Athens underground system is fast, clean, efficient and relatively easy to navigate. Because of the ongoing economic crisis it is currently undergoing regular shutdowns due to strikes, but the website gives you advanced warnings of these so that you can plan around them. It's one of the oldest subways in the world, but it wasn't until the 21st century that it expanded beyond it's one single line through the city (the green line) and opened up a red line to the southern suburbs and a blue line to its new airport in the east. These three new lines are focused on the hubs of Syntagma (which is so nice its worth a visit in itself) and Omonia (which is a bit sketchy but ok).
Single tickets are valid for 90 minutes and can be bought from electronic terminals (with English language options) and from the English speaking ticket offices.
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.
If you arrive to Athens by plane, going to center of city only available by "blue line" metro or airport bus. I generally transported by metro. Firstly, you need to pay 4€ for metro from airport to city but other metro lines just 1.20€ for adults and 0.60€ for students. Surely you need to show your student ID card. When you buy this ticket, thats valid for 1.5 hours. Also you can buy 5 days ticket for 10€ and you can use that tickets with every transportation type ( bus,metro,tram) If you're going to Athens as a tourist, thats the best solution to travel city.
Being a non-driver I rely almost entirely on public transport on my travels and thus have considerable experience of using metro systems to get around cities; from Boston to Budapest and of course our good old London Tube, but Athens is the best so far! Not only is the metro functional, fast, safe, cheap and easy to navigate, but the stations are worth visiting in their own right for the stunning artwork, architecture and even as mini museums. In fact the whole Athens public transportation system is a joy to use even during rush hours when it can be very busy.
Using the Attiko Metro is simplicity itself with its three lines: the blue line from Monistiraki to the airport; the green line from just outside the dock gates at Pireaus through Monistiraki and north to Kifissia and the red line from Dhafni through Syntagma and on to Sepolia. With these three lines just about anywhere a visitor would wish to visit within the city is easily accessible. The lines are also currently being extended and a fourth line is planned which will loop around the areas not covered by the present system.
The Metro stations are easily located with their distinctive signage and once inside the platforms well signposted with their destinations and routes. The website below is really informative and also quite entertaining with details of routes, ticket options and a photo and video gallery.
See the next tip for some more info Metro Practicalities
Construction of the modern Athens metro begun in November 1992 with the first train being run from Ethniki Amyna to Syntagma in April 1999 and work is scheduled to continue at least until 2013 and, at the time of writing, the system currently handles about 580,000 passengers per day. The Metro runs roughly every 3 minutes at peak periods and every 5-10 minutes off-peak from early morning until midnight.
The basic Metro fare is 80 euro cents (June 2006) for a one-way trip of up to 90 minutes from validation so long as you are travelling away from your departure station but is not valid for the airport line beyond Doukissis Plakentias. For the airport line the one-way fare is 6 euros or 10 euros return. Also available, which are really useful if you are travelling a lot, are the 3 euro, 24 hour and the 10 euro, 7 day, tickets which allow unlimited travel by Metro, Tram and Bus but once again are not valid for the airport line. Tickets are available from automatic machines and ticket windows at all stations and must be validated at the machines before entering the platforms - travelling without a validated ticket will result in a fine of 40 times the basic ticket price.
Going around Athens is very accessible with the trains.Every stops is announce and written in english as well so dont worry of getting lost,just learn where you are going down,hop in & relax then wait till your stop is announce.And its a cheap transportation,one single purchase of ticket is valid for one(1) hour even how many times you used it.
We found the Athens subway system perhaps one of the nicest in the world and a pleasure to take. It was very clean, user-friendly, efficient, and aesthetically appealing. We first took it when we arrived from the airport. Actually, first we had to catch a bus and then transfer to the metro to get to our hotel, which was near the foot of the Acropolis. It definitely saved us money as a taxi would've undoubtedly gotten stuck in city traffic and thus, the bill high from the meter. However, even if you don't actually take the Metro (although that would be a crime in such a city), the stations are worth checking out as there are permanent exhibits of archeological remains and displays of art by modern and classical Greek artists.
We bought the full day Metro pass and went to Piraeus and jumped on a Hellenic Seaways ferry to the island of Aegina.Spent the day shopping and playing and touring the Temple of Apollo,then ferried home and took the tram back to Athens.
There are a number of ferries at the port- I believe we counted 9 different shps while we were there. We bought a round trip ticket so we got a discount. The ferries run all day so we had plenty of time to explore and then catch the Metro back to Athens.
To reach the Acropolis from Pireus, I recommend you take the train... the station is about 20 minuteson foor from the port - turn left once you exit the port and follow the water. TRains run roughly every 20 minutes and allow you to reach Athens in a quarter of an our. There are two stops that people recommend: Thisio and Monastiraki .
Thisio is on the green metro line, you don't need to change train and the station is about 15 minutes from the Acropolis. It's all uphill, but the good thing is that the entire area is traffic-free. Monastiraki is another station on the samel ine and is right in the busiest heart of the Plaka, but the Acropolis is a bit farther off.
To reach central Athens you can take a bus (X95) located at the arrival end of the building. It costs only 5 Euro and the duration is about 45 minutes. The end point is Syntagma Square.
The other way of doing it is by taking Metro (blue line). Strangely, it cost more; i.e. 8 Euros. It's crowded after some 6 stops and the frequency is worst than bus. If from Athens to the airport, it's even worse as the local also use it to travel to nearby points. I tried this and had to wait very long and had to stand all the way until the final three stops. Paid more than the bus and get poorer services; just avoid metro for transportation to/fro the airport.
Actually this is the way I moved most around Athens. You can get the underground from airport to the centre and the ticket is 8 € (bus is more convenient and less crowded). I used to buy the daily ticket (4€) and easily go around the city.
THERE ARE PEOPLE GETTING PICKPOCKETD ON THE METRO IN ATHENS EVERY DAY. I WAS A VICTIM AND YOU WILL BE TOO. IF YOU WANT TO GO ON, TAKE A DUMMY WALLET OR NO VAUABLES WHATSOEVER. NO ONE WILL HELP YOU IF THIS HAPPENS. EVERYONE KNOWS IT IS HAPPENING AND SAYS NOTHING. THEY WILL CROWD YOU IN, SEPARATE YOU AND TAKE YOUR MONEY. STAY OUT OF THE METRO IF YOU ARE A TOURIST. IF YOU HAVE TO TAKE IT THEN HOLD ON TO YOUR WALLET IF IT IS IN YOUR POCKET. WOMEN HOLD ON YOUR PURSE AND KEEP YOUR HAND OVER YOUR ZIPPER. KEEP THIS INFORMATION PUBLIC. PASS IT ON TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW THAT IS TRAVELING TO GREECE. THIS CAN HAPPEN IN ANY CROWDED AREA, BUT IT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU TAKE THE METRO. TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW AND LET'S CHANGE THE METRO AND GREECES POLICY ON KEEPING THIS FROM THE PUBLIC!