Patras is Greece's western portal to Europe and an important seaport with much commercial and passenger traffic.
Today, a lively party atmosphere university town with many young people, it is the third largest city in Greece and its roots may be traced to the late Mycenaean period circa 1400 BC.
About 1100 BC, after being displaced by the Dorians, there arrived, Achaean refugees from Laconia who supplanted the local population and gave their leaders name to the area. Patreus.
Saint Andrew, the towns patron saint, gave the message of Christianity to the area only to be crucified by the Romans. He has a large cathedral devoted to him for his troubles.
There are upper and lower parts to the city. The hill to the north east boasts the remains of a Venetian Castle built on the site of the ancient acropolis. There is a yearly carnival which commences just before the beginning of Lent.
Hint: I hate to say this about a place that must have some redeeming qualities but unless you have friends here or are prepared to spend time getting to know its charms: Leave as soon as possible, noisy, smelly, frenetic, over priced, a cross between Tel Aviv and Manhattan. Accommodations wise they have you between a rock and hard place and charge accordingly.
The one plus: A lively night scene with lots of singles cruising downtown strip. I was here to get the ferry from Rio to transfer myself and party to central Greece, these ferries leave every 10 minutes, cost about $20 for you and your car or take the new Rio Bridge (@25 eu). I have also been here after arriving by ferry from Brindisi Italy. I caught a bus to Athens, took about 2.5 hours.