Practical Life in Athens

Transport in Athens

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The Athens Metro system has 3 Lines: the M1 that starts in Piraeus and ends in Kifissia; the M2 that goes from Agios Antonios and ends in Agios Dimitrios; the M3 line runs from Egaleo to Doukissis Plakentias from where you can take the Athens suburban railway (or Proastiakos) to the Airport. In preparation for the 2004 Olympics of 2004 all stations of the old M1 line were upgraded and modernised. Travelling on the Athens Metro is a nice experience since both the trains and the stations are very clean and modern and free of graffiti or vandalism. A one way ticket will cost you 0.80 €. For 1€ you can travel freely for 1 ½ hours, a day tickets cost 3 € and weekly tickets 10 €. From Athens airport the one way ticket costs 6 € while a return ticket within 48 hours costs 10 €. If you’re travelling in a group of two or more you can get a group one way ticket for 10 €. The Athens Metro follows the German system: tickets can be bought from the automatic ticket machines but must be validated using the machines on the platform before getting on the train.


‘Ethel’ is the main bus operator in Athens. There are 300 bus lines which cover the whole Attica Basin. Almost a fifth of these buses run on natural gas, making it the largest fleet of natural gas-run buses in Europe. In addition the Athens metropolitan area is also serviced by electric buses, or ILPAP.


The Athens tram system serves 48 stations and runs from Syntagma Square to the south-western suburb of Palaio Faliro, where the line then splits into two branches; the first runs along the coast towards the southern suburb of Voula, while the other heads towards the Piraeus district of Neo Faliro.


The Proastiakos, or suburban rail network, connects Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport to the city of Corinth, 80 km west of Athens, via the central Larissa train station and the port of Piraeus, and is sometimes considered as the fourth line of the Athens Metro.


Taxis abound in Athens and they are generally cheap. Although not strictly legal during rush hour it is often considered normal to flag down a taxi if it’s only occupied by one or two customers: according to convention if you’re all heading in the same direction you can share the ride.


It is preferable to use the metro or taxis to get around town. A combination of poor road infrastructure and bad driving means that roads in Athens and Piraeus are extremely congested. Private parking spaces are a rare luxury and lack of available space means that the city council has not been able to provide public car parking. Drivers will double or triple park, or even park on the pavement. Street corners, bus stops and disabled parking spaces are used by motorists and cyclists alike. Pedestrians often need to negotiate their way between parked vehicles on the pavement. To tackle these problems measures banning cars from entering the centre of Athens on specific dates of the month (according to whether the date and the last digit on their number plate is odd or even) have been put in place. Foreign number plates are excluded from this rule. There are plans to introduce a congestion charge along the lines of the London system.

If you want to rent a car in Athens please follow one of the following links:

Update 31/12/2008


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