Travel Greece like a local with this handy guide.
While holidaying in Greece, buses are the most common means of transport. Cities, small towns and even large islands are well connected through the bus network.
Trains have limited coverage and only connect major cities such as Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras and Larissa. Inter-island travel is facilitated by ferries, boats and catamarans.
It’s easy and convenient to rent a car or scooter to explore, especially on the islands where public transport is limited.
Check out the different ways to get around Greece below.
Travelling from city to city
- Internal flights. The national airline company, Olympic Airlines extensively covers both islands and mainland destinations. Aegean and Sky Express also offer cheap, but infrequent, services.
- Trains. A cheaper option than buses to enjoy the scenic landscapes. However the state's rail network is quite limited due to a rough terrain and economic crisis, meaning trains run between fewer destinations and are less frequent.
- Buses. Intercity buses are the most popular option to get around Greece. KTEL is the government-subsidised national network operating a system of routes throughout most of the country. It’s efficient, reliable and affordable, covering long and short routes from the main cities to the islands and include the ferry price in the ticket.
Travelling to the islands
From Santorini to Mykonos, Paras to Crete, a trip to Greece is never complete without visiting its islands. Greece has an extensive ferry network that connects all islands, though you may have to island hop depending on which island you're planning to visit. Ferry options range from large car ferries, which are generally the cheapest, to smaller, high-speed ferries which are faster though more prone to cancellations particularly in high-wind.
Tickets for ferries can be booked online or purchased at the port or at select travel agents on the islands themselves or in Athens. Prices are regulated so booking early or online will not save you anything but peace of mind.
There are two ferry ports in Athens, Pireaus and Rafina. Pireaus is the larger terminal and can be used to connect to the popular islands such as Santorini and Mykonos. During summer, ferries can run multiple times per day however during winter they may only run certain days of the week. Alternatively, larger islands such as Crete have airports which you can fly into from Athens. These can save you journey time compared to travelling by ferry, though may be more expensive. If you want to max out your time and not worry about connections or multiple bookings, island hopping tours are an easy way to a hassle-free trip.
Greece public transport
- Types of transport. Buses are the most common mode of public transport in cities and islands, plus taxis are available in all tourist regions. Athens has a more developed transport network with metro, trams and trolley buses. There’s also a variety of water transport options to explore the islands, such as tahýplia (high-speed boats), catamarans, ferries, kaïkia (small boats), hydrofoils and cruises. For an immersive experience, rent a bicycle or scooter from one of the many rental shops or discover the region on foot.
- Paying for transport. While card payments are accepted in Greece, cash is always preferred. There are several passes for travelling in Greece that provide unlimited mobility across all modes of transport. Check out these transport passes in Athens.
- Getting to and from the airport. Buses connect almost every airport in Greece with their respective city centres. Major cities have dedicated express airport bus services.
- Best apps for getting around. Tfa tickets is the official transport app of Athens to book public transport tickets. OASA Telematics is another useful app to view the routes, timetables and stops for urban buses.
Taxis and Uber
Taxi. Taxis run extensively throughout Greece, but in larger cities like Athens drivers can reject you if the destination isn’t convenient for them. It’s recommended to book a taxi in advance over the phone or from the Taxibeat app, a taxi aggregator service which is more popular in Greece than Uber.
Uber. Uber is available in Athens and costs €18 - €24 from the airport to the city centre.
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Greece car hire rental companies
Exploring Greece by car can be a very rewarding experience as you’re able to reach remote places, beaches and offbeat locations.
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To avoid taxis book an airport transfer to get directly from the airport to your destination or vice-versa.