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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. If you’re renting a car in Athens it’s best to pick it up from the Athens airport.
Most areas in Greece, including Athens and the airport neighborhood, have public transportation strikes throughout the year. These strikes affect all forms of transit, including, buses, trains, ferries, flights, and taxis. During strikes no buses, no ferries, and only a handful of trains and flights will depart on time (or at all); taxis tend to be the least affected mode of transport. Though strikes can occur any time, there is always a huge strike on May 1. Avoid booking any flights, ferries, or trains that day.
- Private Transfer – We recommend Welcome Pickups car service over taking a taxi as the easiest way to get from the airport to central Athens. It is similarly priced to a taxi, but their drivers will monitor your flight and meet you at the arrivals gate and are guaranteed to speak English. There’s also no waiting in the taxi queue or navigating the airport, and all rides are pre-booked and pre-paid. They have larger vehicles to accommodate groups of more than four, and child car seats are available by request.
- Metro – Metro Line 3 runs from the airport to the city center stations of Syntagma and Monastiraki, departing every 30 minutes from 5:30am until about midnight. The trip takes 45 minutes and costs €10 (24€ for groups of 3). The metro station is a 5 to 10-minute walk from baggage claim; 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. The train runs from 5:30am to 11:30pm (but times can change slightly with season). 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. (Metro timetable)
- 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 and 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-9:30am and 4pm-6pm All airport bus numbers start with an “X”. In the daytime, 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. (Airport-Downtown Athens Bus Time Table)
X95 – To Syntagma Square (€6) in 40 to 80 minutes. It also stops across from the Hilton. Every 15 to 30 minutes.
X96 – To Piraeus/Ferry Port (€6) in 45 to 90 minutes. Every 15 to 30 minutes.
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 €38 through the day and €60 from midnight to 5am. From the airport to Piraeus by taxi costs €40 through the day and €60 at night (but this is not a 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.) There is a limit of four passengers in all Greek taxis.
- Car Service: Welcome Pickups is similarly priced to a taxi, but their drivers will monitor your flight and meet you at the arrivals gate, and all rides are pre-booked and pre-paid. They have larger vehicles to accomodate groups of more than four, and child car-seats are available by request. Welcome Pickups is the easiest way to get from the Athens Airport to Piraeus or Rafina ferry ports.
- Bus to Piraeus Port: The X96 bus goes directly from Athens International Airport to Piraeus ferry port. It takes 45 to 90 minutes depending on the time of day and traffic. It costs €6. 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. (Airport-Piraeus Bus Timetable) Read more about getting from the Athens Airport to Piraeus on our Piraeus Ferry Port Guide.
- Train to Piraeus Port: The Suburban Railway train departs the airport once an hour for Piraeus from 6:09am until 10:09pm. The suburban train at the airport uses the same station as the metro train, a 10-15 minute walk from the arrival gate, but is located on the other side of the platform from the Metro. (Airport-Piraeus Train Timetable)
- Bus to Rafina Port: From Athens International Airport to Rafina ferry port takes about 30 minutes by bus and costs €4. 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. (Airport-Rafina Bus Timetable)
There are 2 ferry ports near Athens: Piraeus and Rafina. Piraeus is the easiest to access from downtown Athens, and has more daily ferries to the Greek Islands. We generally advise using Piraeus Port, especially for travelers who will be staying in central Athens.
- 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, Plaka, or Kolonaki you’ll need to switch trains at Monastiraki to get on the Green Line. 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. Read more about Piraeus Port, and Piraeus Port transportation on our Piraeus Ferry Port Guide.
- The easiest way from Downtown Athens to the Rafina ferry port is by taxi. It costs about €50 and takes about 45 minutes. There are daily buses that travel from Athens to Rafina (1 hour and 15 minutes, €5), but because of the variability in bus schedules, we do not advise relying on a bus to get to the Rafina ferry port. Using the Rafina port is a good choice if you’re coming from the airport and not planning to spend any time 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.
As mentioned previously, public transportation strikes occur every May 1 and at other random dates throughout the year. Avoid booking any flights, ferries, or trains that day. Taxis tend to be the least affected mode of transport, though even taxis strike occasionally.
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