To fully explore Greece, you'll probably find yourself using multiple transport options, including bus, ferries and maybe even domestic flights.
Public buses are the main way to get around in Greece as the train network is poor. Ferries, catamarans and hydrofoils offer regular services to the 60 plus inhabited islands, or for longer distances like Cyprus, domestic flights offer a quicker route.
The most popular way of getting around in Greece is via the KTEL ((Kratikó Tamío Ellinikón Leoforíon) bus network. It connects Athens to the rest of the Greek mainland, and services run throughout the islands too.
Routes are regular, comfortable, and affordable, and are far more convenient than the train network in many cases. You can check routes, timetables and buy tickets online from the relevant KTEL website.
Greece’s railway network is run by OSE (Organismós Sidherodhrómon Elládhos). Trains are generally slower than buses but can be much cheaper. Routes where it might be worth taking a train instead of a bus are Athens to Thessaloniki and parts of Northern Greece.
Make sure to buy tickets before you board the train as tickets issued on board carry a 50% penalty charge.
You can save money on train tickets by choosing slow travel and taking an overnight train. The overnight train between Athens and Thessaloniki costs €26 less than a day fare (if you buy the ticket online).
Ferries can vary hugely in price, comfort and speed. While faster ferries are often dearer they can save hours of uncomfortable crossings, so are well worth the price. Piraeus is the central port of Athens, but ferries may also depart from Rafina and Lavrion.
Overnight ferries are a good option when it comes to longer crossings, saving money on overnight accommodation. Cabins are usually practical but comfortable. You can book ferries online in advance, but will often need to pick up your tickets at the port before departure. Use the Ferryhopper app or website to find the best route and timetables.
Hydrofoils, catamarans and high-speed boats often only run during the summer (March - September) and can often be cancelled due to bad weather. Smaller vessels and taxi boats offer trips between the smaller islands, but they are costly and often have to be booked on site.
Hiring a car in Greece is a similar process to the rest of Europe. The minimum age to hire a car is 21, you may need a credit card to pay a damage waiver, and if you aren't an EU citizen you will need an international driver's licence.
Though prices do vary by region, you can expect prices to start from around 25 to 40 Euros per day. It can be expensive to take cars on the Greek ferries, consider returning it before you leave the mainland and renting a new car on the islands if needed.
If looking for an electric hire car, there is a good network of EV charging points in places like Athens, but the network can be more unreliable in remote areas and on the islands - check www.charging.gr for the latest information.
Greek roads are generally modern with vast motorways and fresh tarmac. All major and secondary roads have road signs in both Greek and English, making navigation fairly simple. But many locals haven't caught up with the advancements and can often be seen driving at 40 km/h on the hard shoulder.
Regional roads and some island roads can be narrow and dangerous, with special attention needing to be paid to mountainous drop offs - you will often see roadside shrines commemorating victims of road accidents.
The speed limits are 50 km/h in built-up areas, 90 km/h outside of built-up areas, and 130 km/h on motorways. It’s also important to note that petrol stations are attended (somebody will pump the gas for you), they are generally open from 7AM until 7PM and many close on Sundays.
In Greece, motorists drive on the right and overtake on the left, risky overtaking is commonplace and the general standard of driving leaves room for improvement. The blood alcohol limit is 0.05%, but drunk driving is still an issue. Be especially aware on Sunday afternoons, public holidays or late at night.
Toll roads are common on major routes and can add to the cost of a trip. Most are a few Euros, but bridges like the Charilaos Trikoupis cost around €14.00 per crossing. Most toll booths take cash or cards and are easy to understand.
While scooters, ATVs and motorbikes are common on the islands, it’s important to note that they are often responsible for many tourist hospitalizations. On party islands like Mykonos in particular it’s best to avoid this mode of transport as the driving standards and road conditions aren’t ideal for novices.
Olympic airlines, Aegean Airlines, and Sky Express are the main domestic flight providers in Greece. Flights from Athens and Thessaloniki connect most major islands.
They are usually over double the price of ferries, but can save a lot of time if you are travelling to more remote islands like Corfu, Crete, or Cyprus. Some bigger islands like Santorini and Mykonos have international airports too.
Uber is restricted by law in Greece and only licensed taxi companies operate under Uber Taxi. You can still order a ride on your phone, but a regular taxi cab will show up.
Uber Taxi is only available in in Athens, Thessaloniki, and Santorini, but other services like Beat and Free Now are more widespread. In more rural or remote areas it’s still better to ask your local accommodation for a taxi recommendation.
Taxis are pretty reliable in Greece and are a good option if you’re looking to travel small distances. Most will use a metre and work out to be quite reasonable when compared to taxis in other parts of Europe.
To hail a taxi just head to a rank at an airport, town centre, or port, or raise your hand to a passing driver.
Here are some typical travel costs in Greece
A public bus from Athens to Patras costs €27.
Car hire in Athens starts at €25 per day.
An overnight train between Athens and Thessaloniki costs €19.
Fuel prices are around €1.61 per litre for unleaded, and €1.34per litre for diesel.
Taking a taxi in Athens has a minimum fee of €1.29, with a standard fare of €0.74 per kilometre within the city limits.
Hellenic Trains offer accessible transport options for those using a wheelchair on these routes; Athens-Thessaloniki, Athens – Kalambaka, Thessaloniki-Larissa. The KTEL bus network offers special services in some locations but advance planning is needed.
Along with the rest of Greece, Athens is making improvements to its accessibility. All buses in Athens are wheelchair-friendly, and the Athens Metro is easy to navigate. Transport for Athens offers a free Special Vehicles service, and carries up to date information on how to use the local transport services.
Planning a trip to Greece? Read our Greece travel guides.
Last Updated 15 August 2023