The Tram, Athens
The first tram operated in 1882, they were wagons drawn by 3 horses (!) while in 1908 the first electric trams came. There were 21 different lines but the state put then away in the name of evolution in 1960! Trolley buses have started to replace the tram lines since 1953, many of them are still around with the same numbers the trams had back then!
Because of the Olympic Games in 2004 they brought it back paying a fortune and still there is an issue of how useful the tram is in a city like Athens.
For the moment there are only a 3 lines of tram, 2 of them start from Syntagma square and they follow the same route down to the seaside through Nea Smyrni, then one line turns right to Faliro (SEF stadium) while the other turns left along the seaside and terminates in Voula. The third tram line connects Faliro with Voula.
The route from Syntagma square is nice if you have some free time to spend but it’s kind of slow because it goes through some avenues with cars (!) in some parts of it… In summer a lot of people use it for the beaches, some concert venues etc It’s also the only transport media that operates 24’ (Fridays/Saturdays only)
A ticket is required to ride the tram. Validate your ticket before you board on tram on the machines along the platform.
There are ticket machines in every tram stop, one way ticket costs 1.20euro but you can also use:
-ticket for metro/bus/trolley/tram 1.40e (valid for 90’, you can change to any of these media during these 90 minutes)
-24h ticket(for buses/tram/metro/subway): 4euro
-weekly ticket(for buses/tram/metro/subway): 14euros
At the beginning of the 20th century tramway was a popular transport, but then it was destroyed...
44 years later, the new tram lines link the centre of the city with the southern coastal suburbs. The whole project was ready a few days before the Olympic Games of 2004.
Taking tram line 5 from Syntagma square, you can go to the beach. It is another fun way of seeing the city and a good way to get out of the city to the beach. Use your daily transportation card which cost 3 euro and remember to validate before you enter the tram or else as soon as you have entered the tram.
Why not take the tram to Voula? Enjoy your ride along the sea-side to this lovely suburb of Greater Athens. It has a very long beach and some nice sea-side coffee shops where you may sit and enjoy the view while having a drink and a sweet. You may also walk into the main part of town where there is everything available for your shopping needs as well as tavernas, restaurants, coffee shops, bookshops, clothing shops, etc. Voula is also well know for having a hospital that specializes in orthopedics and esp. for bone injuries...stay off motorcycles in Greece...
If you take a short bus ride from Voula, you may like to visit the lake in Vouliagmeni. Check out my tips on my Vouliagmeni page to see photos of the lake.
Operating since 2004 about 2 months before the Olympic games the tram is a ecological way that connects the centre of Athens with Glyfada and Piraeus(very famous during summer because it has stations near the beaches)0.60 full price ticket
It would be better if we prepare for any city map, before we arrive there. Some places would be a bit difficult to find there, like the book store. Usually the map consist of tramway or metro way, which is the most valuable transportation in Athens. Bus is also another alternative to get arond in the downtown. Some important metro stations are Monastiraki, Larissa Station, Syntagma and Acropolis, In My Opinion, since most of the hostel and the notable sightseeings place there.
If you'd like to have a swim at one of the numerous beaches, or have a coffee, drink, meal or dance the night away at the many bars/nightclubs along the Athenian coastline, then a good way to get there is via the tram.
You may board from Central Athens at Syntagma Square (there is also a metro station stop there) and join the tram for Line A... or you may board the tram from the S.E.F metro station stop (which is one stop from the Pireaus metro/railway station stop) and join the tram for Line B.
Glyfada is a popular destination as an example, but there are numerous beachside suburbs along the way also. It's a good way to get away from the heat of the summer. Note that in the winter months, some bars/nightclubs may be closed due to the colder weather.
The tram is only 2 years old in Athens. Not very many people use it. It is often late and goes slowly. It also crashes into cars a lot, or vice versa. Generally it's much quicker and more convenient to take the metro or taxis. However I will say that the Tram is probably the easiest way to get to the beach in Athens like Glyfada.
But other than for that, I almost never use it.
Like most tramway systems, Athens tram does not escape the common rule of being slow. On the other hand, the trams are air-conditioned, run smoothly and are comfortable even in peak hours (hard to experience this in all the other means of public transport in this city). There is a departures board clearly indicating when will the next tram will come. You buy the ticket through the vending machines (make sure you have some loose money, since banknotes are not accepted), or at the booths at designated areas.
Currently, the fare is €0,60 for a full-fare ticket, €0,40 for short rides up to 5 stops and €0,30 for those under 18 years. Validate the ticket just before entering the tram or at the validating machines inside. If you're cought without a validated ticket, the fine is € 24,00 that you pay on the spot.
Most of the stops outside the Olympic Venues are not being used anymore, reducing the duration of the trip.