How to Get from Athens Airport to the Acropolis: Your Insider’s Guide

Getting from Athens Airport to the Acropolis is easy. You can do the journey in less than an hour. 

This is excellent news if you want to see one of Greece’s most important historical sights and yet you only have a few hours layover in Athens. Actually, there are a couple of different ways in which you can get from Athens Airport to the Acropolis. 

How to get from Athens Airport to the Acropolis

The best route depends a lot on personal preference. For instance, if you are extremely limited on time, you may prefer to take a taxi or organise a private transfer. 

Alternatively, if you have ample time and yet budget is the biggest constraint, you may want to consider the bus or the metro. Let’s take a look at the various options here. 

Take a metro from Athens Airport to the Acropolis  

Viewing the Acropolis from Filopappou Hill
Viewing the Acropolis from Filopappou Hill

One good option, if you’re not in a hurry, is to take the metro from the airport to the Acropolis. There is not one direct route that runs all the way to the Acropolis site so this option does require a change. 

You can purchase an Athens city and airport ticket for €10. If you are just visiting the Acropolis while you’re on a layover and you plan on coming straight back to the airport, you can buy a return ticket. 

A return ticket costs €18. Meanwhile, if you’re going to be sticking around a little longer, you can buy a three-day tourist ticket for €22. This includes unlimited travel around Athens and its vicinity for several days, in addition to the return journey to the airport. 

Purchasing Metro Tickets 

How to get from Athens Airport to the Acropolis
How to get from Athens Airport to the Acropolis

The airport metro station is linked to Athens Airport by several walkways. The route there is also very well signposted so don’t worry about getting lost or not finding it easily. 

First of all, once you pass through baggage claim and enter the arrivals hall, you will start to see signs for “trains”. Follow these. 

The signs will lead you outside. You basically need to cross the road from the Arrivals hall where you see taxis and other cars waiting. 

Once you reach the opposite side of the road, climb up the stairs. You will see an automated walkway in front of you. 

Once you reach the end of the walkway, you will have arrived at the Airport metro station. Buy your ticket from one of the automatic machines here. 

The machines display in English and Greek as well as numerous other European and international languages. They are easy to use and this saves time as you will often find that there are long queues of tourists waiting to buy tickets from the actual ticket off staff. 

Once you purchase your ticket, pass through the barriers. Doing so also validates your ticket. 

It is important to note that your ticket is only valid for 90 minutes. This is ample time to get from Athens airport to the Acropolis as the journey only takes an hour by metro. 

Do note that you cannot exit the platform again once you have passed through the barriers. Doing so voids your ticket. 

Riding the Metro to Central Athens 

If you travel to central Athens by bus or metro, you will need to transfer in Syntagma
If you travel to central Athens by bus or metro, you will need to transfer at Syntagma

When you arrive at the platform, you will note that there are actually two separate sides to it, each servicing a different train. One of these is the suburban rail, the other is the metro (aka the one you need). 

The metro is on the right-hand side. This train is the Athens Metro blue line. 

It takes you to Athens Syntagma Square in just 40 minutes. This train runs every half an hour. 

Once you arrive at Syntagma, you need to transfer to the red line. From here, it is just one stop to Acropoli metro station for the Acropolis. 

If you don’t have luggage and you want to walk from Syntagma to the Acropolis, you can do that too. The walk will take you approximately 20 minutes. 

If you choose this option, you can navigate your way through the historic streets of Old Plaka, the cobbled boulevard of Dionysiou Areopagitou, and the quirky district of Koukaki. Stop for a Greek coffee in eclectic Little Tree Books & Coffee (Kavalloti 2). 

Alternatively, treat yourself to some quintessential Greek cuisine at local favourite tavernas. To Kafeneio (Epicharmou 1) and Scholarchio (Tripodon 14) are popular spots away from the tourist crowds. 

Take the bus from Athens Airport to the Acropolis 

Athens Airport to Acropolis
Athens Airport to Acropolis

An alternative way to get from Athens Airport to the Acropolis is to take the X95 bus. This departs from the bus stop right outside the Arrivals area of Eleftherios Venizelos. 

A one-way ticket costs just €4. You can buy the ticket directly from the driver on the bus, or from the ticket office outside the Arrivals area. 

Three other buses also depart from this point so check the LED displays and be mindful not to board the wrong one. The X96 departs from here for Piraeus. So too, does the X97 for Elliniko, and the X93 for Kifisou. 

The X96 makes various stops throughout Athens before the route terminates at Syntagma. From here, you can either walk or take the metro the remainder of the way. 

Take a cab from Athens Airport to the Acropolis 

Cabs from Athens airport to the Acropolis are reasonably priced. You will always find an abundance of cabs lined up directly outside of arrivals. 

You should be sure to take a yellow city cab as opposed to a black taxi. These are private hire cars and often charge as much as twice the rate of a regular cab. Ouch! 

A cab from Athens Airport to anywhere in the city centre should not exceed more than around €35. Night rates do apply and tend to be in the region of around €53. 

Cabs found at the airport are generally trustworthy and reliable. But you should be aware of a wider issue with Greek cabbies ripping off tourists, inflating prices, or not turning on the meter. 

If you take a cab from the airport rank, either confirm a price before getting in – to the tune of the price detailed above or insist they turn on the meter. You may want to consider downloading the BEAT taxi app while you are in Greece. 

BEAT is essentially the Greek answer to Uber. Although only licensed cabs are permitted to operate here. 

BEAT is used in most large Greek towns and cities – including Athens and Thessaloniki. The app connects you with a nearby driver and displays the price before you enter the vehicle. So, there is no risk of being overcharged.   

Organise a Private Transfer from Athens Airport to the Acropolis

If you want to be assured that there is a car waiting for you when you arrive in Athens, you might want to consider organising a private transfer. Your driver will wait for you in the Arrivals hall, holding a sign displaying your name. 

This is arguably the most convenient option for getting from Athens airport to the Acropolis. Complimentary bottles of water are provided in comfortable air-conditioned vehicles. 

Private transfers start from €34. However, prices may vary depending on the season. Click here to obtain a quote from Get Your Guide. 

Visiting the Acropolis 

The Acropolis and its magnificent Parthenon are a highlight of any Greece itinerary. If you have a very limited amount of time to spend in the Greek capital and you will only have the opportunity to do one or two things, you should visit the Acropolis. 

This site is actually far larger than you may realise. The Acropolis is not just the Parthenon. 

Instead, it is a vast complex of a number of different temples, shrines, and theatres. In the days of Ancient Greece, every city had an Acropolis. 

Most of these Acropolises were constructed for defensive purposes. However, the famous Athens Acropolis was built in dedication to the Goddess Athena.

Tips for Visiting the Athens Acropolis 

It is advisable to purchase your tickets online in advance. This saves you time from queuing outside the site. 

Not only is the Acropolis often crowded, but the queue to enter the site often snakes around! If you so wish, you can visit the site on a guided tour. 

That way, you are able to put the various structures in more context. Similarly, if you are exploring Greece solo, your guide can also help you to take photographs. 

Audio tours are also available if you prefer to walk around independently. Admission tickets also include entrance to the “New” Acropolis Museum. This, without hesitation, is one of the very best museums in Athens. 

The best time to visit the Acropolis is arguably either very early in the morning, or in the early evening. Of course, if you are headed straight from Athens Airport to the Acropolis, you might not have much flexibility in terms of what time you can visit. However, these are the least crowded times so it is worth keeping in mind. 

Recommended Acropolis Tours

It is easy to explore the Acropolis independently and there are plenty of information plaques that provide more context to the various structures and ruins that you see. However, if you would like a little more detail, you may want to consider exploring the site with a guide.

Many reputable tour companies offer tours of the Acropolis, or wider Athens day tours that include a stop at the Acropolis. Better still?

Opting to explore key Athens landmarks with a local means that you have an Athenian on hand to ask for their recommendations on the best places to hang out, the best Athens restaurants, etc. A selection of reputable Acropolis tours is detailed below for your consideration.

Other things to do near the Acropolis 

The majestic Acropolis is in the beating heart of historic Athens. Many other very worthwhile cultural, gourmet, and archaeological sites can be found in this area. 

Best of all, much of the city centre can be explored on foot. Thissio is a nice area to explore and it can be easily reached from the Acropolis area. 

When you exit the Acropolis complex, follow Dionysiou Areopagitou until it connects with the leafy promenade of Apostolou Pavlou. Along here, you can access Filopappou Hill – an oasis in the heart of the urban jungle which offers unparalleled views over the city.

Apostolou Pavlou and the Ancient Agora

Apostolou Pavlou is usually crowded with street vendors selling all manner of interesting knick-knacks, handicrafts, homemade cosmetics, and Greek street food treats. This is a great place to pick up some unapologetically Greek souvenirs.

From here, you should also be sure to visit the Ancient Agora. During the Classical Ages, this was where locals would meet to listen to important speeches and announcements. 

Greek Philosophers such as Socrates would also be in their midst. The Agora Museum contains a number of artifacts recovered from the area and depicts what life may have been like in Athens all those centuries ago. 

The interesting exhibitions here are housed inside the impressive colonnaded Stoa of Attalos. This building, originally constructed in 159BC, was gifted to the people of Athens by King Attalos II of Pergamon. 

Once upon a time, it housed a plethora of shops and market stalls – selling everything from food ingredients to weaponry. It was largely rebuilt in the 1950s. Yet it was done so with explicit care so as to honor the original building as much as possible. 

Parting Words 

Do you have any additional questions or queries about how to get from Athens to the Acropolis or how to get from Athens to the city centre? I moved to Greece in early 2017. 

I have made this journey countless times since then. If you need assistance with planning a trip to Greece, just drop me a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP. 

Safe travels! Geia sou! Melissa xo

Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.

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