The Athens Metro system is new and modern. There are three lines: Red, Green and Blue. The red line will take you to the vicinity of the Acropolis (Akropoli station). The green line is the longest, and goes as far as Piraeus.
Syntagma is the central station, and allows transfer between the red and blue lines. There are other stations where transfers are possible between the red and green lines (Omonia), or the green and blue lines (Monastiraki).
While digging the underground tunnels and stations, the diggers came across various ancient archeological findings. They came up with the brilliant idea to put these ancient objects on displays in glass boxes in the Metro stations themselves. So, in Syntagna station and a few others you can see a "mini-archeological-museum" and admire ancient vases and figurines.
A neat way of integrating the ancient and the modern in Athens!
The metro system in Athens is very good, efficient and cheap. We came on a cruise ship to the port of Piraeus and to get to and in Athens bought a 24hr ticket at the Piraeus metro station, cost only 2 Euro. The ticket is good for all kinds of transportation (metro, bus). You only need to validate it the first time you enter. The metro in Athens consists of 3 lines that conect you to all parts of the city. The stations are clean with sings and maps everywhere. It tooks us about 5 min to understand the maps and different directions but once yo do, it's easy.
Getting around via means of public transport in Athens is quite cheap. I prefer taking the metro , because it is cheap , you can get almost everywhere , and is accurate. Tickets cost 0.80 euros for a ride in whichever direction (except Airport connection) including buses, that lasts at most 1:30 hour. The last trains depart from Kifissia and Piraeus Station at midnight. During Fridays and Saturdays , there are routes until 2:00 AM
I was indoctrinated on the underground system in London, continued that education in Paris and Rome, and have to say the underground in Athens is really beautiful. It is by far the cleanest, though Paris is right up there, also, but so wide and spacious, so easy to get around. The system is not as wide spread as Paris or London, but definitely a wonderful way to get from point to point. A big difference -- you only validate your pass once, but make sure you do before riding!
Links for information and routes:
the Athens metro has to be the most beautiful system in the world and should stay this way until the graffiti "artists" get a hold of it. In the meantime even if there is nowhere you need to go with the new metro, it is worth visiting it and even taking a ride a few stops (you can visit the Hilton and the American Embassy). As you may have heard, work on the metro was slow because of all the antiquities they discovered. Every time they dug a new hole they would find a grave, or a wall or an urn or something and would have to put down their picks and shovels and call in the archaeologists who would do their digging with toothbrushes, which is a bit slower. Meanwhile deep below the surface, the giant metro mouse is churning fossilized dinosaurs into microscopic chips as it tunnels it's way through the city.
So the main problem was not having to dig through rock, but having to sift through history. But this was worth the time spent because Syntagma square is more than a metro station. It's a museum. In the entrance are photos of Athens from 100 years ago when it really was one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Metro is the best way to move in the city, when you don't like to walk.
The sights in the city are very close by another, you don't need the transport. But if you decide to move by transport, then the metro is the best choice.
The underground stations are clean and it is easy find the train when you follow the signs.
The ticket price in metro is 0,80 EUR, only from Airport to the city it is cost 6 EUR. When you buy 2 ticket together, it is cost 5 EUR for each.
We were use the weekly ticket, what cost 10 EUR. It is gives you unlimited travel for all public transport for 7 days (validate only once, at the beginning).
The Metro stations - Acropoli and Syntagma - are filled with a permanent exhibition of archaeological expositions.
Get a metro map from the metro station and once you have figured out where is what, it is very easy to use. The cost of a single ticket is around 1 euro,. but if you buy a 24 hour ticket for 3 euro, you can get on and off as often as you like, Just remember to validate you ticket before you enter the platform areas of the station as i believe the railway police does not tolerate anyone who has not done so and pleading innocent does not work here!
I was impressed with the efficiency of the Metro in Athens. It's too bad that the metro isn't extended longer in different directions. It was clean and easy to access, easy to understand where the exits and entrances were and which line you need to get on. Because we stayed at a hotel in Glyfada. We had to take a taxi to the nearest Metro station. From there I went to the main town of Athens to see museums, the Acropolis, the Plaka, etc.
The metro may be your best bet, and most used transportation method in Athens. It was much improved for the 2004 Olympics and has stops at many places in Athens, and extends all the way to Patra. It is, for the most part, comfortable and cool, and fairly cheap. Become acquianted with the metro system if you plan on spending much time in Greece! It will save you time and money (as opposed to Taxis)
WARNING!!!!! ---- My first time on the metro I was confused as to how it worked. In California, if there is an area which you are not supposed to pass with a ticket there is a gaurd rail or some system of some kind to prevent you from entering the area. In most parts of the metro this is not the case. You could get lost looking for a ticket counter or someone to ask questions, end up near a platform and land a hefty fine from the police who roam the area. This happened to me. I witnessed several other tourists get stopped in the same state of confusion as I was when the officer told me I had an approximately 100$ fine to pay for not having a ticket. I explained to him that I got lost and didn't understand the system, this mattered little to him. I was unbelieveably heated by this situation. There is no warning. So be sure you have a ticket before you go down any escalator or so on, as often the boarding area is just down the stairs or escalator.
Metro Blue line provides a very convenient and fast way between Athens and ATH airport.
The cost between ATH airport and Red line station Akropolis was 5 Euros per person in mid-May, 2008. It took about 45 minutes (including transfer waiting time at Sytangma Square).
It is straight forward from ATH heading to Athens. For us, we only needed to transfer at Syntagma Square to the Red line. At ATH Metro terminal, the electronic display shows the next few trains to come, e.g., in 2 minutes, in 11 minutes etc.
However, when going from Athens to ATH, one has to make sure that the Blue line train you get on clearly said going to Airport. Otherwise you will have to have "fun" transfering later. Depends upon where the Blue train stops.
When we got onto the Blue line train at Syntagma Square, we simply assumed all the Blue trains would go to ATH (no one tells us otherwise!), and learnt a lessons. At station Plakentias, the train announced that everyone should get off. We were confused (thought should be a very easy and simple way, get onto Blue train, done!). A VERY KIND gentleman told us that we needed to transfer to a suburban train to get to ATH airport. His English is not perfect (his own word) but great enogh for helping us. He was so kind asking us to follow him to the suburban train track. Fortunately, he took the same train, otherwise we would have felt so guilty making him so much trouble helping us. We are very grateful to him.
There are signs at the Plakentias station guiding you to the suburban train to ATH airport, just not as convenient as someone actually leads you.
Before we left for Greece, we had been pre-warned of possible construction that the Blue line may not work. Please check the status for your trip (I will add the website link here later).
If Metro Blue line should not work, one can take the Express X95 bus at Syntagma Square to go to ATH (and vice versa).
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