Undoubtedly, Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport(ATH) is the most important airport in Greece. Most international flights arrive here, providing connections to the entire world.
Location and Transfer to the City
Athens’ International Airport is located 20 miles (33 km) southeast of Athens. If you decide to rent a car to get to the city, you need to take Attiki Odos, Athens’ ring road.
If you choose to take the public transport, the airport is linked to Athens Central Railway Station and Piraeus Harbor by the Suburban Rail system. Also, metro services are available between the airport and the capital.
Bus routes connect the airport to Piraeus Harbor daily, while some routes connect the airport to metro services. Also, express buses (KTEL) run between Markopoulo and Rafina. KTEL also connects to airport to Lavrio, Kalyvia and Keratea.
Facilities and Customs
Athens International Airport is very modern, offering shops, restaurants, free internet (WiFi) and 11 baggage claim conveyor belts. Make sure to have a €1 coin available if you need to use luggage carts.
Non-EU country passengers must declare if they carry quantities exceeding the legal limits.
A very efficient custom control uses a three channel system:
- Green Channel: passengers from non-EU countries with no goods to declare
- Red Channel: passengers from non-EU countries with goods to declare
- Blue Channel: passengers from EU countries (no routine controls)
When arriving in Athens, exchange just enough money at the airport to pay for the express bus or metro. Once you get in the city, exchange money at a bank or at exchange offices but make sure to look for ones that don’t charge a commission.
>>more information on the banks and exchange rates
When leaving Athens make sure to come to the Airport 2 hours before your flight. Check in immediately and find the gate you have to go to. During the summer months the airport is very crowded and you wouldn’t want to risk missing your flight because you arrived too late…unless, of course, you want to spend more time in Athens.
There are 64 airlines servings Athens International Airport, including: Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Cyprus Airways, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Easy Jet, Egyptair, Iberia, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines , Pulkovo Aviation Enterprise, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, SN Brussels Airlines, Thai Airways International. The flights connect Athens to destinations all over the world, such as New Jersey, Atlanta, New York, Milan, Rome, London, Madrid or Amsterdam.
Athens is also an important departure and arrival point for the domestic flights. Olympic Airlines offers most of these flights, connecting the capital to the Greek islands and cities, including: Chania, Heraklion, Ioannina, Kavala, Mykonos, Milos, Naxos, Paros, Rhodes, Syros Island, Thessaloniki or Thira. Aegean Airlines offers domestic flights to 13 destinations, all covered by Olympic Airlines as well.
Prices and Booking your Flight
Probably the wisest decision would be to check with your travel agent and look for cheap flights on several days, although due to the low commissions some travel agents will be quite reluctant to do that. Alternatively, you can spend a lot of time online and check for cheap flights on several days until you finally find one (which is most cases proves to be quite efficient though).
Prices depend on several factors: airline, class, when you book the flight, weather it’s a direct flight or not. A good trick is to start looking for flights about 6 months before you plan to leave, hence benefiting from whatever summer sales the companies might offer. If you wait for too long and book right before you plan to leave, you will pay very high prices. During high season months –July, August – the prices are at their highest. Remember that the airport taxes aren’t included in the ticket price.