Traveling by plane
According to top-medical-schools, Olympic Air (OA), a subsidiary of Aegean Airlines (A3), flies to numerous domestic destinations from Athens and Thessaloniki. Sky Express (GQ), based in Heraklion on Crete, flies to Athens and Thessaloniki as well as various Greek islands. The Greek Air Taxi Network (GATN) is a network of private air charter companies serving Greek cities and islands, as well as sightseeing flights such as sightseeing flights over Athens.
Traveling by car/bus
Car: The main traffic axes are Athens – Thessaloniki (E 75) and Athens – Corinth (E 94), Corinth – Patras (BA), Corinth – Tripoli – Kalamata (E 65), Patras – Pyrgos – Olympia (E 55), Thessaloniki – Kavala – Alexandroupoli (E 90), Igoumenitsa (Northwest) – Thessaloniki – Kipi – Kavala (Egnatia Odos highway A2a) to the Turkish border and Chania – Agios Nikolaos (E 75). An important road connection is the bridge over the Gulf of Corinth, which connects the Peloponnese to the north-west Greek coast. Distances from Athens: Thessaloniki: 511 km; Corinth: 85 km; Igoumenítsa: 471 km; Delphi: 184 km. Toll: Motorways are usually subject to tolls. Payment is made while driving on the toll route. At the Antirrio-Rio bridge, the Preveza-Aktio tunnel and the Athens bypass, the toll has to be paid at the beginning of the route. Petrol stations: opening hours mostly from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
Roads are generally in good condition.
Motorways are marked with a capital A and a number, e.g. A1 (white letters on a green background). Country roads (one or two lanes) with a number (white writing on a blue background) and European roads with a capital E and a two to three-digit number (e.g. E55) (white writing on a green background).
Most car rental companies have offices nationwide. For more information, contact the Tourist Office or the Greek Car Rental Association STEEA (tel. +30 (0)210 6264032 – +30 (0)210 6264281). When renting a vehicle, the driver must be at least 21 years old (may vary by vehicle category) and have held a driver’s license for at least one year. Drivers under the age of 25 sometimes pay a young driver surcharge on site. Some car rental companies have a maximum age of 70 years.
Fares are calculated based on mileage. Supplements are to be paid from/to the train station, port and airport. From 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. and outside of town, you only pay about a third of the normal rate.
Bicycles and scooters can be rented in larger cities and on the Greek islands.
KTEL (Koino Tamio Eis Praxeon Leoforion) operates long-distance routes on the mainland and on the islands with modern, comfortable buses; in rural areas these are usually older and less comfortable. There are mostly daily bus connections to smaller towns. Each region has its own KTEL operator.
Traffic regulations: – A child seat is compulsory for children under 3 years of age. A suitable restraint device must be available for children from 3 to 11 years and up to a height of 1.35 m. – No smoking in the car if children under 12 are traveling. – Seatbelt obligation. – Alcohol limit: 0.5 ‰ (0.0 ‰ for motorcyclists and for novice drivers). – Mobile phone calls are only permitted with a hands-free device. – Filled petrol canisters may not be carried in the vehicle. – Parking is prohibited on yellow marked roadsides. Paid parking is marked in blue, free parking in white. – No stopping signs with one vertical line are valid in odd months, with two vertical lines in even months. Speed limits: – in built-up areas: 50 km/h (car), 40 km/h (motorcycle); – on motorways: 130 km/h (car), 90 km/h (motorcycle); – on country roads: 90 or 110 km/h (car), 70 km/h (motorcycle).
The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; in the event of vehicle damage: Tel. +49 (0)89 22 22 22, in the event of illness: +49 (0)89 76 76 76.
National driving license for EU citizens. For citizens of EU and EFTA countries, the license plate number is valid as proof of insurance. However, EU and EFTA citizens are recommended to take their international motor insurance card with them to make it easier to record accidents and to benefit from full insurance cover in the event of damage. Otherwise, the statutory minimum liability insurance coverage applies.
Traveling in the city
Athens: The Attiki Odos, a six-lane ring road, facilitates the flow of traffic in Greater Athens. Buses: There are several bus services around Athens and Attica. The Athens Terminal on Mauromateon Street (Areos Park) has regular connections to Amfiaraio, Marathonas, Nea Makri, Porto Rafti, Ramnous and Sounio. Trolleybuses (ILPAP) and scheduled buses also frequently serve tourist attractions and places of interest. Tickets can be purchased from the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) at numerous booths across the city. Further information can be obtained from the OASA. Tel: +30-210 82 00 99. Metro: Athens has a reliable metro system with three main lines. The renovated Line 1 (ISAP) runs north-south between Athens (Kifissa district) and Piraeus. Line 2 (AMEL) runs between Ag.Antonios and Ag.Dimitrios/Al.Panagoulis and line 3 (AMEL) between Egaleo and the airport. Tickets can be bought at any AMEL and ISAP station. For timetable information, contact Attiko Metro or OASA. The tram connects the city center with the southern suburbs of Athens and operates on three lines: Voulas – Piraeus, Voulas – Syntagma and Piraeus – Syntagma. Taxis are relatively cheap by European standards. Taxis are yellow and metered.
Locally on the way by train
The Organismós Sidirodrómon Elládos is the national Greek railway company, which maintains the entire railway network in Greece, Trainose (OSE) operates the rail traffic in the country. The two central train stations in Athens are Larissa (with train connections to northern Greece, Euboea, other European countries and Turkey) and Peloponnessos (with train connections to the Peloponnese). In Greece, InterCity trains run between Athens, Thessaloniki, Alexandroupoli and Dikea (reservations required). Local trains connect larger cities, such as Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras, with the suburbs. There are daily train connections from Athens to Thessaloniki, Livadia, Paleofarsala, Larisa, Plati, Edessa, Florina, Seres, Drama, Komotini and Alexandropoulis (connections from Thessaloniki and Larisa). Southwards there are daily train connections from Athens to Kiato, Xylokastra, Diakofto, Patras, Olympia, Argos, Tripoli, Megalopolis and Kalamata. Panoramic train routes serve the Pelion Railway, a steam train that runs up Mount Pilio from Ano Lechonia to Milies (journey time: 1 hr 30 min) and a rack railway that runs from Diakopto to Kalavryta, crossing the scenic Vouraikos Gorge (journey time: approx. 1 H.).
Interrail offers different types of passes for Greece: – the Interrail Greece Pass; – the Interrail Greece Plus Pass, which also includes ferry crossings between Greece and Italy, and – the Interrail Greek Islands Pass, which includes ferry connections to Greek islands such as Mykonos, Crete or Santorini. The Internet Global Pass is also valid for Greece. The Balkan Flexipass allows unlimited travel in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Turkey on 5, 10 or 15 days within a month.
Traveling by ship
The main mainland ports are Piraeus, Lavrio and Rafina. On most routes there are scheduled connections with car ferries all year round. However, there are also regular connections to islands from smaller ports such as Patras, Thessaloniki, Kyllini, Igoumenitsa, Kavala and Volos. More information at Greekferries. Large catamarans operate as fast ferries on many routes. Hydrofoils from various shipping companies that do not transport vehicles also operate on some routes. They mainly operate in the Dodescan archipelago between Rhodes, Kos and Patmos and from there also continue to Ikaria and Samos. Tickets are available from the shipping companies online or from their offices on the quay. There are different fare classes with different levels of comfort on the ferries. Sleeping cabins can be booked for longer trips. There are restaurants on most ships. In the high season you should buy the tickets early, as the island ferries are often fully booked.
Note on the voyage
National Ferry Routes: – Blue Star Ferries call at the Dodecanese Islands (eg Kos, Rhodes, Karpathos) and the Cyclades Islands; – Minoan Lines operate from Piraeus (Athens) to Crete; – Anek Lines from Piraeus (Athens) to Chania, Karpathos, Kassos, Crete (in cooperation with Blue Star Ferries), Rhodes and Santorini, among others; – Hellenic Seaways operates fast ferries from, among others, Piraeus (Athens) to Samos, Santorini, Ios, Paros, Lemnos, Naxos and Mykonos. Dolphin Hellas offers cruises and island hopping, tel. +30-210 9227772. Large or small sailing yachts can be rented, with or without a crew. For more information, contact the Tourist Office.