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If you travel by land you can really appreciate the landscape, as well as the many experiences that go along with train or bus travel. International train travel, in particular, has become much more feasible in recent years, with speedier trains and better connections. You can now travel from London to Athens by train and ferry in less than two days. By choosing to travel on the ground instead of the air, you'll also be reducing your carbon footprint.

Border Crossings

Make sure you have all of your visas sorted out before attempting to cross land borders into or out of Greece. Before travelling, also check the status of borders with the relevant embassies.

Overland from Western Europe

If you're keen to travel without flying and enjoy the independence of a road trip, you can reach Greece by heading overland to an Italian port and hopping on a ferry. A high-speed ferry from Venice to Patra takes around 26 hours. Patra to Athens is a 3½-hour drive.

Fancy a bit more convenience and speed than a bus or a car? Overland enthusiasts can reach Greece by rail through the Balkan peninsula, passing through Croatia, Serbia and North Macedonia. Or head to the eastern coast of Italy (there are connections throughout most of Europe) and then take a ferry to Greece. Not only will you be doing your bit for the earth, but you'll see some gorgeous scenery from your window.

A sample itinerary from London would see you catching the Eurostar to Paris and then an overnight sleeper train to Bologna in Italy. From there, a coastal train takes you to Bari, where there's an overnight boat to Patra in the Peloponnese. From Patra, it's a 4½-hour train journey to Athens. You'll be in Athens within two days of leaving London. See www.raileurope.com for routes and tickets.

Greece is part of the Eurail network (www.eurail.com). Eurail passes can be bought only by residents of non-European countries; they should be purchased before arriving in Europe, but can be bought in Europe if your passport proves that you've been there for less than six months. Greece is also part of the Inter-Rail Pass system (www.interrail.eu), available to those who have resided in Europe for six months or more, and the Rail Plus Balkan Flexipass (www.raileurope.com), which offers unlimited travel for five, 10 or 15 days within a month. See the websites for full details of passes and prices.


Buses between Greece and Albania are run by Albatrans.

Kakavia The main border crossing, 60km northwest of Ioannina

Krystallopigi 14km west of Kotas on the Florina–Kastoria road

Mertziani 17km west of Konitsa

Sagiada/Mavromati, 28km north of Igoumenitsa


As Bulgaria is part of the EU, crossings are usually quick and hassle-free.

Exohi A 448m-tunnel border crossing 50km north of Drama

Ormenio 41km from Serres in northeastern Thrace

Promahonas 109km northeast of Thessaloniki

North Macedonia

Doïrani 31km north of Kilkis

Evzoni 68km north of Thessaloniki

Niki 16km north of Florina


Kipi is more convenient if you're heading for İstanbul. The route through Kastanies goes via Soufli and Didymotiho in Greece, and Edirne (ancient Adrianoupolis) in Turkey.

Kastanies 139km northeast of Alexandroupoli

Kipi The main border, 43km east of Alexandroupoli


The railways organisation OSE runs daily trains from Thessaloniki to Sofia, Skopje and Belgrade (with connection services to European cities from Belgrade).