Athens transport for cruisers: Getting from Piraeus to Athens

"Knowing a little bit about Athens transport will be crucial if you want your day to go smoothly..."

Acropolis6Acropolis is a must!

By taking the time to research and inform yourself about Athens transport options from Piraeus to Athens sights, you can optimize your visit, save costs, personalize your experience, and make the most of your limited time in port.

It enables you to have a more enjoyable and fulfilling exploration of Athens and its fascinating attractions.

As you may know already, Athens port, the port of Piraeus, is a cruise terminal distanced some 7 miles/10 km from Athens city and all the Athens attractions you would like to see. So it’s perfectly natural for cruisers to wonder: How do I get from the port of Piraeus to Athens?

Athens port simply isn’t one of those ports where you walk off the ship and enjoy shopping in Athens and sightseeing straight away - planning your Athens transport is highly suggested!

You may have experienced a similar situation with the ports of Livorno and Florence, the ports of Civitavecchia and Rome, so you are familiar with longer travels from the cruise port into the city.

There are a few different ways you can experience Athens on the day of your Mediterranean cruise to Athens, and here at Mediterranean Cruise Ports Easy we will help you decide which one suits you best:

1. Athens transport: Taking Athens train
from Piraeus to Athens

This is definitely the cheapest way of getting from Piraeus port to Athens downtown/Athens Plaka or the Athens Acropolis.

With a little help of our detailed instructions in our article Taking Athens train you will gain enough confidence to walk to Piraeus metro station on your own and venture into the little adventure of exploring Athens on your own.

MonastirakiMonastiraki metro stop in Athens - just a few steps from Plaka and Agora

2. Athens transport: Taking taxis in Athens

Athens essentials:

Looking for some reliable, small-group shore excursions that would pick you up at Piraeus, get you skip-the-line tickets, take you to see the highlights of Athens, and bring you back to the ship? No problem: read about the Best Shared Athens Tours from Cruise Ship. 

Taking a taxi can be quite a stressful experience if all you want is a simple ride from the Piraeus cruise terminal to Athens Acropolis.

Athens taxi drivers have a completely different vision of how your day in Athens should look like, and about the prices a tourist should pay for their services.

Namely, they would mostly like to take you for a whole day tour around Athens, Plaka and a visit to the Parthenon - to be your drivers, guides that show you around and take you back to the ship in the afternoon.

As you may assume, this type of service won't come cheap, there may be language barrier problems, and they are not authorized tourist guides either.

Also, if you want a taxi to take you to Athens train station only, don't even try - this is too short a ride for them, they will refuse to do so. That's why most people will walk from the cruise port to the train station

As for taxis, is much easier to just book a private transfer from Piraeus to Athens - you know what you are paying for and there are no misunderstandings. I have found one for you below...

Athens transport: Hop off hop on buses from Piraeus Greece to Athens

Hop-on hop-off buses can offer several benefits to cruise passengers traveling from Piraeus to Athens. Here are some advantages of using hop-on hop-off buses for this journey:

1. Convenience: they offer convenient transportation, with stops near popular attractions.

2. Flexibility: Hop-on hop-off buses offer flexibility, allowing you to customize your itinerary based on your interests and available time.

3. Comprehensive Sightseeing: Hop-on hop-off bus routes are designed to cover major tourist attractions and landmarks in a city.

4. Cost-Effective Option: Hop-on hop-off bus tickets are often available at a reasonable price, especially when compared to private tours or taxis.

5. No Language Barriers: they typically provide multilingual audio commentary

6. Stress-Free Sightseeing: Hop-on hop-off buses eliminate the stress of navigating unfamiliar streets, dealing with parking, or figuring out public transportation systems

It's important to note that the efficiency and coverage of hop-on hop-off bus services may vary among different providers.

Before choosing a specific company, it's advisable to research their routes, schedules, and customer reviews to ensure they align with your needs and expectations. I have found the best-rated ones on Viator for you, check out which one suits you best...

3. Athens transport: Taking a private organized tour

This is a perfect combination of being driven around in a comfortable air-conditioned car, getting narrated about history, myths, and customs from a native, and feeling safe as well as having control in your hands - private tours are always flexible.

It is entirely up to you how long you will stay to take photos, where you want to have a break for a refreshment etc.

I have found private tours with the best price/review ratio. Check them out and book well ahead, as they do get sold out!

4.Taking a local bus from Piraeus to Athens

Can you take a public bus from the port of Piraeus to central Athens or the Acropolis? Yes, you can! It does involve a little bit of an adventurous spirit and finding your way around but it's not too difficult.

You can use two lines:

1) Line 040 - regular public line for commuters, you can read more about it in my article Getting from the port of Piraeus to Athens by bus.

2) Express line X80 - this is a bus line that caters to tourists coming from the port of Piraeus.

Bus040Public bus 040 on Piraeus waterfront

5. Athens transport: Cruise line organized tours

Taking a cruise line shore excursion in Athens can be a good idea for several reasons.

Cruise line shore excursions offer a convenient and hassle-free way to explore Athens. The cruise line handles the logistics, including transportation, guides, and entrance tickets, saving you time and effort.

Just like private tours guided by the locals, cruise line shore excursions also provide knowledgeable and experienced guides who are well-versed in the history, culture, and significance of the attractions you'll be visiting. 

Cruise line shore excursions are designed to ensure that you return to the ship well before departure. The cruise line takes responsibility for managing the timing and coordinating with the tour operators, minimizing the risk of delays or missing the ship's departure. 

While cruise line shore excursions offer convenience and peace of mind, it's important to consider personal preferences and priorities when choosing whether to participate - now, that may be a problem sometimes!

Namely, cruise lines offer quite a limited choice of shore excursions compared to internet platforms like Viator.

Also, shore excursions you book online tend to be much more expensive because the cruise line charges for the service of handling all the logistics, of course. 

That is why some travelers may prefer more independent exploration or have specific interests that may be better suited to individual arrangements. 

The view of the Acropolis from the PlakaTip: don't miss Plaka, the old part of Athens

If you’re going with this option, try and choose a tour that will include some time on your own, especially in the Plaka Athens area.


One useful thing to find out from your shore excursion staff onboard the ship is whether your cruise line-operated tour to the Acropolis will give you an option of dropping off at Syntagma Square (the spot where from Athens Plaka is easy to access) before the bus returns to the ship.

Or even better, talk to the tour guide on the bus directly and he might do so even though it's not part of your tour.

In that case, you would have to organize your way back to the ship if you do drop off, but it’s so worth it as you cannot leave Athens without experiencing the Plaka!

Plaka Street photoPlaka is the charming part of Athens where local food restaurants and cafes are!

Also keep in mind that if you’re booking a tour visiting Corinth, you will not have time to visit Athens at all. Your tour bus will drop you off back at the ship and there will not be enough time for you to get downtown Athens at all. That’s why these tours are recommended to people who have been to Athens before.

When booking your tours, keep in mind that “panoramic” tours mean that most of your sightseeing will be from the bus! These are mostly meant for people who would like to minimize the amount of walking on their tour but still get a glimpse of the sights from a distance.

Another thing to be aware of when booking your Athens cruise line shore excursions is that the duration of the tour also includes the transportation from the port of Piraeus to Athens, which is approximately 30-35 mins each way due to typically heavy traffic on Athens streets.

Those were just a few things that always confused our cruise line guests and I thought you should know in advance.

Have a great day in Athens!

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