Athens: Local Travel Info

The Ancient Capital of Greece

Athens Local Travel Info

Internal Flights and Major International Airports in Athens
Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport is 27km east of Athens, at Spata, There are several flights between Athens and other major cities in Greece, including to and from the Greek islands.

Getting To and From the Airport in Athens
Travelling between Athens Airport and the city centre is easy. There is a regular metro train service between Monastiraki and the airport, with one-way tickets costing 6 Euros, as well as a number of cheaper bus services such as the X95, running between the airport and Syntagma. Taxis can be expensive and unfortunately some drivers may try to overcharge tourists. Taxis charge an airport surcharge, and there is a toll to pay for using the toll road as well.

Travel Costs in Athens
Athens has a reliable and inexpensive network of public transport, and tickets costing 1 Euro are valid for 90 minutes and can be used on buses, trams, trolleybuses and metro services, but not services to and from the airport. Daily and weekly tickets cost 3 Euros and 10 Euros respectively. Make sure that taxi drivers use their meters – some drivers may ‘forget’ if they pick up a foreign tourist. There is a 1 Euro surcharge for pick-ups at train and bus stations and ports. There is a 3.20 Euro surcharge from the airport, plus a small extra charge for luggage over 10 kg. Make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for before you get in.

Renting Cars in Athens

There are plenty of international and local car rental agencies in Athens if you want your own wheels. The often terrible traffic in the city, though, can make driving in Athens itself a frustrating experience and the availability of good public transport means this is unnecessary for most visitors. A rental car in Athens is very useful if you want to explore Greece in more depth. You must be at least 21 to hire a car, and rates vary from one agency to another. In high season, expect to pay around 40 Euros per day.

Drivers Licence Requirements in Athens
EU citizens can use their national driving licences in Athens; other nationals should have an international driving licence. All drivers must have at least third party insurance cover.

Road Rules in Athens
Athenians drive on the right, and official speed limits for cars are 50km/h in built up urban areas and 120km/h on motorways. By law, passengers must wear seatbelts, and children under the age of ten must not sit in the front seat. There are restrictions on car access to parts of central Athens, although these do not apply to rental cars. It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving.

Athens by Bus
Athens is cheap and easy to explore by bus and the major sight of the centre and the suburbs are well connected by reliable bus services. A daily ticket, covering all modes of public transport including buses, costs just 3 Euros. Bus routes and bus stops are clearly indicated on tourist maps. If you want to have a quick sightseeing tour of Athens by bus, catch bus no 400, which runs around all the main historic sites. A ticket, costing 4 Euros, is valid for 24 hours.

Athens by Taxi
Taxi drivers in Athens have a bad reputation for ripping off tourists, as well as locals. Be careful when getting in taxis outside Athens airport, at bus and train stations or the port of Piraeus. Some drivers at these locations may try to negotiate a fixed fare to your destination rather than using their meters, which is illegal, and you are sure to be overcharged if you agree to this. There will be other taxis around if a driver refuses to use his meter. Do not use taxis at the port exit at Piraeus but look for taxis parked on the streets nearby. Also, note any extra charges, such as the surcharge for airport pickups, toll road fees, luggage carriage costs and ‘tips’. Ask for a receipt and note the taxi registration number if there is a dispute, so you can report them to the tourist police.

Water Transport in Athens
Piraeus is the port of Athens, and ferries for all of the Greek islands leave from here.

Hitchhiking in Athens
Hitchhiking in Athens is uncommon, and not recommended as a way to try and get around the city. Hitchhiking is more popular in the Greek countryside, where public transport links are less frequent, and while Greece is a relatively safe country for hitchhiking, caution should always be exercised, especially if you are travelling alone.