Accommodating an urban population of more than 4 million people the modern mass transit system of Athens serves the needs of residents and visitors.
City buses and electrical trolley-buses serve Athens and its suburbs. Most vehicles are modern and air-conditioned. Special schedules apply during summer months of July-September. Operating hours vary according to line/day/season, but generally they run between 5:00 a.m. and midnight. Extensive information for routes and timetables can be found here or by calling 185 from a Greek phone.
The Athens Metro has 3 lines. Line 1 (Green line) started operating in 1869, making it the second oldest underground system in the world after the London Underground. Lines 2 and 3 opened in 2000 and increased the Metro’s popularity due to its speed, cleanliness and security. Today’s Athens underground connects important landmarks of the Greek capital, such as the Acropolis, Athens Airport, port of Piraeus, Central Railway Station and Olympic Stadium, as well as connecting downtown Athens with the suburbs. Archeological exhibits found during Metro’s construction and modern works of art are exhibited in many stations. All metro stations are fully accessible to disabled persons with elevators in every level and platform and most of train cars are air-conditioned.
All trains stop at all stations all the time, except the Airport – Douk. Plakentias section (Line 3, Blue) where trains run every 30 minutes. Operating hours are 5:30 a.m. to 00:30 a.m., and every Friday and Saturday night, lines 2 & 3 run until 2:30 a.m. You can find information about Athens metro, including timetables, maps, parking and safety information on this website.
Starting operation on the eve of Athens Olympics, the Athens Tram connects the city center with the southern seaside. There are 3 lines:
During summer, many Athenians choose the tram to visit nearby beaches, seaside cafes and clubs. Operating hours are 5:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. while on Fridays and Saturdays the tram operates approximately from 5:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Information about the Athens Tram, including timetables, can be found here.
The Suburban Railway, or «Proastiakos», is part of the Greek railway system. It's main route is Athens Airport – Kiato, while other routes travel up to Ano Liosia. There is also a route that connects Ano Liosia with the Athens Central Station and Piraeus Station. Additionally, a route connects Acharnai Station (S.K.A.) with the Athens Central Station and Piraeus Station. Be aware that different fares apply: Piraeus to Acharnai Station (S.K.A.) and Magoula to Koropi stations use the normal ticket, while different fares are charged for more distant stations.
Current Suburban Railway routes and timetables:
More information can be found on the TRAINOSE website.
There are different types of tickets used:
Integrated tickets are valid for 90 minutes for transportation and transit on: city buses (excluding Airport and Saronida lines), trolley-buses, tram, metro (up to Koropi station), Suburban Railway (only for the Piraeus – Liosia and Magoula – Koropi sections).
Tickets with discount are available for children aged 7-12, seniors over the age of 65, students up to the age of 25 with a student card – university ID card.
Tickets can be purchased (cash only) from: Metro, Tram, Suburban Railway stations, yellow and blue booths (at bus lines starting points) and many newsstands/kiosks.
Daily and weekly tickets are valid for transportation and transit on: city buses (excluding the Airport and Saronida lines), trolley-buses, tram, metro (up to Koropi station), Suburban Railway (only for the Piraeus – Liosia and Magoula – Koropi sections).
Children under the age of 6 and disabled persons can travel free of charge. If you are disabled, confirm this with station personnel/drivers.
The penalty for not validating a ticket is €84 and you will often be asked to pay immediately so be sure to validate your ticket in the brightly colored machines before entering ticket control areas.
Monthly cards are also available.
For more info see Athens Transport tickets and cards.
If you see an Athenian standing on the road bellowing and waving their arms, chances are they are trying to get a taxi at rush hour. Despite the large number of yellow taxis careering around the streets, it can get difficult to catch one. To hail a taxi, stand on the pavement and shout your destination or use Taxibeat (available for Android & iOS).
If it is going your way the driver may stop even if there are already passengers inside. Tip: taxis aren't allowed to refuse a ride. The fare is not shared: each person is charged the fare on the meter (note where it is at when you get in). Make sure the meter is switched on when you get in. The flag fall is €1, with a €1 surcharge from ports, train and bus stations, and a €3.20 surcharge from the airport. After that, the day rate (tariff 1 on the meter) is €0.30 per kilometre. The night tariff (tariff 2 on the meter) increases to €0.60 per kilometre between midnight and 5am. Baggage is charged at a rate of €0.30 per item over 10kg. The minimum fare is €2.65, which covers most journeys in downtown Athens.
Booking a radio taxi costs €2.50 extra. Radio taxi numbers:
Get a receipt.
Athens is not really the city to go around with a bicycle, as it does not have many bicycle lanes and car drivers tend to drive quite aggressively. Nevertheless (or maybe because of this) riding a bicycle in Athens has become lately some sort of a political (counter-)action, especially by young people with an alternative lifestyle. In general, tourists not familiar with traffic in Athens are not advised to use a bicycle as their main way transport. Small rides are safe though in the long network of pedestrian streets around the Historical Centre of the city and can be quite enjoyable indeed.
Athens offers some of the best and worst urban walking in Europe. Several major streets have been recently pedestrianized, and a mostly car-free archeological walk which starts at Vasilisis Amalias Street, passes in front of the New Acropolis Museum, Acropolis, Herodion Theatre, Thiseio (Apostolou Pavlou Str), Ermou Street and ends at the popular area of Kerameikos (Gkazi) where numerous bars and clubs are located.
Pleasant walks can also be had in Plaka, especially its upper reaches, and in much of Kolonaki, and the National Garden can provide a welcome respite from the heat and noise of the city center.
On the other hand, Athens' traffic can make crossing the street in many areas a hair-raising proposition, and even walking down many major streets can be an unpleasant experience of noise and pollution. Cars and motorbikes parked blocking the sidewalks (illegal but everywhere) can also make a stroll difficult. Fortunately, much of the traffic-plagued area of the city can be avoided by judicious use of the new Metro, which goes most places a visitor would want to see or to walk around.