Getting there & away
Many first-time visitors to Greece assume the best way to get from Patra to Athens is by bus. The bus is faster than the train, but it’s more expensive and drops you off a long way from the centre of Athens at Terminal A on Kifissou. This is a real hassle if you’re arriving in Athens after midnight, when there are no connecting buses to the city centre, leaving newcomers at the mercy of the notorious Terminal A taxi drivers.
The train takes you close to the city centre, with easy connections to the metro system. If you arrive after midnight, you’re within easy walking distance of good accommodation.
Daily ferries to Kefallonia (€14.50, 2½ hours) and Ithaki (€14.50, 3¾ hours) are operated by Strintzis Ferries (2610 240 000). The ticket office is just inside the port, at Gate 2 behind the train station. Fares to Corfu (six to 7½ hours) cost €33 with ANEK Lines (2610 226 053; www.anek.gr; Othonos Amalias 25) and Minoan Lines (2610 426 000; www.minoan.gr; Iroön Polytehniou 5), which is just opposite the port’s Gate 7.
Patra is Greece’s main port for ferry services to Italy. All departures to Italy leave at midnight. (Be sure to check as this schedule changes.) A highly recommended English-speaking one-stop company is Aqua Shipping (2610 421 500; Athinon 2-4). It’s an agent for Hellenic Seaways but sells tickets for all lines (note: as will most agencies.)
The route to Brindisi (€52, 15 hours, daily) is operated by Endeavour Lines (Hellenic Mediterranean Lines). Ancona is another popular destination; Superfast Ferries (2610 622 500; Othonos Amalias 12) does the trip direct in 19 hours for €74, or 21 hours via Igoumenitsa. Minoan Lines (2610 455 622; Iroön Polytehniou 5) runs two services to Ancona (€74, 21½ hours), one via Igoumenitsa. ANEK Lines (2610 226 053; www.anek.gr; Othonos Amalias 25) also has regular services to Ancona (€70, 20 hours).
Superfast (2610 622 500; Othonos Amalias 12) in conjunction with Blue Star Ferries and Agoudimos has daily services to Bari (around €57, 15½ hours).
Minoan Lines also has boats to Venice (€79, 29 hours, four times weekly), calling at Corfu and Igoumenitsa. ANEK Lines has boats to Venice (€53, 34½ hours) daily except Tuesday, also calling at Corfu and Igoumenitsa.
The main KTEL Achaia bus station (2610 623 886; Othonos Amalias) has buses to Athens (€16.20, three hours, every half-hour) via Corinth (€10.80, 1½ hours); Pyrgos (€8.40, two hours, 10 daily); Ioannina (€19.70, 4½ hours, at least two daily); Kalavryta (€6.80, two hours, at least two daily); Kalamata (€19.30, four hours, two daily); Tripoli (€16, 3½ hours, daily) and Thessaloniki (€37.90, seven hours, four daily).
Buses to the Ionian Islands of Lefkada (€13.80, two weekly, three hours) and Kefallonia leave from the KTEL Kefallonia bus station (2610 274 938; cnr Othonos Amalias & Gerokostopoulou). Services to Kefallonia travel by ferry to Poros (€14.40, three hours) and continue by road to Argostoli (€18, one hour). Also departing from here are buses (2610 623 888) to Amfissa (for Delphi; €11.60, two daily Monday to Saturday, one on Sunday, three hours). Several daily buses to Zakynthos (including ferry; €30, 3½ hours, two on weekends) leave from the KTEL Zakynthos bus station (2610 220 129; Othonos Amalias 48). Conveniently, they also travel via the port of Kyllini (€6.50, 1¼ hours). Note: the schedules change regularly.
There are at least seven trains daily from Patra to Corinth; five are normal trains (€3.20, 2½ hours) and two are Intercity (express) services (€6.40, 2½ hours). All trains between Patra and Corinth stop at Diakofto (Intercity €5, 45 minutes; normal trains €2.80, one hour).
There are also several daily services to Pyrgos (express/normal €5.40/2.80, 1½ to three hours). For Olympia, change trains at Pyrgos. There are regular daily services to Kyparissia (express/normal €7.50/4.70, three hours) and Kalamata (express/normal €9.70/5, five hours).