Most tourist sites are within the city centre, which is easy to get around on foot; however, there is an extensive public transport network consisting of buses, trolley buses, minibuses and a fast new three-line underground metro service. The metro is especially useful to get to Piraeus to catch a boat to the islands. Transport is cheap, but often overcrowded, especially during the siesta rush hour (1-3pm), and operates until midnight. A limited night bus service operates along major routes. Bus and metro tickets are not transferable, but a daily pass can be used on both. Although taxis are plentiful it may be difficult to get one during the siesta rush hour, and it is not unusual to share the ride with other passengers. It is often easier to phone ahead for a cab. Taxis are inexpensive, but always check that the meter is on and set to the minimum fare of €1 as drivers often attempt to overcharge tourists. Legitimate surcharges can increase the final bill, but these should be displayed on the dashboard. Driving in Athens is not recommended; cars are banned from the commercial centre, and parking anywhere is near impossible.
GMT +2 (GMT +3 between last Sunday in April and last Sunday in October).
Electrical current is 220 volts and 50Hz. A variety of plugs are in use, including the European-style two-pin and the round three-pin.
The official currency is the Euro (EUR), which is divided into 100 cents. Banks and bureaux de change are widely available and major credit cards are accepted. ATMs are widespread and are generally the cheapest and most convenient method of obtaining euros.
The international access code for Greece is +30. There are often surcharges on calls made from hotels and it is generally cheaper to use OTE (Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation) offices for local and international calls. Calls can also be made from public card phone booths and cards can be bought from kiosks or OTE offices. Local mobile phone operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most international operators. Internet cafes are available in the main towns and resorts, and are cheaper than accessing the internet from hotels.
Emergencies: 112 (General European emergency number). Other emergency numbers in Greece: 100 (Police), 166 (Ambulance), 171 (Tourist Police)
|New Years Day||1 Jan||1 Jan|
|Epiphany||6 Jan||6 Jan|
|Independence Day||25 Mar||25 Mar|
|Orthodox Good Friday||18 Apr||10 Apr|
|Orthodox Easter Sunday||20 Apr||12 Apr|
|Orthodox Easter Monday||21 Apr||13 Apr|
|Labour Day||1 May||1 May|
|Assumption of the Virgin Mary||15 Aug||15 Aug|
|Ochi Day||28 Oct||28 Oct|
|Christmas Day||25 Dec||25 Dec|
|St Stephens Day||26 Dec||26 Dec|
Athens is one of the sunniest cities in Europe, with a semi-arid climate and little rainfall, although short, heavy showers do fall during the winter months (mid-October to mid-April). Summers are very hot and smoggy, and heat waves are common during July and August when the mercury soars to over 104°F (40ºC). Winters are mild and sunny although frost can occur and nights can be cold. The best time to travel to Athens is during the cooler, fine weather of spring and early summer, between late April and early June. Autumn (September and October) can also be a pleasant time. Although summer can be oppressively hot it is still peak tourist season and the period when the beaches and attractions are most crowded.
Metro Line 3 connects the airport with Syntagma Square and Monastiraki. The airport is also served by six public bus routes, which connect to destinations in the greater area of Athens and Piraeus, with buses running frequently day and night. Athens International is connected to Athens Central Railway Station (Larissis Station) by the Suburban Rail line.
Avis, Hertz, National, Budget, Europcar and Sixt are all represented at the airport.
A taxi to the centre of Athens costs €15- 25 and takes roughly 30-60 minutes. There are plenty of taxis to be hired at the ranks in front of the airport terminals, and fares are charged on a per kilometre basis. Rates are doubled between midnight and 6am.
The airport features banks and ATMs, currency exchange services, a tax refund desk, travel agencies, conference facilities, a business centre, a tourist information desk, numerous shops and restaurants, a food court, and an archaeological museum.
There is short and long-term parking available in the airport: short-term parking is on the arrivals level and costs €3.80 for the first hour (up to 20 minutes are free); while long-term parking is found across the access road in P3 and costs €50 for the first week and €5 per day after. Long-term parking is connected to the terminal by a free shuttle.
Wifi is available and free for the first hour, additional browsing time can be purchased at the Business Centre on the arrivals level.