Getting from Piraeus cruise port to Athens can be both cost-effective, scenic, and seamless: learn all about using the express tourist bus X80
If Athens is one of the ports of call on your next Mediterranean cruise, Piraeus cruise port will be your ship's gateway to reach this fantastic city, one of the cradles of Western civilization.
Just before my last visit in August of 2023, I was happy to find out there was an express bus X80 that takes you directly from Piraeus cruise port to Athens, without stopping at all the usual public bus stops - and I was eager to try it out myself.
Considering my husband and I were the only ones taking the ride (at least early in the morning when it's the best time to set off to the Acropolis) I conclude not many cruise passengers know about this budget-friendly way to get from Piraeus cruise port to Athens yet.
Here's what I found out...
Bus X80 gets you from Piraeus cruise port to Athens and its most important points of interest.
This line was created specifically to cater to the needs of cruisers and tourists who arrive at Piraeus on ferries. That is why it operates from May to October.
How long does the ride on bus X80 last?
It does a circular tour of Athens in 60 minutes, which means it takes about 30 minutes to get from Piraeus cruise port to Athens (on a busy day with heavy traffic).
We visited Athens in August when everyone was on vacation and it took us about 20 minutes to the stop at the bottom of the Acropolis.
The ride is quite scenic, especially in Piraeus, as you will pass by its marina of Mikrolimano, a waterfront that gets lively with cafes and eateries in the evening.
Where is the X80 bus stop in Piraeus?
It is just outside terminal A of the port of Piraeus, on the main road, actually the waterfront of Piraeus. It will be on the left-hand side of the road, so no need to cross the street at all.
You will see the OLP signage and the digital display telling you your bus's arrival time.
The bus stop is so close to the port, you can see the cruise ship docked behind me.
If you are unsure which terminal your cruise ship stops at, inquire once you get onboard as getting from terminal B to terminal A involves using a free shuttle bus inside the port.
Once you exit the terminal building, walk past the taxi drivers that will be to your left and follow the road straight ahead of you, winding to the left.
In a few minutes, you will find yourself on the main road, the waterfront of Piraeus.
Keep walking for another 3-5 minutes (stay on the left-hand side), till you reach the OLP ticket booth - ask for your Athens tickets there, and then go back some 50m to the X80 bus stop. The bus will arrive from your left-hand side, too.
The single fare is €1.20, it's valid for 90 minutes on all modes of transport.
However we got a daily card for €4.10 and used it to come back, too.
To be honest, the €4.10 price was all I had read about online beforehands, and thought it was the only option so I didn't even ask about the single fare (and they automatically sold me the daily card at the ticket booth in Piraeus, of course).
We took the bus at 7.40 am (it's very important to go very early if you wish to visit the Acropolis) and returned from Athens early afternoon, and we validated the ticket in the machine inside the bus.
Well, at least we didn't have to go through the hassle of buying tickets with the driver on the return bus.
To find out more about the fares and 3 and 5-day tickets, check their official website.
You can ask your bus driver to tell you when to get off for the Acropolis if you're not sure you will recognize the stop.
According to their official website, the Acropolis is the second stop on the way from Piraeus, but the bus will not make a stop at the first stop (Metro Syggrou-Fix) if no one is waiting to get on.
Once you get off the bus, cross the street and follow the crowds. Our bus driver also showed us the direction in which to go, which was nice.
In 3-4 minutes you will find yourself very close to the South-eastern entrance to the Acropolis, the one by the Dyonisus theatre.
If you have already purchased your Acropolis ticket online, you will only have to wait in one line (ours was about 300m long at 8.10 a.m.), the one where you enter the site.
If you go without your tickets, you will wait in two lines:
1) The line for the ticket booth - you can wait for up to 30 minutes so I don't recommend it!
2) The line to enter the site (300-500m long)
My point is: make sure you purchase your Acropolis tickets beforehand as the heat is unbearable from 8 a.m. onwards and every minute of standing in line counts.
If you would like to meet your tour guide on the site and have them walk you around the Acropolis and maybe even the Acropolis Museum, check these top-selling tours:
It is highly likely that after visiting the Acropolis you will go to Syntagma Square, visit the Parliament and its famous guards, as well as the Plaka, the old part of the town where the ancient Agora is.
Once we descended the Acropolis, we caught a taxi and had him take us to Syntagma Square for €5. It was hot and we couldn't be bothered going back to the X80 bus stop and waiting for the next bus to take us a few streets away.
Once we were done sightseeing in the Plaka we went back to the Syntagma Square and waited for the return bus at the stop in front of the McDonalds.
It gets very busy with taxis and tour buses stoping here as well, so we made sure to sygnal our bus driver we were expecing him to stop for us. And he did.
In another 20-25 minutes we were back in Piraeus, at the same spot where we caught the bus going into Athens and we were very happy with this smooth transportation option.
However, I have to say I felt quite confident about the whole process as I had been in Athens many times before.
If it wasn't for that, my husband (who is not so travel-wise) would have never been so brave to follow my guidance, he would have insisted on taking one of the shore excursions into Athens.
If you are more like my husband and don't feel safe getting around a big city for the first time, I suggest you take one of the shore excursions below:
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4. Capri ferry
10. Livorno Italy
13. Naples to Capri
16. Messina Sicily
17. Pisa Train
18. Visiting Pompeii
19. Pompeii forum
20. Port of Piraeus
22. Venice vaporetto
23. Venice water bus
24. Livorno map
25. Getting to Zadar
27. Walk Venice
28. Mykonos beach
30. Pomepii homes