How To Take The Athens Airport Metro In 2023

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.

Athens Greece metro map 2022

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.

Signs in airport Athens Greece

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.

A sign at the Athens airport

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.

Bridge in Athens airport

Note: Throughout 2022 and 2023, it is mandatory to wear a medical mask on the Athens metro. Nobody ever checks, but please make sure you’ve got one with you.  

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.

Airport metro station in Athens Greece

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.

Athens metro select language

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.

Taking the Athens airport metro

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! 

Occasionally, the machines will be temporarily 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. 

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!

Metro tickets for Athens airport

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. 

Have a look at these articles too:

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 around 55 minutes.

So, if you’ve been to Athens before, there’s no need to change at Monastiraki station for the green line anymore! 

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.

Getting to central Athens on the airport metro

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.

The Athens metro ticket needs to be validated

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.

Metro and suburban railway platforms at Athens airport

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.

Getting to central Athens on the metro system - Check the airport - Athens metro timetable

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 38 euro during the day, and 54 euro from midnight to 5 am. If you are travelling in a group of 4 people, taking a taxi will cost almost the same as taking the metro.

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.

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.

X95 bus Athens

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 about tourists being robbed. Truth be told, visitors are obvious targets.

Inside the Athens metro

Be aware of your luggage, and keep your passport and 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. 

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 38 euros during daytime, and 54 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:


Vanessa from Real Greek Experiences

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 🙂

12 thoughts on “How To Take The Athens Airport Metro In 2023”

  1. We are arriving in Athens on Wednesday 6th April. We are aged 75 & 67, can we purchase pensioners rates for Metro at Airport.

    Reply
    • Hi Angela, thanks for your question. You can only use the reduced rates with a personalized card, which you can issue if you have an AMKA (Greek national health insurance) number. However, please note that unfortunately there will be a strike on Wednesday 6 April, which might affect your flight (traffic controllers have announced they will be on strike, but they haven’t announced what times), and will definitely affect the metro which will be on a 24-hour strike. You could use the airport bus instead – they are supposed to run from 9.00-21.00, or perhaps take a pre-booked transfer. You can follow my FB page for more strike announcements. Safe travels!

      Reply
  2. Hi I will be staying at syntagma area. i might want to visit mcarthurglen outlet. I plan to take 24 hrs €4.10( excluding airport route) metro pass to explore athens. However when i check the route that i need to take m3 line to pallini then go out at gephyra to take bus 319 and i am a little bit confused if pallini station is considered as airport station route as i cannot find information anywhere regarding on it. I only see it mentioning cannot be used for koropi-airport that’s all. Can u enlighten more regarding on this for me? Thanks in advance

    Reply
  3. Hi Vanessa
    I have bought a train ticket to Kalambaka but am not sure how to get from Monastiraki metro station (because my hotel is around Athens center) to Athens Railway Station. The ticket states it departs from Athens, change at Paleofarsalos, thereafter all the way to Kalambaka. Does that mean I take the red line at Monastiraki station all the way to Larissa station, which is also ‘Athens Railway Station’, is that right?. Then alight at Larissa, exit station & make my way to Athens Railway Station to catch the train to Kalambaka. Kindly advise. Thank you very much

    Reply
    • Hi Lynn! You will need to take the blue metro line from Monastiraki to Syntagma (one stop), and then the red metro line from Syntagma to Larissa Station (four stops). Have a look at this article! Enjoy Meteora!

      Reply
  4. hi myself and my partner David are going to Athen on 9th Oct.and nervous of getting from airport to our apartment alekos apartment 2. which metro line do I take and where do I get off..I’d be so grateful for ur help.thank you

    Reply
    • Hi! The closest metro station is Attiki, it’s a really short walk. To get from Athens airport to Attiki metro station you will take the blue metro line from the airport, get off at Syntagma station, take the red line towards Anthoupoli metro station, and get off at Attiki. When you are there, there are more than one exits, so it’s best to ask for information which side to get out of for Pipinou street – the train station employees are very helpful. It helps to have Googlemaps on your phone as well. Enjoy your time here 🙂

      Reply
  5. Thanks for all the information re getting from the Airport to Piraeus. Very useful for a trip I am planning for the Greek Islands.

    Reply

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