Are you planning a trip to Athens soon? Here’s a list for navigating your way into the Greek capital. Although Athens may seem a little chaotic on first acquaintance, but it’s not that big and means of transportation & communication are not that complicated.
1How should I get to Athens from the airport?
Athens International Airport, Eleftherios Venizelos is located about 33km (21 miles) and approximately 40 minutes by car from the city centre. The easiest way to get into the centre during the day is by the metro which takes you straight to the centre through line 3 (red line); the main central interchange is Syntagma. Airport metro trains reach Athens also around 40 mins and leave every 30 mins (roughly between 6am and midnight). A standard, one-way ticket costs €10.
Moreover, you may use express busses for €6. X95 goes straight to Syntagma, X96 connects the airport to Piraeus Port if you want to go an island, and X93 takes you to Kifissia KTEL bus terminal from where you can reach another parts of the Greek mainland.
Alternatively, if you want comfort with your luggage, there’s a flat taxi rate to the city centre of €38 during the day and €55 between midnight and 5am. Taxis are available right at the exit.
2How’s the situation of public transport?
There are 3 metro lines – red, blue and green. The compartments are mostly shiny and new, with big breezy stations and A/C. Signs and announcements also include English translations. One standard 90-minute journey costs you €1,40. Trams also operate in three lines, starting from Syntagma to reach coastal regions & suburban beaches in a ring system. You can also catch a bus, but the stops are in Greek and routes may vary, so it can be confusing.
3Where can I catch a ferry?
After spending time in Athens, you may want to explore Greek islands. Famous harbour suburb Piraeus hosts the most active ferry port in Greece. Indeed, it is the biggest, closest, and by far the easiest to get to by public transport. All you have to do is travel with metro until the end of the green line.
Lavrio and Rafina suburbs also have ports, smaller in scale. To avoid crowds, you may select a ferry to Mykonos from Rafina as well, but keep the timing in mind since Rafina is not on the metro line (daytime, busses take of near Victoria metro station & directly from airport) and busses don’t go there early in the morning. In that case, you must get a taxi.
4Where are the internal bus terminals?
Pedion Areos. Close to Victoria metro.
Terminal A – Kifisos. Nearest metro station is Eleonas.
Terminal B – Loission. Near to Kato Patissia & St. Agios Nikolaos stations.
These three are the regional KTEL terminals from where you can reach all other parts of the Greek mainland, such as Thessaloniki, Patras, and Ioannina. Athens also has a Railway Station that is located at Larissa, and can be reached by the red metro line. However, railway is not that common. You may reach Corinth or Thessaloniki by train.
5How about daily tips?
The easiest store to find a local SIM is the large Cosmote (local operator company) on Syntagma Square. Of course, you may also try the Post Office, any Germanos or Public store.
In Greece, don’t flush toilet paper down the toilet. The pipe gages are just too narrow.
Tap water is drinkable throughout.
Always on alert against pickpocket – They are not that many.
Omonia and Victoria Square are not recommended for your stay as a newbie. The community is disorderly.
Many small restaurants and local stores do not accept credit cards. Always carry cash or be sure to reach ATMs.