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Leaving Athens

Ferries, flights, buses and tips on the journey home from Greece

At the end of every holiday to Greece I come to the point where I am counting the days I have left in preparation for the life I must return to in  America. That means confronting the fact that once again I am leaving for the other world. It also means squeezing as many friends into as many nights as I have left, drinking wine at lunch and coffee instead of a nap in the afternoon and of course last minute shopping for the same people I always buy gifts for and who if I had just saved the money could give them round-trip tickets to Greece by now and not have the hassle of shopping for them.
For gift suggestions click here

But leaving Greece gives me the rare opportunity to actually get organized. At a certain point during the trip I realize the end is appoaching and I write a list of things I need to do before I leave. It can be places I have yet to see, restaurants I promised to try, friends to meet with, books to buy, gifts and so on. Then I check each item off and feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment that seems to mask the sadness I have about leaving.

Here are some tips for leaving. Some of you will be ready to go and others will wish you could stay forever. Either way this should make it easier.

Taxi to the Airport

Arrange a taxi to the airport in advance. You can get the hotel desk to call for a radio taxi but it has been my experience that they don't always show up and sometimes by the time they do I am a nervous wreck because I have been thinking they were not going to show up. Not that I would mind staying but by this point it is only stalling the inevitable and the prospect of multiple trips to the airport until I can be squeezed on another flight is not one I look foreword to. So I book a taxi transfer with George the Famous Taxi Driver as soon as I know when I am leaving.

Some people who are arriving at night from the islands and have an early flight ask about hotels at the airport. There is one hotel which is not finished yet and is quite expensive. You can save some time by staying at the Armonia Hotel in Vouliagmeni which is a good idea if you have a mid-morning flight. Plus you can take a nice early morning swim on your last day in Greece. But if you have a really early flight, like 8am or earlier then you may as well just stay downtown because without traffic you can get to the airport pretty quickly. If you have a really-really early flight then you may as well have a late dinner and get to the airport after midnight and wait. Not that I would do this but some people don't mind spending hours in airports and if you have a flight at 4am what is the point in checking into a hotel? For info on the Armonia and downtown hotels see hotels .

You are supposed to be at the airport 2 hours before an international flight. I don't want to create a problem by saying this but go early and get a window seat (though not on the wing).

Buses to the Airport

There are several bus lines to and from the Eleftherios Venizelos Airport. All buses depart from the designated area on the inner curbside of the arrivals level of the Main Terminal Building exactly outside the Exit (doors 4-5)

X95 Syntagma Square- Airport Express has its departure point at the center of Athens (Syntagma Square across the park from the Grande Bretagne) and via Vas. Sofias Avenue, Mesogion Avenue and Attiki Odos terminates at the airport. Every 10-30 minutes, 24 hours a day. (Watch for pickpockets when you get off the bus here)

X96 Pireaus- Airport Express starts from the Northwest Corner of Pireaus main harbor and goes past Karaiskaki Square (which is almost right across from the metro and where the ticket offices are) and via Posidonos Avenue, Varis-Varkizas, and Varis-Koropiou Roads terminates at the airport. Both the Syntagma and the Pireaus buses run for 24 hours, generally every twenty minutes but every 40 minutes after midnight.

X93 connects the Airport (door 5) with the bus terminals at Kiffissou and Lliosson streets. The interval is generally 35 minutes (65 at night).

X97 goes to the Dafni Metro Station. (Not the Dafni Monastery... this area is on Vouliagmenis Avenue and connects with Line 2 of the metro.

For Express Lines the ticket costs 3.20 Euros and is good for one trip to or from the airport. You can buy tickets from the driver or at the metro stations or at Public Transport Ticket Offices.

Metro and Trains to the Airport

The airport metro leaves every half an hour from Monastiraki and stops at Syntagma, and every stop on the Blue Line. The journey time to Athens International Airport from Syntagma is 27 minutes and from Piraeus 60 minutes. (Change at Monastiraki) See the metro map.

Athens International Airport is connected via the Proastiakos-Suburban Railway to Larissis Station (Athens Central Railway Station) with stops at Koropi,Kantza,Pallini,Doukissis Plakentias (Connection with Metro Line 3),Kifisias, Nerantziotisa (Connection with Metro Line 1), Iraklio, Aharnes Railway Junction (S.K.A) and Larissis Station (Connection with Metro Line 2 and trains to Northern Greece). Trains depart from the Airport every 15 minutes. The journey time from Athens InternationalAirport to Larissis Station is approximately 38 minutes. The first train from Athens to the Airport is at 06:06am and the last one is at 19:36. The first train from the Airport to Athens is at 06:48 and the last one is at 20:14.Athens International Airport is also connected via suburban rail to Korinthos. Trains depart every 2 hours and the journey time is 1 hour and 20 minutes.

You can take the Proastiakos-Suburban Railway from the airport to the port of Pireaus. Trains leave starting at 6:12 am at the rate of 3 an hour and the trip takes about an hour and a quarter. The train station in Pireaus is right across the street from the ferry boats.

Ferries from Patras

Some of you will be leaving by ferry to Italy. It is suggested that you buy your tickets in advance especially if you want a cabin or have a car. You can buy tickets through just about any downtown travel agency or whichever agency you have been working with for your trip. Try to get on one of the newer and faster ships like the Superfast Lines or the Blue Star if possible. When you get your ferry tickets they will give you bus information and in some cases the ferry companies have their own buses. You can also take a train to Patras from the Peloponessos train station or you can take a public bus. Believe it or not the bus is faster than the train. If there are four of you traveling together you can split a cab or do a transfer with George .

For bus schedules see www.athensguide.com/schedules and www.athensguide.com/practicalinfo

Some of the ferry companies let you stop off for a night in Corfu on trips from Patras to Italy. Be sure to ask about this if you have time. Also ask about ferries from Patras to Venice. If you have to leave Greece you may as well go somewhere else really great.

More Information and Related Pages

Athens Airport
Metro
Ferries
Travel Agents
Gifts
Buses
George's Taxi
Travel Agents
Hotels

Return to Athens Survival Guide