How to travel in Greece? Buses, trains, cruises and public transport
Many people go to Greece with an organized trip, but more and more tourists decide to explore this historical land on their own. Public transport in Greece seems to be complicated, so we have prepared a brief description of the available options and advice that will make it easier for you to travel.
The main means of intercity transport in Greece are buses. Their service is provided by KTEL - an association of many carriers, each of which is an independent company, has its own ticket system and a way of operating. Many organizations are not up to date with the latest technical innovations, often in vain to find information about online timetables, not to mention the possibility of online booking.
Each KTEL deals with one district/route and there is no overlapping of activities. The biggest problem, however, is that different KTELs depart from different stations within the same city, so we have to make sure that we are going to a good bus station.
Tickets are usually purchased at the railway station or on the bus itself, but the possibility of buying them online is rare. During the season it is better to approach the window a day or a few hours in advance to make sure that there are no shortages of seats. It is not prudent to leave the return to the last bus if we do not have a ticket - it may turn out that there will be no room for us. It is always better to check if the timetable found on the Internet is correct, for example, because the changes in the timetable in Greece are on a daily basis.
Summer and winter season
In the case of many buses serving tourist routes there is a division into summer and winter timetables. Let's always check if the timetable found by us is definitely a timetable for a specific period, because some lines do not run in winter.
Regions and OCTs responsible for them
In this section we have gathered some of the most important routes that may be of interest to tourists, along with some basic information. This list is constantly being developed and updated.
Athens - Peloponnese
Buses to the cities of the Peloponnese depart from the bus station located at 100 Leoforos Kifisou Street (KTEL Kifisou) - most of them are operated by KTEL Argolida. Apart from the Peloponnese, the station also serves buses going to the north of the country. The station is located just a stone's throw from the city center, we can reach it by public transport, from Omonia Square there is a bus line 051, and from the airport bus x93. Connections between the cities on the Peloponnese are no longer so convenient, it is difficult to visit more than two cities in one day. The best combination is Nauplion and Epidaurus, or Nauplion and Mycenaeans - each served in a different window.
Athens - Cape Sunion
One of the most popular destinations outside Athens is Cape Sunion. We can reach it using the services of KTEL Attikis company. One-way fare is €6.90.
The bus departs from the area around Pedion tou Areos Park on Leof Alexandras Street, opposite a large monument. The buses are white and relatively new compared to other buses departing from the surrounding bus stops.
The cape can be reached all day long, the last bus returns to Athens at sunset. Timetables are written in English in a ticket booth, it's easy to know, because it's the only route written in a language other than Greek.
Athens - Delphi
Rides from Athens to the city of Delphi are supported by KTEL Fokidas. This is the Athens-Amphibious route, which stops on the road in Livadei, Arahov, Delfach and Itei. Timetables allow you to go all day long to Delphi city and visit temples and museums. The first bus from Athens leaves at 7:30 a.m. and the last return is at 6:15 p.m. and the travel time is about 2.5 hours. The bus stops in Delphi, in the town, a few hundred meters from the temple.
Thessaloniki - Area Macedonia
Communication in the area of Greek Macedonia is supported by KTEL Macedonia. Buses depart from Macedonia Intercity Coach Station (address Giannitson 244, Thessaloniki 546 28). This is the main bus station of the region, with buses departing from it to other parts of Greece.
Bus stations in Greece are usually quite unpleasant, and resemble stations from Polish cities from a decade ago - in addition, hardly anyone speaks English there, and timetables are often posted only in Greek or contain only residual signs. Surely the stations aren't a pleasant place to be in the morning or late in the evening, also in Athens the surroundings of the stations aren't inviting.
Trains are not a popular means of transport among the Greeks, on some routes we will meet mainly tourists. However, the railway route only serves transport between some large cities, or stops at the beginning of the planned route, e.g. in the case of trains to the Peloponnese we will reach Patra in the north. Fortunately, it is possible to check the timetables on the official railway website and buy tickets online (sometimes with a choice of location). Unfortunately, the Greek railway does not follow the technology and tickets on some routes checked by the controller on the basis of the list of names of people who purchased the ticket online.