Buses are convenient for moving across the country, with a network that can reach even the smallest villages. In addition, many ferries criss-cross the Adriatic and the Aegean seas and are available for expats who are interested in island-hopping. Moreover, Greece also has an extensive domestic air network.
Greek bus network
The long-distance buses and those on the islands are operated by KTEL (Koino Tamio Eis Praxeon Leoforion) and they are safe and modern. However, buses in rural areas tend to be less comfortable and older.
Every region has its own KTL operator which runs local services within the region and to main towns in other areas. The fares are fixed by the government. The network is convenient and all the major towns are connected to Athens.
Villages mostly have a daily bus service and there’s generally a bus stop outside a coffee house (kafeneio καφενειο). In remote areas the timetables are unfortunately in Greek, however if you book your tickets at offices, timetables are offered in Greek and Latin script.
Every passenger has a seat number which is noted on the bus ticket and the seat number is indicated on the back of the seat. Buses normally stop every three hours on long journeys.
Getting around by bus is a handy way to explore the country, because bus tickets are relatively cheap. A journey costs about €4 per 100 km.
Some major routes
- Athens-Thessaloniki (€31, 7½ hours),
- Athens–Patra (€16, three hours),
- Athens–Volos (€20, five hours)
- Athens–Corfu (€44 including ferry, 8½ hours).
It’s not necessary to buy your bus ticket in advance, because tickets can be bought on board.
Trains in Greece are operated by Greek Railways Organisation (Organismos Sidirodromos Ellados)
The major problem of relying on trains is that the railway network is limited. There are two main lines: from Athens to Alexandroupoli via Thessaloniki and the Peloponnese network which is a useful way to get from Patra to Athens.
The services are still improving and of a good standard. The railway network underwent a major overhaul when the Olympic games took place in Greece in 2004.
The metro network in Athens was upgraded for the Olympic games in 2004. An interesting fact: during the improvement works 50,000 ancient artifacts were discovered.
The Athenian Metro network consists of three lines:
- Line One (Green): runs between the stations of Piraeus and Kifissia.
- Line Two (Red): runs between Agios Antonios and Aghios Dimitrios / Alexandros Panagoulis.
- Line Three (Blue): runs between Egaleo and Doukissis Plakentias with an extension to the Airport Eleftherios Venizelos.
Drinking, eating, and smoking are prohibited in the Metro. It is however, a very convenient way of getting around Athens, all stops are written in Greek and Roman script, and a ticket is valid for one hour no matter how many times you use it.
Many Metro stations house ancient artifacts, and some are almost mini-museums.
There are 15 international airports in Greece for international and domestic flights. Greece's main international airport is Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos Airport.
There are four airlines operating domestic flights and the majority of the domestic flights are operated by Olympic Airlines. Moreover, Aegean Airlines, Sky Express and Athens Airways are important as well.
- Olympic Airlines is based in Athens Airport and operates about 150 flights per day and has a network of 40 destinations.
- Aegean Airlines is based on the island Crete and offers flights from Athens to Lesvos, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Alexandroupoli, Corfu, Hania, Ioannina, Heraklion and Kavala.
- Sky Express is based in Heraklion and offers flights to Rhodes, Kos, Mytilini, Samos, Kalamata, Mykonos, Santorini, Ikaria, Patrai, Thessaloniki, Alexandroupoli and Tirana.
- Athens Airways is based in Athens and runs daily flights. The most popular destinations are Thessaloniki, Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Zakynthos and Kefalonia.
The ferry network in Greece is quite complicated and it runs most frequently from March until October - the services are quite limited during the winter months.
Each island has a ferry service. The main port in Piraeus is 10km south of Athens. The destinations are Cyclades, the Dodecanese Islands, the Northeastern Aegean Islands, the Saronic Gulf Islands and Crete.
The second port Rafina, 70 km east of Athens, is accessible by a bus service that runs hourly. It has ferries to Evia, Lesvos, Limnos and the northern Cyclades.
Port of Lavrio, located in Attica, is the main port for destinations to Cycladic island of Kea.
All the North-eastern Aegean Islands have connections with Piraeus, and some with Thessaloniki.
The service between the islands depends on demand. It is therefore recommended you check the timetable when you’re planning on going on a trip, especially if you wish to travel on weekends.