Getting Around Athens

by SantoriniDave – Updated November, 2015

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Q. How do I get into Athens from the airport?

Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport is 27km east of Downtown Athens and well connected to Athens by public transportation. This airport handles all international flights and domestic flights for Athens.

  • Metro – Metro Line 3 runs from the airport to the city center stations of Syntagma and Monastiraki. The trip takes 45 minutes and costs €8, €7 if in a group of 2 or more, and €14 return (good for up to 48 hours). The metro station is a 5 minute walk from baggage claim and elevators are available. There are both machines and ticket windows staffed with people. The metro trains and suburban trains run from the same platform and have different ticket windows – be sure to get metro tickets and get on the metro train if you’re going downtown or to the port (as most tourists will be). The train runs from 5:30am to 11:30pm (but times can change slightly with season). To get from the airport to the ferry port (Piraeus) by metro requires a line change at Monastiraki which makes the bus a better option. The airport ticket is good for all transit in the city for up to 90 minutes. Validate when first getting on the train, and then again if you switch to a different train or bus in the city. (There are big fines if you fail to validate so find the little box that stamps your ticket and insert the ticket into the opening.)
  • Bus – If you’re arriving or departing at night then the bus is a good alternative to the metro as it runs 24/7. It has several advantages over the metro. The bus is the cheapest way between the airport and downtown. It has much more space than the metro for baggage. The one drawback to the bus is that during the day it has to deal with Athens traffic which can slow to a standstill. The bus can get from the airport to downtown in 40 minutes in light traffic but can take up to 1.5 hours in heavy traffic. The heaviest traffic times are 7:30am to 9:30am and 4pm to 6pm All airport bus numbers start with an “X”. Through the day you buy your ticket before boarding and validate your ticket on board. Late at night you’ll need to purchase your ticket from the driver on the bus.
    X95 – To Syntagma Square (€5) in 40 to 80 minutes. Also stops across from the Hilton. Every 15 to 30 minutes. The X95 looks like this.
    X96 – To Piraeus/Ferry Port (€5) in 45 to 90 minutes. Every 15 to 30 minutes. The X96 looks like this.
    X93 – To Kifissos Bus Terminal A (for buses to Peloponnese, Thessaloniki, Corfu) in 60 minutes. Every 30 minutes.
  • Taxi – Taxi from the airport to central Athens is done on a flat fee and cost €35 through the day and €50 from midnight to 5am. From the airport to Piraeus by taxi costs €40 through the day and €60 at night (but this is not flat fee so watch the meter or pre-arrange the rate with your driver). Taxis are found at Exit 3 on the arrivals level.Taxi fares should include all tolls and airport fees. If you’re asked to pay anything else tell them you’ll call the tourist police and they can help sort it out. Just dial 171 to contact the tourist police operator who should be fluent in multiple languages. (This number will work anywhere in Greece.)

Q. How do I get from Downtown Athens to the Ferry Port?

There are 2 ferry ports near Athens: Piraeus and Rafina.

To get to Piraeus is a 30 minute metro ride from Syntagma or 20 minutes by taxi (assuming it’s not rush hour). Metro costs about €1 and taxi costs €15 to €20. For the metro, the Green Line goes to Piraeus and the station is right across the street from the port. If you’re staying near Syntagma, the Plaka, or Kolonaki you’ll need to switch trains at Monastiraki to get on the Green Line (map of Athens metro). The metro runs from 5am to midnight. Many ferries leave Piraeus between 7am and 8am so the metro is running in plenty of time to make these departures.

The easiest way from Downtown Athens to the Rafina ferry port is taxi. It costs about €50 and takes 45 minutes. There are no easy to catch buses from Athens to Rafina. You’ll have to use the KTEL bus station (close to the National Archaeological Museum). From Athens to Rafina takes 1 hour by bus and costs €5. Using the Rafina port is a good choice if you’re coming from the airport and not planning to spend anytime in Athens. But if you’re already in Athens then Piraeus is much easier to get to from central Athens and is the better choice for most travelers.

Q. How do I get from Athens Airport to the Ferry Port?

The X96 bus goes directly from Athens International Airport to Pireaus (the ferry port). It takes 45 to 90 minutes depending on time of day and traffic. It costs €5. Buses run every 15 to 30 minutes, 24 hours per day. Walk out the doors on the Arrivals floor and turn right. Buy tickets from the kiosk beside the buses before getting on board.

From Athens International Airport to Rafina takes about 30 minutes by bus and costs €3. The bus departs from just opposite the Sofitel Hotel and not from the marked bus area where the X93, X95, and X96 depart from. You do not buy tickets from the kiosk booth adjacent to the X buses but instead pay the €3 fare on the bus.

A taxi from the airport to Rafina port will cost €25 and take 20 to 30 minutes.

Photos of Getting Around Athens

Athens airport X95 bus to downtown.

Athens airport X95 bus to downtown Athens. This X93 (to Kifissos Bus Terminal)  and X96 (to Piraeus ferry port) are found in the same spot.

Athens airport bus to downtown and ferry port.

You walk out the Arrivals level doors and turn right. You’ll quickly see the airport buses. You buy tickets from the kiosk to the right. Tickets are not sold on the bus. The bus to the Rafina ferry port leaves from across the street and for that bus you do buy tickets onboard.

Athens bus to airport from Syntagma Square.

The X95 bus stops in Syntagma Square in central Athens. This is also where you catch the bus when going to the airport. Buy tickets from the grey kiosk to the right before boarding the bus.

Luggage storage Athens airport bus to downtown.

Luggage storage on the Athens airport bus to downtown. That orange box above the luggage is where you validate your ticket. You must do this as soon as you enter and failure to do so can result in a fine (60 times the fare of the ticket).

Athens airport train-bus timetable to downtown and ferry port.

Screens inside the airport show departing trains and buses from the airport.

Athens airport bus timetable.

Outside the airport near the buses the screens show departing buses. They leave every 15 to 30 minutes so just jump on the waiting bus and don’t worry too much about when it’s leaving.

Airport tickets to downtown on bus.

Airport tickets to downtown on bus. Adults cost €5, kids and seniors €2.50

Athens airport taxis to downtown and ferry port.

Taxis outside the Athens Airport. Located on the Arrivals level. Go out the doors and turn left. There’s a flat fare to downtown Athens: €35 through the day; €60 at night.

Athens airport ticket machines.

The metro train to downtown Athens is located on the Departures level (one floor above Arrivals). It’s a 3 minute walk from the terminal. You’ll see these ticket machines on the main floor as you approach the station. Don’t go downstairs to the train without buying a ticket.

Athens airport tickets to downtown.

There are a few different ticket options. A single one-way ticket is what most will want. Reduced Ticket is for seniors and kids. 2 and 3 group tickets are for 2 or 3 people traveling together. The Return Ticket  is good for one week.

Athens airport tickets to downtown Athens.

You can choose the number of tickets after you choose which kind of ticket.

Athens airport train station.

After you buy a ticket validate it in the yellow boxes and go downstairs to find your train.

Train to Downtown Athens from Airport

It will be very easy to tell which train you want. Ag. Marina is the last stop on trains heading downtown so that’s the route you want. The downtown stops of Syntagma and Monastiraki are about half-way along the entire route.

Train platform to Athens airport.

This is the monastiraki station that many people will get off at. When coming back you want the train heading in the direction of Plakentias and the Airport. You can get on either train. If you get on the Plakentias train you’ll get off at the last stop (Plakentias) and wait for the next train going to the airport.

Train to Athens airport.

This is the upper level of Monastiraki station. Obviously when you’re heading from downtown Athens to the airport you’ll want to follow the signs for Airport.

Athens airport rental cars.

The car rental companies at the airport have desks just outside customs on the Arrivals level.

Monastiraki metro station

This is Monastiraki station from the outside. You can see the Acropolis in the background. There’s lots of traffic here until late into the evening so arriving at midnight even is perfectly fine.

Restaurants near Monastiraki Square in Central Athens (near the Acropolis).

This is Monastiraki Square late in the evening. The metro station is just to the left.

Athens early morning near Metro station.

This is downtown Athens early in the morning (roughly halfway between Syntagma and Monastiraki Square). Many ferries leave the ferry port of Piraeus early in the morning so you’ll be up catching the train at about 6am when the streets are empty.

Metro station luggage storage.

There is luggage storage at both Syntagma and Monastiraki stations but they are often broken and not accepting bags so I wouldn’t count on them.

Metro station ticket machine.

This is a ticket machine at a metro station in downtown Athens. If you’re going to the Piraeus ferry port you’ll want the 1.20 € ticket. If you’re going to the airport then click Airport Tickets.

Piraeus ferry port early morning.

A view of the Piraeus ferry port from the back of the Blue Star ferry heading to Santorini. (The Blue Star to Mykonos departs just to the left.) You can see the Piraeus metro station across the street by the elevated walkway (no longer in use). The bus stop for the Airport Bus X96 is just visible on the road (directly behind the yellow van).

Bus stop in Piraeus for bus from airport.

The  X96 bus stop in Piraeus for the Airport Bus. The Blue Star ferry to Mykonos is visible to the left. The metro station is across the street to the right.

Blue Star ferry to Santorini and Mykonos.

Boarding a Blue Star ferry. Sometimes there’s a special walkway for pedestrians and sometimes you enter on the same ramp as the vehicles.

Recommended Hotels

Athens airport Hotel.
The Sofitel Airport Hotel at the Athens Airport.

A for Athens. Hotel near metro train to ferry port.
A for Athens. Hotel near metro train to ferry port.

Theoxenia Hotel in Piraeus and close to the ferry port.
Theoxenia Hotel in Piraeaus and a very short walk from the ferry port.

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23 Questions and Comments

  1. Airport Bus to Downtown Athens at Night

    Hi Dave,

    Your site is the most informative I’ve come across!

    Question: My husband and I will be arriving from Frankfurt at 9:30 pm and we will be staying in Monastraki. How safe are the buses at that time? Is it better to get off at the Syntagma Square and catch a taxi or transfer to another type of transportation. If we get a taxi, are they readily available? Thank you!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      Yes, bus is safe and fairly busy at night. Certainly still busy at 10pm. Syntagma Square is the last stop for the airport bus and if your bags aren’t too heavy you could walk from there to Monastiraki. That said, the metro/train from the airport will take you directly to the Monastiraki stop so that’s easier (though it does cost more than the bus). Taxis are easy to get at the airport and there’s a flat rate (38€) to downtown Athens’ hotels (and 54€ between midnight and 5am).

  2. From Cruise Port to Central Athens

    Is it easy to get to the metro station in Piraeus from where the ships dock? We will be getting off of the Royal Princess June 11 and want to go to the Athens Hilton. We will have luggage as well. What do you suggest?
    Julia Leaman

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      There will be taxis waiting as you get off on the Cruise Ship. Most of the ferries are close to the metro station but the cruise ships are a little farther away and a good distance if you have luggage. I would get a taxi and take it all the way to the Hilton. It will cost more than the metro but nothing unreasonable and it will make your life much easier. If you took the metro you would have to change trains at Monastiraki and then get off at Evagelismos station. The Hilton is a short walk from there.

  3. Athens at Beginning or End of Trip

    Hey Dave!
    Must say an amazing site to guide travellers like us! Before being to Athens I feel like I know the basic steps. All thanks to you.

    I and my wife are travelling to Athens this October. I have planned arrival on 8th October. 2 days in Athens, 10-12th Mykonos, and then until 15th Santorini and back to Athens for my flight back home on 15th.

    I am a bit confused as to whether I should start from Athens or travel to Mykonos from Athens airport and then return back from Santorini for a couple of days in Athens. My trip is just taking shape so any advise would be of great help!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      It’s alway better to leave Athens until the end so that you have some built in “buffer days” should your flight or ferry back to Athens be canceled.

  4. Ticket Kiosk Closed

    Concerning the bus X95, the kiosk doesn’t work late in the night in the airport, right? Does this apply to the center of the city, too?

    Thanks a lot,
    Thiago Lima

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      It does close, yes. If it’s closed you buy tickets on the bus – not a problem.

      1. Bus from Athens to Delphi and Cape Sounio

        Thanks a lot Dave!

        I’m going to Delphi and Cape Sounion as well. Are there kiosks to purchase the tickets to/from those destinations or do I buy them with the bus driver? Do you have any tips to these destinations?
        Thanks once more.
        Thiago Lima

        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

          The bus from Athens to Delphi takes 2.5 hours and costs €15.10 (one way). You buy tickets at the Liossion Bus Terminal (Terminal B). Buses leaves Athens for Delphi at 7:30, 10:30, 15:00, 17:30, and 20:00 (not Saturday). Buses leave Delphi for Athens at 5:30 (not Saturday and Sunday), 7:40 (only Saturday and Sunday), 8:20 (not Saturday and Sunday), 11:00, 16:00, and 18:50. You can get from the airport to the bus station by taking X93. It’s best not to do Delphi as a day trip as it will be very busy by the time you get there even if you take the 7:30am bus. It’s better to go the night before, stay the night in Delphi, and then get up early to do your sightseeing. You should be able to see the highlights by the time the crowds arrive.

          The bus from Athens to Sounio takes about 90 minutes and costs €6.30 (one way). You buy tickets on the bus. The bus will stop on Fillenion St just off Syntagma.

          1. Athens Busy in Winter

            Thanks for the datailed info! I’m going on January 31, 2016. Even so, do you think the sites will be crownded? I heard that on winter season, the places tend to be less crowded then on summer.

            Thanks for your attention Dave,
            Thiago Lima

          2. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

            The tourist sites will be quiet in Athens in January and February.

  5. Tickets for X96 Bus to Airport

    I will be staying in the Coral hotel, in Palaio Faliro next month. I understand I need the X96 bus to get me there, and I have to buy my ticket at the airport kiosk. However, where do I buy my ticket on the return journey. Can I buy it from the driver? I will be boarding the bus near my hotel, Flisvos, I think is the name of the stop.

    Thanks Maurice

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      For the airport buses you can buy tickets on the bus from the driver (€5).

  6. Visiting Santorini Before A Cruise

    Hi ! We are scheduled for a European cruise for 10 days next year thru Carnival Cruise. Our port will be in Piraeus. We live in Texas and planning to stay in Greece for 4 days prior to the cruise. Is it feasible just to go directly to Santorini and stay for 2 days there and then go to Piraeus port on our 3rd day using the Ferry ? Thank you.


  7. Christopher Hack

    What a brilliant website. So clear and simple to understand. And so informative, with all the info you need. I wish more were like this. Thank you.

  8. Becky Arber

    Hi Dave, just wanted to say I found this SO helpful! We’re heading to Greece a week today to do some island hopping and this has made it so much easier!
    Thank you!

  9. Taxis and Tour from Athens Airport

    Hi Dave!

    Quick question about taxis from the aiport to Piraeus, with time for tours in between: Does it make sense to book a taxi & driver in advance or should we wing it and get one there in the airport?


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      Not sure exactly what you’re looking for, but if it’s primarily getting from point A to B to C then a taxi at the airport. If you’re looking for a tour guide of Athens book it in advance.

  10. Only 2 Ferries from Santorini to Milos/One Day in Athens

    We will be in Santorini in July until the 3rd, going to Milos. Only seeing 2 ferries leaving Santorini, are there other times or options you would recommend?
    Thanks, your site is great! Wish you did one for Kea and
    Milos too.

    P.s. What is your recommendation if we had a day in Athens. Going into from kea early and flying out to Santorini in the afternoon. We would like to hit the Parthenon and some quick sites before heading to the airport. Is there a tour or car service you would recommend?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      Yes, there are 2 ferries on July 3rd from Santorini to Milos – one in the morning, one in the evening.

      From the airport get a taxi directly to the Acropolis Museum, if you’re there early enough you’ll avoid the lines (which start about 10:30am). After the museum visit the sites around the base of the Acropolis: Hadrian’s Arch, Hadrian’s Library, the Agoras. Have lunch in the Plaka or Monastiraki neighborhoods. Visit the Acropolis as late as your flight allows – the Acropolis is the least busy in the late afternoon. Then taxi directly back to the airport.

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