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Find out the best way to get from Athens International Airport to the city centre by doing some research in advance. Should you take a train, bus or a tram from the airport to and from the city centre? Our guide to Athens International Airport and the facilities mean you can find your way around the terminal upon arriving and plan the rest of your trip—whether its for a short weekend or a little longer.
Athens International Airport (also known as Eleftherious Venizelos, after one of the founders of modern Greece), is the 27th busiest airport in Europe, and easily the biggest in Greece. Located 18 miles (30 kilometers) east of central Athens, the airport handles over 24 million passengers every year.
Travelers can reach Athens International Airport via subway, buses, suburban railways, taxis and by road. The fastest transfer option is usually by subway line 3, which takes 40 minutes from Syntagma (roughly in the center of Athens). Those coming from the port at Piraeus can take subway line 1, then change at Monastiraki. Expect the journey as a whole to take one hour. Taxis are often handy for those coming from outlying suburbs, and tend to take 40-60 minutes from the city center. If travelers want to save money, express buses are available, including the X93 from Kifissos, X95 from Syntagma, X96 from Piraeus, and the X97 from Eliniko. Expect journeys to take over an hour in all cases, and 90 minutes from Piraeus, so it's not a time saver. Finally, Proastiakos trains run from Athens Central Station (Larissa). It takes longer than the subway, but can be handy for those arriving from western locations.
Athens Airport is approximately 18 miles (30 kilometers) east of downtown Athens, and 30 miles (50 kilometers) away from the Port of Piraeus. Generally speaking, those coming from popular central neighborhoods like Monastiraki, Kolonaki, Plaka, or Psyri will be able to reach the departure terminals in under an hour, providing they choose subway or taxi transport options. Taxis will often be slightly quicker than the subway, as long as travelers leave outside the morning and afternoon rush hours, when the highways in central Athens can become very congested. Peak travel times during the week tend to be between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., or 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. At other times, road-based transfers make sense, and once out of Athens, a modern, direct highway to the airport ensures rapid journeys.
Athens Airport is fully equipped with the facilities travelers require. For starters, facilities at the airport include plenty of dining options, with a bustling food court in the departure terminal, serving up gyros, burgers, Asian cuisine, French baguettes, and pastries. On-site shops sell everything from duty free gifts and designer apparel, to electronics and books. There's also a children's play area, along with a pharmacy, and both banking and money exchange services. Bathrooms and baby change facilities are available, and most of the site is step-free, ensuring accessibility for those with impaired mobility.
If travelers require the use of a wheelchair, or have other forms of impaired mobility, taxis may be the best transfer option. Vehicles can be booked with special facilities for disabled travelers, and can drop visitors off right outside the terminals. However, the subway system is well set up for wheelchair users, with elevators a standard feature at most stations (including major city center hubs). If travelers choose this route, it's best to leave outside rush hour, as the subway can become extremely packed as locals make their way home from work. The airport itself is modern and well designed for wheelchair users. Special assistance is available for all visitors if needed, and there's no extra fee for this service.
When locals head to Athens International Airport, they tend to use the subway, as it serves almost all of central Athens, and generally offers the fastest connections. And they also know to avoid taxis at peak times, when prices rise considerably. However, if time is tight, and travelers aren't located near subway stations, taxis come into their own. They can drop travelers off right outside the departure terminal, avoiding the need to climb stairs or take an elevator from the subway station, before walking 5-10 minutes to departures. Locals also know that there's generally no need to take food and drink along, as most essentials can be purchased at the airport, and the dining options are excellent.