Transportation in Greece

Transportation in Greece

There are different transportation options in Greece available in the different parts of the country and it’s useful to understand the costs and ease of getting between places. For example, most travel between the islands in Greece is by ferry. Car hire remains popular, but learning about the public transportation options is vital, especially if you’re planning a holiday that involves getting to or around the Greek Islands.

In this article I cover all the options in Greece I have personally used many times (except for the new UBER Boat service in Mykonos). These include trains, trams, planes, ferries, buses, taxis, Uber taxis, Uber boats, rental cars, ATVs (Quad bikes), and scooters.

Catamaran from Athens arriving at Aegina Island, Greece
Fast Catamaran from Athens arriving at Aegina Island, Greece


Flights between islands with airports (like Milos, Santorini, Rhodes, and Crete) are possible and save a lot of time. For example, I’ve just booked a flight between Corfu and Milos, and one between Santorini and Rhodes.

These flights mean I can be ensconced in a new hotel by lunchtime and I’ve only lost a half day traveling.

Marathon Airlines plane at Heraklion Airport, Crete

Flying is the best way to get between the island chains but is also a useful form of public transport when ferry and bus connections are slow or awkward.

Case in point: A Patmos Island to Samos Island ferry ride, even in peak season, will have you leaving after midnight and getting in at 3 in the morning.

Flying might seem a little more expensive, but the speed makes up for the cost. And besides, Greek ferries aren’t cheap.

Flights are canceled when the wind is too high in some destinations like Santorini and the flight might even leave early to beat a change in weather conditions – so make sure you keep an eye on your departure time.


The regional train network in mainland Greece is very limited but it can get you to a surprising number of places if you study the map below.

For example, a day trip from Athens to Ancient Corinth is a possibility, with the train going as far as the modern city of Corinth.

Greece Passenger Rail Map
Greece Passenger Rail Map

You can purchase tickets at ticket kiosks both inside and outside stations, as well as online ( and through the Hellenic Trains app.

Although I’ve not seen it done, apparently you can pay cash for a ticket on the actual train for some limited routes. It remains a mystery to me which routes these are.

If you purchase a return ticket, you get a 20% discount. Children under 4 travel for free if they don’t need a seat, and children from 4-12 travel at 50% of an adult fare.

Trains on the Greek Islands: not a thing.

Athens Metro System

The extensive metro of central Athens connects with the bus network to the suburbs like Elefsina, where you can visit the archaeological site of Eleusis by a train-bus combination.

The Athens metro is easy to use, (and there are people at all the stations you can ask for help) and you can buy tickets by duration or distance.

Omonia Station, Piraeus Port, Athens, Greece
Omonia Metro Station, Piraeus Port, Athens, Greece

The heat of Athens is just one good reason to hop on and off the Metro to get around this sprawling city.

Athens Trams

Adding to what is already an abundant amount of public transportation, there is also a tram system in Athens. They’ve evolved a long way since they were first pulled by teams of horses in 1882.

There’s just over 32 km (20 miles) of electrified track and the best part is that you can use it to get to the coastal regions around the Saronic Gulf.

Athens Tram Routes, Greece
Athens Tram Routes, Greece

You can get as far as Voula on the south coast on Line 3 Blue so a beach day is very possible even you are staying in central Athens.

  • Line 3 (blue) runs from the Peace and Friendship Stadium to Voula.
  • Line 4 (red): runs from Syntagma Square to the Peace and Friendship Stadium.
  • Line 3 (blue): runs between Syntagma and Voula.


I use FerryHopper to book my ferries and to download my electronic ticket so that I don’t lose it!

I know the team at FerryHopper and I can personally vouch for their professionalism – and they’re nice people!


Major companies like Blue Star Ferries, Golden Star Ferries, and Hellenic Seaways offer reliable and comfortable services.

Minoan Lines Highspeed Ferry, Heraklion, Crete
Minoan Lines Highspeed Ferry, Heraklion, Crete

High-speed non-car ferries often have limited outside deck space or none at all, so if you want to enjoy the sun and the views while you travel – and I love being on deck watching as I pass the islands – choose the ferries that aren’t the small ‘flying’ catamarans.

Here is some detailed information about the more popular routes:


Whilst the regional train network is not extensive, the bus network is. Buses are a convenient and affordable way to get around Greece.

The KTEL buses are modern, with comfortable seats, luggage compartments, and air conditioners.

Electronic sign at bus stop in Athens, Greece
Electronic sign at bus stop in Athens, Greece

They operate under a syndicate of private operators, the Kratikó Tamío Ellinikón Leoforíon (KTEL). Buses are the best option for traveling within cities and towns or for short distances between them.

On many islands, the system has difficulty coping with the number of tourists in peak season (hello Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete!)

In general, the bigger the island, the lower the taxi fares and so the buses are under less pressure. The trick is to get to the bus early.

Bus tickets can be purchased at small vending machines at bus depots and major stops, or in local kiosks next to the bus stops.

Ferry, Kastellorizo Harbor, Greece
Heraklion to Knossos Bus, Heraklion, Crete, Greece

To give you an example – if you’re taking a bus from Heraklion to the Palace of Knossos, you can buy a ticket at the bus dept from a vending machine.

For the return journey, you can get a ticket from the small shop beside the bus stop closest to the entrance to the archaeological zone.

In cities, you can buy bus tickets at all kinds of small shops and kiosks.


Taxis are plentiful in Athens, scarce on the Greek islands in summer, and almost impossible to find in Mykonos.

Line of Taxis near the Acropolis, Athens Greece
Line of Taxis near the Acropolis, Athens Greece

They have set fees around some islands and taxi drivers expect tips but the best ones just thank you shyly even though they’ve not asked for one.

Many speak great English and are extremely helpful in giving you all kinds of great tips. I find they come in two main groups: those that drive fast, and those that drive at twice the speed limit.

Don’t hesitate to tell your driver to slow down, stop texting, and stop taking calls. This is why I like scooters!

Water Taxis

Islands like Hydra don’t have motorized transport on land so water taxis come in very handy. Tourists don’t often consider them but they’re a fun way to get to remote places.

On some islands (like Paxos or Folegandros), days are spent blissfully discovering a new beach each day, many of which are only accessible by boat. In Mykonos, you have the wonderfully cheap and efficient SeaBoat service.

Head down to the port and look for signs for water taxis – you’ll be surprised at your newfound options.

Uber Taxis and Uber Boats

Uber operates in four cities and islands. It must charge the same rates as regular taxis but it has one big advantage.

If you’re used to using the Uber App, you can continue to use your App to book a ride and pay for it via the App.

Taking an Uber Taxi in Athens, Greece
Taking an Uber Taxi in Athens, Greece

This is a big deal if you don’t have enough Euros for a taxi. Arriving at Athens International Airport (Eleftherios Venizelos) is a case in point.

After getting to the front of the taxi queue you’re directed by the taxi drivers to a nearby ATM to get cash out and start back at the end of the queue.

Uber Boats are a thing, and Mykonos in the summer of 2023 was the first foray for Uber boats in Greece.

An Uber Boat carries a maximum of 8 passengers and on the Uber App you can compare the cost and timing of the Uber Boat ride with an Uber car ride.

🚗 UBER in Greece: Complete Guide to Uber Taxi and Uber Boat

Rental Cars

Renting a car is a great way to explore Greece’s countryside and visit remote areas that are not accessible by public transportation.

Rental car prices start at around €300 a week in peak season for the smallest vehicle from a one-off outlet or local chain, including unlimited mileage, tax, and insurance.

One of my rental cars Tinos Island, Greece
One of my rental cars Tinos Island, Greece

You can get much better rates for three days or more, or if you pre-book on the internet. I try and book a long way ahead and get much better rates.

It’s also the case that there are not enough car rentals on some islands during peak season.

There are some excellent motorways in Greece but there are very many narrow and winding roads in the mountains on both the mainland and the islands.

Driving on these roads can be challenging, especially if you’re not used to driving on the right side of the road.

You’ll also need to factor in the cost of gas and tolls. You won’t need a toll e-tag, but you’ll need to go through the “cash only” booths at toll gates.

An International Driving Permit is a requirement for many nationalities. Here’s a comprehensive article about which countries don’t need one in Greece, but why it’s a good idea to have one:

🚗 Do I need an International Driver’s License in Greece?

🚗What’s the Legal Drinking Age in Greece for Tourists in 2024?

ATVs and Quad Bikes

In villages and on the islands, a Quad Bike or ATV is ideal especially if you don’t have a motorcycle license or don’t feel comfortable carrying a pillion passenger on a scooter.

ATV Naxos Island, Greece
ATV Naxos Island, Greece

You need to be experienced to drive a scooter, but an ATV is not too difficult to learn quickly. Have a drive of one at home before you head off on your first trip.

If you’ve driven ATVs before, you can choose one at the higher end of the power range and get up hills more easily.

Here is some detailed information about ATV and Quad rental on the main islands, including the license requirements:

Scooter Rental in Greece

I travel a lot on my own in Greece and I need to do a lot of exploring as well as testing out remote beaches and mountain villages (it’s a hard job, but someone has to do it).

Naxos Scooter, Greece
Naxos Scooter, Greece

I learned to drive on the left and my brain will never be truly programmed to think driving on the right is second nature. And so a scooter is perfect for me.

I don’t feel like I’m going to drive off the road at any moment and I can go wherever the heck I want!

Scooters are economical, fun, and even I can negotiate filling them up in gas stations.

And did I mention they’re a lot of fun? I’ve recently bought a Vespa Primavera and got my motorcycle license and I am so looking forward to exploring the more remote Dodecanese Islands this summer!

Here’s everything you need to know about scooter rental on some popular islands in Greece as well as information about scooter rental in Greece in general: