ATHENS — Overview

Athens is the capital and largest city in Greece. Athens is one of the world’s oldest cities with its history spanning around 3,400 years. Ancient Athens was the centre for the arts, education and philosophy and was the home of many famous people in history such as Plato and Aristotle. Athens is home to many ancient monuments which are visited by millions of tourists every year.

The city centre of Athens is divided into several districts with the most visited being the Plaka district which lies beneath the Acropolis and is one of Athen’s most scenic areas. You need to spend several days in this fascinating city to take in all the sights.

Getting There
The easiest way to arrive in Athens is by air. The Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport is 27 kilometres east of the city centre. The airport has excellent public transit connections to the city and the usual array of food stands, duty-free shops, and other airport services. There is a tourist information station in Arrivals for maps and public transport information. If you want a trolley for your bags you will need euro coins. To get from the airport into the city centre the easiest way is to take the Metro. It costs around 8€ but if you are travelling in a group of two or more then there are group tickets available. The airport Metro line is an extension of Line 3 (blue line) that takes you to the downtown Syntagma and Monastiraki stations. Don’t forget to validate your ticket before going down to the platform and boarding a train (there are validation machines at the top of the escalators in the ticket hall) or you risk being fined. If you are taking the Metro back to the airport make sure you board a train that has an aeroplane logo on the front of the train. There are also signs on the metro platform. The airport trains run every half hour. There is a 24-hour bus that runs from the airport as well. The bus routes are: X92 to Kifissia, X93 to Kifissos Coach Station, X94 to Ethniki Amyna metro station (subway Line 3), X95 to Syntagma Square (subway Lines 2 and 3), X96 to Piraeus (subway Line 1) and X97 to Dafni metro station (subway Line 2) for 3.20€. It takes 45 min to 1.5 hrs depending on traffic. A taxi will cost between 35 and 50€ depending on the time of day and you should make sure that the meter is switched on before setting off.

Traveller's Tip

It is a good idea to buy your metro ticket in advance if you are only going to be in Athens a short time so you won’t miss your train.
For more information about the Athens Metro visit the website: http://www.ametro.gr/page/default.asp?id=4&la=2

You can also arrive in Athens by train but the national railroad system is poor and there are really only two lines. One goes south to the Pelopponese and the other to Thessaloniki in the north. From there the line continues further to the north and all the way to the east, passing through many other cities of northern Greece and eventually reaching Istanbul. Be advised that there are two kinds of trains you can use. There is the normal, slow, type of train equipped with beds, and the Intercity which is more expensive and won’t save you much time but will cost you almost double.
For more information about the train services to and from Athens visit the website: http://www.trainose.gr/index.php/dromologia (In Greek only)

It is also possible to arrive in Athens by ferry. The port of Pireaus is the marine gateway to Athens and there are many ferries. From the ferry dock you will need to take the metro or bus into the city or you can catch a taxi.
For more information about ferries visit the following website: http://www.ferries.gr

Regional coaches also connect Athens with other cities in Greece.
For more information about buses visit the following website: http://www.hri.org/infoxenios/GNTO/ktel.html

Getting Around
There is a simple integrated ticket that costs 1.40€ that lets you travel on any means of transport such as metro, suburban trains, trams, trolleybuses and buses. This ticket allows you to have unlimited transfers anywhere within Athens (except the metro airport line east of Doukissis Plakentias and the airport buses) for 90 minutes. You can also get a 3€ ticket valid for 24 hours or a 10€ weekly ticket. Alternatively there is a 3 day (72 hours from validation) ‘Tourist Ticket’ priced at 15€ which allows unlimited use of buses, tram, metro (including the airport line). This can be bought from the ticket office or the automatic ticket machines at the airport metro station.