General Information A-Z

Airport

The Athens International Airport S.A. (AIA), one of the most modern and functional airports in the world, opened in 2001, marking the onset of a new era for air transport in Greece. Thanks to its favourable geographical location at the crossroads of three continents, state-of-the art infrastructure and top-notch service, AIA has earned the trust of passengers, as well as numerous international distinctions and awards. Today, it constitutes one of the major gateways to Southeastern Europe.

During its 17 years of successful operations, the airport has served almost 260 million passengers through 3.0 million flights. With over 70 distinctions throughout the 17 years of its operation, distinguishing it as one of the best airports in the world across its diverse range of activities, AIA maintains one of the best airport terminals in Europe, equipped with state-of-the art systems, featuring user-friendly orientation and comfortable waiting areas, offering top quality services, and making each moment at the airport a pleasant experience for the travelers, their meeters and greeters, and the airport’s visitors, who are frequently surprised with an unexpected programme of live events in the terminal area. According to the surveys conducted at the airport, our passengers and visitors highly appreciate the airport’s ambience, the courtesy of staff, the fine offers of over 120 quality shops, restaurants & cafés in the Airport Shopping Centre, as well as an attractive and highly convenient Retail Park located within the Airport compound.

Airport Transfers

There are several ways to go to and from the airport.

Metro

Take Metro Line 3 (Agia Marina – Douk. Plakentias – Athens International Airport), which connects the Athens airport with the city centre.
Trains run every 30 minutes, 7 days a week from 6:30 to 23:30. The trip from/to the Airport to Syntagma station (Athens center) lasts approx. 40 minutes.

24-hour Express Buses

ExpressBus routes directly connect Athens (city center & greater area) and Piraeus (port) with the Athens International Airport (AIA) “Eleftherios Venizelos”. The service is provided on a nonstop basis seven days a week including holidays (24/7 operation). All buses drop off passengers at the Departures Level (inbound trips to airport)
and depart from the Arrivals Level (outbound trips from the airport). Bus tickets are sold at the info/ticket-kiosk (located outside the Arrivals between Exits 4 and 5), or onboard (ask operator) at no extra cost.

There are four routes:

X93: Kifissos KTEL (long-distance buses)

Station – Airport
Direct Connection to the intercity bus (KTEL) terminals KIFISOS and LIOSION.
Link to suburban rail station at: KIFISIAS

X95 : Syntagma – Airport

Direct Connection to Syntagma Square at Athens city center.
Link to Metro Line 2 station at: SYNTAGMA.
Link to Metro Line 3 stations at:NOMISMATOKOPEIO, ETHNIKI AMYNA, SYNTAGMA.
Link to tramway routes at: SYNTAGMA

X96 : Piraeus – Airport

Direct Connection to Piraeus central passenger port terminals.
Link to metro line 1 stations at: N.FALIRO (ISAP N.FALIRO), PEIRAIAS.
Link to suburban rail station at: PEIRAIAS.
Link to tramway routes at: PLATEIA GLYFADAS,EDEM, FLISVOS

X97 : Eliniko Metro Station – Airport

Direct Connection to ELLINIKO metro station.
Link to Metro Line 2 stations at: AG.DIMITRIOS, DAFNI.

One-way travel time estimates: X93 (65’minutes), X95 (60’ minutes), X96 (90’ minutes), X97 (45’ minutes). Allow sufficient time to travel as traffic conditions may cause delays. Estimates are given for reference only. Journey time depends on traffic conditions. Passengers are advised to allow sufficient time for their transfer from/to the airport.

Suburban Railway/ Proastiakos

The suburban railway (Proastiakos) connects the Athens Airport with the Athens Central Railway Station (Larissis Station) and the Acharnai Railway Center, and through them to the National Railway network. The suburban railway departs every 15-25 minutes from the Athens Airport railway station to Plakentias station, where you can change trains and continue to the city center (Metro Line 3 to Egaleo), using the same ticket.

Current timetables:
Airport – Kiato / Kiato – Airport
Kiato – Patras bus connections
Piraeus – Athens – Halkida line

Taxi

Taxis are available at the designated Taxi waiting area located at Exit 3 of Arrivals Level. A taxi from the airport to the city centre (inner ring) costs a flat rate of 35 EUR from 5:00 to midnight, and 50 EUR from midnight to 5:00. The charge is determined by the time of arrival at the destination and includes all applicable surcharges and extras.

Bank

Major international banking institutions, credit card companies and ATMs in and around Athens are plentiful and easy to access. Banks are open to the public Monday through Thursday 08:00 to 14:30 and Fridays 08:00 to 14:00, except on public holidays. The “Open24” Bank (Eurobank) is open mornings and afternoons, as well as on Saturdays. Foreign currency may be exchanged for Euros at most Greek and foreign banks and at exchange bureaus located in the city center and the Athens International Airport. Bring your passport when exchanging money as you will need it for the transaction. Traveler’s checks and credit cards issued by major companies are also widely recognized and accepted as a means of purchasing items in Athens.

Climate

Athens is an ideal year-round city destination with comfortable and favourable climate conditions for travel and sightseeing. Rainfall is minimal and there are over 300 days of sunshine a year. Summers (June through August) are dry and hot with temperatures ranging from 78° to 94°F, or 20° to 34°C. Seasonal winds, known as Meltemi, may accompany some hot days. September is often considered the ideal month for both urban activities and nearby island day trips with temperatures ranging from 70° to 83°F, or 20° to 28°C.

Culture

A walk around Athens will reveal many important ancient sites from the classical and the Roman times. Museums feature awe-inspiring exhibits illustrating myths, legends, history, defeat, life, love and death in the birthplace of western civilization. In this city, archaeological research and collective works never cease. Treasures
from bygone eras are continually coming to light and we gain a wider understanding of the historical evolution of the Attica region with every new discovery. Athens is loaded with archaeological sites, museums, Byzantine churches, urban sculptures and libraries, and important buildings that tell a different story about this unique land. At the same time, you can get acquainted with the Greek modern and contemporary art browsing in the area’s small galleries and art spaces: a vibrant reflection of contemporary Greek life.

Currency

Greece has been a full member of the European Union since 1981 and its currency is the Euro (€). All major credit cards are widely accepted in Greece.

Electricity

Electric current is 230V AC (50Hz). Appliances from North America need a transformer and those from England need an adaptor.

Emergency Numbers

• Police: 1033
• Emergency: 100
• Tourist Police: 171
• Airport Police: 210 3536919
• Fire Emergency: 199
• Ambulance: 166
• Poison Control: 210 7793777
• Aids Help Line: 210 7222222
• Hospitals, pharmacies: 14944
• SOS Doctors: 1016
• Road Side Assistance – ELPA: 10400
• Traffic Police of Athens: 210 5284000
• Greece’s international calling code is +30.

Entertainment

Greece is internationally known for its vibrant nightlife with Athens, its capital, holding the reins! Athens is an ideal destination for those who wish to have fun and unwind, leaving stress and problems behind. Often described as the city that never sleeps, Athens has a unique and multidimensional nightlife, offering unforgettable moments! It is a real must-live experience with a great variety of all kinds of entertainment, whether it be dance clubs, little cozy bars, restaurants, theatre, cinemas and
the famous live stages known as bouzoukia. Are you searching for bars and clubs that will be open until the morning light to dance all night long to the rhythm of both local and international music? Do you want to have dinner even after midnight, or give yourself the chance to watch a drama performance at an ancient theatre? Then Athens by night is the answer!

Greek Gastronomy

Eating in Greece is a treat for the senses! More and more people are learning to appreciate the delights and health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Greek gastronomy has a recorded history of around 4,000 years, with special characteristics based on pure and unique quality goods of the Greek land: extra virgin olive oil, fresh seasonal vegetables, greens and herbs, crispy pies and delicious roasts, fresh fish and seafood. All of these have established the Greek cuisine as one of the top cuisines in the world. If you want to find its secrets, Greek cuisine has four good quality fresh ingredients in particular: correct use of flavorings (herbs), spices, the famous Greek olive oil, and simplicity. Throughout Athens, you will find a range of eateries representing the country’s gastronomic scene, from traditional tavernas serving good homely Greek cuisine to elegant restaurants serving up great dishes with a modern, creative twist. Moreover, Athens has many bar-restaurants and winebars, fast casual restaurants, and a wide choice of international cuisine to satisfy any visitor’s appetite. So when in Athens, get ready to discover that Greek cuisine has more than moussaka, souvlaki and choriatiki to offer. It presents a wide variety of dishes that will utterly satisfy the gastronomic desires of both vegetarians and meat lovers!

Health

Emergency treatment is free to all visitors in public hospitals.

Internet Access

There are numerous internet cafés in Athens which are usually open all day long. Wifi hotspots are also available at the Airport El. Venizelos, at the Acropolis Museum, the National Hellenic Research Centre, the University Campus in Zografou and many more. Athens Wi-Fi is a wireless hotspot based on 802.11b/g (Wi-Fi). You can easily connect to the Internet while you are sitting on a bench or while enjoying your coffee. The connection is free provided that you choose the wireless network (SSID) athensWiFi and type the number which appears on your screen. The connection speed is quite fast and the capacity is 4Mbps. There is also a free wireless Internet network in selected metro and train stations in Athens, such as Syntagma, Panepistimio, Acropolis, Omonia, Piraeus, Neratziotissa and Doukissis Plakentias.

Language

The native language of the population is Modern Greek. English is widely spoken as a second language by the majority of Greeks, while French and German are also spoken to a good extent.

Mobile phones

Mobile phones automatically connect to Greek networks. You can also manually connect by choosing the option “network selection” on your mobile to get manually connected. Your roaming mobile phone operator will inform you about charges for local and international calls. Otherwise, you can always get a Greek mobile telephone number upon your arrival that you can use during your stay. You can buy a SIM card at any mobile phone shop and top up cards from the kiosks on the streets.

Passports, Visas and Letters of Invitation

Greece is part of the Schengen Area. The unified Schengen visa (C-type visa valid in Schengen states) entitles the holder to stay in the territory of all Schengen states.The Schengen visa with limited territorial validity (C-type visa valid only in Greece or with validity excluded from a specified Schengen state/states) only entitles the holder to stay in the territory of the state/states for which it is valid.

What documents do you need when submitting a C-type Schengen visa application?

1. Travel document:
• valid at least three months after your planned departure from Greece/Schengen territory;
• with at least 2 blank pages;
• issued within the last ten years.
2. Completed and signed visa application form.
3. Biometric photo.
4. Visa fee.
5. Health insurance of at least EUR 30,000, valid in the entire Schengen territory.
6. Supplementary documents, confirming:
• the purpose of the visit,
• possession of accommodation;
• possession of sufficient funds to cover the cost of entry, stay and departure from the Schengen territory or Greece;
• willingness to leave Schengen territory after expiry of the visa.

The types and number of supplementary documents may differ depending on the consular office. Thus, we advise you to contact the relevant consulate to obtain full information concerning the documents needed when submitting a visa application. The consul of the Schengen state which is the main destination of your visit is always the consul competent to process your visa application.

If you are not planning to visit Greece at all, you cannot submit your Schengen visa application to a Greek consular office. If you are going to visit several Schengen states, a Greek consul will be competent to process your application only if Greece is the main destination of your entry into the Schengen territory or if Greece is the state in which you intend to spend most of your time.

If you intend to stay in the territory of Greece and/or any other Schengen states (during one or more visits) for a total of up to 90 days within a half-year period calculated from the date of first entry, or if you plan to pass through Schengen territory (by train, car or plane), you need to apply for a Schengen C-type visa.
For more information visit our MFA’s website: www.mfa.gr/en/visas/schengen-visas

Public Transportation

The best and fastest means of transport is the Metro. Running since 2000, it covers most of the city’s areas. Athenian passengers also use the older overground line of the metro system, as well as the tram, the suburban railway, buses and trolleys for their daily journeys.

Metro

The Athens metro consists of 3 lines and provides transfers to the tram, bus routes and suburban rail at hub stations. At peak hours, trains run every 5-6 minutes. The metro runs daily from 05:00 to 00:15. On Fridays and Saturdays, the operation of the metro (lines 2 & 3) is extended to 02:00. For more information on all public transport modes: call 11185 and/or visit www.tfa.gov.gr.

Tram

Environmentally friendly, with a view of the Saronic Gulf, the tram connects the centre of Athens with the coastal suburbs. Four station hubs along its routes connect with the metro. Total waiting time during peak hours is a maximum of 8-20 minutes depending on the line. The tram operates from 5:00 to 00:00, while on Fridays and Saturdays, the tram operation is extended to 02:30. For more information on all public transport modes, call 11185 and/or visit www.tfa.gov.gr.

Buses and Trolleybuses

The Athens bus and trolleybus network is very extensive and provides connections of the Athens and Piraeus city centres with the most distant points in the metro area. In general, buses and trolleybuses run daily from 05:00 to 23:30. However, there are several core bus lines which extend their operation until 12:30 (please make sure that you check the timetable before travelling either by phone (11185) or at www.tfa.gov.gr). Airport Express Buses operate on a 24-hour basis connecting the Athens International Airport with the city centre (Syntagma Sq.), the Piraeus Port and the Intercity Bus Terminal (KTEL Kifisos). After midnight, services are also provided on four central bus routes (040, 500, 790 and X14) and one trolleybus (11). For more information on all public transport modes, call 11185 and/or visit www.tfa.gov.gr.

Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE)

Domestic and international departures from Athens and Thessaloniki with connections to major railways. For more information, call 1110 or +30 210 52 97 777 and/or visit www.trainose.gr.

Intercity Bus Company or Association of Bus Operators (KTEL)

The Greek bus companies, or KTEL, serve destinations around Greece. Almost every city and village has a local KTEL coach service with routes to main city centres and the capital.There are two bus terminals: Kifissou 100 serves the Peloponnese (+30 210 5124910) and western Greece; the Liossion 260 terminal serves central and northern Greece (+30 210 8317096). For more information, call 14505 or +30 210 88 08 000 and/or visit www.ktel.org.

Proastiakos (Suburban Rail)

This new high-speed rail system offers access to Irakleio and Neratziotissa, near the Athens Olympic Sports Complex. It also gets you to Kifissia, the hub of business in northern Athens, Doukissis Plakentias, an important urban residential area, Pallini and Kantza in the eastern part of the greater Athens area, and Koropi, a centre of industrial development. A new route to Corinthos has been launched with plans to extend the network with added routes to Lavrio, Rafina, and Chalkida for easier mobility. It also serves Athens International Airport. The suburban rail runs daily from 06:00 until midnight. For more information, call 1110 or +30 210 52 98 829 and/or visit www.trainose.gr.

Shopping

If you come from a country outside the European Union and spend a minimum of 120 EUR on the same day in the same store, you can benefit from a tax refund. Ask for your invoice or receipt and the tax-free receipt. Do not forget to stamp your invoices or receipts at the airport. You can also find duty free shops at Athens International Airport and at the Port of Piraeus.

Time

Athens is in the Eastern-European time zone, which means it is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Additionally, Athens has daylightsaving time, meaning that during spring and summer (from March to October) the clocks are put forward one hour.

Tourist Information

Greek National Tourism Organisation Tourist
Information Office
18, Dionyssiou Areopagitou St.
Metro Acropolis
Tel.: +30 210 3310392, +30 210 3310716
www.visitgreece.gr

Athens-Attica and Argosaronic Hotel
Association
Tel.: +30 210 3235485
www.all-athens-hotels.com

Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist
Agencies (HATTA)
Tel.: +30 210 9223522 | www.hatta.gr

Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE)
Tel.: +30 210 3217165 | www.sete.gr

Hellenic Federation of Tourism Enterprises
Tel.: +30 210 9245120 | www.poet.gr

Association of Licensed Tourist Guides
www.tourist-guides.gr

Urban Transport Organisation
www.oasa.gr

Athens International Airport
www.aia.gr

Flight information (all airlines)
Tel.: +30 210 3530000

Aegean Airlines
Tel.: +30 801 112 0000, +30 210 6261000
www.aegeanair.com

Greek Railway Company
www.ose.gr

Ministry of Culture
www.culture.gr

Region of Attica
www.athensattica.gr

The City of Athens
www.thisisathens.org

Hellenic Chamber of Hotels
Tel.: +30 213 2169900 | www.grhotels.gr

Hellenic Hoteliers Federation
www.hhf.gr

Athens Development and Destination
Management Agency
Tel.: +30 210 3253123 |
www.developathens.gr | www.thisisathens.org

Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau
Tel.: +30 210 3312002 | www.athenscvb.gr