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Bus or Metro from Airport to Downtown Athens

I'll be traveling with my family from the Athens airport to downtown. There will be 6 of us with carry-on luggage (mostly). I understand that the bus is a little cheaper and about 15 minutes longer that the Metro but it has the advantage of avoiding a crowded Metro train. (A full bus is better, in my view, than a packed metro train with people constantly getting on and off; with us dancing around our luggage). Has anyone had the experience of using the Metro from the airport mid-morning on a week day? Is it likely to be packed with commuters?

The third option would be private car service which likely carries a cost that is 2X+ the cost of the other two options. Has anyone had first hand experience with these transportation options?

Thanks for your help.


Posted by
14123 posts

Many of us suggest Welcome Pickups.

Theprice is basically the same as a taxi but you pay online and get an English speaking driver. Door to door service.

The cost of the car isn't much more than paying the fare for six from the airport to the city.

Posted by
1112 posts

With 6 of you it may be more cost effective with some type of transfer service like Welcome Pickups, City Cab, Uber, etc.

Plus you get door-to-door service rather than getting off at Syntagma Square (Bus/Metro) or Monistiraki (Metro) then having to walk to your accommodations.

I've used the Metro many times at all hours of the day from/to the airport so am familiar with it and how to stay safe.

It's generally safe but you do have to be aware of pick pockets and bag snatchers, especially with so many of you.

I've taken the bus and it's safer, cheaper and OK but with 6 of you and all your bags it could be more challenging.

Posted by
5547 posts

When are you arriving? There are also commuter trains that are a good option to central Athens.

Posted by
287 posts

We will be arriving on a Friday at 10am

Posted by
1353 posts

TAXI with Welcom Pickups:
A taxi for 6 people + luggage with Welcome Pickups: €85

2 x Regular not pre-booked TAXIS: 2 x €40

€ 40 is the taxi official flat rate to Athens center. (4 passengers max)

Taxi will drops you off in front of your accommodation.
For Athens center The journey is a little faster than by public transport (10 to 15 minutes)

METRO (Line 3)

6 full-price metro tickets to the center of Athens: €54

The journey to Syntagma Square takes 38 minutes. There is a metro every 36 minutes.

You will probably need to walk (or take another metro or bus or taxi) once you arrive at the correct metro station.
It all depends on where your final destination is. I can advise you on this point if you specify where your final destination is.

The metro is a pickpockets playground, especially on the section you are going to take.
That being said, you just have to take some common sense precautions.
Pickpockets' favorite moments is mainly when you are about to get off the metro train. If someone tells you the door is stuck and asks you to go to another door, it's a pickpocket with a 99% chance. Arriving in front of the escalators when there are quite a few people is also a risky moment.


6 X95 express bus tickets to Syntagma Square: €33

Same remark as for the metro regarding the need to take another transport or walk once you arrive at Syntagma Square.

A bus every 15 to 20 minutes, journey time 40 to 50 minutes depending on traffic. No or almost no pickpockets on the bus.

There is a 3-Day Tourist Pass at €20 which includes 3 days of public transport, metro, bus, trolleybus, tram) plus a round trip Airport ↔ Athens by metro or Express bus.

The suburban train "Proastiakos" which leaves from the airport does not go to the Athens center where your destination will probably be.

Posted by
824 posts

Another one favouring Welcome Pick-ups especially if you are coming off an overnight flight from the States. I have used both them and the Metro in the past and would choose the car option every time. Coming off a long flight it is so relaxing to be met, and driven in a comfortable air conditioned car straight to the hotel. No hassles about coping with the Metro, buying tickets, coping with crowds, worrying about pick pockets and where to get off, keeping the group together, finding your hotel etc. Yes it does cost more but in my view the benefits outweigh the cost.

Posted by
3257 posts

You have at least 4 good alternatives to the Metro, described, reasons given, prices compared. Do NOT consider the Metro.

Posted by
287 posts


Wow. Thanks for the information!

The pre booked Taxi with welcome pickup (which I assume they meet us with a sign after leaving customs/ immigration) sounds a winner.

Is there a particular taxi company to use? Or, any of the various private shuttle/ limo service providers operate on the same basis? Are airport transfers fixed price regardless of who you use?

Thanks for your help.


Posted by
1353 posts

(I assume they meet us with a sign after leaving customs/immigration)

Yes, The driver will be waiting for you with your name on a sign in the public area after the baggage claim hall.

You can pre-book here:

No need to book weeks in advance, 2 or 3 days is enough.

In Greece, private services with drivers without a taxi license are prohibited

All taxi drivers, even those registered on an internet platform such as welcomepickups or Uber, are officially licensed drivers. The same ones you see in the streets with their yellow cars.
Maybe in your case, with 6 people, it will more likely be a mini-van which will not necessarily be yellow.

Pre-booking a taxi costs a little more.
As I wrote in my message
the Airport ↔ Athens Center flat rate is €40 from 5 a.m. to midnight and €55 outside these hours.

Honestly, as you have already been told, after hours of flights & the time difference, having a driver waiting for you, who speaks English and takes you in a comfortable car directly in front of your hotel, it is an excellent option that is worth a few Euros more

Posted by
287 posts

Thank You All (especially JoLui) for all your help! Great information!


Posted by
18 posts

I know you have already made your decision for Welcome Pickup, but if it wasn’t already mentioned, they ask for your flight information as well. If your flight is late, they are aware of it and will still be waiting for you. We are “scheduled” to arrive after 9pm. With all the unpredictable travel lately, this was a big feature for me.

Posted by
287 posts

Many thanks to all for your responses.

It is clear to me that private car service with welcome pickup is the way to go (especially with 6 people in our group)..

My thanks.