Greece: Local Travel Info
The Cradle of Western Civilization
Internal Flights and Major International Airports
Greece has 16 international airports but only Athens, Thessaloniki, Corfu, Rhodes and Crete take scheduled flights. The Athens International Airport handles most of the international air traffic. Greece has a well-connected domestic network with flights going to most of the islands of Greece. Most international flights, however, land at the Athens International Airport. The main flight carriers within Greece are Olympic Airways, Aegean Airlines and Olympic Aviation. The Athens International Airport is located 27km north-east of the city.
To and From: Athens International Airport
The Athens International Airport is located 27km north-east of the city. The airport is easily accessible via the 6 lane motorway, ‘Attiki Odos’. Transport in the form and taxis, trains and buses are available from the airport. Taxis rates to and from the airport are not fixed. However, a fixed charge of €3.20 is mandatory and an additional charge of €0.30 per luggage case is levied. Toll payments are borne by the passenger. A taxi ride from the airport to the city centre would cost around €25 during the day and €40 at night.
A railway station is located adjacent to the airport terminal and is accessible by an overhead walkway. The station is served by the Athens Metro and the Proastiakos Suburban train service. The average cost of a metro ticket is €6 and it takes close to 40 minutes to reach the city centre.
The lower level of the Airport Terminal has 6 bus lanes providing services 24/7. The frequencies of buses in the mornings are every 30 minutes, but during afternoon and evening hours (rush hours), the frequency is 15 minutes. Tickets can be bought at the ticket counter located next to the train station, or onboard the buses. The average cost of a bus ticket is €3.20.
Travel Costs in Greece
Travel in Greece is comparatively cheaper than any other European country, and transport options are plentiful. Taxis are cheap and easily available and the most preferred mode of transport. With meters starting at €0.73, it goes up by €0.32 for every kilometer. The rates are controlled by the Greek state and you will pay the same prices in all other parts of the country. Taxis are available at nearly every street corner, or you can book a taxi from a local cab company for a slightly higher price.
Trains connect Athens with the other cities and towns and are a cheap mode of long distance travel but are slow, except for the express trains.
The Athens Metro is another preferred mode of transport with stations throughout the city. The Metro has 3 lines, the red, blue and green lines with particular stations falling on particular colored lines, to make directions easier for travelers. Be careful which direction and station you board and get off at. A daily metro ticket costs €3. Once tickets are purchased they need to be validated at machines located at the entrance of stations. Tickets that are not validated invite a fine of 60 times the amount of the ticket.
Buses and Trolleys are cheap, fast and frequent. Inter city buses have their number and destinations displayed on the front of the bus. Tickets can be purchased from ticket booths at main stops or corner kiosks, with the average cost of a ticket for a 90 minute ride being €1. Buses linking Athens to other Greek towns are also available from the two bus terminals in the city Terminal A and Terminal B.
Traveling by ferry from Athens to other Greek islands is popular. An overnight trip on a comfortable ferry alike a hotel on water, will cost you about €120.
Car Hire in Greece
To savor the picturesqueness of this beautiful country, many tourists opt to rent cars for driving within the city and from one town to the next. Hundreds of car rental companies offer cars at competitive rates. You can hire a car from the airport itself or ask for the car to be picked up from a location of your choice. Rates for a medium sized sedan for a day costs between €65 and €75 with a mileage of 500km. The rate includes local taxes, third party insurance, car theft protection and collision damage waiver.
Driver’s License Requirements in Greece
An international driver’s license with a minimum validity of a year from your arrival in the country is required. Drivers must be over 21 years of age.
Rules in Greece
Greece has a high accident rate owning to the very rocky terrain in most parts of the country. It is advisable for skilled drivers to take to the wheel only. Seat belts for front passengers are a must. Children under the age of 10 are not permitted to sit in the front seat. Urban areas have a speed limit of 30mph/50kmh and expressways have a limit of 75mph or 120kph. Parking requires a ticket in certain areas where booths are provided. Driving is on the right side of the road. Use of cell phones while driving is not permitted and violators can be fined. While driving make sure the car has all the valid documents-valid registration, insurance, driver’s license, etc.
Buses in Greece
Buses and Trolleys are cheap, fast and frequent. Inter city buses have their number and destinations displayed on the front of the bus. Tickets can be purchased from ticket booths at main stops or corner kiosks, with the average cost of a ticket for a 90 minute ride fixed at €1. Buses linking Athens to other Greek towns are also available from the two bus terminals in the city Terminal A located at Kiffissou Street and Terminal B at Liossion Street. Long distance buses traveling to other Greek towns and cities also depart from these terminals. Buses headed to Peloponnese, western Greece and the Ionian Islands depart from Terminal A. Buses to central and northern Greece departs from Terminal B.
Taxis in Greece
Taxis are cheap, easily available and a preferred mode of transport. Taxis in Greece are yellow in color with an illuminated ‘Taxi’ sign on top of the cab. City taxis have meters starting at €0.73; it goes up by €0.32 for every kilometer. The rates are controlled by the Greek state and you will pay the same prices in all other parts of the country. Rural taxis don’t run on meters. Make sure you fix the fare before you board the taxi. Taxis are available at nearly every street corner, or you can book a taxi from a local cab company for a slightly higher price. Sharing of taxis is common in Greece. Smaller towns do not subscribe to this practice though.
Cycling in Greece
The cities of Greece are not a cyclist’s paradise, but once you head to the outskirts of any city, cycling is a good idea. The city traffic is too difficult to cycle in and therefore not advisable. But the smaller towns and villages that lead to the outskirts are safe.
Water Transport in Greece
Greece offers a wide network of water transport, connecting the various islands to one other, as well as international ports like Italy, Albania and Turkey. Ferries ply throughout the day and at night, carrying passengers between islands. Types of ferries range from large, long distance car-carrying ferries, catamarans to high-speed hydrofoils. The purchase of tickets can be made from the shipping line office, travel agents or on the ferries. It is important to check times, routes and departure points, as schedules alter owing to seasonal weather changes, or cancellations. An overnight trip on a comfortable ferry alike a hotel on water, will cost you about €120.
Hitchhiking in Greece
Hitchhiking in Greece is fairly common. Crete is a popular hitchhiking destination, especially the village areas. Locals are slightly wary of offering lifts but fellow tourists often stop and offer people rides. Hitchhiking on the National Highway is difficult as hardly anyone stops, but it’s worth a try. Hitchhiking is relatively safe in Greece. Travel with a companion when you hitchhike. Women should always travel with a male companion and always know where you are going.