Travel to Athens
Flying to Athens
Airlines offering direct flights to Athens from the UK include British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines. Delta operates non-stop flights from the USA. Flights tend to be more expensive in July and August.
From London - 3 hours 40 minutes; New York - 9 hours 15 minutes; Los Angeles - 14 hours 40 minutes (including stopover); Toronto - 12 hours 10 minutes (including stopover); Sydney - 22 hours 50 minutes (including stopover).
Travel by road
In Athens, traffic drives on the right and the minimum age for driving is 18 years. Speed limits are 100kph to 120kph (62mph to 75mph) on motorways, 80-90kph (50-56mph) outside built-up areas and 50kph (32mph) in residential and built-up areas. It is illegal to carry spare petrol (benzina) in the vehicle. A national driving licence is acceptable for EU nationals but nationals of other countries may need an International Driving Permit. EU nationals in possession of a Green Card, which provides international third-party insurance, are permitted to import a foreign-registered car, caravan, motorcycle, boat or trailer for a maximum of six months (or up to 15 months for a fee). A Green Card is no longer a legal requirement in Greece for visits of less than three months; however, without it, insurance is limited to the minimum legal cover. You must carry car registration documents at all times. The Greek Automobile and Touring Club - ELPA ( www.elpa.gr) provides members of associated national automobile clubs with 24-hour assistance on main roads.
Emergency breakdown services
ELPA (tel: 10400, in Greece only).
The PATHE (Patra, Athens and Thessaloniki) motorway runs from Patras in the west via Athens to Thessaloniki and Tsoliades on the FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) border. To reach both Istanbul and Sofia, drivers must head north on the E75 to Thessaloniki. From there, Istanbul is east on the E90, crossing the border at Kipi, while Sofia lies northeast on the E79, crossing the border at Promahonas.
There are two domestic long-distance bus terminals in Athens - terminal A, Kifissou 100, and terminal B, Liossion 260. Buses link Athens and all the main towns in Attica, northern Greece and the Peloponnese. Bus schedule information for the Attiki region is available from KTEL (tel: +30 210 880 8000; www.ktelattikis.gr).
Time to city
From Thessaloniki – 5 hours; Sofia - 8 hours 40 minutes; Istanbul - 11 hours 50 minutes.
Travel by Rail
All trains depart from Larissa station which is served by the metro red line, connecting it to Syntagma in the city centre. Although international services were cut completely in 2011, the Belgrade-Thessaloniki and Sofia-Thessaloniki services were reinstated in 2014.
The domestic railway network is limited to the mainland and is generally slower than travel by road. The Greek railway service is run by Hellenic Railways Organisation - OSE (tel: 14511, in Greece only; +30 213 0121121; www.trainose.gr). Greek trains have first- and second-class accommodation. However, following cuts in 2011, during which several lines were suspended due to financial problems, the rail service is limited to the northern and eastern mainland (the principle route being Athens-Thessaloniki) and to the northern parts of the Peloponnese (at present only the Athens-Corinth line is functioning, but there are plans to upgrade and reopen the Corinth-Patras line).
Trains are cheaper than buses but generally much slower. Reservations are available for no extra charge and there is a 20% rebate on return fares.
From Thessaloniki - 5 hours 20 minutes; Corinth - 1 hour 40 minutes.