Visitors flying into Athens, will need to get from the Athens international airport to the city. Here is how to take the Athens airport metro to central Athens, the port of Piraeus, or any other area in the Greek capital.
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. If you last visited several decades ago, you’ve probably heard that we now have a metro system, of which we are really proud.
The Athens metro system currently consists of three lines: green, also known as “ilektrikos“, red and blue.
The green line has been running since 1869, and major refurbishments happened in the last decade. The red and blue line started operating in 2000, a few years before the Olympic Games in 2004.
In the above map, you can see the three main Athens metro lines. The blue line, or Line 3, is the one running from the airport to the center, continues to Piraeus port, and terminates at a station in Piraeus called Dimotiko Theatro.
The yellow and dark blue lines (P1 and P2) are another service, called the suburban railway. More on that, later.
As any Athenian can confirm, the metro system has improved transportation massively, and really changed our lives. As I live in Athens, I personally use it on a regular basis to go to the center and the airport.
This guide will help you take the metro from the Athens airport to downtown, and vice versa.
Where to take the metro at the Athens airport
After your arrival in Athens, go through airport control 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, look for the signs indicating the way to taxis, buses and trains. The sign pointing to trains is the one that you need to follow to reach the metro station.
While the bus and taxi stands are right outside the airport terminal, in order to get to the metro you need to walk a few hundred metres. Cross the street outside the airport building, and you will see some stairs and escalators going up.
You want to use the escalators leading to the trains, rather than the airport departure area. If you end up at the airport departure area, you’ll need to go back down, then use the correct escalator up to the trains.
After you go up, walk across a short bridge covered by glass panes. That’s it! You have arrived at the Athens airport metro station.
Athens airport metro line vs suburban railway
Now, the reason why the sign above mentions “trains”, is because another service other than the metro also operates here. It is called the suburban railway, and it’s run by the national train company.
Confusingly, the metro system uses parts of the railway line which belong to the Hellenic train company. Therefore, the two services depart from the same place. They follow the same route up to a point, and then diverge.
The majority of visitors will want to go to central Athens. Many of the tourist hotels and other accommodation are somewhere near Acropolis, Syntagma and Monastiraki metro stations.
In this case, you will need to make sure you hop on the metro and not the suburban railway.
How to buy the 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 gets worse if you are tired after your trip.
In any case, when you use the vending machines, you will see that your ticket options come up in several languages. If you continue, you will come up with this menu.
If you are going to the center or Piraeus port, choose the option “Athens & Airport”. Ignore the option “Airport – Pallini”, as Pallini is a suburb outside the urban area of Athens. It should really be the last option rather than the first – the people who designed this screen were not thinking clearly!
Occasionally, the machines will be out of order, or won’t accept your credit card. It’s handy to know that you can also buy your ticket in person, from the ticket office. In fact, this could be the best option, as you can also ask them if metros are running as planned.
Ticket options for the airport metro Athens
In order to buy a one-way ticket to the city, check the option “Athens & Airport”. The one-way ticket to central Athens costs 9 euro, and children under 6 years old travel for free.
If you select the “Athens & Airport, Round” menu, you will be presented with two new options: 90 minutes, or 3 days. A bit confusing, don’t you think!
So, the first option, 90 minutes, costs 16 euro. This ticket is good for a return trip from the airport to the city and back. Both trips are stored on the same ticket, and the return trip is valid for 30 days. Just remember not to throw it away!
The second option, 3 days, costs 20 euro. This covers you for a return airport trip, plus unlimited trips within central Athens for three 24-hour periods from the moment of validation.
The tourist ticket is a good option if you are only staying in Athens for 2-3 days, and you are planning to use the metro system to get around. If you are staying for, say, 4 or 5 days in Athens, it’s better to buy the return ticket for 16 euro.
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Athens metro and suburban railway to Piraeus port
Instead of going to the city center, some people will want to get directly to Piraeus port, to catch a ferry to one of the Greek islands. You have two choices here.
A) As of October 2022, you can take the blue metro line all the way from the airport directly to Piraeus port. There are two trains per hour, and the journey will take you an hour.
So, if you’ve been to Athens before, there’s no need to change at Monastiraki station for the green line anymore!
You can find the Athens Airport to Piraeus metro timetables here. You will need to get off at the penultimate stop, Piraeus, rather than the end stop, Dimotiko Theatro.
B) You can also get to Piraeus directly from the airport on the suburban trains. These depart once an hour, and take exactly 60 minutes to get to the port. You can find the Athens airport train timetable here.
Whichever of the two services you use, you will need to use the 9-euro one way ticket, or the 16-euro return ticket.
If you are going from Piraeus to the airport, you will need to take the opposite route. Make sure you check the Piraeus to Athens airport metro timetable.
How to validate your metro ticket
After you’ve bought your ticket, you will need to validate it in order for the gates to open. All you need to do, is swipe it on the card reader.
Even if the gates are permanently open, which happens sometimes, validate your ticket nevertheless. Otherwise, in case of an inspection, your ticket will not be valid, and you could get a fine. Plus, you won’t be able to get out of the gates when you reach your destination.
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 end station. And if it’s a return ticket, you’ll need to keep it for the duration of your trip.
The blue metro line goes directly to Syntagma and Monastiraki metro stations, where many visitors choose to stay. These two stations are central, and 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 Square and take the red line for one stop. If you are staying in Thissio, you can change at Monastiraki for the green line.
Your airport ticket is valid for 90 minutes, which is plenty of time to reach any metro station in the city.
However, if you are planning to use a bus or a tram after exiting the metro, you would probably need to get an extra single urban ticket for those. This would cost an additional 1.20 euro.
Airport metro Athens – Timetables
The metro from the airport operates frequently, and for long hours. The first metro departs from the airport at 6:10, and the last one leaves at 23:34.
There are trains every 36 minutes, and they take about 40 minutes to get to the city center, and an hour to get to Piraeus port. For the official timetables, check here: Athens metro airport timetable.
Once you are at the platform, you need to be very careful about the train you will take! There are ony two platforms, so it’s not so complicated, still I’ve seen many people get confused.
You will notice signs to the metro, on one side, and the suburban railway, on the other side. The suburban train does NOT pass by central Athens. So make sure you are on the correct platform to take the metro.
And how about your return? Well, if you want to take the metro from Piraeus / Athens center to the airport, note that most services only travel inside the Athens urban area. They terminate at a station called Doukissis Plakentias, which is on the way to the airport.
Make sure you hop on the service marked as “airport”, which runs every 36 minutes. Again, check out the Athens metro to airport timetable here.
Athens airport metro strikes
Occasionally, either the metro company or the train company will announce a strike. On these days, services will be affected.
Remember how the metro and 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 routes within the urban area of Athens will not be affected.
When the metro company is on strike, there is no service at all. This will affect the airport as well as central Athens. Other transport options in the city, like the tram or any bus, will typically be busier.
In these cases, your other options to get into the city are either by taxi, pre-booked private transfer, or on the Athens airport buses.
I hope that you won’t need it, but here is all you need to know about strikes in Greece! If you want to be informed about any upcoming strikes, please like my FB page where I post everything about them.
What’s the best type of transportation from Athens airport?
This is really a personal choice. It mostly depends on your budget, the number of people you are travelling with and your personal preferences.
A taxi to central Athens costs 40 euro during the day, and 55 euro from midnight to 5 am at the time of writing. These prices are set by the Greek government, but they are subject to change now and then.
Generally speaking, a taxi will 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.
If you are travelling with children or getting to Athens after a long trip, a pre-booked private transfer is probably the best option. It might cost a few euros more, but it will offer convenience and peace of mind. Another service, Welcome Pickups, also comes highly recommended.
Please note that, if you are travelling in a group of 4 people, taking a taxi or pre-booked transfer will cost almost the same as taking the metro, so it’s definitely worth it.
Airport buses in Athens
At the same time, some people may be on a tight budget, or they may be arriving during the night. In these cases, you can take the 24-hour bus X95 from the Athens airport to Syntagma square.
Irrespective of the time of day, I personally find this bus fun to use if you want to go from the Athens airport to Plaka / Syntagma Square or anywhere close by. You can look out of the windows, and get a first impression of the city.
Similarly, there is the 24-hour X96 bus to Piraeus port. This may take you 1,5 hours, or even longer, when there is traffic. It’s good if you are on a budget, have time to kill, or just want to enjoy the route.
The price of a one way ticket on the airport buses is only 5.50 euro per person. The ticket is valid for 90 minutes. It’s the cheapest option to get to the airport in Athens.
Is the metro in Athens safe?
I’ve been using the metro since the day it started operating, over 20 years ago. I’ve used it at all times of the day, including rush hour and late at night.
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 from tourists whose valuables disappeared. Truth be told, visitors are obvious targets.
Please be aware of your luggage, and always keep your passport and all other valuables in a safe place. Consider using a moneybelt or hidden pockets, and hold your personal items, including your mobile phone, close to your body.
Unfortunately, pickpockets in Athens seem to be very highly skilled, and you don’t want an unfortunate event to ruin your vacation.
FAQs about the metro in Athens airport
Here are a few questions that visitors ask:
Is there a Metro from Athens Airport?
Yes there is. The service runs every 36 minutes, from 6:10 to 23:34. During other times, you can use the 24-hour buses, taxis or private transfers.
How much is Athens Metro to airport?
A one-way ticket from / to the airport costs 9 euro, while the price for the return option is 16 euro.
Where is the train station at Athens Airport?
The station is located outside the terminal building. To reach the Athens airport metro station, you will exit the terminal building, cross the street, go up the escalators and walk across a pedestrian bridge.
How do I get from Athens airport to city Centre?
After your arrival, you can get to central Athens by metro, bus, taxi, or pre-booked transfer.
How much does a taxi cost from Athens airport to city Centre?
A taxi from the Eleftherios Venizelos Airport to the city center costs 40 euros during daytime, and 55 from midnight to 5 am. The price of private transfers may vary slightly.
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! Here are a few more Athens guides:
- How to use the metro in downtown Athens
- Where to get a SIM card in Greece – avoid the airport
- Free things to do in Athens
- Changing of the Guards
- The quirky Psiri neighbourhood
- Stroll around the amazing Plaka area
- Visit the quaint Anafiotika
- How to get from the airport to the Acropolis
- How to book a train ticket in Greece
- Driving in Greece
Hi! I am Vanessa, and I am an Athenian. Athens has changed a lot since I was a child, and the Athens airport subway has contributed to these changes. Areas of the city center like Syntagma, Monastiraki and the Acropolis are so much easier to reach now, for both visitors and locals! Here are some more ways to get around Athens 🙂