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What to expect when you arrive in Greece

A warm summer breeze carrying the scents of rosemary and thyme could very well be the first things that will meet you in Greece when you step out of the airport. But before you put on your sandals and hit the beach, there are a few things to be aware of when arriving in Greece.

Visas and entry requirements

Citizens from Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and Canada can visit for tourism for up to 90 days in any 6 month period. It’s required to have at least 3 months remaining on your passport after your arrival date. It’s worth noting that time spent here will count towards your 90/180 days allowed in any Schengen country.

For other nations including India, Egypt, and South Africa, you will need a visa to visit Greece. A Greek Schengen Visa costs €80 for adults and €40 for children aged 6-12 (free under 6). See the full list of visa requirements for Greece on the official website.

Arriving in Athens

Though there are international airports in places like Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Santorini, and Corfu, many visitors to Greece will start in the historical capital of Athens. Athens International Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" is just a 30-minute drive from the city, and just 25 minutes from the port of Rafina. In many cases, it can be better to leave the capital for the end of your itinerary; that way, delayed ferries won't affect your flights.

Connecting to the internet

In Athens Airport, you will find plenty of places to charge devices as well as free WiFi. The WiFi comes in 45-minute slots, but you can simply log in again to reconnect after the time has expired.

Getting money out

There are plenty of ATMs in arrivals as well as currency exchanges. Like most airports, the currency exchange doesn’t have the best rates, so it’s better to change money in the city or use a travel card like Wise.

Getting to your hotel

If you are arriving at Athens International Airport and staying within the city there are three options on how to make the journey. The most expensive option is a taxi which will take around 40 minutes and cost €40 (€55 at night). But it’s a good option for groups or those travelling with young children.

Public transport from Athens Airport to the city centre

The Metro to the city centre takes around 40 minutes from Athens Airport and costs €9.

You can find the train station a 5-minute walk from the terminal on the Departures level and buy tickets from an automated machine or a kiosk (make sure to buy an ATH-ENA card if using public transport throughout Athens).

The Athens airport metro line 3 operates trains to Syntagma Square from the airport every 30 minutes from 06:30 am to 11:30 pm.

Otherwise, the bus takes an hour and costs just 5.5€. Look for the X95 - the bus stop is located on the arrivals level, between exits 4 and 5. Tickets can be purchased at the kiosk in the airport or on board and they must be validated once on the bus. Journeys can take a lot longer at busy times due to traffic.

Public transport from Athens Airport to the port

If you are going straight to the islands, you can get the airport metro to Monastiraki, then transfer to Metro Line 1 to Piraeus. Alternatively, from the airport you can jump on the X96 bus to the port of Piraeus.

Arriving by ferry

If travelling to Greece from Italy, ferries run from Bari, Brindisi, Ancona and Venice. These arrive at Corfu, Igoumenítsa, and Pátra and save a considerable amount of time and money when compared to travelling overland. You can book through Ferryhopper to compare prices and routes, or with any of these ferry companies; ANEK, Minoan Lines, Superfast Ferries, and Ventouris Ferries.

If arriving by sea, make sure to get your passport entry stamp when arriving at a Greek port. Some ports won’t make this step obvious, but it’s essential in order to prove when you entered the country.

Accessible travel

Although Greece is not historically an accessible destination due to narrow and uneven streets, cobblestones, and ancient ruins, the country is taking steps to improve that. The 2004 Olympics and Special Olympics helped to instigate improvements in Athens, but it's not just the capital that has become more wheelchair friendly.

Greece has pledged to make 287 of its beaches accessible to more people with the Greek-designed Seatrac system. This chair on rails allows users to enter and exit the sea at their own leisure - removing the need to negotiate sand by wheelchair. Over 100 beaches in Greece are already wheelchair-friendly, with special considerations made for parking, beach bars, and public facilities.

  • Christianakis Travel are the only disabled tour specialist operating in Greece. They offer everything from day trips to multi day tours.

  • Wheelchair in Athens offer a wheelchair hire service for disabled travellers in the city. They also offer oxygen concentrators, and will deliver both to any address in Athens.

Planning a trip to Greece? Read our Greece travel guides.

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Jo Williams

Author - Jo Williams

Jo Williams is a freelance writer with 10 years' experience working in travel and tourism. A Brit who got fed up with the 9 to 5 corporate life, she sold everything to become a full-time wanderer.

Jo has travelled to over 70 countries and worked throughout Europe for a major tour operator. She hopes to inspire you to work less and travel more.

Last Updated 16 December 2023

Chora village and the old harbour of Astypalea island in Greece


In many ways, Greece is the perfect holiday destination. From white, sandy beaches and clear waters to amazing food and historical sites, Greece has you covered.