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 for journeys starting in another city.  Train information updated for 2017.

I want to go from Athens to...

  London by train   Thessaloniki   Belgrade   Corfu
     

London by ferry+train

 

Patras

 

Zagreb

 

Rhodes

 

Paris by train

 

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?".

European train travel FAQ...

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 to Thessaloniki or Kalambaka from 9!

What's the journey like?  Athens to Thessaloniki by train...

Modern air-conditioned InterCity trains link Thessaloniki (Salonika) with Athens in as little as 4 hours, with superb scenery through the mountains between Larissa & Athens.  But hurry, as in a few years time a new 125mph section of line will by-pass these scenic mountain sections, cutting the Athens-Salonika journey time to little over 3 hours...

The main Larissa railway station in Athens   2nd class seats   Cafe car

Trains leave from Athens' main (Larissa) station...  The train has comfortable 1st & 2nd class seats (2nd class above left) and a cafe car.  A free meal is served if you have a 1st class ticket.  Interior photos courtesy of Dave Roberts.

More scenery on the train to Athens   Great scenery from the train:  In the mountains between Athens and Larissa

South of Larissa, the train ascends a spectacular escarpment (above right), with the Greek plain laid out hundreds of feet below...

Parnassus mountains seen from the Athens-Thessaloniki train

View of the Parnassus mountains from the train.  Courtesy of Laurent Faurite.

More mountain scenery, and the Gorgopotamos Viaduct...   2nd class on Greek InterCity train

The train snakes through the mountains, over the famous Gorgopotamos viaduct, blown up by the British S.O.E. in WW2...

 

Approaching Thessaloniki, the InterCity train runs along the Aegean coast and past Mount Olympus (seen above, from the train), mythical home of the Greek gods...

Greek InterCity train from Thessaloniki to Athens

A Thessaloniki to Athens InterCity train.  The carriages are modern and air-conditioned, although as you can see, Greece suffers a graffiti problem at the moment, and not just on its railways.  Photo courtesy of Dave Roberts

Back to top


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

Back to top


International trains from Athens...

Trains are back!  International trains linking Greece with other countries were all cancelled in February 2011 due to the Greek government's dire financial state, but the good news is that they are now back.  Greek Railways restored a train link between Thessaloniki & Sofia, and between Thessaloniki & Belgrade in May 2014.

IMPORTANT:  Due to migrants trying to use the train to cross the border, since August 2015 the Thessaloniki-Belgrade train has been starting from Gevgelija on the Greek/Macedonian border with a replacement bus service for the first bit from Thessaloniki to Gevgelija.  This is still the case (when the train is running) in 2017.  Could be for days, or weeks or months, who knows.  Feedback appreciated!

FURTHER IMPORTANT UPDATE 2017:  The  Thessaloniki-Belgrade train is cancelled due to work on the line from Autumn 2016 until June 2017, it should then run 2 June to 2 October 2017, then may be cancelled again.  The Thessaloniki-Sofia train is unaffected and still running, so re-route yourself via Sofia.

Athens & Thessaloniki to Sofia, Bucharest, Istanbul...

On board the Thessaloniki to Sofia train...

The train uses modern Greek air-conditioned carriages, although as elsewhere in Greece there's a graffiti problem on the exterior.  Photos courtesy of Damien McGrath.

6-seat 2nd class compartment   Train corridor   The Thessaloniki to Sofia train

Comfortable 2nd class compartment.

 

Corridor...

 

The Thessaloniki to Sofia train.

Traveller Damien McGrath reports:  "I travelled up from Athens the day before.  I think its worth knowing that yes you will have to stay the night in Thessaloniki but it's a lovely city with lots to see and a lovely vibe right beside the Aegean Sea.  I then caught the 6.55am train from Thessaloniki to Sofia.  The train was made up of 7 or 8 carriages but I was told that Sofia travellers should only use the last two carriages as not all of the train goes to Bulgaria.  These also seemed to be the only carriages that were covered in graffiti!  I would estimate that there was only about 20 passengers in these two carriages and it never really got that busy all the way to Sofia.  We stopped after about two hours and it felt like were changing engines and being shunted up a siding.  Then there was the usual passport control all of which was reasonably efficient and we arrived on time into Sofia.  Some nice countryside especially on approach to Sofia where we passed the snow-capped Vitosha mountains."

Athens & Thessaloniki to Belgrade, Zagreb, Budapest, Vienna, Paris, London...

On board the overnight train from Thessaloniki to Belgrade...

The Belgrade-Thessaloniki night train has a Macedonian couchette car, though no sleeper.  But it's comfortable enough, and seldom full, see the photos below, courtesy of traveller Tom Whitehead.  Clean sheets, pillow and blanket are provided.  You'll probably find fellow travellers from Germany, the Netherlands, Australia or Britain on board.

The Macedonian couchette car on the Belgrade to Thessaloniki train   A 6-berth couchette compartment on the Belgrade to Thessaloniki train
A 6-berth couchette compartment on the Belgrade to Thessaloniki train   The Macedonian couchette car on the Belgrade to Thessaloniki train

Back to top


International ferries from Greece... 

Athens to Rome, Florence, Venice by ferry + train...

A 2 or 4 berth cabin on the Italy-Greece ferry  

2 or 4-berth cabin with private toilet & shower.

 

Relaxing on deck...

The ferry from Bari to Greece at sea

At sea, passing Cephalonia & Ithaca.  This is what travel to Greece should be like!

Athens & Greece to Turkey...

Back to top


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 has been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel at a cheaper rate.

►► My recommended booking site:  www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings in one place here. 

You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a great feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...

Back to top


Travel insurance & health card...

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent 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 and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  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, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

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

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get a spare credit card, designed for 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!

 


Back to home page