Walking it the way to go in Athens
Athens is the capital of Greece and a city with a rich history. Therefore, for a visitor of Athens there is a big variety of things to do, no matter if he is staying for one night or more. The best way of getting around in Athens is on foot since the most archaeological sites and monuments are located in the city center and within small distance to walk from one to another. The best option is to start your walking tour from Syntagma Square and head towards Monastiraki, Plaka, and Anafiotika. However, if you want to explore deeper the city and get to other attractions, or visit off the beaten sites, bear in mind that the Athens Transportation Network, (consisting of the metro, suburban railway, buses, trolley-buses, and taxis) is relatively affordable and really convenient to use.
The Ath.ena Tickets
Lately, the Athens transportation system has been significantly improved by replacing old paper tickets with modern electronic tickets. Now, there are 3 new types of tickets:
- The Ath.ena Ticket
- The personalized Ath.ena Card
- The anonymous Ath.ena Card
As a traveler to Athens, the best choice would be the Ath.ena reloadable Ticket or the anonymous Ath.ena Card mainly used for short-time periods. If you are just visiting, a Multiple ATH.ENA Ticket suits you best. The Ath.ena Ticket can be bought at any Urban Rail Transport and the Road Transport ticket counters as well as Automatic Ticket Vending Machines, whereas the personalized card need to be bought at special metro stations such as Syntagma or Monastiraki Metro Station. These tickets and cards can be used by the users of all the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) except for taxis. To get all the necessary information about issuing the transportation tickets and cards, visit the official Athens Transport website.
Getting Around in Athens by Metro
The fact that Athens’ metro consists of only three lines make it really easy to get around and self navigate. The metro lines run from 05:30 to 00:30, and every Friday and Saturday night, lines 2 & 3 run until 02:30.
The first line or Green line (Electric Railway) connects the Piraeus port and the northern suburb, Kifissia, passing by the central stations of Monastiraki and Thissio. Hop on this metro line if you want to go to the Stadium of Peace and Friendship (SEF) with direction to Piraeus port or to the National Archaeological Museum and Olympic Athletic Center with direction to Kifissia.
The second Metro line or Red Line connects Anthoupoli and Elliniko, near the Sardonic Gulf, passing by the Syntagma station, the most central metro station that works also as a museum. Travelers can stop here and to visit the Hellenic Parliament and the Benaki Museum.
The third line or Blue line connects the western suburb, Agia Marina, and the Athens International airport passing by the city center. Hop on this metro line if you want to visit Athens Concert Hall, National Theatre, walk in Plaka or get to the Larissa Station (the main railway station in Athens).
Getting around in Athens by Suburban Railway
The Suburban Railway (Proastiakos) connects Attica and the wider area, including major cities such as Kiato and Chalkida, with the capital’s center, the port of Piraeus and the Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”. As it is shown on the map below there are currently three suburban railway routes:
- Airport – Athens – Piraeus & Piraeus – Athens – Airport
- Piraeus – Athens – Kiato & Kiato – Athens – Piraeus
- Athens – Halkida (Chalkis) – Athens
The trains from Athens International Airport to Piraeus port run 7 days a week every hour, from 06:09 to 22:09. There is also a last train to Athens Central Station at 22:50. The trains from Piraeus port run also 7 days a week, from 04:44 to 20:44.
Getting around on a Bus
The buses and the trolley-buses of Athens connect various areas of the city and its suburbs. Operating hours vary according to line/day/season. In general, they run from 05:00 to midnight. There are also five 24-hour lines, 4 airport lines, and 8 Express lines. You can see all the timetables, maps, and real-time information about any bus line here.
Getting around by Tram
The tram network system in Athens consists of three lines and serves to connect the city center with the coastline. You can use tram if you want to visit the city’s nearby beaches or the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The Line 1(red) “Syntagma – SEF” connects the Syntagma Square with Piraeus port. The Line 2 (green) “Syntagma – Voula” runs between Syntagma Square and the Voula district while the Line 3 (blue) “Voula – SEF” connects Piraeus port with Voula district running along the coastline. Trams run from 05:30 to 01:00. On weekends the last trams depart from Syntagma Square at 02:15. You can see all the timetables, routes and journey information here.
Getting around on a Taxi
Taxis (yellow in Athens) are apparently the most convenient, but at the same time, the most expensive way of transportation. However, taxis are cheaper in comparison with other European cities. They operate a 24-hour service and you can pick up one on the street or otherwise at taxi stands around main touristic spots such as Monastiraki and Syntagma. In any case, you can reserve one in advance. The minimum fare is €3.44 and after that, the route is charged with a meter. (€0.74/Km and double from midnight to 05:00).
Download the app “Beat”, it is the Greek “Uber”, as “Uber” is forbidden in Greece. “Beat” is a decent app that hand picks taxi drivers and guarantees the quality of the ride. Before you order a cab, it shows you the estimated time and rate for the ride, as well as the drivers rating. Unfortunately, “Beat” is operating only in Athens for the time being, not the rest of the Greece.