near the Medieval Castle and Roman Odeon- two historical monuments of Greece. 

The initial construction of the listed building was created in three phases. The first was in the late 1800s, the second at the beginning of the last century and the last phase concerning most of the building took place in the early 1910s. The completion of the third phase gave the building its unique architecture.

Empi Spathi and Katerina Liarommati are the talented architects who recently converted the property into a luxurious hotel. Respecting its original character, the architects took a lot of care and consideration in restoring its raw design- while introducing modern elements that blend in beautifully with its previous construction. 

“The philosophy is based on personalised hospitality and our goal is to connect with each visitor and offer him the authentic hospitality that is culturally rooted within us. Our goal is to transmit the local culture to the visitor by exploring the vibrant neighbourhoods and the urban streets of the city and to connect with the local community,” says management.

The four-floor hotel has a total of 10 rooms and suites and there is a colour scheme on each level- designed to enhance the historical building. The first floor is filled with green- combining the wild plantation of the garden area with the Garden Suite. On the second floor, there are red tones- used to blend in nicely with the stones of the ancient Conservatory and the Atelier rooms. Whereas the third floor is dominated by rich shades of blue- to unite the sky and the memory of the building with the executive rooms and the Bold Type suite.

On the 4th floor is the Roof View, with prime position facing the Fortress, the Ancient Roman Conservatory, as well as the Gulf of Patras. And 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 an ideal spot for brunch, late lunch or dinner.

Last but definitely not least, there is a charming hotel garden, which dates back to 1922, and in the centre of the open space you will find a water feature surrounding the tallest palm tree in the city- it’s adored by locals and visitors alike who enjoy sitting here sipping on a cocktail.