Greece › Athens › Transportation
by Santorini Dave • Updated: January 26, 2023
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On This Page
- Athens Airport to Downtown Athens
- Downtown Athens to Ferry Port
- Athens Airport to Ferry Port
- Photos of Getting Around Athens
- Recommended Hotels
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 is the only airport near Athens and handles all international and domestic flights. If you’re renting a car in Athens it’s best to pick it up from the Athens airport.
The city center is the best area to stay in Athens for first-time visitors. It’s packed with good hotels in every price range and most of the top historical sites in Athens.
- 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 in front of Evangelismos Hospital, on the edge of Kolonaki. 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 €35 through the day and €49 from midnight to 5am. From the airport to Piraeus by taxi costs about €50 through the day and €70 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.
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.
How do I get from Athens Airport to the Ferry Port?
- 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)
How do I get from Downtown Athens to the Ferry Port?
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.
Photos of Getting Around Athens
The Sofitel Airport Hotel at the Athens Airport. The only hotel located at the Athens Airport.
A for Athens Hotel located in central Athens near the metro train to the ferry port and airport (same train different directions).
Theoxenia Hotel in Piraeus and a very short walk from the ferry port.
- The Best Hotels in Athens
- The Best Family Hotels in Athens
- The Best Cheap Hotels in Athens
- Athens Airport Hotels
- Where to Stay in Athens
- Best Restaurants in Athens
- Best Shopping in Athens
- Best Bars and Clubs in Athens
- The Best Time to Visit Athens
- The Best Tours & Things To Do in Athens
- Piraeus (Athens) Ferry Port Guide
- Athens Travel Guide
- Maps of Athens
We are coming to Athens for our 2nd honeymoon.
We want to use public transportation, but we have some questions…
For the 3-day tourist ticket w/round trip airport transport-do the round trip airport transfers have to be within the 3 days?
Is that round trip on the metro or X95 bus, or either?
We arrive to ATH on a Monday at 1:00…need to go to Syntagma.
We leave Thursday at 6:00 for the ATH airport to fly to Rhodes.
On Monday 14:00 we arrive back at the ATH airport and need to go to Syntagma.
On Tuesday 3:00 we need to go back to the ATH airport.
Do you have any suggestions for which tickets we should buy?
Yes, the airport transfer has to be within the 3-day window. When you start your trip in to Athens your 72 Athens will begin. You can take either the express airport bus or the metro.
Thank you Dave. It was easy to get to the city on the metro with your great guidance. However, I was pickpocketed and as were two other couples on the metro line and I am an experienced solo traveler. The tourist police reporting office had been filing reports from the metro all day of theft on the metro. 3 couples with me reporting at 10 pm! Nasty start to anyone’s vacation. So no cash. Please advise to put cell phones separately and split up cash immediately, put passport elsewhere. There are teams and pairs operating I am not looking forward to the metro to the port!
Thanks for sharing your experience. That sucks. I have ridden on the metro hundreds of times and not had an incident. But I know that there are pickpockets out there so riders should take precautions with their valuables. I think thieves like it when the train is busy so they can bump into you and distract you. The trains going to the port in the morning are not busy at all (always some riders but not where you’re bumping into each other, you can usually always get a seat), so maybe that might offer you some peace of mind.
I will be arriving in Athens on September 17th and want to take the ferry boat to Kefalonia Island. What bus will I have to take from the airport to get the the ferry port and then what ferry boat do I take to get to Kefalonia? Thank you.
There are no ferries from Athens (or Piraeus) to Kefalonia. You need to take a bus from the KTEL Peloponnisou (Kifissos) Station in Athens to Patras in the Peloponnese. Then get a ferry from there.
Hello Dave, Taking my family to Athens in July. There are 5 of us. We want to go to Cape Sounion to sit on beach for the day and see the temple. What would be the best way to go besides the bus. Any idea on the cost. Thanks you.
For Cape Sounion, you can take a public bus (leaves from near Syntagma Square), taxi, or guided tour. The bus is cheap, taxi expensive, and tour probably the best value.
I am looking for a way to get from Patras to Igoumenista (then a ferry from Igoumenista to Bari), and I found a bus schedule from Patras to Igoumenista, but I can’t find any information that it’s valid and running in August. Do you have any way of knowing if it’s valid and running in August?
I think there is a daily bus service between Patras and Igoumenitsa but can’t confirm 100%. There is an international ferry than goes from Patras to Bari (usually with stops in Igoumenitsa and Corfu). If so, you wouldn’t need the bus.
This website is amazing! Thank you so much for the info!
I’m looking at getting the Blue Star ferry which arrives in Piraeus at 23:30. Do you know if there is a bus which runs that late to take you into Athens?
The metro is a short walk from the Blue Star ferry and runs until 12:30am. Otherwise, yes there is a bus but it’s not as easy to figure out. Taxis are pretty cheap and there are plenty about to meet ferries.
Hi Dave.. A truly informative blog..We are flying in from Santorini on 16th August at 10am and have an international flight on 17th August at 2.30 pm. We will be traveling with an infant and want to relax for the day. Please suggest some economy hotel near the airport. Also will it be better to stay near the airport or go to downtown as we would have already done the downtown in the beginning of our trip.
The only hotel walking distance from the airport is the Sofitel. It is a 4 star hotel. Not super expensive but not cheap. The next two closest hotels are Peri’s and the Holiday Inn Athens’ Airport. Both are inexpensive but about a 10 minute taxi ride from the airport. With all that said, you’ll have more than 24 hours in Athens and it seems a shame to spend it at an airport hotel in the middle of nowhere. Much better to take the train downtown and enjoy the city – even if it’s just dinner beneath the Acropolis and a morning of walking around the Plaka.
Do you think it is safe to take the metro as a solo female from the airport to Monastiraki station at night, or would you recommend a taxi instead? Thank you so much! Jessica
The train itself is fine. The question is how close to the Monastiraki station is your hotel?, where is it?, and what time are you traveling? If you were staying at A for Athens (for example) you’d be fine.
I am planning a girls trip for me and my 2 adult daughters to Athens and Santorini for the first part of July this year. I read a lot of your Q&A’s and feel dumb asking this, but the flat rate taxi fare for 35 Euros seems cheap to go from the Airport to Central Athens compared to what it would cost us to take the public train pp. Is it per person or more for 3 adults plus luggage? Thanks for your help!!! Shirley
The flat rate from the Athens airport to Athens is now 38€ (it recently increased). There might be a few euro charge for bags but that includes up to 4 people so total charge should not be more than 45€ at the most.
Hello Dave! Your blog is a great travel tool.
My husband and I will stay in Athens one night. We will arrive from Santorini to the airport (around 10 am) and depart the next day from the airport too (around 10am). We never been in Athens and only have a few hrs. Any recommendations where to stay? and main places to visit? Our trip is in mid May.
I appreciate your comments.
Stay somewhere near Monastiraki, Plaka, or Syntagma – as it’s central and an easy walk from the top sights and the Acropolis.
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!
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).
This is absurdly helpful. Thank you so much!
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?
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.
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!
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.
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,
It does close, yes. If it’s closed you buy tickets on the bus – not a problem.
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.
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.
Thanks for the datailed info! I’m going on January 31. 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,
The tourist sites will be quiet in Athens in January and February.