If you are flying into Athens, you may need to get from the airport to your hotel in the centre. Here is how to take the Athens airport metro to central Athens, or any other area in our city.
How to take the Athens airport metro
So, you’ve booked your tickets to Athens! Exciting! Maybe you’ve been here before, maybe you haven’t. Either way, you’ve probably heard that we have a relatively new metro system, for which we are really proud.
The Athens metro system currently consists of three lines, green, red and blue. The green line has been running since 1869, and major refurbishments happened in the last decade. The red and blue lines started operating in 2000, a few years before the Olympic Games in 2004.
The yellow and dark blue lines (P1 and P2) in the above map are the suburban railway. More on that later!
As any Athenian can confirm, the metro has changed our lives. I personally use it on pretty much a daily basis. I also use it to get to and from the airport when I travel!
This short guide will help you take the metro from the Athens airport to central Athens, and vice versa.
Where to take the airport metro at the Athens airport
After landing in Athens, complete your paperwork and collect your checked luggage if you have any. Then you can get out of the arrivals area, ready for your adventure!
Once you’ve passed the exit gates, you will still be inside the airport terminal. Look up for the relevant signs, indicating the way to taxis, buses and trains. The last sign pointing to trains is is the one that you need to follow.
While the buses and taxis are right outside the airport building, in order to get to the metro you need to walk a few hundred metres. Cross the street outside the airport terminal, and you will see some stairs and escalators.
Go up, and then walk across a short bridge covered by glass panes. That’s it! You have arrived at the airport metro station.
Now, the reason why the sign mentions “trains”, is because another service also operates here, called the suburban railway. The metro and the suburban railway are two completely different services.
Confusingly, the metro uses parts of the railway lines that belong to the train company. Therefore, the two services depart from the same place.
If you are like the majority of visitors, you will want to go to central Athens. In this case, make sure you hop on the metro and not the suburban railway.
How to buy the Athens airport metro ticket
Getting a ticket from the airport to anywhere in the city should be fairly straightforward. However, the menus on the automatic machines aren’t as self-explanatory as you would imagine. This is even more so if you are tired after your trip. Plus, occasionally the machines are temporarily out of order, or won’t accept your credit card.
In any case, if you want to use the machines, you will see that your options come up in several languages. If you continue, you will come up with this menu.
Assuming you are going to central Athens, you should choose the option “Athens & Airport”, rather than the somewhat confusing option “Airport – Pallini”. In case you are wondering, Pallini is a suburb just outside the urban area of Athens, and the ticket costs only 6 euro.
A one-way ticket to central Athens costs 10 euro, and a return ticket costs 18 euro. There’s a catch though – you need to use the return within 48 hours from the first validation. If you are staying in Athens for longer than 2 days, just get the one-way ticket.
You can also buy the so called tourist ticket, which costs 22 euro. This covers you for three 24-hour periods from the moment of validation, including two trips from and to the airport. It’s a good deal if you are staying in Athens for 3 days and planning to use the metro to get around.
Even at this time and age, it might be easier to buy your ticket in person, from the actual ticket office. Then you can also ask the employee which platform the blue metro line departs from. This way you will avoid getting confused with the suburban railway.
EDIT: From 1 June to 31 October 2020, the Athens metro prices will be reduced! A one way ticket to / from the airport will cost 9 euro instead of 10. Similarly, the tourist ticket will be reduced to 20 euro. This is because the government is reducing VAT for certain services.
Validating your metro ticket
After you’ve bought your ticket, you will need to validate it in order for the gates to open. Even if the gates are permanently open for some reason, validate it nevertheless. Otherwise, in case of a ticket inspection, your ticket will not appear validated, and you will get a fine.
Curious about how much the fine is? For the Airport – Koropi part of the route, the fine would cost you a whopping 200 euro! In the urban part of the city, after Koropi station, the fine is 84 euro. Either way, it’s not really worth it!
Once you’ve validated your ticket, make sure you keep it somewhere safe. You will need to swipe it again when you have arrived at your destination.
The blue metro line goes directly to Syntagma and Monastiraki, where many visitors choose to stay. These are two central stations where you can change for another line if you need to.
As an example, if you are staying around Acropolis , you will need to change at Syntagma and take the red line for one stop.
This article explains in detail how to use the metro in Athens. It will be helpful if you are planning to get around our city by metro.
Your airport ticket is valid for 90 minutes, which is plenty of time if you are staying close to a metro station. However, if you are planning to use a bus or a tram afterwards, you would probably need to get a single urban ticket for those, costing 1.40 euro.
Athens airport metro timetables
The airport metro operates quite frequently, and for rather long hours. The first metro departs from the airport at 6.30, and the last one leaves at 23.30.
Trains depart every 30 minutes, and they take about 40 minutes to get to central Athens. For the official timetables, have a look here.
Athens airport metro strikes
Occasionally, either the metro company or the train company will announce a strike. On these days, the airport metro will be affected.
Remember how the metro and train (suburban railway) use the same railway line? This is why the airport metro won’t run on a day when the train company is on strike. However, the metro itself will actually run within the urban area of Athens. On a metro strike day, there is obviously no metro service.
In these cases, your other options to get into the city are either by taxi, pre-booked taxi, or by bus. We hope that you won’t need it, but here is all you needed to know about strikes in Greece! And if you want to be informed about any strikes in Greece, please like our Facebook page.
Should I take a taxi, the bus or the metro from Athens airport?
This is really a personal choice. It mostly depends on your budget and the number of people you are travelling with.
A taxi to central Athens costs 38 euro during the day, and 54 euro from midnight to 5 am. If you are travelling in a group of 4 people, it works out better to take a taxi rather than the metro. If you are travelling with children and getting to Athens after a long trip, a pre-booked taxi is definitely the best solution.
Similarly, a taxi may be better if you have lots of luggage and heavy bags. The last thing you will want to do after you’ve arrived is to drag your suitcases across the street from the airport, and then around the escalator and bridge.
At the same time, some people may be on a tight budget. In this case, you can take bus X95 from the Athens airport to Syntagma square, which normally costs 6 euro per person. For summer 2020, this will be reduced to 5.50 euro.
And how about safety? Is the Athens metro safe?
I have been using the Athens airport metro line since the day it started operating, almost 20 years ago. I’ve used it at all times of the day, including rush hour. Personally, I have never been pick-pocketed, but I’ve heard a few stories from fellow Greeks.
Similarly, I’ve read several reports in online forums about tourists being robbed. Truth be told, visitors are obvious targets. Be aware of your luggage, and use a system that you are comfortable with for your passport and other valuables. Consider using a moneybelt or hidden pockets, and hold your personal items close to your body.
The airport metro in Athens
I hope that this article has answered any questions you had about using the airport metro in Athens! If you have any more questions, please ask in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer!
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