Athens in detail

Flights & getting there

Athens receives flights from around Europe and the Middle East, as well as (less frequently) from North America. In summer trains run from North Macedonia and Bulgaria (via Thessaloniki), and ferry and bus connections to Italy. Flights, cars and tours can be booked online at lonelyplanet.com/bookings.

Air

Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport

Athens' airport, at Spata, 27km east of Athens, is a manageable single terminal with all the modern conveniences, including 24-hour luggage storage in the arrivals hall (from €3.50 for six hours), a children's playroom and even a small archaeological museum above the check-in hall for passing the time.

It's served by many major and budget airlines as well as high-season charters, including EasyJet.

Between Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air (which have merged but still run separate routes), there are flights to all islands with airports.

Aegean Airlines (https://en.aegeanair.com)

Astra Airlines Thessaloniki-based, but with a few flights from Athens to Kozani/Kastoria, Chios and Samos.

Olympic Air

Sky Express

Transport Options

To central Athens, the metro and suburban rail provide quick connections; the bus is slower but cheaper. For Piraeus, use the bus (direct, slow) or suburban rail (requires transfer; potentially faster).

Boat

Port of Piraeus

Most ferry, hydrofoil and high-speed catamaran services to the islands leave from the massive port at Piraeus, southwest of Athens. Purchase tickets online at Greek Ferries, over the phone or at booths on the quay next to each ferry. Travel agencies selling tickets also surround each port; there is no surcharge.

Transport Options

The main challenge at Piraeus is getting out of the enormous port area. Look for free shuttle buses that run the circuit within the port fence and stop across the road from the metro terminus and the stop for the airport bus. The easiest way to reach central Athens from Piraeus is metro.

Port of Rafina

Some services for Evia and the Cyclades arrive at/depart from the small port of Rafina, around 30km east of Athens and the airport. To reach Athens from Rafina, take a KTEL bus (€2.60, one hour, approx half-hourly 6am to 10.45pm), which arrives at the Mavromateon Terminal, north of Athens centre.

Bus

Athens has two main intercity bus stations, plus a small bay for buses bound for south and east Attica. Pick up timetables at the tourist office, or see the relevant KTEL operator's website; find a master list of KTEL companies at www.ktelbus.com. KTEL Attikis covers the Attica peninsula; KTEL Argolida serves Epidavros, with dedicated buses during the summer festival season.

Advance tickets for services from Kifissos Terminal A can be purchased at the ticket office near Omonia.

For international buses (from Bulgaria, Turkey etc), there is no single station; some come to Kifissos, while others stop between Plateia Karaïskaki and Plateia Omonias. Tourist Service (www.tourist-service.com) is one operator from Piraeus and Athens to Bulgaria.

Kifissos Terminal A

Kifissos Terminal A, about 4km northwest of Omonia, handles buses to/from the Peloponnese, the Ionian Islands and destinations in western Greece including Ioannina, Kastoria and Edessa. Buses to Thessaloniki depart from here, but also from the more central Mavromateon Terminal.

If you take a ferry-bus combination from Italy, via Patra or Igoumenitsa, you will arrive here.

Key Buses from Kifissos Terminal A

DestinationTime (hrs)Fare (€)Frequency
Alexandroupoli11775 daily
Corfu*9593 daily
Epidavros122 daily
Igoumenitsa483 daily
Ioannina437 daily
Ithaki*491 daily
Kalavryta3181 daily, 2 on Fri
Kastoria8533 daily
Kefallonia*729-433 daily
Lefkada374 daily (5 Jul-Aug)
Monemvasia6324 daily
Nafplio1412-14 daily
Olympia332 daily
Patra321half-hourly 5.30am-11pm
Thessaloniki4311 daily
Zakynthos*6383 daily

*quoted price includes ferry ticket

Transport Options

Local bus 051 To central Athens (Zinonos at Menandrou, near Omonia) every 20 minutes from 5am to midnight. Cost is €1.40.

Local express bus X93 To/from the airport, every 20 to 30 minutes, 24 hours, for €6. Allow 45 minutes.

Local bus 420 To/from Piraeus (junction of Akti Kondili and Thermopilon), every 20 minutes from 5am to 8pm, €1.40. The trip takes about 45 minutes.

Taxi To Syntagma day/night about €16/€28.

Liossion Terminal B

Liossion Terminal B, 3.5km north of Omonia, handles buses to central and northern Greece, such as Trikala (for Meteora), Delphi, Larissa, Thiva and Volos.

Key Buses from Liossion Terminal B

DestinationTime (hrs)Fare (€)Frequency
Agios Konstantinos17hourly 6.15am-9.30pm
Delphi164 daily, 5 on Fri
Halkida8half-hourly 6am-10.30pm
Karpenisi272 daily
Paralia Kymis232 daily (Jul-Aug)
Trikala (for transfer to Meteora)316 daily
Volos3010 daily

Transport Options

Local bus/metro To central Athens, from 5am to 11.40pm. Walk out the west end of the station to Leoforos Liossion, cross the road to bus stop 'Praktoria' and catch any southbound bus to Attiki metro stop (line 2, red line, runs to Syntagma). Coming from the centre, the bus stop on Liossion is 'Stathmos Iperastikon Leof'. Ticket is €1.40; buy from driver.

Local express bus X93 Runs to Kifissos Terminal A and the Athens airport, 24 hours a day. Cost is €6.

Taxi The only option to the centre at night. Approximately day/night €9/15.

Mavromateon Terminal

About 250m north of the National Archaeological Museum, Mavromateon Terminal is a few bus bays and stops with services around Attica. There is also some service to Thessaloniki.

For Cape Sounion, look for the stop just north of Leoforos Alexandras. Ticket booths and buses for Rafina, Lavrio and Marathon are just north, on Mavromateon.

Key Buses from Mavromateon Terminal

DestinationTime (hrs)Fare (€)Frequency
Cape Sounion (coastal road)26.90hourly
Lavrio port5.30half-hourly
Marathon4.10half-hourly
Rafina port12.60half-hourly
Thessaloniki4311 daily

Car & Motorcycle

Attiki Odos (Attiki Rd), Ethniki Odos (National Rd) and various ring roads facilitate getting in and out of Athens.

The airport has all major car hire companies, and the north end of Leoforos Syngrou, near the Temple of Olympian Zeus, is dotted with firms. Expect to pay €45 per day, less for three or more days.

Avis

Budget

Hertz

Kosmos

Motorent From €20 per day; must have motorcycle licence (and nerves of steel).

Nationwide roadside assistance is available through ELPA.

Train

Intercity (IC) trains to central and northern Greece depart from the central Larisis train station, about 1km northwest of Plateia Omonias.

For the Peloponnese, take the suburban rail to Kiato and change for a bus there. The Patra train line is chronically closed for repairs, so OSE buses, via Kiato, replace its services. Because of this, it's easier to just take a bus from Athens' Kifissos Bus Terminal A to your ultimate destination.

  • Domestic schedules/fares should be confirmed online or at OSE, where tickets can also be purchased.
  • For tips on international trains, consult www.seat61.com; all trains in and out of Greece go via Thessaloniki. International tickets must be purchased in person at the train station.
DestinationTime (hrs)Fare (€)Frequency
Alexandroupoli14381 daily (overnight, via Thessaloniki)
Alexandroupoli (IC)15631 daily (via Thessaloniki)
Corinth (suburban rail)19hourly 5.30am-11.30pm
Kalambaka (for Meteora)5181 daily direct, 5 via Paleofarsalos (€32)
Kiato (suburban rail)1hr 20min12hourly 5.30am-11.30pm
Thessaloniki6251 daily (overnight)
Thessaloniki (IC)455 daily
Volos (IC)5354 daily (via Larissa)