Greece
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Travel and accommodation in Greece

Greece has 16 international airports, many of which have been modernised in recent years.  The main international airport is Eleftherios Venizelos, a state of the art building located 27 kilometers (17 miles) southeast of Athens and considered to be an important milestone in the improvement of air travel in Greece.  Eleftherios Venizelos is easily accessible by taxi, bus or metro and is a 20 minute drive by car to/from the city centre. 

Taking a taxi is the most convenient way to get from the airport to the centre of Athens and taxi drivers are required by law to use their meter.  Bus X95 operates from the airport to Syntagma (centre of town) every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day with a journey time of around one hour depending on the traffic.  Bus X94 operates between the airport and Metro Line 3 at Ethniki Amyna every 10 minutes between 7.30am and 11.30pm, with a journey time of 25 minutes.  Equally, the Metro operates an efficient airport service from Monastiraki with connections at Line 3 and trains depart every 30 minutes.

Road travel from mainland Europe and from the UK via Eurostar is possible, but the journey is lengthy. Consider the return journey – seeing the sights of Europe may be a joy on the way there but if you have had surgery, you may want to opt to fly home.

Travelling around the country

A total of 25 airports handle domestic flights in Greece mainly operated by Olympic Airlines and Aegean Airlines, with extra flights during the summer months and Greece is a relatively easy country to travel around.  Following the Olympic Games in Athens the public transport system was modernised and improved to offer residents and visitors faster and more reliable services.  The rail network in Greece is around 2,500 km long and is run by the Hellenic Railways Organisation.  Though it is of a good standard, the railway is limited to just two main lines with intercity trains to central and northern Greece and links with central Europe and Turkey on Intercity (express or regular) and regular trains (high-speed rail).

Athens’ port, Piraeus, is the busiest port in Greece and there are daily services to the islands from here.  Athens has two main intercity bus terminals; Terminal A is for Peloponnese, the Ionians and western Greece and Terminal B is for central and northern Greece, and Evia.  Local buses serve the smaller villages across Greece.  The Metro in Athens has three lines; Line 1 is the old Athens-Piraeus electric rail service known as ISAP, while Lines 2 and 3 are underground.  The Athens Tram links the centre of Athens (Syntagma Square) with the coastal suburbs in the south and the Suburban Railway (Proastiakos) accommodates travel to/from Athens and to Athens International Airport (Eleftherios Venizelos). 

Driving in Greece

Having a car at your disposal in mainland Greece is a great way to see the country, not least because the roads are now dramatically improved and getting in and out of Athens is not the trauma it used to be!  However, parking is still a bit challenging and Athens is notoriously congested but those brave enough to take to the roads can find the usual international car rental companies at the airport, or in major cities and tourist areas.  All the major car rental agencies like Hertz, Avis, Budget, Europcar, National, Thrifty are available in Athens but there are also a number of small family run rent-a-car companies.  Ensure that the agency is licensed with the Greek National Tourist Organisation. 

A number of big transportation projects have been implemented in and around Attica and the main highways are greatly improved.  TheAttiki Odos is a new cutting-edge motorway linking the town of Elefsina (in western Attica) to Athens International Airport, (Eleftherios Venizelos) circumventing Athens with 27 main and secondary interchanges for entrance and exit into/from the capital.  Toll fares depend on the vehicle’s height axes.  Driving is on the right and traffic signs are in Greek and English.

Greek taxis are very cheap by European standards and all licensed taxis are yellow in colour and run by meter.  The driver is obliged by law to activate the meter upon hire, but some taxi drivers try to get away with not using the meter, in which case it is advisable to select another taxi.  In case of a dispute make a note of the taxi’s number plates or call the police.  Be aware that taxis charge an airport surcharge and toll for the toll road between the city and the airport – these should not add up to more than a few Euro.

Accommodation is plentiful and good value. The currency in Greece is the Euro.

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