GREAT AMERICAN VACATION
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Patras is the third-largest city in Greece and a major harbor. Unless you come to town to catch a ferry to Italy or Corfu, you might want to zoom right by. The municipality has launched an extensive improvement plan, paving the harbor roads and creating pedestrian zones on inner-city shopping streets. Even so, earthquakes and mindless development have laid waste to most of the elegant European-style
buildings that earned Patras the nickname "Little Paris of Greece" in the 19th and early 20th centuries.You'll pass through this city if, as many European travelers do, you arrive on a boat from Italy, or when coming to the Peloponnese from Corfu and other Ionian islands. If you're coming from Athens, you can arrive by car on the toll-road network, south to Corinth and from there west to Patras, for a total journey time of about three hours. Take note, though, that parts of the Corinth–Patras stretch, always under construction, are two lanes used as four lanes by impatient drivers. This creates one of the most dangerous stretches of roadway in Greece (and that's saying quite a bit).
West of the isthmus, the countryside opens up into a low-lying coastal plain around the head of the gulf of Corinth. Modern Corinth, near the...