Getting Around Athens: Everything you need to know about Public Transport in Athens

 Getting Around Athens


Athens has a relatively good system of public transportation. It’s not Tokyo or Hong Kong but you’ll reach your destination one way or another.


Walking is my favorite way of getting around Athens! I’m also in favor of walking when I’m a tourist in a foreign city. This way you can have a better idea of the city you’re visiting: you get to see the architecture, how the local people are dressed, and generally get a feel for the city’s vibe. Athens, except for a few areas, is flat which makes walking there quite pleasant. Most points of interest and downtown Athens neighborhoods can be reached in less than a 30-minute walk from the city center.

Athens must-visit areas that you reach by foot:

Syntagma-Monastiraki: 10-minute walk
Monastiraki to Plaka: 10-minute walk
Monastiraki to Thision: 10-minute walk
Thision to Gazi (through the pedestrian street ): 10-minute walk
Acropolis Museum to Plaka: 15-minute walk
Syntagma to Exarcheia: 30-minute walk. Exarcheia is the only neighborhood that’s a bit further from the other must-visit downtown neighborhoods and points of interest.

Of course, it’s not advisable to visit all these areas on foot the same day. But keep in mind that all these walks are worth doing and it would be a pity to miss them in favor of, say, taking the metro for a stop or two.


Some of you might not be into walking. In this case you can use Athens’ metro to explore the city or visit Athens’ outskirts. The metro in Athens is not as extensive as in London or Paris but is still quite convenient for moving around the city. First, you can use the metro to go downtown – Syntagma Station – if you’re staying in a neighborhood that it’s a bit outside of the city center. The metro is also ideal in case there are strikes and the roads are either closed or stopped with heavy traffic. There are two metro lines (the blue and the red) and the overground train (the green line). The green line is now considered part of the metro service and is referred to as the third metro line, even though is not as fast and is not underground.

Must-Visit Areas and Points of Interests that you can visit by metro:

Red Line: Acropolis museum (Acropolis metro station), Exarcheia (Panepistimio metro station and 15-minute walk), Syntagma and Kolonaki (Syntagma metro station and 5 minute walk to Kolonaki), Koukaki (Syngrou Fix metro station), South coast of Athens (Elliniko metro station). Tip: Even though the red metro line will take you close to the South coast, there isn’t a stop near the beach. For this reason, I’d recommend taking the tram which has a stop close to the sea (in case you just want to have a walk by the seaside – If you want to go to the beach and swim read here)

Blue Line: Airport (Airport metro station), Monastiraki (Monastiraki metro station), Gazi and Metaxourgeio/Keramikos (Keramikos metro station), Syntagma and Kolonaki (Syntagma metro station).

Green Line (the overground train): Monastiraki (Monastiraki station), Thision (Thision station), Piraeus port (Piraeus station), Kifissia (Kifissia station), Mikrolimano port (Neo Faliro station).

There is no Greek website that proposes the best way to get from point A to point B with public transportation, but luckily there is Google! You should go to Google Maps, type in your location and destination and you’ll get info about which type of public transport you should use and how long it will take you to arrive at your destination.

Metro Timetable

The metro operates every day from 5.00 a.m. or 5.30 a.m. (depending on the line) until around 12.30 a.m. on weekdays and 2.30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. You should check the timetable here since the exact time of the last train depends on the metro station.

Metro Tickets and Pricing

You can buy metro tickets at the stations. Recently the system changed from single paper tickets to a rechargeable card (like London’s oyster cards).

A single ticket costs €1.4 (it’s the same for buses and tram) and the metro ticket to the Airport is €10. The single ticket is valid for 90 minutes and it can be used on all means of public transport (metro, buses, tram) that you need to reach your final destination.

Offers that might interest you:
3-day tourist ticket that includes airport transfers for €22.
5-day ticket without airport transfers for €9.
You can read more about the different offers and prices, here. 


There are plenty of buses you can use to get around Athens. You should download the OASA Telematics App (the Official Athens Public Transportation App) in order to see which is your closest bus stop and when the next bus arrives.

Download OASA Telematics:

Buses to the Airport

There are also express buses to the Airport. This is the cheapest way to go to the airport as the single ticket costs €6. The most popular bus is the X95 bus that departs from Syntagma.


There’s a tram that starts from Syntagma – downtown Athens – and goes to the Southern suburbs and the Southern coast. It doesn’t go very fast but it’s a pleasant ride once you glimpse the sea from your window. Via this tram, it’s possible to visit one of the beaches that lie on the Southern coast: Akti tou Iliou beach (in Alimos) or Glyfada and Voula beaches, for instance. To be honest, these beaches are not my favorites. I’m quite picky, though, as I cannot help but compare them to the paradise-like Greek-island beaches. I mention these beaches, though, because they are close to Athens and I have foreign friends that have found them satisfactory. If you want to visit a very nice beach while visiting Athens, I’d recommend one of the beaches that are a bit further from the city, like Legrena beach which is close to Sounio. These beaches can be reached with a Ktel bus – you can read more about it below.

Ktel Buses

Ktel buses have routes outside of downtown Athens, around Attica. You should take a Ktel bus if you want to go to Sounio or to the port of Rafina. Also these buses can take you to the more beautiful beaches that are farther from Athens, like Legrena, Eden or Mavro Lithari beaches which all lie on the south coast.
Alternatively, you could also visit some of the beaches that lie on the east coast, for example: Agios Andreas or Zoumperi beaches. Update: In July 2018 the east coast suffered a deadly fire in which over 90 people lost their lives. Such a dreadful event! If you’d like to visit one of the beaches that are on the east coast, be sure to avoid the areas that were completely destroyed by the fire, like Mati, for example.

Ktel Bus stops and timetable:

For Sounio, Legrena beach, Eden beach, Mavro Lithari beach:
Bus stops Athens to Sounio
Timetable Athens to Sounio

For the port of Rafina, Agios Andreas beach, Zoumperi beach:
Bus stops Athens to Rafina
Timetable Athens to Rafina

Prices of Ktel buses depend on your destination. For example, if you want to go to Sounio from downtown Athens, it’ll cost you €7 one way.

Find the Right Bus, Train or Combination with Google Maps!
There is no Greek website that proposes the best way to get from point A to point B with public transportation, but luckily there is Google! You should go to Google Maps, type in your location and destination and you’ll get info about which type of public transport you should use and how long it will take you to arrive at your destination.


Athens has some of the cheapest taxi fares in Europe. For a distance of 3.4 km in normal traffic, you’ll pay around €4.5 – €5 euros. If you’re a group of three people, this is nearly the cost of bus tickets (€1.40*3= €4.2). Of course, if you’re unfamiliar with the city, you might worry that the taxi driver will cheat you and this is a valid concern. The Taxi Beat app (recently renamed Beat) solves this problem. You can use this app to order a taxi, even if you are on a random street, and your trip will be monitored and saved to Google Maps.

So if you believe that the driver didn’t pick the optimum route, you can always complain to the company. You can also rate your driver after the ride, which actually makes taxi drivers much more careful and polite. Also, another very useful and important feature of this app is the option that allows you to enter your destination address and gives you a cost estimate. Taxis are quite cheap in Greece and if you are satisfied with your ride and the driver, it’s considered polite to not ask for your change if the ride is, say €7.60 and you pay with €8.00.

Download the Beat App here:

Tip: If you decide to take a random taxi, be careful at the taxi stands. There, you are supposed to always get on the first taxi in the line. At some stands in central Athens, however, there may be a taxi in front of the line that is not taking any passengers. I’ve been told that he is waiting for tourists so that he can overcharge them. If you see passengers getting into the second or third taxi in line while the first is still there, don’t get into it.