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Travelling to Athens > transportation and Pireaus port July 28, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Athens.

Transportation and City Connections

By Bus from Bus Terminal A to: Corinth (half-hrly, 1-1/2hrs), Kalamata (9/day, 4 hrs), Nafplio (hrly, 2-1/2 hrs, Olympia (4/day, 5 hrs), Patras (half-hrly, 3 hrs) and Sparta (10/day, 3-1/4 hrs). Bus Terminal A is about 5 miles north-west of Plateia Omonias at 100 Kifissou Avenue. Bus No 051, which runs from the junction of Zinonos and Menandrou street, near Plateia Omonias, is the only public transport to the terminal (every 15 min, 5:00-24:00). A taxi from the city center should cost no more than €10 depending on traffic.

By Bus from Terminal B to: Delphi (6/day, 3 hrs). People heading to Meteora by bus must travel first to Trikala (8/day, 51/2), where you’ll find buses to Kalambaka (hrly, 30 min). Terminal B is about 3 miles north of Plateia Omonias off Liossion street, about €10 by taxi, depending on traffic.

By Train: The Greek Rail Organization (OSE) has a convenient city center office near Syntagma Square where you can pick up timetables and make reservations (Mon-Fri 8:00-15:30, Sat 8:00-15:00, just uphill from Panepistimiou at 6 Sina street, tel. 210 3624402).

By Boat: see below on Piraeus for details of catamaran, ferry and hydrofoil connections to the Greek Islands.

By Plane: Olympic Airways ( www.olympic-airways.gr ) flies to Iraklio (on Crete, 6/day, 50min), Paros (3/day, 1hr), (Naxos (1/day, 1 hr), Samos (3/day, 1 hr) and Santorini (4/day, 1 hr). Olympic’s head office is at 96 Syngrou Avenue (tel. 210 3569111, toll free 801 1144444), but you’re better off using travel agent. Aegean Airlines (www.aegeanair.com) has flights to Iraklio (6/day, 1 hr) and Santorini (4/day, 1 hr). Aegean has an office on Syntagma Square (10 Othonos street, tel. 210 3315502, res. tel. 801 1120000).

Drivers note: You don’t want or need a car in Athens. A good way to deal with Athens’ traffic is to avoid it altogether by picking up your rental car from the airport. From here, the six-lane Athens ring road, known as Attiki Odos, provides hassle-free access to the main highways west to the Peloponnese and to the north.

The easiest way to escape from the city center is to follow the signs to Corinth, regardless of where you’re going. If you’re heading for the Peloponnese, you just keep following the signs to Corinth; if you’re heading north to Delphi or Meteora, turn right at Kifissou about 5 miles west of the city center, following the signs to Lamia. Kifissou becomes National Road 1, which is the main highway route north from Athens.

Piraeus Port

Piraeus, 6 miles south-west of central Athens, has been the port of Athens since ancient times. Today it is the main port for services to the Greek islands, making it the busiest passenger port in the Mediterranean.

All ferry, hydrofoil and catamaran services leave from Great Harbour, which is the largest of three harbours surrounding the Piraeus Peninsula. Marina Zeas and the picturesque Mikrolimano, on the eastern side of the pensinsula, are for private yachts. The action at Great Harbour is centered on Plateia Karaiskaki, which juts out into the harbour right at the middle of the waterfront.

It’s always wise to confirm your ferry’s departure point when you buy your ticket.

Arrival in Piraeus

By bus: Bus E96 from the airport will drop you at Plateia Karaiskaki.

By metro and train: The metro and train stations are 100 yards apart at the north-eastern corner of the waterfront on Akti Kalimassioti.

By Bus: E96 buses to the airport leave from the south-western corner of Plateia Karaiskaki. 

By Metro: The metro is by far the easiest way of getting from Piraeus’ Great Harbour to central Athens. There are services to Monastiraki every 10 minutes between 06:00 and midnight. Warning: the section between Piraeus and Monastiraki is notorious for pickpockets so take extra good care of your valuables.

By Train: There are suburban trains every 30 minutes to Athens Central Station.

Ferry Connections 
For the latest information on ferry services, pick up a weekly schedule from the Greek National Tourist Organization offices in Athens or at the airport. 

To the Cyclades: Paros (6/day, 5 hrs), Naxos (6/day, 6 hrs) and Santorini (4/day, 9 hrs). The best service is offered by Blue Star Ferries (www.bluestarferries.com ). Its comfortable modern boats are fitted with special stabilizers that provide a very smooth ride, and enable them to keep sailing in winds of up to force 9 on the local Beaufort scale.

To Crete: Iraklio (2/day, 10hrs), with the sleek Minoan Lines fleet (www.minoan.gr ) getting the nod ahead of ANEK Lines (www.anek.gr)

To the Saronic Gulf Islands: Aegina (hrly, 1-1/4 hrs), Poros (4/day, 2-1/2 hrs), Hydra (2/day, 3-1/2 hrs) and Spetses (1/day, 4-1/2 hrs).

To the North-East Agean Islands: Samos (2/day, 13 hrs).

Hydrofoil and Catamaran Connections
To the Cyclades: Paros (2/day, 3-1/2 hrs), Naxos (1/day, 4 hrs) and Santorini (1/day, 4-3/4 hrs). All these services are operated by Hellas Flying Dolphins (www.dolphins.gr , tel. 210 4199000 for credit card bookings).

To the Saronic Gulf Islands: Aegina (hrly, 35 min), Poros (4/day, 1 hr), Hydra (6/day, 1-3/4 hrs) and Spetses (6/day, 2-1/2 hrs). Most of these services are operated by Hellas Flying Dolphins (see above).

To the North-East Agean: Samos (6/wk, 7 hrs). This service is operated by Nel Lines (www.nel.gr) using the futuristic-looking Aeolis Express, which is a high-speed ferry rather than a catamaran.

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