This page explains how to travel by train from Athens & Greece to other European cities, and how to buy the cheapest tickets.  Click here to buy tickets starting in another city

I want to travel by train or ferry from Athens to...

  London by train+bus   Thessaloniki   Belgrade   Corfu
     

London by ferry+train

 

Patras

 

Zagreb

 

Rhodes

 

Paris by train+bus

 

Kalambaka

 

Budapest

 

Crete

 

Paris by ferry+train

 

Sofia

 

Rome

 

Milan

Before you buy your tickets...

I recommend taking a moment to read these important tips for buying European train tickets.  It answers all the usual questions, such as "Do I need to book in advance or can I just turn up & buy at the station?", "How far ahead can I book?", "Can I stop off?", "Are there Senior fares?" and that old favourite, "Should I buy an $800 railpass or just go online & buy a 35 point-to-point ticket?".

Answering your questions about European train travel...

An introduction to European train travel

 

Senior fares (over 60)

 

Guide to Eurail passes (overseas visitors)

Important tips for buying European train tickets

Youth fares (under 26)

 

Guide to InterRail passes (for Europeans)

How to check European train times

Child fares & child age limits

 

Couchettes & sleepers on night trains

Do I need to book in advance?

Luggage on European trains

 

Train seat numbering plans

How far ahead can I book?

Luggage storage at stations

 

Wheelchairs & special needs

Can I stop off on the way?

Taking a bike by train

 

Real-time service updates

Should I travel 1st or 2nd class?

Taking a car by train

 

Hotels & accommodation

How long to allow for connections?

Taking dogs & pets by train

 

Changing stations in Paris by metro or taxi

How early to arrive at the station?

Maps of the European rail network

 

What to do when things go wrong...


Domestic trains in Greece:  Athens-Thessaloniki, Athens-Kalambaka...

Greek domestic trains are an excellent and very scenic way to travel between Athens, Larissa, Kalambaka (Meteora) and Thessaloniki (Salonika) - there are some photo of the journey on the London to Greece page.  You can book trains from just 9 at the Greek Railways website, www.trainose.gr - the catch is that it's only in Greek, but using the built-in automatic translation facility on the Google Chrome browser, it's possible to buy tickets in English, and benefit from their cheap advance-purchase fares.  You'll also find a combined train-bus service between Athens and Patras for ferries to Italy.


Greek island ferries:  Piraeus to Rhodes, Crete & other islands...

See www.ferriesingreece.com for Greek island ferries, without having to know which operator runs which route.


International travel from Athens by train...

There have been no trains linking Greece with any other country since February 2011, when the Greek government pulled the plug on international trains that have run for over 100 years.  Greece is not cut off from the rest of Europe, other than by ferry or bus.  However, you can use a train from Athens to Thessaloniki, a remarkably scenic journey, then take a bus from Thessaloniki to Sofia.  From Sofia, trains run to Istanbul, Belgrade, Bucharest with onward connections for Budapest, Vienna, Munich, Paris and London.

Athens & Thessaloniki Sofia, Belgrade, Zagreb, Munich, Paris London - see the UK to Greece page.

Restored train service to/from Greece as from May 2014!  Now for some good news.  Greek Railways plan to restore a train link between Thessaloniki f& Sofia, and between Thessaloniki & Belgrade as from 10 May 2014.  A train will leave Thessaloniki at 06:00 arriving Sofia at 14:00, fare 17.80 one-way, buy at the station.  A train with seats car and couchette car will leave Thessaloniki at 16:00 arriving Skopje at 16:55 and Belgrade next morning at 05:33, fare to Skopje 12.20 one-way, fare to Belgrade 32 + around 9 couchette supplement, buy tickets at the station.


International travel from Athens by ferry...

It's just a few hours by train/bus combo from Athens to Patras.  Ferries link Patras & Igoumenitsa in Greece with Bari, Brindisi, Ancona, Venice in Italy.  You can book all operators at www.ferriesingreece.com.  Onward trains within Italy can then be booked at www.trenitalia.com or www.italiarail.com.

The London to Greece page will explain train and ferry times, prices and how to buy tickets for the journey in either direction between Athens, Milan, Paris and London. 

Greece to Turkey:  For ferries from Piraeus to Rhodes and Rhodes to Marmaris in Southern Turkey, use www.ferriesingreece.com.

Athens & Patras Bari, Milan, Paris, London - see the UK to Greece page


Find hotels in Athens & other European countries

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...


Travel insurance & health card...

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Get travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least 1m or preferably 5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash (up to a limit) and belongings.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year (I have an annual policy myself).  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

In the UK, try Columbus Direct or use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you're resident in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you're resident in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, and if you're not careful you can return home to find some huge bills waiting for you.  I've known people run up a 1,000 bill in data charges just by leaving their iPhone connected during a simple trip to Europe.  However, if you buy a global SIM card for your mobile phone from a company such as www.Go-Sim.com you can slash the cost by up to 85% and limit any damage to the amount you have pre-paid.  It cuts call costs in 175 countries worldwide, and you can receive incoming calls and texts for free in 75 countries.  It's pay-as-you-go, so no nasty bills when you get home.  It also works for laptop or PDA data access.  A Go-Sim account and any credit on it doesn't expire if it's not between trips, unlike some others, so a Go-Sim phone number becomes your 'global phone number' for life.

 


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