About Greece and the City of Athens

Time Zone

Athens is on Eastern European Time. Athens is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +2), seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, and one hour ahead of Central European Time.

Official Languages

Greek. Although the official language is Greek, a large majority of people in the tourist industry speaks English. English is also part of the standard school curriculum, therefore, most Greeks have a good command of the English language as well as a few other languages as well (e.g. French, German, Italian etc).

Telephone Calls

Country code: +30
Athens code: 210

Emergency Numbers

Police Hotline: 100
Tourist Police: 1571 (English, French and German)
Airport Police: +30 210 353 6919
European Emergency Number: 112
Ambulance: 166
Hospitals & Pharmacies: 14944
Roadside Assistance (ELPA): 10400
Fire Brigade: 199


In Athens, banks are open Monday—Friday from 8 am to 2 pm, except on public holidays. (A few central branches have extended hours and some are open on Saturdays.)

You can find ATMs all around the city that can disperse cash from your accounts at home, but they will charge you €2-3 per transaction.



Currency Exchange

Foreign currency can be exchanged at most Greek and foreign banks and at exchange bureaus located at Athens International Airport, Piraeus port, and around the city centre. You will need your passport to exchange money. Travellers checks and credit cards are also widely accepted.


The VAT rates applicable in Greece are Standard Rate 24% and Reduced Rates 13%. The standard VAT rate will generally apply to all goods and services for which no exemption or some of the reduced VAT rate is provided. The reduced VAT rate will be applied to hotel accommodation, restaurant and cafeteria services, certain types of food, and passenger transport, among others.

Electrical Appliances

Electric power voltage in Greece is 230 V / 50 Hz and the plugs are F type. Appliances from North America need a transformer and those from England an adaptor. To avoid the danger of short circuit, make sure to have in your suitcase the necessary transformers / adaptors for your electronic devices or make sure that this will be provided by the relevant socket.


There is no service charge at bars and restaurants, so do leave a tip for the staff, especially if you are pleased with the service. The amount you tip is at your discretion and depends on the bill. Anywhere between 5% and 15% is the norm, but definitely not the rule.

Credit Cards

ATMs or Cash Machines are widely available, except for smaller non-tourist villages. It is recommended for cash withdrawals to use a Debit Card since Credit Cards will hit you with a larger fee. All major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Maestro or Cirrus logo) are widely accepted in Greece, though some establishments do not accept American Express and Diners.


The average temperature in September is 20°-26°C.


Athens International Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos", airport code ATH. Location Spata, approx. 33 km from city centre. Transit options are:

- by Metro
Metro Line 3 connects the airport to the city centre (Syntagma Square). The journey time is approximately 40 minutes. Trains run every 30 minutes, 7 days a week from 6:30 am to 11:30 pm. One way tickets cost €9.

- by Bus
There are four express bus routes from the airport:
Χ93: Airport - Kifissos Station (Estimated journey time: 65 minutes)
X95: Airport - Syntagma Square (Estimated journey time: 60 minutes)
Χ96: Airport - Piraeus port (Estimated journey time: 90 minutes)
Χ97: Airport - Elliniko (Estimated journey time: 45 minutes)

- by Suburban Railway
The suburban railway (Proastiakos) connects Athens Airport with Larissis Station, the central Athens railway station in approx. 45 minutes. Trains depart from Athens airport every 15-25 minutes to Doukissis Plakentias station, where you can transfer to the Athens Metro network, using the same ticket.

- by Taxi
Taxis are available outside Exit 3 of Arrivals Level. A taxi from the airport to the city centre costs a flat rate of €40 from 5 am to midnight, and €55 from midnight to 5 am. The rate is determined by the time of arrival at the destination and includes all applicable surcharges.

Public Transport

The Athens public transport system is affordable, reliable and covers most of the city and suburbs. You can use all means of public transport using the same ticket (a single ticket costs €1.20 and is valid for 90 minutes).


The fastest means of getting around Athens is the Metro. The Athens Metro system consists of 3 lines and connects to the tram, bus routes and suburban railway. The Metro runs daily from 5 am to midnight. Lines 2 and 3 operate until 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays. At peak hours, trains run every 5-6 minutes.
www.stasy.gr/en/ Athens Metro: Tel. +30 214 414 6400

Line 1 is an overground train (known as ISAP) that runs from the northern suburb of Kifissia to the port of Piraeus. It connects to lines 2 and 3 at three stations (Attiki, Omonia and Monastiraki).

Suburban Railway

This overground train provides a direct link between Piraeus port and Athens International Airport. It also connects Athens to Halkida in Evia and Kiato and Corinth in the Peloponnese. The suburban railway operates from 4:30 am until 11 pm daily.
Suburban Railway: Tel. 14511

Buses & Trolleybuses

The Athens bus and trolleybus network is very extensive. Most buses and trolleybuses run daily from 5 am to midnight, but do check the timetable of your route. Airport Express buses operate on a 24-hour basis. These services connect Athens International Airport with the city centre (Syntagma Square), Piraeus port and the Intercity Bus Terminal (KTEL Kifissos).
OASA: Tel. 11185


The tram network connects central Athens with the coastal suburbs of Faliro, Voula and Piraeus. It takes approximately one hour to get from Syntagma Square to the final seaside stops at Voula or Piraeus.

There are two tram lines; T6 connects Syntagma with Faliro (Pikrodafni station) and T7 connects Voula (Asklipeio Voulas station) with Piraeus (Agia Triada station). The two lines meet at Pikrodafni station.

The tram connects to the Metro and overground train at four stops: Syntagma, Syngrou/Fix, Neos Kosmos and SEF (Peace and Friendship Stadium in Faliro).

The tram operates from 5:30 am to 12:00 am daily.

Tram S.A.: Tel. +30 214 4146400

Tickets for Public Transport

Tickets and passes (Ath.ena tickets) for public transport are sold at ticket booths and machines in all Athens Metro and tram stations. There are three types of Ath.ena tickets: a paper ticket, an anonymous card that you can top up, and a personalised card. These tickets can be used on all forms of public transport.

Ticket Prices

  • A standard ticket on Athens public transport costs €1.20. Students and senior citizens over 65 pay €0.50 (student ID and proof of age required). Children up to the age of 6 travel free of charge; ages 7-18 pay €0.50 (proof of age required).

Each ticket can be used for 90 minutes on any form of public transport (except services to/from the airport).

  • A Day Pass (€4.10) is valid for unlimited travel (except airport services) for 24 hours.
  • A 5-Day Ticket (€8.10) is valid for unlimited travel on all modes of transport (except airport services and bus line Χ80) for 5 days.
  • A 3-Day Tourist Ticket (€20) is valid for unlimited travel (including 1 round trip to/from Athens International Airport). 3-day passes are available at the bus and metro ticket kiosks at Athens International Airport, Omonia, Syntagma, Thissio, Monastiraki, Acropolis and Piraeus stations.
  • For more information on prices, visit the Athens Transport website.
  • For more information on public transport in Athens, call 11185


Taxis in Athens are available 24 /7. Taxis in Athens are yellow. Taxi drivers in Athens are required by law to always use a taximeter and issue a receipt at the end of the journey. You can remind your driver to do so in case they don’t turn on their taximeter. On the islands and elsewhere around Greece, fares are usually subject to agreement at the beginning of the journey.

Driving in Greece

The national speed limit on motorways in Greece, unless otherwise indicated on local signage, is between 110km/h (68mph) and 130km/h (80 mph). On a main road outside a built-up area it's 90 km/h. For built-up areas it's 50km/h.

Opening Hours

Shops are generally open:

Monday & Wednesday: 9 am-3 pm; Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 9 am-2 pm and 5.30 pm-9 pm; Saturdays: 9 am-3 pm; almost all shops are closed on Sundays.

Department stores are open Monday-Friday: 10 am-9 pm Saturday: 9 am-8 pm or 10 am-9 pm, depending on the store.

Note: Most shops in the centre stay open throughout the day on Monday and Wednesday, and do not close for the 2.5 hour break on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.


Monday, Wednesday: 8 am-2 pm, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 8 am-2 pm and 5:30 pm to 8 pm. Selected pharmacies in each area stay open after hours.