Transport

Travel Documents

Many visitors to Greece will not need to obtain a visa for visits to Greece for up to 90 days. This includes citizens of all other European Union countries, Canada, Australia, Japan, and the United States. U.S. citizens may enter Greece without a visa for stays of up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.

The Schengen Agreement

Greece is a party to the Schengen Agreement. The Schengen Agreement covers 26 European countries, where internal border checks have, for the most part, been abolished for short-term tourism, a business trip, or transit to a non-Schengen destination. Nationals of any world country, when in the Schengen Area, can cross the internal borders of the Schengen countries, without a passport check. However, you must have a passport that is valid for six months from the date of entry and carry it with you.

Individual countries may implement border restrictions without notice due to security issues.

The European countries that are not part of the Schengen zone are:

  • Albania
  • Andora
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Georgia
  • Ireland
  • Kosovo
  • Macedonia
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Romani
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • The United Kingdom
  • Vatican City
  • These countries will have individual visa requirements.

Visa Requirements

This current chart of visa requirements from the Greece Ministry of Foreign Affairs lists whether a visa is needed and, if so, what additional requirements have been imposed.

Security arrangements change rapidly, and so visa requirements can also change. Verify your needs directly with the local Greek consular office in your nation of origin. Greece maintains 83 embassies as well as 178 consulates and six other representative offices. If you’re flying directly to Greece, your airline may also be able to tell you if a visa is required but the local embassy will have the most authority. The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides additional guidance on visas and restrictions for entering the country including for Greek citizens traveling abroad.

 

More Information on Visiting Greece

The 90-day limit applies to both tourism and business travelers. However, if you travel on an official or diplomatic U.S. passport, you will need a visa issued by the U.S. State Department. Similar restrictions exist for other official and diplomatic passport holders from other nations.

More importantly, your U.S. or Canadian passport must be valid for a minimum of three months beyond the end of your projected stay. This is true for many countries, not just Greece, and it is a good idea to never travel on a passport with less than six months time left on it.

Technically, Greek officials may ask to see travel tickets for your return home or for additional destinations beyond Greece. In practice, this rarely occurs and usually will only be asked for if there is a suspicion that the visitor intends to attempt to work in Greece illegally. It is more likely to occur prior to a one-way flight or other transportation into Greece rather than once you’ve arrived on Greek soil.

Airport Transport

Athens International Airport (also known as Eleftherios Venizelos Airport) is the main gateway to the country.

The easiest way to get into the centre during the day is by the metro which takes you straight to the centre on line 3 (red line); the main central interchange is Syntagma.

Airport metro trains take approx 40 mins and leave every 30 mins (roughly between 6am and midnight, depending on the day/direction, here’s the timetable in English). Ticket price is €10 one way.

Airport Express Bus

The metro is quick, clean and convenient, however the airport buses are a few euros cheaper than the metro at €6 one way.

    • X95 travels between the airport and Syntagma Square.
    • X96 connects the airport with the port of Piraeus.
    • X93 connects the airport with the KTEL long distance bus terminal at Kifissos.

If you’re a first-timer in Athens and arriving at night then we recommend getting a taxi. There’s a flat rate to the city centre of €38 during the day and €54 between midnight and 5am.

Taxis

You will find taxis waiting at Athens Airport just outside the arrivals hall. The taxis are there 24/7. There are many taxis available so you will not have to wait in the queue for long.

Many taxi drivers will not use the taximeter, so to avoid any overcharging and conflicts, it is better to ask the driver to start the meter. If you are traveling during daytime (05:00 morning to 24:00 midnight), make sure that the taxi meter is on Tariff 1.

If your transfer is from Athens Airport to Athens Center, the fare is fixed at 35 euro during daytime (05:00 am to 24:00 midnight) and 50 € during night time (24:00-05:00). The price includes totally everything. Luggage charge, tolls fee, VAT, meter start, airport charge, etc. So, you don’t have to pay anything more than the above. The same fixed fares apply when you pick a taxi from Athens center to go to the airport.

If you are a tourist, expect that most taxi drivers will try to charge you more than the normal fare. However, you can avoid being overcharged if you know how much you should be charged and how you should handle the situation.

Alternatively, you can book a taxi online and prepay. One of the options in Athens is Welcome Pickups. You book online and you receive an email with all the driver’s information before your arrival. The drivers are trained, fluent English speakers and will be waiting for you at your arrival gate holding a board with your name. You don’t pay cash and thus you cannot get overcharged. It also costs the same as a regular taxi (35 € Airport to downtown) so you don’t have to spend more to get the most convenient solution.

Another transport app is Beat; it’s the local equivalent of Uber (which isn’t really a thing in Athens as most drivers boycott it). It’s easy to use and you can request an English-speaking driver. Even if you don’t plan on using taxis a lot, it can be handy in case of strikes.

50 Euro Scam

This is fraud happens quite often. The taxi driver will ask for the fare, for example, 35 €. The client will pay with a 50€ note. Then the driver will complain and say to you (the client) that you only gave him a 10€ note, and he will give it back to you. The 10 € note and the 50 € have quite similar colors. So you will be a bit confused and you will give him another 50 € note. You can avoid that by calling the police or by paying with 10 or 20 Euro notes.

Notes

    • The driver is obliged to start the meter. The starting charge is 1,19€.
    • If you are using the taxi from 05:00 am to midnight the meter should be at tariff 1. From midnight to 05:00 am tariff is at 2, and the charging is double. So make sure the tariff is set to 1 during day time. When arriving at your destination you should pay what the meter shows plus 1 to 2 Euro for the language and 2 Euro which the airport pick-up cost.
    • The fare from Athens Airport to Athens center is fixed: 35€ at day time and 50€ at night
    • The fare from Athens Airport to Piraeus is fixed: 45€ at day time and 60€ at night
    • Drivers in Greece like to speed. If you don’t feel comfortable with speeding ask the driver to go slower. He will understand.
    • It’s polite to give a tip, though you are not obliged to do so.

Public Transport

The fastest means of getting around Athens is the Metro. The Athens Metro system consists of 3 lines and connects to the tram, bus routes and suburban railway.

The Metro runs daily from 5 am to midnight. Lines 2 and 3 operate until 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays. At peak hours, trains run every 5-6 minutes.

Athens Metro: Website / Tel. +30 210 519 4012

Line 1 is an overground train (known as ISAP) that runs from the northern suburb of Kifissia to the port of Piraeus. It connects to lines 2 and 3 at three stations (Attiki, Omonia and Monastiraki).

Athens Piraeus Electric Railways: Website / Tel. +30 210 324 8311

Suburban Railway

This overground train provides a direct link between Piraeus port and Athens International Airport. It also connects Athens to Halkida in Evia and Kiato and Corinth in the Peloponnese. The suburban railway operates from 4:30 am until 11 pm daily.

Suburban Railway: Website / Tel. 14511

Buses & Trolleybuses

The Athens bus and trolleybus network is very extensive. Most buses and trolleybuses run daily from 5 am to midnight, but do check the timetable of your route. .

OASA: Website / Tel. 11185

Tram

The tram network connects central Athens with the coastal suburbs of Faliro and Voula. It takes approximately one hour to get from Syntagma to the final seaside stop at Voula. The tram connects to the Metro and overground train at four stops: Syntagma, Syngrou/Fix, Neos Kosmos and SEF (Peace and Friendship Stadium in Faliro). See the timetable here.

The route between Syntagma and Neos Kosmos is currently unavailable so the nearest tram stop to and from Voula is Neos Kosmos.

The tram operates from 5:30 am to 1 am daily and until 2:30 am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Tram S.A.: Website / Tel. +30 210 997 8000

Tickets for Public Transport

Tickets and passes (Ath.ena tickets) for public transport are sold at ticket booths and machines in all Athens Metro and tram stations. There are three types of Ath.ena tickets: a paper ticket, an anonymous card that you can top up, and a personalised card. These tickets can be used on all forms of public transport.

Ticket Prices

    • A standard ticket on Athens public transport costs €1.40. Students and senior citizens over 65 pay €0.60 (student ID and proof of age required). Children up to the age of 6 travel free of charge; ages 7-18 pay  €0.60 (proof of age required).
    • Each ticket can be used for 90 minutes on any form of public transport (except services to/from the airport).
    • A Day Pass (€4.50) is valid for unlimited travel (except airport services) for 24 hours.
    • A 5-Day Ticket (€9) is valid for unlimited travel on all modes of transport (except airport services and bus line Χ80) for 5 days.
    • A 3-Day Tourist Ticket (€22) is valid for unlimited travel (including 1 round trip to/from Athens International Airport). 3-day passes are available at the bus and metro ticket kiosks at Athens International Airport, Omonia, Syntagma, Thissio, Monastiraki, Acropolis and Piraeus stations.
    • For more information on prices, visit the Athens Transport website.
    • For more information on public transport in Athens, call 11185 or visit www.oasa.gr