Athens Public Transportation
How to move around Athens!
The public transport system of the Athens metropolitan area consists of a metro system, tram, buses, and trolleybuses, while a part of the transport is covered by the Suburban Railway. In the rest of the prefecture of Attica, most of the transport is covered by interurban busses (KTEL), while the rest is served by the Suburban Railway.
Getting to Athens
Athens International Airport
Visitors can get to Athens in a multitude of ways. Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH), which is located about 20 km from Athens, is probably the easiest choice of entry for people coming to Athens from other countries. This airport handles about 16 million passengers a year. From the airport, visitors can get shuttles, taxis, and buses to any of their destinations in Greece.
Athens Airport is 40 minutes drive from the city. You can travel from the airport via taxi which start from Door 4 of the Arrivals Level and extend up to Door 1. Trains run every thirty minutes. There are also three bus lines that go into the city.
This is where all the flights from every country arrive. From there, it is easy to join the center of the city by bus (there is a special express bus 24 hours a day) or taxis.
By plane, boat, train, car
From Europe, Inter-rail passes or Eurail passes can easily help travelers visit many countries including Greece. The journey by train to Athens is indeed very scenic and enjoyable. Sometimes people get to Athens by ferry from Italy, France or any of the other European countries bordering Greece. Another alternative to get to Greece is on those gigantic ships that spend weeks cruising on the beautiful Mediterranean Sea visiting the Greek islands along with other European countries.
Once they arrive in Greece, travelers can use local taxis, rent cars, take the metro or try the bus routes to get to Athens or visit the islands. Taxis are the easiest form of transportation within the city of Athens. One can hail a taxi while standing anywhere in the city and even share their fare with others going in the same direction. Taxi drivers are friendly and sometimes speak English quite well. They know most of the areas in Athens and tipping is allowed but not expected unless they help you with luggage, etc.
In Athens, the Metro is an advantage to travelers trying to reach their destination from the Eleftheros Venizelos Airport to other places of interest. The metro also takes passengers to the main port of Piraeus from where most of the cruise ships and boats set sail to the amazing Greek isles such as Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu, Hydra, etc.
Serves the city of Athens, which has a population of more than three million people. It also offers access to the Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” in eastern Attica.
The metro network of Athens is one of the most contemporary in Europe and has been described as a monumental achievement, a source of life for the city, an underground modern day museum. In the first years of its operation, it has managed to enhance positive changes in the daily lives of the Athenians.
It offers fast and reliable mobility. It has significantly contributed to the decongestion of traffic and the reduction of air pollution. It has given a new lease of life to the neighbourhoods located near the metro stations, which have been notably upgraded.
It comprises of 2 underground lines and 23 stations, while it also connects with a train line [line 1, which is indicated as a green line on maps], with the tram line, and with the new suburban railway line, the “proastiakos.” Line 2 [indicated by a red line] connects the southern and western suburbs of the Attica area with central Athens. Line 3 [the blue line] connects the northern and eastern suburbs with the centre. It is considered that presently, only 72% of its constructional plan has been completed, although extensions to both metro lines, facilitating even more areas of the capital, are anticipated.
It is estimated that the metro is used daily by hundreds of thousands of Athenians and tourists, as it is undoubtedly the fastest and most convenient method of transport within the city. The timetables are very frequent as the trains pass through the stations every 3 minutes during peak hours and every 5-10 minutes, the remaining time. The ticket costs 0,80 cents [a little more expensive than the bus] while tickets issued are, valid for a 90 min duration, one day and monthly passes. Accordingly, students are entitled to reduced rates. The operating hours of the metro are from 07.00 am to 00.30 at night.
A Contemporary Underground Museum
The construction of an underground train network in a city such as Athens was not an easy task. With consideration to its wealthy history, it is not a wonder that the construction companies frequently discovered in their path, significant valuable, historical finds which had to be saved. Some of these finds, as well as artwork by contemporary Greek artists, can be admired in the metro stations today. In particular:
Athens Metro Map
The Athens Metro system consists of three lines:
Line 1 (green line) connects the port of Piraeus with Kifissia via the center of Athens.
Line 2 (red line) connects Peristeri to the southern suburbs through the center of Athens.
Line 3 (blue line) connects the western suburbs to the east, via the center of Athens, and then ends at DSA. “Eleftherios Venizelos”.
Line 4 is under study and when completed it will serve extremely densely populated areas of the city.
A Brief History Of The Athens Metro
The older line of the same system, known as the Electric Railway, or Line 1, runs from Kifisia to Piraeus with many transfer points to the two lines of the Metro. It runs daily from 5:30 am until 12:30 am.
Line 1 [H.S.A.P] operated for the first time in 1869, connecting Athens with Piraeus. Initially, steam-powered trains were used, but in 1904 it became electrified. In 1976, it became state property. Today it serves 24 stations.
Construction for the two metro lines began in 1996. Fifty percent of the funding for this work was provided by the Greek state and 50% by the European community. The first stations commenced operations in 2000. The project is not considered to be finished as there are plans for extensions for the two lines.
Dafni station: At the entrance of the station there is a small stratigraphical exhibit [sedimentary bed exhibit], a small scale archaeological excavation, as well as artwork by Dimitri Mytara -Dexileos- which comprises of four pieces in total.
Syngrou-Fix station: On the central forefront of the first level of the station, one encounters the artwork by Takis, “Fotina Siniala” [Light codes] and “Fotovoltaiki Energia,” [Photovoltaic energy] found on each side, which was specifically designed for this station.
Acropolis station: On the platform level, there are replicas of the east pediment and the north frieze of the Parthenon, photographs of Melina Mercouri, who apart from artist, governmental minister and international ambassador for the Greek culture, was also one of the first persons who requested the return of the Parthenon marbles to Greece. One may also find an enlarged watercolor painting by Wilhelm von Weiler from 1834-1836, depicting the army hospital, one of the first neoclassical buildings of Athens, located on the corner of Markriyianni and Dionysiou Aeropagitou streets. In addition, a showcase of archaeological exhibits and sediment bed displays are found on the second level of the station as well as a photograph of an underground drainage pipe and other archaeological finds.
Syntagma station: This is the most complex station of the metro network and the most impressive. The multi-leveled structure enhances the display of the exhibits, as with the “Clock of the Metro,’ created by Theodorou, a large archaeological dig, 42m long, and a roman mosaic floor on the first level. On the surface level of the station, the artwork by G. Zoggolopoulos, “Aithrio” [Atrium] is located.
Panepistimiou station: Here wall creations by G. Morali and archaeological exhibits from the excavation are on display.
Omonia square station: Omonia square station was transformed completely, and other than the photographs depicting historical Athens which are located on the surface level, on the first level the artwork “Oura” by N. Kessanli can be found displaying life-like images and instances of the crowd passing through the station, a characteristic scene of day to day life in Athens. On the interchange platform, is the artwork by Pavlou, dedicated to football and athletics, which also relates to urban life.
Larissis station: Here on the platform, in the direction for Omonia, the well-known “Anthropakia” [Little Men] by G. Gaitis can be found.
Metaxourgio station: On the first level of the station, the artwork “Mythos tis geitonias mou” by Aleko Fasianou is located.
Evangelismou station: Here are located display cases of archaeological exhibits, a small sediment bed exhibit on the first level, as well as the creation “Mott Street” by Chrisa, a composite of aluminum steel and synthetic material, illuminated by fluorescent light in the back of it. Outside the station, the artwork of Zoggoloupoulos, “Kolona” can be found.
Megaro Mousikis station: The station is decorated with photographs of the incomparable soprano, Maria Callas, and the composer D. Mitropoulou and the artwork “Boumboulina,” by G. Feidaki.
Andonakou, which distracts your attention from the platform to the surface level, lining the same path as the passengers, with multi-colored neon pipes amusingly designed on the ceiling.
Ethinikis Aminas: On the ticket office level of the station, one may find the artwork work by K. Tsokli, “ Ipogeio Parko” [underground park]. It portrays a row of trees which are mirrored in three directions, enhancing the sensation of depth within the station as if there were a small grove. On the platforms, one may admire the sculptures by Greek artists, no longer with us, such as “Stili,” by K. Loulopoulou, “Nouvelle generation IX,” by K. Koulentianou and the creation by D. Kalamara, “O Thniskon Polemistis.”
Doukissis Plakentias station: Here, the theme of industrial design is pre-dominant.
The most recent addition to Athens’ transportation has been the tram, which connects the central region of the city to Palaio Faliro through Nea Smyrni, and at Palaio Faliro forks along the coastal road in one direction toward Alimo, Elliniko (the old airport), and Glyfada, and in the other direction toward Faliriko Delta and Neo Faliro, terminating at the Peace and Friendship Stadium.
The Urban Rail Transport (STASY) operates a fleet of 35 vehicles, which serve 3 tram lines and 48 tram stops. The expansion would include 12 new stations and increase the overall length of the tram system by 5.4 km.
Alternatively, you can make many trips on the train system(OSE). You can get to the Athens train station from the metro by getting off at the Stathmos Larisis stop, which is on the Red Line.
The Suburban Railway (Proastiakos) covers the route from Athens to the International Airport (with seven station stops in between) as well as other routes, including Athens to Corinth, or the entire way from Corinth to the airport.
Long-distance buses (KTEL)
To visit other cities and towns in Greece from Athens, the best way to travel is by long-distance bus, known as KTEL. KTEL buses are privately owned bus networks based in every prefecture/island of Greece and often are the most affordable and convenient means of transport, though the quality of service can vary.
1 Platea Attikis – Tzitzifies – Moschato
2 Kypseli – Pangrati- Kaisarianni
4 Kypseli – Ag. Artemios
5 Pl. Papadiamanti – Koykaki- Tztifies
9 Kypseli – Zappion
11 Athina – Nea Smyrni – P. Phaliro
12 Zappion – Peristeri
15 El. Venizelou – Zappion
22 Petrelona – Peiraios – Omonia
City Sightseeing Bus
It drops you off just steps away from everything you want to see…
Another method of transportation is by taxi; Athens has the lowest taxi fares in all of Europe. Athens and Attica taxis have a characteristic yellow color and are equipped with meters, which display the charge; the driver is required to use the meter.
From 5:00 am until midnight, the driver charges regular fare; between midnight and 5:00 am, he doubles the fare.