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Athens airport to town transportation

Hi, y'all!

We will be in Athens for a few days in June and would like some advice on how to get from and to the airport. We were not planning to rent a car. It's my goal not to drive my month in Europe. We have a hotel near the Acropolis so your advice would be most appreciated.

Thanks! Jenny

Posted by
2416 posts

Very Simple. Is "we" 2 people? 3? 4?

TAXI -- Up to 4, taxis are a flat fee from Airport to Hotel in Central Athens -- 35€. This covers luggage, tolls etc. You can tip 1€ or so on top of that, but if driver asks more, just say no. At midnight, fare goes up... is around 55€. Time -- about 45 minutes outside of rush hour... about 1 hour in rush hours.

Because you don't specify which hotel, only "near acropolis," cannot give full advice for getting you direct to door by public transportation (specific is always best), but here are the 2 methods. And here is the Metro Map (click to enlarge) http://www.ametro.gr/files/images/AttikoMetro_Athens_Map_eng_LG.jpg

X95 Bus -- This goes 24/7 every 20 mins or so from right in front of Airport Building (there is just One building). During daytime, you buy ticket at a kiosk/counter by the door. At night, in the bus. Fare: €5; there's a Senior discount of I think 20%. Your luggage goes inside the bus, in a central "pen." You must "validate" (punch) your ticket in a pole-mounted box inside bus. From airport to termination point in Syntagma Square, no one can get ON bus, and only 2 hotel stops where anyone gets off ... so this bus is pretty much pickpocket-free. Takes same amt of time as taxi. When u reach Syntagma, it's end of line, so you don't have to rush getting off, and you disembark right onto sidewalk by the TOP of the square. This is my preference, because I'm usually exhausted from allnight flight, and can droop & drowse en route. My hotel is also near Acropolis, about a 10-15-minute walk, but it's "downhill" along Amalias Avenue, so I don't mind it, pulling my roll-along bag.

METRO -- From front of airport, follow crowd across street, up escalator to Metro Blue Line platform. Buy ticket at window (€8 for 1 person, 14 for 2, 20 for 3, half-price for seniors). Metro starts there, about every 30 mins, takes 45 minutes to Syntagma. Empty at beginning, is very crowded by time it reaches Omonia/Syntagma... and doors are open only briefly so you must be ready to get off promptly. ALSO NOTE -- This Metro, and the Green Line (to the seaport) are the ones targeted by really skilled pickpockets ... mainly because they're filled with US tourists, many of whom never take public transit at home and are gazing around, not alert. Do NOT carry money, credit cards, passports in pockets! Use moneybelt or (for women) your zipped daybag, crosswise, hand on zipper. Do NOT let your husband disobey this (most victims are men, who say "i'd know if anyone touched MY pocket!" and afterwards can only say "oops").

TO HOTEL -- If your hotel is on SOUTH Side of Acropolis, you could get off the Blue Line at Syntagma and follow the crowd to the RED LINE platform (see metro map), and take it ONE stop, to ACROPOLIS station.

GETTTING OUT of METRO STATION(s) -- At Syntagma there are escalators to the outside "plaza level", then a ramp where you can roll your bag up to sidewalk level. At Acropolis, there's an escalator up to ticket-window level, but you may have to "bump" your bag up steps to street level, i can't remember.

YOUR HOTEL: -- here's an Athens Map to locate your hotel (click &it gets huge; all street names in our alphabet): http://www.orangesmile.com/destinations/img/athens-map-big.jpg

Posted by
67 posts

Thank you, Janet. I was trying to be succinct in my question so I didn't wear out my welcome. It is two of us, non seniors. It sounds like we have a lot of options but for times sake, it sounds like a taxi might be worth the expense, since are arriving 10ish AM.

Posted by
2416 posts

Glad to help Jenny, and more details are NEVER considered "wearing out a welcome" ... learning specifics keeps us from having to guess, and spend more of our time, to develop multiple scenarios. More is Better.

Posted by
1178 posts

Jenny

You may well find that the metro is as quick or quicker than a cab. Traffic into the centre of Athens can be really bad.

Also, of course, may depend on how much luggage you have.

Alan

Posted by
2416 posts

And Alan, we cannot really judge which is best, because Jenny never did tell us where her hotel is situated vis-a-vis Syntagma Square ... "near the Acropolis" could be 10 blocks or more from Metro station ... she said she made a decision but if she doesn't say why, we can't know. With a month's visit in Europe, also she's probably not in a hurry ... and if she's able to plan a month's trip, the difference between Metro fare and taxi flat-fee is probably not a factor.

Posted by
1178 posts

Janet, good point. And of course you get to see a bit more in a taxi than on the metro. I'm probably a bit prejudiced at the moment as, on a recent trip, the metro was out 'due to technical difficulties', and I spent 90 minutes on the bus to Syntagma. In fairness it's one of the few times I've known the metro not to be working.

Jenny, here is the timetable for the metro in case you decide to use that

http://www.athensairporttaxi.com/en/busmetro_metro_en.htm

Have a good trip.

Alan

Posted by
746 posts

True, it depends where your hotel is located and how much convenience one wants or needs and obviously budget. We always take the Metro from the airport to our hotel very near Monistiraki Sq. For adults it's 8 euros, 4 euros for seniors. The Metro station is across the street from the airport. There is a "bit" of a walk and some stairs to deal with, but if you are in good shape it's really not that bad. Since the airport is the beginning of the run into Athens you will have no problem getting a great seat. If you want to get to know locals then the Metro is a good way to do so. Janet has given you all kinds of options and it's very informative.

Posted by
2765 posts

Last summer when we went to Greece, we used the public transportation option to get from the airport to downtown Athens. The factors in choosing public transportation were our ages (62/69 and healthy), only having one carry-on suitcase each plus a shoulder day bag, cost and the proximity of a stop to our hotel. We have gone to Europe 12 of the last 13 years, have never rented a car, and use public transportation when we are not flying. Admittedly, familiarity with public transportation help us make that decision. Happy travels.

Posted by
746 posts

Hi Charlie:
We too are also in our 60s and are in very good shape so we can handle walking and carrying backpacks and "dragging" one smallish suitcase each. While we are not cheap we are economical and look to save money when and where we can. Public transportation in Greece and other countries in Europe are far more practical and easier than in the US and a whole lot cheaper than other forms of transportation. While each person is different and have preferences for transfers and transportation in Greece/Europe we feel if there is reasonable public transportation and at very economical prices then that is the way to go. One good thing about public transportation is that you get up close and personal with the locals and it doesn't take much to strike up a conversation with them and get to know a little about them and the country you are visiting. Budget, convenience, stress and anxiety play a lot in traveling to another country, but once you get to experience it, you realize there is very little difference with the country/people you are meeting/seeing and find out there is very little that separates people around the world. And in the end we'd rather spend our money on more important things . . . Greek Food!

Posted by
91 posts

Janet or anyone else who may know this information, If opting to travel from airport to hotel by bus, do you know by any chance how far of a walk it is from the last bus stop to the Acropolis Select, which is the designated hotel on the RS Greece tour?

Thanks,
Terri

Posted by
2416 posts

Terri, y'all should get used to Google: I just did it for you and typed in " Acropolis Select Hotel Location,"and their website showed this Google Map -- https://www.google.com/maps/place/Acropolis+Select+Hotel/@37.965846,23.727319,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0xa512e055c186de06
Click on the "+" sign to enlarge it ... This shows a Red Marker for the Hotel ... just off a MAjor Avenue (Amalias Ave which becomes Syngrou) ... I would say about 1 mile So. of Syntagma Square final stop for X95 (See Syntagma up top, the square at the top of National Gardens. TEMPLE of OLYMPIAN ZEUS, is about as far as I'd advise walking with a rolling bag, and your Hotel is about 8 blocks farther.. If you take the bus for €5 each (= €10), then take a Taxi on Syntagma, it would probably be another €10 (because the taxi "drop" charge is always a certain minium). Then there's the hassle of flagging a taxi in Syntagma, which is a buzzing ROAR of traffic (Think L'Etole in Paris!). Why not just take the flat-fee €35 taxi from airport?? Tell us why, inquiring minds want to know!

Posted by
1454 posts

Terri,
You asked about the bus to Acropolis Select, and I can't help you there, but..we did take the metro to Acropolis Select before our RS Tour last May. If you are interested in looking at more specific directions from the metro, click "Rick Steves Tours" under the Tips & Trips Report section. My directions to the hotel and tour review is on p. 4, 8/19/14.

You are going to have a fabulous time.

Posted by
91 posts

Janet and Patty,
You ladies are the best! I appreciate all the detailed information. Definitely sounds like the taxi or maybe the metro would work out best. Janet, you asked me why not the taxi? Well, you made the bus sound so darn appealing when you responded to the OP, so I thought if it is that easy why not and save some money?

I guess what we ultimately decide, i.e., whether taxi or metro, will depend on what time we arrive in Athens. I'm still trying to find a painless flight from Spokane to Athens. After much investigation, I fear there is no such thing.

Thanks again,

Terri

Posted by
2 posts

One small point. Be very carefull inside the metro..dont let people push you or be really close to you. You wont even realize when your wallet will be in other people hands

Posted by
1178 posts

Terri

Using Janet's handy map I can see that the Acropolis Select is only 5 minutes walk from Syngrou metro station. You'd need to take the blue line (line 3) to Syntagma and then change for the red line (line 2) heading towards Aghios Dimitrios. Syngrou is the second stop.

The whole journey should take under an hour.

Alan

Posted by
2416 posts

Vaios -- that's not one small point, that's a HUUGE point -- and that's why I devoted almost an entire paragraph to pickpocket danger in my first answer... one must always be alert, and that's a main reason I'm not crazy about Metro directly upon arrival ... especially when the Original Poster will be coming from SPOKANE, and will have been en route for 18-19 hours (25 hours clock time), totally groggy & unaware of surroundings. After a rest, more refreshed, and not carrying all ones valuables, a Metro is v. useful.

Posted by
2794 posts

The advantage of taking the Metro into Central Athens from the airport is that you'll be the first group aboard and you'll be able to find a seat where you can stash your bags close, maybe underneath the seat, and since you'll be sitting no one can sidle up next to you and jostle you while your pocket is being picked.

Posted by
91 posts

I always appreciate when there are quite a few folks who chime in with different points to consider and different tidbits of information. Thanks Alan for the explicit Metro directions. Thanks Janet for pointing out that we will probably not be at the top of our game due to sheer exhaustion. And thanks Lee for pointing out that, if Metro is taken, since it's at the point of origination, we should have the advantage of being seated passengers.

No decision yet, but just wondering, could the Greek Metro be any worse than the NYC subway (always my point of reference as a transplanted New Yorker)? Of course, I never had to drag my suitcase onto the NYC subway...

Thanks again,
Terri

Posted by
2416 posts

No Terri, compared to NYC, not worse ... I can say, as a 30 yr vet of Manhattan and the #1 train & #6trains, certainly no more crowded. Here's the difference -- on that particular Metro (fromAirport) a huge percentage of people are tourists, laden down with Bags, AND Cash AND Credit Cards AND Plane tickets AND Passports -- a treasure-trove for the crookly crowd! When you add that many of these newbies, as noted, are from the Car-Crazed American suburbubble, and thus are Mass-Transit VIrgins ... and gazing around like Babes in the Woods (Oh, so this is a 'subway', My it's clean! The passengers are so nice! No persons of color!) ... so u can see they're ripe for the plucking, and attract a good number of Pickers.

By contrast, the #1 train is jam-full of New Yorkers just trying to get to work, NOT rich, NOT gullible, NOT carrying wads of cash in their back pockets; the ladies all wear their pocketbooks crosswise, hand on zip, even when the contents are only a Metrocard, lunch, some cosmetics and a wallet with $14 until payday. So... not as attractive for Light-Fingered Louies.

Posted by
9 posts

hello
i live in athens the last 15 years in summer and i live in the center so near to your hotel , so what would i do is :-) if you are up to 3 pepole it is better and cheaper to got the bus x95 and it run every 15 minutes from and to the airport to syndagma and the cost of,t is 5 euros and from there you are about 5 minutes walk to the acropolis metro witch your hotel is there as you say,t ? and don,t worry even you arraive during the night because the bus is 24 horas ,
marco

Posted by
9 posts

sorry before i forget to tell you , if you take a taxi then you should ask him before the cost of,t , because of course like every where on earth they are taxidriver witch they do not charge the same , so better you first ask and tell him that,s the charge is 35 euros ,
marco

Posted by
91 posts

Janet, Loved your comparison of the NYC subway to the Greek Metro. You painted quite a picture with your words! Quite an entertaining read! Marco, thank you for your input. I appreciated the helpful information. I have been able to get a pretty good idea of the walking distance using google maps and their walking distance calculator. Everyone, thanks again!

If anyone has any more tips about Greece (Patty, I have read your tour review), I'm all ears.
I've naturally looked at all the scrapbooks and read quite a few comments from folks on this travel forum. It will be our second RS trip, and, if it's as good as the Village Italy trip we took, I will be thrilled. Can't wait to see this beautiful country!
Terri

Posted by
2416 posts

Tks Terri; earned a living 40+ years wordsmithing.

Posted by
1178 posts

One other thought on this. There are departure boards in the airport showing the times of departure of the next metro and of the next buses to Syntagma, to Piraeus and to the bus stations. The boards are hung from the ceiling just to the right of where you exit customs. They cycle through Greek and English.

From the board you are about 10 minutes from the metro platform, factoring in buying a ticket, and 3 or 4 from the bus stops.

Alan

Posted by
7 posts

Hubby and I to arrive in Athens after 11 p.m. 5/15, a Friday night. Don't want to take a taxi.Traveling light Concerned we will miss the last train. Some sites say last is 11;30, others say later for weekends? So the other option is the bus if the metro is not running. We are booked for the hotel at 16 Herefondos Str, Plaka 10558. Details on where to get off and which direction to walk would be hugely appreciated! Thank you!

Posted by
2416 posts

Hi LInda --
it always helps if you give the actual NAME of the hotel ... I never recognize that address, but I had a hunch, and it's my beloved budget Gem, Hotel Phaedra. My Thoughts:
• At 11:15 you might possibly make the last train, but who knows? from that arrival I gather you're changing planes in Europe ... and those always tend to experience delay late in the day. Night taxi fares are based on when you would ARRIVE at destination, which would be after midnight, thus €50, so I agree don't taxi. But don't rush for train .. either
• take the Bus x95 at the curb. €5 each; at that time of night you'll probably pay ON the bus ... do NOT hand driver a 50E bill; a €10 or €20 bill is better. If you have read thru the earlier posts, you will hve seen my listing of the advantages for groggy people arriving after looong trip (from CA!) ... no need to stay alert or jump off bus hurriedly; its terminus is right at top corner of Syntagma Square, and you step directly from bus onto sidewalk.
• DIRECTIONS to HOTEL -- here is easy map http://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions-/athens-gr-ath-ath.htm#GR107 -- click to enlarge; easy to print.

• Find Syntagma Square on RH side; bus stop is at top corner, by AMALIAS Street
• Walk down Amalias (South).. it is slightly downhill. National Garden will be across street all the Way.
• When you see Hadrian's Arch across way, you are at correct Street -- Lyskitratus. Turn in there
• Walk 150 yards? to Ajia Ekaterini (St Katherine's) church, u are there. PHAEDRA is on the very Point of the A in "Ajia."
--- it's a lovely walk on a May night, the streets will be full of people ... if you feel like a drink after dumping your gear, go to Cafe Diogenes, right behind Monument of Lysikrates. Sit under its flowering trees and have a Mythos beer, then sleep well ....

Posted by
7 posts

I had posted a reply....where did it go? Thank you for such detailed instructions, Jenny. MUCH appreciated! You got the hotel right, too, and happy you think highly of it! Why are you so familiar with the area? Are there other islands we can ask you for help on? Thank you so much!!!

Posted by
6 posts

Having just returned I would also suggest the Bus. It is only 5 euro and taxi is almost 45. You can eat and drink a lot of good food and beverage with money saved. It is a very clean bus. No fuss, No muss.
That's what I would do.

Posted by
7 posts

JANET! Got your name wrong in my reply! Thank you so much for the very detailed instructions, and for being so thoughtful as to provide a map!

Posted by
7 posts

Leaving tomorrow! Anyone know if the buses are running after midnight now?

Posted by
2416 posts

If by "the busses" you mean the X95 express from Syntagma to Airport, as was explained before they run 24/7/365. DUrng day every 20 minutes, in late evening & early am, every 30 minutes. If you are in Central athens & want to know the exact times, they ar posted right at the Syntagma bus stop. IF you are at the airport, ditto.