Athens is the most populated city in Greece. You can definitely tell it from the moment your plane lands at the airport. You’ll see sea, fields upon fields and finally buildings galore. It’s a shock to the system. I certainly didn’t know what to to expect.
The one thing I was most worried about when my plane landed was being able to communicate with the locals. I was in luck! Even though I didn’t speak a word of Greek, almost all of the signs around Athens were in English and the people of Athens speak quite a bit of English.
The most difficult task after you land in Athens will be figuring out how you can’t get from the airport to the city center. Syntagma Square is probably where most people will begin their Greek odyssey.
There are 3 main options for transportation if you are not heading directly to a cruise ship. They are: bus, train and taxi. I wouldn’t recommend a ride sharing service such as Uber or Lyft from the airport, but choose your own adventure. Greece is a country that also prefers cash as a form of payment over card. Make sure you have a good amount of cash before you leave the airport. The currency of Greece is the Euro.
I chose the bus when I got to Athens because I didn’t want to deal with upset Greeks during rush hour and didn’t want to take a risk with pick picketers on the subway. The bus is the cheapest option and is run by KTEL, the national bus company of Greece. The bus runs 24 hours a day 7 days a week and is very safe. The train hours will vary depending on the day of the week. Taxis are also readily available.
It’s very easy to find the exit to the street once you claim you’re luggage to find the bus stop. You go outside the terminal and either go to the bus stop, train platform or taxi stand. Bus tickets are sold for a flat rate in a booth right next to stop of the bus you’ll probably want to take, x95. It costs about 5 Euros to get to Syntagma.
Just a side note; if you do decide to take a taxi from the airport to the city center of Athens, everything is a flat rate. It just depends on the time of day. Always agree upon the process before you get in the taxi. You should never pay more than 50 Euros. You are also expected to tip the drive on top of the fare. Train ticket costed 10 Euros from the airport when I went.
If you are arriving late and the ticket booth isn’t closed, you can buy your tickets from the driver directly. Once you are onboard, place,your luggage on the luggage rack and sit back and enjoy the ride. It should take about an hour to get to Syntagma square. You’ll see many monuments and things you want want to explore later on. The bus will make a lot of stops, but not to worry it’s still an express bus compared to the regular city buses.
Traveling my train is easy too, just be careful with your luggage. The Greeks like to squeeze their way onto already crowded trains. All stops are announced in English and Greek. The maps on the side of the train light up at every stop to show you where you are.
Don’t be afraid to use the ticket kiosk to buy your ticket. There are agents in hand, but the kiosks almost never have lines compared to the agent, you can use cash or a card. Tickets are good for 90 minutes if you intend to transfer. Just ensure you tap the ticket before and after you get on and off the train.
I hope this blog post will help you get started. I’ll continue on with the Greek series as the blog continues to grow.