Athens Metro: Your Ticket to See Athens
Our first trip to Athens was for a brief stopover of three days. I knew we couldn’t see all of the city’s highlights in that time frame, so I tried to choose activities that I thought were unique to Athens and value-added for our experience. The Athens Metro is a quick, easy and safe way to get around the city, so we decided to try to keep our cab fares to a minimum and use the train to get around.
Our Recommendation for Athens Transportation
Athens Airport Transportation
If you are arriving in Athens by air, it takes just about as long in a cab to get to the city center from the airport as it does using the train. After researching the options, we purchased a 3-day tourist pass at the airport which included travel to Athens and back to the airport and any other train usage during that time.
The Athens Metro has several other options for visitors, including a combination bus and rail ticket, and longer time frames. The tickets are available for purchase at the airport train terminal. The day we bought tickets, all of the ticket machines were out of order, so we had to purchase tickets at the counter, which accepted cash only. Tip: Make sure you have enough local currency, just in case.
The only downside to using public transport to your hotel is if you have a lot of luggage. You will easily find a spot to sit or stand from the airport, but it was a little problematic to find standing room with just with two small carry-ons and one backpack on the trip back to the airport. After three stops toward the airport, the car cleared out and we were able to find a spot to sit, but it’s something to consider, if that causes you anxiety.
3 Fun Things to do in Athens by Metro
Syntagma Station is a centrally-located station that is within walking distance of several points of interest. After we dropped our luggage at the hotel, we headed there.
Our first stop was the Parliament building to watch the ceremonial changing of the guard in front of the Tomb of the Unknown soldier. Like the British royal guards, they won’t move or speak if addressed, and many tourists take photos with or try to distract the guards. It is a special honor to be chosen as one of the Evzones, the Presidential Guard, and to watch this elite group of soldiers is such a cool experience.
After that, cut through the nearby National Gardens on the way to the Panathenaic Stadium. There is no admission fee for the gardens, and you can see what a true Mediterranean garden looks like. There are few, if any flowers, but a heavy canopy covers the garden and it can be several degrees cooler here than in the surrounding city.
The Panathenaic Stadium is a quick list check-off, and you can either pay a couple Euros to go inside, or you can get just about as good photos from outside. Inside, they will let you stand on the Gold, Silver, and Bronze risers for a pic.
Next, walk to the Zappeion, a famous Athens building which has served as part of the Olympic village at one point and was used for the fencing event of the Olympic games. Now it is primarily used for meetings and events, but one can not help but appreciate the striking architecture and the ceiling open to the sky in the center.
Where to Stay in Athens, Greece
While we were in Athens, we stayed at the centrally located Hilton Athens. The hotel is only short walk to the Metro station and allowed us easy access to so many of the city’s historical attractions.
Hilton Athens is one of the tallest buildings in the city, with a rooftop bar offering sweeping views of the Acropolis lit up at night. It was such a treat to enjoy a glass of wine and a snack while taking in the view and recounting our day’s adventure.
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Rachel is from Peoria, Illinois. She works full-time as a software implementation consultant in the healthcare field. Her family includes her husband Justin, also an IT professional,…