Uber in Athens: driver in car

Uber In Athens? What’s Really Going On!

Yes, there is Uber in Athens and Greece, but only for taxis, aka Uber Taxi. Three alternative services you can safely use.

Last updated: 7 Feb 2024

One of the most common questions asked by Athens, Greece, visitors is, “Is there Uber in Athens?”. And it makes perfect sense.

The app serves more than 10.000 cities worldwide and offers affordable transportation.

I also use it on many of my trips; I think it’s an excellent way to understand better the city I am visiting by starting a conversation with the local drivers.

However, the legal framework varies from country to country; consequently, the application’s services must be modified.

Greece, of course, is no exception to the rule. In 2018, after many protests from the taxicab businesses and legal disputes, Uber decided to suspend the operation of the UberX service.

In case you did not know, UberX is the company’s basic level of service provided by non-professional drivers.

Until then, UberX employed about 1.300 amateur drivers in Athens.

As one would expect, the conditions were not ideal for them since professional taxi drivers characterized Uber drivers as “pirates, who illegally stole their transport work”.

As a result, there were even violent reactions when striking taxi drivers met Uber drivers.

Does Athens have Uber?

Acropolis panoramic view

Following the court decision, the technology company decided to modify its operations in Greece.

Leaving the country was not an option. Thus it made only the Uber Taxi service available, which includes hiring a regular taxi with a professional driver.

Initially, Uber limited its operation to Athens; the Greek capital is a market too valuable to lose.

It has a significant population of 4.000.000 inhabitants, while it is also a top-rated tourist destination.

Then, in 2021, Uber began serving the island of Santorini, and the second-largest Greek city, Thessaloniki.

By 2023, Uber in Corfu and Uber in Mykonos were also added to the list.

Back to Athens, when choosing to use the Uber application, your ride will exclusively be the city’s classic yellow taxis.

These are vehicles with a legal taxi license and taximeter.

In addition, you’ll know the registration number and model of the car in advance, and you’ll also have the opportunity to see the driver’s score before choosing to confirm the call.

Lastly, you can pay with your card or PayPal, even if the driver does not have a POS machine.

Uber Alternatives in Athens

Driver and passengers boarding yellow taxis outside Gate 3 of the Athens International Airport.
Taxis outside Gate 3 of the Athens International Airport.

Uber, though, is not alone; the competition faced by the application in Athens is very high.

1) The most popular alternative is FREE NOW (mytaxi), especially among the locals, which operates a taxi and ride-hailing mobile app. In fact, such is its popularity that most taxi drivers use it. However, it adds a 1,2 euros fee to your ride compared to taking a taxi on the road.

2) At the same time, the Taxiplon application is becoming more popular lately, with which you can also call a taxi.

Be careful, nevertheless; finding a taxi with any application during rush hour isn’t easy. Drivers prefer to turn off their phones and pick up passengers from the road to avoid paying fees to the apps.

3) If you are not hurrying to get to your destination, you can look for a taxi on the street. However, e.g., if you have to catch your flight, I recommend using a pre-booked taxi to avoid the hassle.

The one I usually propose, especially for the airport and port transfers, is the local startup Welcome Pickups; it offers excellent service and has expanded rapidly to many cities abroad.

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

They use only top-rated drivers, they wait for you at the arranged meeting point, even if your arrival is delayed, and they have numerous positive reviews on TripAdvisor and Trustpilot.

Uber, though, is significantly better when it comes to daily commuting in the city. Without a doubt, it offers much better prices and greater availability.

How Much Will I Pay for a Taxi?

Taxies in Athens
Athenian taxies near Kolonaki Square.

The state of Greece is the one that sets the taxi fares in Athens, which also applies to Uber Taxi.

The final price is calculated based on travel time, distance, and any related surcharges. Moreover, 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

Remember that the car’s taximeter 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.

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

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.

Do I Need Uber in Athens?

A person's hand holding a smartphone with the Uber app on the screen.
For now, Uber Taxi is only available in Athens, Thessaloniki, Santorini, Corfu, and Mykonos. However, the company wants to expand its services all over Greece soon.

With the above in mind, you should know that you may not need a taxi if you plan to move only around the center of Athens.

As a rule, stick to the metro; it’s by far the most reliable. Moreover, walk as much as possible.

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.

On the other hand, if you intend to cover long distances, e.g., to go to the beach, you can always rent a car.

You can search online for the best prices on Rentalcars.com. Furthermore, you will find all the necessary information in this quick and all-inclusive guide on how to get around Athens.

But if you need a taxi, then use one of the above services.

It is definitely better than taking a cab on the road.


Where to Stay in Athens?

Where to Stay in Athens Greece: Plaka

I hope this article helped you understand what’s going on with Uber in Athens and Greece.

If you are also looking for accommodation, check the Where to Stay in Athens in 2024 guide!

It includes the 10 most reliable neighborhoods, the city’s best hotels, and the areas you should avoid.

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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