ATHENS - GETTING AROUND
One of the best ways to get around Athens is on foot, it is a great way to get a vibe of the city and take in the sights, especially since many of the main attractions are located within walking distance (or a short metro ride of one another). Plus, downtown is home to an array of restaurants, shops and hotels.By Metro
The metro (www.stasy.gr) is without a doubt the quickest and easiest way to get around Athens. Although it can be challenging to read the Metro signs that are sometimes may appear only in Greek. It is quite straightforward as there are only three lines, making it easier to navigate compared to some other major cities. The metro connects the center of Athens with the coastal neighborhoods Glyfada, in the east, and Piraeus (near Athens Port), in the west. Three station hubs along its routes connect passengers with Metro Lines 2 and 3 and one station connects to the Electric Railway, or Metro Line 1.
Syntagma station in the center of Athens doubles as a museum, housing the antiquities and other archaeological artifacts discovered during the construction of the metro. Make sure to take some time to stop and check out the artful displays before or after your commute!
Metro Line 1 (Electric Railway), also known as the Green line, has been operating since 1869. Line 1 serves to connect the port of Piraeus and northern suburb of Kifissia in less than an hour. It`s worth nothing that this line is a bit different than the other two, as it is much older, slower and not as clean since lines 2 and 3 opened in 2000 with increased cleanliness and security.
Metro Line 2 is (the red line) runs from Anthoupoli to the southern suburb of Elliniko near the Sardonic Gulf. Line 3 (the blue line) runs from the western suburb of Agia Marina, past the center of Athens and suburb of Halandri, and then ascends up to ground level towards the airport. The trip from the Airport to Syntagma(center of Athens) lasts 38 minutes.
The three Metro lines run every 4 to 30 minutes from 5 or 5:30 am to 12:20, 1 or 2:20 am daily and make multiple stops in and around Athens. To travel on the metro, tickets need to b purchased from any metro or tram station ticket office or an Automatic Ticket Issuing Machine before being stamped by ticket validation machines upon entry. Each ticket is subject to inspection while in metro stations, so visitors will need to hold onto tickets until completing their journeys. Flat Fare Tickets start at € 1.40 for 90 minutes of rides on any metro, tram and bus (excluding airport services). Daily and five-day passes are available as well, or travelers can purchase a three-day Tourist ticket for € 22; these tickets include 72 hours of unlimited rides downtown, plus round-trip metro or bus airport transfers.
By Bus or Trolley
Multiple downtown bus routes, plus four EXPRESS airport routes are available in Athens. Standard Flat Fare Tickets for rides within 90 minutes are €1.40 per person, while EXPRESS buses require separate tickets that cost about €6 each. Tickets are sold in blue and yellow booths next to central bus stations (and by EXPRESS bus drivers) and must be validated on the bus.
Though cost-effective, the Athens Urban Transport Organization S.A. (OASA)`s bus network can be confusing, unreliable and uncomfortable at times. Bus stops are often hidden away on side streets and lack route numbers on their main signs, so finding the right departure point can be a bit tricky. What`s more, service schedules vary by route, and buses are commonly delayed and overcrowded. To decrease your chances of getting lost, consult the bus maps and schedules on OASA`s planning website: hwww.telematics.oasa.gr. Or, avoid these transit headaches altogether by walking or riding the metro.
The trolleys are similar to a bus but run on electricity and the signs for the stops are usually yellow. They are affordable and a 90 minute ticket from the Metro can be used to connect with another bus, trolley or tram. Lastly, the buses sometimes go on stricke for several hours at a time as well.
The suburban railway (proastiakos) connects the Athens airport with central Athens, and also to the National Railway network. If you’re looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of a big city like Athens, the suburban railway offers access to major archaeological sites and tourist destinations to other cities in Greece.
Please note that there may be frequent strikes during summer 2018, and also that different fares apply. The standard 90-minute ticket for the Athens region covers all Proastiakos journeys from Piraeus to Magoula and Koropi stations, while different fares are charged for more distant stations. For more information visit: www.trainose.gr/en/passenger-activity/suburban-railway/athens-suburban-railway.
The environmentally friendly tram connects Syntagma Square with the beach areas along the coast, including Glyfada neighborhood in the east and Piraeus in the west. There are 3 lines operating exclusively along the scenic sea-front promenade.
-Line 1 `Syntagma – SEF` - linking downtown Athens to the Peace and Friendship Stadium
-Line 2 `Syntagma - Voula` - runs between the city center and southern suburb of Voula
-Line 3 `Voula – SEF` - running along the coastal zone
The tram is an affordable option for unlimited one-way travel with up to 5 stopovers in 90 minutes. All operate every 15 to 40 minutes starting at 5:30 am, with service ending at 12:30 am, Monday through Friday and at 2:30 am on weekends. This mode of transportation is not as convenient for sightseeing as the city`s metro but is worth considering if you plan on visiting the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the area`s beaches. Basic Flat Fare Tickets cost €1.40 ($1.50) per person for 90 minutes of unlimited rides, and multi-day tickets can be purchased for €4.50 to €22 each. You can buy passes at tram station ticket offices and from automatic ticket machines. Remember to validate your ticket on the tram platform before boarding.
If you prefer taxis, you might want to reserve one in advance – there are numerous around the city but sometimes difficult to catch. When you get in, make sure the meter is set to `1` (the daytime rate); meters should only be set to `2` (the nighttime rate) when traveling between midnight and 5 am or at any time outside the city limits. Taxi fees start at about €3.16 per ride, with an additional €0.77 per mile. Extra charges apply for baggage and pick-ups from ports, bus terminals and rail stations. One-way airport transfers, which include all surcharges, cost €38 euros during the day and €54 at night. You can also get around Athens by using the Uber ride-sharing service. Note: Taxi drivers often pick up other people en route, but fares are not split. You (and your fellow passengers) are each responsible for paying the total fare minus any charges associated with drop-off detours for other riders.By Car
It is best to avoid driving while in Athens. Downtown`s winding, congested streets make driving here a bit difficult for visitors, parking is hard to come by (especially in the city center) and street signs throughout Greece list cities in Greek and distances in kilometers. Additionally, petrol prices and daily fees for car hires are expensive. Expect to pay €21 to €30 per day to rent a car, plus approximately €1.50 for every liter of gas. If you`re set on having your own set of wheels, you can hire a vehicle from one of five car rental companies at the airport. You`ll need to present an international driving permit, which you can buy from AAA and DMV.org, when picking up your vehicle.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.