The best way to get around Athens is the Metro.

How To Get Around Athens: All You Need To Know

A quick and all-inclusive guide on how to get around Athens by an Athenian. The pros and cons of metro, taxis, and cars.

Last updated: 5 Feb 2024

Getting around Athens is easy if you choose your mode of transportation carefully.

The golden rule is to stick to the metro -it’s by far the most reliable- and try to walk as much as possible.

On the other hand, you should avoid buses and trolley buses because they are unreliable.

As for a car, you’ll only need it if you want to go to the beach for a swim or on an out-of-town trip.

Every Option on How to Get Around Athens:

Athens on Foot

How to get around Athens: pedestrians

In Athens, you can walk most parts of the historic center on foot, 24 hours a day.

It’s the best way to enjoy the sights, such as taking a walk to the famous Acropolis, the well-known Ancient Agora of Athens, and the picturesque Plaka.

So pack comfortable shoes and get ready for some epic walks.

On the contrary, if you plan to move away from the historic center, you should consider other transportation options.

You will understand that the city is huge as soon as you arrive.

Local’s tip for pedestrians: be careful and always check for passing cars when crossing a road, even if you are on a crosswalk. Drivers often forget that pedestrians have the right of way.

Athens by Public Transportation

Train at Piraeus metro station

The public transport network covers most of Athens.

Among the means of urban rail transport, the metro is considered the most reliable and is highly recommended.

It offers three lines: green, blue, and red, and for your convenience, it’s advisable to choose these over buses and trolleybuses.

Respectively, if you choose to stay outside the historic center, your Athens accommodation should be close to a metro station to save time.

The tram is also convenient, but its network is significantly smaller.

The ticket prices are affordable, and you can buy them from vending machines, which offer menus in multiple languages.

All tickets are valid for all means: metro, buses, trolley-buses, trams, and suburban railway.

Be careful, though, a special ticket is required for airport means.

Specifically, you have the following options:

90-minute single ticket1,20 euros
Daily ticket4,10 euros
5-day ticket8,20 euros
3-day tourist ticket20,00 euros. This option includes a 2-way trip from and to Athens Airport. You can find more information in the Athens International Airport guide.

You can use your tickets several times, adding money to them again instead of throwing them away.

There are also tickets-cards; however, they are addressed mainly to permanent residents, offering packages of one month or more.

Another key point to remember is that public transportation doesn’t operate 24 hours a day.

With a few exceptions, it usually stops at 24:00 in the night and starts again at 05:00-05:30 in the morning.

You can find the First & Last Train Departures from all stations on the official site of Urban Rail Transport of Athens’.

 

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1. What to pack for Athens all year long: the ultimate list
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3. Hidden gems in Athens: unique and unusual ideas

 

Athens by Taxi

Taxis in Athens are not very expensive, and most drivers are polite.

The taxi ride cost is calculated with the taximeter and is based on travel time, distance, and any related surcharges.

Moreover, note that taxis have different prices based on the time of day.

Therefore, expect the same ride to have an additional fare late at night, contrasting with the morning.

Specifically, the charges are the following:

Minimum fare4,00 euros
Base fare1,80 euros
Cost per km0,90 euros between 05:00 and 23:59 and 1,25 euros between 00:00 and 04:59.
Cost per minute0,30 euros. This charge only applies when the Taxi vehicle fully stops (e.g., traffic lights, STOP signs, etc.).

Furthermore, there are specific surcharges:

Airport surcharge4,00 euros
Luggage surcharge (heavier than 10kg)0,39 euros each
Harbor or bus stops surcharge1,07 euros

Note that the taximeter in the car will be operational throughout your journey and will calculate your fare in real time, minus any surcharges.

The driver will stop the taximeter at the end of the route and determine the final fare, including any applicable surcharges.

Athens Airport by Taxi

Yellow taxis lined up outside Gate 3 of the Athens International Airport, waiting for passengers.

On the contrary, note that the rate is flat if you take a taxi from Athens airport to the city center.

Specifically, from 05:00 to 23:59, the route costs 40 euros, and from 00:00 to 05:00, it costs 55 euros.

The prices include all base charges and surcharges plus tolls.

However, remember that finding a taxi during rush hour isn’t easy, even with an application like Uber.

So, for your convenience and safety, I recommend pre-booking your taxi with a service like Welcome Pickups.

Even though their flat rate is a few euros more expensive than random taxis, they are totally worth it.

They use only top-rated drivers (4,9/5 on TripAdvisor and Trustpilot), and they wait for you at the arranged meeting point, even if your arrival is delayed.

As for daily commuting in the city, I suggest you use an application such as the popular, among locals, FREE NOW or Uber Taxi – yes, Uber is available in Greece.

Nevertheless, you can only use the app for taxis as the law prohibits all its other vehicles.

Here, you can read the whole story about Uber in Athens.

Athens by Car

Get Around Athens: Car

If you are looking for detailed information about car rental options, don’t miss out on the Athens Airport Car Rental guide.

As already mentioned, you don’t need a car if you stay in the historic center and don’t intend to get away from it.

The traffic on the streets is what you would expect in any big city: moderate to heavy, depending on the day and time.

As for the ease of finding a place to park, it varies from one area to another.

In particular, it isn’t easy to find a spot in the historic center, and parking is often charged.

A car will be necessary in three cases: 1) If you stay far from the center. 2) If you want to visit a decent beach. 3) If you’re going on a day trip from Athens to another town, such as Delphi or Thermopylae.

Whichever of the three you have in mind, make sure you rent your car from a reputable company.

Moreover, make a reservation well in advance to save money, and don’t forget to request a well-maintained car.

You can search online for the best prices on Rentalcars.com.

Athens by Limousine

Get Around Athens: Limousine

If you prefer to move around in comfort and privacy, you will find many limousine services in the city.

However, unlike taxis, limousines do not have an application available.

My recommendation here is the “24-hour limousine service”.

I have used them multiple times and was more than satisfied every time. They provide solutions for corporate executives, celebrities, business and leisure travelers, artists, VIPs, diplomats, etc.

Additionally, they are registered with the Greek National Tourist Organization and a Greek Limousine Service Association member.

Athens by Electric Scooter

Until the onset of COVID-19, you could find Lime and Hive electric scooters available for rent everywhere.

Since then, though, the companies withdrew them, and until today they have not announced whether they will bring them back.

Both the pandemic and their systematic destruction played a significant role in their decision.

But since they were really popular, it is possible to see them on the streets again.

Athens by Bike

Before renting a bike in Athens, you should know that there are no bike lanes in the historic center and that much of the city is hilly.

In spring, however, and in autumn, the weather is usually excellent, and a bike ride is delightful.

Thus, if you want to be from the center to the sea, following the beautiful bike path from Gazi to Faliro is an excellent way to do it.

The route ends at Stavros Niarchos Park, which is worth visiting if you stay several days in the city.

Step-by-step Itineraries

Last but not least, if you want a detailed plan for your trip, don’t miss out on my step-by-step itineraries.

They include the best places in town and their pins on Google maps, so you don’t miss a thing.

But, most important, they are carefully and simply designed, depending on the number of days at your disposal; Athens in 1 day, Athens in 2 days, Athens in 3 days, Athens in 4 days, or hidden gems in Athens if you plan to stay even more days.

Make Your Trip Easier

Accommodation
I always book my accommodation with a reliable service like Booking.com. Besides their price guarantee, you can rest assured that you will have 24/7 support in the event of any problems with your hotel. Always make sure you read reviews from other guests before booking.

Airport Transfer
If you want to get to and from Athens Airport with peace of mind, I recommend pre-booking your taxi with Welcome Pickups. Their flat rate is a few euros more expensive than random taxis, but they are totally worth it. They use local English-speaking drivers, wait for you at the arranged meeting point, even if your arrival is delayed, and introduce you to the city along the way.

Flight
Don’t forget to use Skyscanner before booking your flights as it compares different airlines to provide the cheapest and fastest solutions. Moreover, you can save a lot of money if you are flexible with your dates.

Travel Insurance
Nobody wants to think about all the things that could go wrong on a trip. However, these things can happen, so do not miss taking out travel insurance: SafetyWing is the one I use, as its plans are affordable and can save you a lot of trouble.

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