You will find them everywhere, the yellow race as we call them (all the taxis in Athens are yellow) fill the streets as there are 15.000 taxis in Athens! I seriously think that they are responsible for the huge traffic of Athens! :) I have to admit I rarely use them except some late hours when there is no metro to take me back home. The last year due to the economic crisis they seem to have serious problem with only a few customers, that’s why many of them use to wait in specific lines for hours instead of running around for customers.
Just raise your hand and usually they stop even if they have someone else inside. It’s normal here to take more than one passenger if the route is more or less the same.
The good thing is that taxis in Greece are cheaper than in other european cities. Of course the universal rule about taxi drivers affects greek drivers too so pay attention because some of them do the same tricks like doing pointless circles, trying to charge more etc but I think its the minority of them that do things like that... The most common route they used to scam tourists was from the airport to city center as the newcomers could easily be fooled but hopefully since February 2011 there is a fix price from/to city center. It will cost you 35 euros (including tolls/luggage etc). After midnight(till 5.00am) it costs 50euros.
Instead of taking a city cab, I recommend you to use Thomas Fetsis from ExperienceTaxi. Nice Mercedes car, cheaper than the city taxi, fluent English, very friendly, excellent local recommendations (todo, restaurants, shops).
I've been to Greece several times and I find it easier to travel by taxi. It's rather cheaper than other European countries and many drivers speak English and are helpful in providing tips about monuments and restaurants.
However there are still some drivers who do not use the meter or use double tariff to overcharge. I found a very nice application for my HTC Desire which offers a taxi meter for Greece. This handy little application (Greek taxi meter pro) runs a taxi meter based on GPS and resembles the meter device of the driver. It will let you know if you should use single or double tariff and will also provide several useful information about taxi charges.
The application costs 4 euros on the android market (https://market.android.com/details?id...) but there is a free, demo application which you can try before you purchase. Nevertheless, I must confess that spending 4 euros on an application saved me much more euros I would spend on taxi extra charges. Not even to mention how it saved me the headaches from arguing with the drivers...
The taxis in Athens are yellow. The prices depend on the destination, the traffic and the pick-up spot since taking a taxi from the port or airport will cost you a bit more especially if you have luggage. At the moment you enter the taxi the meter will write €1. Either you use the taxi to go down the street or a two-hour distance you will have to pay €2,70. During Christmas there is a euro added to this price as a Christmas present. Taxis are the most expensive means of transportation in Greece although they are cheap in comparison to those of other European countries and probably the slowest since traffic obliges the drivers to stay for hours stuck in long car lines.
The good thing is that you can find a taxi everywhere, at all times and days and if there is no traffic you can get to your destination really quickly. After midnight the prices are doubled until 6 am.
During our port of call Piraeus (Athens) we were lucky enough to meet the best taxi driver ever. His English was perfect. He was very knowledgable and extremely reasonable in respect to his fare. You couldn't find a better driver. You can trust me, I am very familiar with taxis in ports of call (after approx.40 cruises I should be).
I was recommended this taxi company by a colleague of mine who use their services during their business trips. They are very professional with clean Merecedes E-Class sedans. The drivers are super friendly and helpful. Whenever I used them they were always on time and greeted us with professionalism. We booked THE TRANSFER CLUB for airport tranfers and used them for a city tour and day trip...they charge by the hour on the city tours...was a nice experience.
In comparing rates with other taxi companies they were the best priced for what they offer. The company works as an luxury taxi company because all their sedans are recent Merecedes E-Class vehicles with drivers dressed in suit and tie. You will find cheaper taxi companies however you take the risk of getting an old car that is dirty inside and with a driver that smokes in the car. I prefer to pay alittle extra and drive in a nice car that is clean, smokefree with friendly drivers.
Check out their website www.thetransferclub.com. It is informative...for rates you need to email them your request. They also have minibuses for more than 4 people.
I recently spent about a week in Athens, during which one of my friends injured her foot, so we occasionally would indulge in a taxi. Now, my tip for any city is to try to walk to your destination as much as possible, that way you see as much of the city as possible, and really get an understanding of how to get around. But if you have to take a taxi in Athens, you should be pleasantly surprised!! They are incredibly cheap compared to taxis that I have taken in the US, Paris, and London. We often took a taxi when we went out at night. I never paid over 5 euros for a trip, even going from one side of central Athens to the other!
You may be nervous if there is a language barrier. First, lean towards the open window of the taxi and politely ask (preferrably in Greek!) if the taxi driver speaks english. Even if they do not, if you know where you want to go, you should be able to manage. Next, give them the general area (i.e.) neighborhood, or well-known landmark that you want to go to. I found that only some of the taxis had gps systems, so if they do not know your street, it is best to know a landmark near your destination. If they seem okay with where you want to go, hop in and give them further instructions or details if you need to!
A few phrases (written phonetically):
Yassas - is a good, all-around, albeit somewhat casual greeting, like "hello"
Me latté anglika = do you speak english?
Para kalo = please (also can mean "can i help you" or "your welcome")
signomi = sorry/excuse me
né/ nay = yes (said in a seemingly negative tone, but it's a yes!)
ohi = no
Then katalaveno /Ven katalaveno = I do not understand
And don't forget:
efkaristo = thank you
This guy is great! That's all you really need to know, but if you have time, there are more details below. George Mavridis +30 94 4342154 (speaks Greek, English, German and Italian)
We got a chuckle while in Athens that it seems every taxi driver is named George. We by chance ended up getting a ride from the airport from George Mavridis, which turned out to be a great stroke of luck for us. We hired him for 28 euros per hour the next day to give us one of those whirlwind tours of the city and take us to the Temple to Poseidon. He did a wonderful job - if we drove ourselves we would have wasted so much time finding our way, searching for parking, walking from our parking spot to the sight, but George could pull up right in front of each sight into a "taxi only" parking spot. He was informative without overwhelming us with information. He was fun. His car is a mercedes, very comfortable. He keeps his back seat stocked with free water and candy. He could easily chat with us on any topic. He also was comfortable with some pauses in conversation and showed a very warm heart. He has a high tech approach to his job, and will look up information on the web for you and can even print it out from his printer/fax machine. For example, on our trip back to the airport at the end of our trip, he asked our final destination and looked up the weather report for the upcoming week, which helped us start to orient ourselves to life back home. He is very professional and makes every effort to help you enjoy yourself. We stopped one place so I could take a minute or two to put my toes into the Aegean Sea and George even had a towel in his trunk for me to clean off with! The guy thinks of everything. When we left, we felt we had made a true friend in Athens. I can't speak highly enough about George Mavridis.
I've read online since then that he has a doctorate degree in mechanical engineering.
There is also another "George the taxi driver" (George Kokkotos) mentioned on the internet, but George Mavridis (a thin fellow who wears glasses and is known for his high tech taxi) will always be our favorite "George the taxi driver." If you'd like to read more, use Google to look up an article entitled "Cab rides into the future of automotive infotainment" by EE Times. His entreprenuerial spirit, hard work and professionalism has enabled him to build his own business of 8 cabs.
We were given the name of George C. to be our driver by a good friend that had visited Athens twice in the past 2 years. He suggested to hire him to take us from our hotel to the cruise ship that we were embarking on and to let him show us the sights in Athens and the surrounding area. He greeted us promptly at the appointed time, took us on two wonderful days of touring and SAFELY navigated the crazy Athens traffic. Since he isn't a licensed tour guide, he was unable to take us into the Acropolis and other major historical sites, but it really didn't matter that much. He doesn't have a website but I will gladly forward his email address to anyone who wants it.
Athens, Belgrade, Bucharest, Kaunas, Kiev, Krakow, Minsk, Moscow, Prague, Riga, Rome, Sofia, Warsaw, Zagreb.
Something all of these places have in common is no shortage of taxi drivers who see it as a divine right to rip off tourists. In Bucharest, Minsk and Moscow in particular it is utterly outrageous and if there is an honest taxi driver anywhere in these cities then I am yet to find them.
Some thing else each of these cities have in common is a well developed public transport system based on any of metro / tram / trolley bus. The public transport systems are simple, efficient, quick and inexpensive and provide a welcome alternative to the inevitable taxi driver rip off.
If you should have any dispute with your taxi driver regarding the cost, which is not likely from the airport, since ALL taxis from the airport are strictly controlled by both the airport police and the Tourist Police, just ask the driver for his number, or write down his numberplate when you get out, and tell him you are gonig to call the Tourist Police at 171.
The Tourist Police told me that they have all the phone numbers of all the taxis that work at the airport...so the taxi drivers should all know this number(171) and will be very upset at his point if they hear your threat and will not want trouble because this action could lead to the loosing of their license and their livelihood. At the same time, be sure that if you have a dispute, you try to resolve things in a nice way before resorting to such harsh demands and such strict results. For example, you may also ask the people at your hotel to intervene. These kinds of situations , however,don't usually happen with an aiport taxi, unless you act stupid and give the driver the impression that you are vulnerable or you are rude and talk disrespectfully to begin with. Remember that taxi drivers have a very difficult job, and a smile goes much further than a rude voice. Like wise for the driver; but remember too, he could have been stuck in the heat and traffic jam for hours so don't always expect a taxi driver to be 'chatty.'
His job is to drive his passangers safetly to their destinations and not to overcharge them or to be rude.
Finally, you should know that the meter of the taxi must be turned on at all times with the meter showing a number 1 between the hours of 6am and 12 midnight. Between 12midnight and 6am the meter will read a number 2 and the charges will be doubled.
NEVER ask the driver how much it will cost to take you to a certain place! The price should always be the amount on the meter! If the meter is not working after you have gone a short distance, then you should tell him to turn on his meter immediately or you will call 171!
If you want to sound like you know a bit of Greek, you may say upon entering the taxi, 'Exen-O-Do-HE-O Goldlen Gate, Par-a-ka-LO. Exenodoheo means hotel; Parakalo, means Please.
Ok, let's get really serious noW! Everyone always asks me the same question every year! How much should I pay for a taxi from the airport????
I have just phoned the Tourist Police, at the local phone number of 171, to ask what is the exact policy is concerning taxi rates!!! So, listen up everyone out there. This should be very helpful information.
Taxi rates from the airport start at 3.20 Euros! (The starting rate from anywhere else in Athens is 2.50 Euros.) This is the amount that shows on the meter when you get in the taxi. This is the amount you pay before you even move! The amount of 3.20 at the airport, includes the extra charge for picking up passangers at the airport and the luggage!!!
Next, the amount from the airport to the 'Kiffisia' area, which is the northern most suburb of Athens, is 20Euros and another 5-6 Euros more from Kiffisia to Marathonos! However, you will go directly to Marathonos from the airport via the Attiki Odos. Therefore, The total cost from El. Venizelos airport to the Golden Coast Hotel should be between 20E and 30E maximum. The final price may also be affected by heavy traffic and the exact distance to your hotel, of course.
In Athens taxis are very easy to be found because there are so many of them (more than 15000).This yellow taxis will stop anywhere and sometimes pick up passengers until the taxi is full. The cost of taxis depend on time, day fair (05:00am-12:00pm) and night fair(12:01am-05:00am double fair) if someone have luggage ,if he is picked up from airport, train station, port or he is going outside the city limits there is an extra fee
If you decide to take a cab in Athens, don't be scared if the taxi driver suddenly stops and takes other people asking for a taxi.
It could also be that when you ask the driver to go somewhere and he is not in the mood to go there or simply he doesn't want to so he tells you NO !