Transport in Athens
There are a variety of public and private services available for your transportation needs both inside and outside of Athens. Below is a short list of the most common, and easily accessed. A quick security note for all modes of transport, be careful of pickpockets, as with all big cities tourists can become targets in crowded places.
The Athens public transportation network offers you a wide variety of routes, combining the metro, railway, buses, trolleybuses and trams. With a single ticket (that costs one euro) you can travel around using any means of transport, for up to an hour and a half. You can buy tickets from all metro and train stations as well as from the kiosks on the streets. Alternatively, you can inquire about day or weekly passes that offer public transport at a discounted rate. Just remember to validate your ticket before boarding to avoid being fined.
Many of these services have entire sites dedicated to their companies, so we will often link to the appropriate sites after our description so that you can find all of the detailed information and timetables that you may need.
Have a great time in Athens, one of the most amazing cities in the world!
The Attiko Metro is the most important transport and environmental project in Greece. Featuring 34 stations and with connections to the Athens bus, tram and suburban railway systems, the Athens Metro is heavily used, serving approximately 700,000 passengers daily. In addition to the speed and reliability of its itineraries, the Athens Metro is renowned for the impressive archaeological exhibits at its central stations, as well as the modern artworks embellishing most stations. Its construction opened the way to the greatest archaeological excavation in Athens, which brought to light more than 50,000 archaeological finds from the Neolithic period to modern times.
The Metro runs from 05:30am to midnight. For more information please visit the Attiko Metro website or click here to see and download the map of Athens metro network.
Taxis are a more expensive means of transportation in Greece compared to the tram, bus and metro. But they are still extremely cheap in comparison to those of other European countries. Athens' official taxis are bright yellow, plentiful and safe. You can find a taxi almost everywhere; they can be ordered by phone for a small surcharge, or waved down in the street.
Ordering a radio taxi at your hotel or booking one in advance by appointment helps you make the most of your time in Athens, particularly on rainy days, when the public transport in the city tends to be paralysed. The extra charge of a few Euros is certainly worth it to make the most of your trip. Most hotels use one of the many radio taxi services. Fares are higher between midnight and 5:00am but have in mind that from February 1st 2011, a new fare for taxis for airport transport is set fixed so take care not to be overcharged.
A local tip is that you shouldn't be surprised or alarmed if the driver picks up an extra passenger along the way if they are heading in your direction. This is quite normal.
The high-tech Athenian streetcars run on tracks that begin at Syntagma Square and follow a coastal course to Glyfada and the Olympic venues in Faliron. Ecological and environment friendly, air-conditioned and comfortable the trams offer great views of the coast. Even though they may seem a bit slow, the trams are safe and reliable as they move on an exclusive railway without interfering with the regular automobile traffic. A lovely alternative for passengers and an enjoyable choice of transport through parks, city squares, pedestrian streets, archaeological sites and commercial areas.
The trams are in service daily from 05:00am to 01:00am and on Fridays and Saturdays from 05:30am to 02:30am. Do not forget to validate your ticket at the validation machines at the stops.
For more detailed information, routes and timetables and to purchase tickets please visit The Tram of Athens website.
The bus network is extensive and cheap so can get really crowded. Tickets can be bought from the street kiosks, the metro, tram and railway stations and the blue/yellow ticket offices but do not forget to validate them in the orange machine upon boarding.
You can enter a bus with the same ticket you used in metro (within 90 minutes of its validation). This is because since 2009 Athens public transport have an integrated ticket that costs 1,40 Euro (reduced fare for elders, minors and students is 0,70 Euros). A local tip is to keep the ticket until you step off the bus, since it's not uncommon to have a ticket insepectors on board. There is also the 24-hour ticket sold for three Euros with a validity of unlimited travelling by all OASA public transport (buses, trolleys, trams, metro and suburban railway). A sightseeing bus starts from and terminates in front of the National Archaeological Museum. Blue buses run daily from 5:00am to 12:30am and there are 24 bus lines that cover the main city areas.
Airport Express Bus Connections
EXPRESS Bus routes operated by ETHEL (Public Bus Company) connect Athens (city center & greater area) and Piraeus (port) directly with Athens International Airport (AIA) "Eleftherios Venizelos". Service is provided on a non-stop basis seven days a week including holidays (24/7 operation). All buses disembark passengers at the Departures Level (inbound trips to airport) and depart from the Arrivals Level (outbound trips from airport). BUS tickets are sold at the info/ticket-kiosk (located outside the Arrivals between Exits four and five), or onboard (ask operator) at no extra cost.
The network has been through a process of expansion and there are 25 routes covered by yellow trolleybus. The trolley buses are an ecological means of transport as they do not emit any pollutants in the city and are noiceless.
For more detailed information, routes, tickets and cards please visit the ILPAP website.
Suburban Railway 'Proastiakos'
TrainOSE operates suburban, national, regional and international routes. It daily covers over 500 routes covering a rail network of over 2,500km and trasports over 15 million passengers annually. It also serves Athens International Airport. The suburban rail runs daily from 6:00am until midnight.
For more detailed information, routes, web-tickets and schedules please visit the TrainOSE website.
Shipping Lines and Ports
The ports of Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrion connect Athens with the Greek islands and Greek ports. Flying dolphins, high-speed catamarans and traditional ferryboats offer frequent transportation to and from the numerous islands. Air-conditioned lounges, comfortable seats, TV screens, game rooms and snack bars make your trip a fun experience. There are also ferries running from Limassol in Cyprus (journey time approximately 44 hours) as well as from Italy from Trieste, Venice, Brindisi, Ancona and Bari to Patra (journey time from Patra to Athens by train or drive is three and a half to four hours).
Rent A Car
It's not really worth hiring a car while in Athens since the public transportation is very extensive and inexpensive and the taxis are everywhere. Athens is crowed and the parking so scarce that trust us you do not want to drive. However, it is a good idea to rent a car and explore the regions beyond Athens. Hiring a car is rather inexpensive and gives you flexibility and is the best way to see the countryside and visit some of the nearby attractions, like Nauplion or Delphi, at your own pace.
Major car rental agencies and small family run rent-a-car companies offer a wide selection of car types and prices. As parking in Athens is a nightmare, make sure to have your car delivered to you at the airport or at your hotel, on the day you plan to leave the city. Usually, you have to be 21 years old and hold a valid EU driving licence in order to rent a car.
A large number of limousine companies offer a wide range of special services ranging from excursions and chauffered tours in luxury cars to transportation on vehicles for disabled or handicapped passengers. Operating under the license of the Greek Ministry of Tourism, limousine service companies offer reliable, stress-free transportation services to individuals, families and large groups.
You will notice that especially in central Athens many people drive mopeds. Mopeds are certainly a speedy and fun way to zip around, especially on hot days. You should have a valid EU motorbike driving licence to rent one, although in many cases rental companies will lend you a moped without one. But take note that whilst the rental companies might not mind, your insurance policy will probably not cover you if you have an accident without a license. So take care!