Starting in 2017, a new electronic ticketing system was introduced in the Athens public transport network, replacing the older paper tickets and cards.
Fare prices remained the same, but the way you pay and use the tickets changed.
Last updated: January 3rd, 2020
This guide on using Athens transport tickets and cards is divided into 4 sections:
A. Types of tickets and cards
B. Athens Transport Fares
C. Charging and recharging tickets and card
D. Using tickets and cards
A. Types of tickets and cards
1. What are the different types of tickets and cards for Athens public transport?
There are 3 new types of Athens Transport tickets:
- The Ath.ena Ticket
- The personalized Ath.ena Card
- The anonymous Ath.ena Card
The Ath.ena Ticket at a glance:
- What is it? Paper rechargeable ticket that can be charged with fares from simple 90-minute tickets up to 5-day tickets. Tickets for trips to/from the airport exist as well.
- Who is it for? People who don’t use the transport regularly and just want a ticket to get to their destination.
- The good: You don’t need to show a document or wait in line to get one. You can just go to a ticket machine.
- The bad: It can’t be recharged while there’s already a ticket inside so you might end up needing more than one. Also, you can’t get half-priced tickets with it.
The anonymous Ath.ena Card at a glance:
- What is it? Plastic rechargeable card that can be charged with any fare, up to 5-day tickets.
- Who is it for? People who don’t use the transport regularly but would rather use a plastic card than a paper ticket.
- The good: You don’t need to show a document to get one.
- The bad: You can only issue it at ticket offices, you can’t get half priced tickets and it has very few of the advantages of a personalized Ath.ena Card.
The personalized Ath.ena Card at a glance:
- What is it? Plastic rechargeable card with the photo and name of the passenger it belongs to. It can be charged with any fare, up to a 365-day ticket or an amount up to 50 euros.
- Who is it for? The frequent users of Athens transport as well as anyone who wants a half-priced ticket.
- The good: You can buy tickets online and charge your card using your smartphone or a ticket machine, you can re-issue it if you lose it.
- The bad: Issuing it can be a hassle, there are limits as to how many tickets you can charge it with.
Here’s a table with some main differences between the 3 types of Athens Transport Tickets & Cards:
B. Athens Transport Fares
Remember that regardless of what type of ticket you are going to choose, all fares:
- Can be bought regardless of when they are going to be used. Any fare is valid with the first “touch in” of the card.
- Fares that aren’t used, remain inside the Ath.ena Card or Ath.ena Ticket and can be used in the future as long as the ticket or card stays in a good condition.
- Only personalized Ath.ena Cards can be charged and recharged online. Still though, you’ll need to use a smartphone or go to a ticket machine to charge your card with the fare you bought online, before you can use it.
2. What fares can I charge my Ath.ena Ticket or Ath.ena Card with?
You can charge and recharge your Ath.ena Ticket or Ath.ena Card with a number of short-term and long-term fares, as seen in the following 3 tables.
You can also charge your Ath.ena Ticket or Card directly with an amount of up to €50, without having to buy a specific fare.
- All of the fares of the table above can be used for an unlimited number of transfers on: city Buses (excluding Airport express buses and X80 line), Trolley-Buses, Tram, Metro (all stations except Airport), Suburban Railway (only the urban section, no Airport).
- 90-minute tickets are valid for 90 minutes after the first ‘touch in’, 24-hour tickets for 24 hours after the first ‘touch in’, and 5-day tickets for 5×24 hours after the first ‘touch in’. For example, if the first time you use the 5-day ticket is at 10:05 am on Thursday it will be valid until 10:05am on Tuesday.
- Airport Express bus tickets are valid only for one ride on an airport express bus, and no other transfer.
- Metro tickets to the airport are valid for 90 minutes after their validation for transportation and transfers on the same modes as the 90-minute tickets, plus a transfer from/to the airport with the metro. They are NOT valid for rides on Airport express buses.
- 3 day (tourist) tickets are valid for: 1 round trip from/to Athens International airport by Metro or Express Bus and unlimited travel on all other modes for 3 days (72 hours after the first ‘touch in’), including line X80 (for example from 10am on Friday till 10am on Monday).
- Long term tickets are only available through personalized Athe.na Cards.
- Each ticket is valid starting from the first ‘touch in’, regardless of the day of the month, and until midnight of the last day. For example, a 30-day ticket that is first used at 2:20 pm on October 15 will be valid until 23:59:59 on November 14.
- Cards for all modes excluding airport, are valid for unlimited transportation and transfers on city buses (excluding airport lines and X80 line), trolley-buses, tram, metro (exlcuding travels from/to the airport) and suburban railway (only the urban section excluding airport).
- Cards for all modes including airport, are valid for unlimited transportation and transfers on these modes plus trips from to/the airport by metro, suburban railway or bus.
3. What kind of ticket do I need to travel from/to the Athens airport?
To travel from to/the Athens airport and the city of Athens you need one of the following tickets:
- A metro ticket for the airport
- A return ticket to the airport by Metro within 48 hours
- An Airport Express bus ticket
- A 3-day (tourist) ticket
- Any long-term ticket (from 30 days) which includes airport transfers
NO other tickets are valid for travelling from/to the Athens airport and the city.
See also: How to get to the Athens airport and the port – All the information you need about how to travel between the Athens airport (and the port of Piraeus) and the center of Athens using public transport
4. I’m flying to Athens for a few days. Any advice on which ticket I should use?
It all depends on how you’re going to travel between Athens and the airport, how often you’re going to use public transport while in Athens, and how many days you’re going to stay.
- If you plan to stay in Athens for up to 3 days, you should consider purchasing a 3-day (tourist) ticket (€22) upon your arrival at the airport. Especially if you travel between the airport and the city center by Metro, and also take a few shorter rides while in Athens, this should be the best ticket for you. However, if you’re going to use an express bus for the airport (€6 per route) and then take the metro while in the city just a few times it might be better purchasing 90-minute tickets (€1.40 each) or get a 24 houra ticket (€4.5). (Remember, 90-minute tickets, 24 hours, and 5 days tickets are not valid for trips from/to the airport.)
- If you plan to stay in Athens for longer than 3 days, you will definitely need separate tickets for your Airport – Athens center (and vice versa) trips and your trips within Athens. Express buses from/to the airport (€6) cost cheaper than taking the Metro (€10).
For your trips within Athens, a 5 days ticket (€9), or a 24 hours ticket (€4.5) might be cheaper than purchasing several 90-minute tickets (€1.40 each) for every trip.
5. Who can use a Reduced Price Ticket or travel Free of Charge?
Reduced price tickets (also known as ‘half priced’ although they’re cheaper than that) for Athens public transport are available for:
- Children aged 7-12 (regardless of nationality)
- Teenagers aged 13-17 (including 17, regardless of nationality) – ID card or passport needed
- Seniors over the age of 65 (regardless of nationality) – ID card or passport needed
- Students at public Greek universities and TEI (regardless of nationality, ERASMUS students included) as long as they have an academic ID card (issued online) with the indication “ΔΕΛΤΙΟ ΕΙΣΙΤΗΡΙΟΥ”.
- IEK (state-run or private) students up to the age of 22, with a student pass
- Students who study at universities outside Greece up to the age of 24 (including those aged 24, regardless of nationality), after showing a Student Card – University ID card and passport or ID card.
- Members of Greek families with 4 children or more, with a special pass.
Also, free of charge travel is available, among others, for:
- Children under the age of 6 (including those aged 6), regardless of nationality. No need to issue a ticket/card, children travel accompanied by an adult.
- Unemployed citizens of Greece, with a valid OAED card (excluding trips on suburban railway). Issue of personalized card and monthly recharge required
- Disabled persons, citizens of Attica region. Issue of personalized card and recharge required.
If you are eligible for a half-priced ticket, you will have to issue a personalized Ath.ena Card. Alternatively, you can buy half priced tickets at all suburban railway stations (and only there). The fare will be loaded on a “train ticket” which is valid for transfers all over Athens.
C. Charging and recharging tickets and cards
6. How and where can I buy and recharge an Ath.ena Ticket?
Ath.ena Tickets are available at every open Athens transport ticket office, as well as on automatic ticket machines. Also, at a variety of locations (newsagents, kiosks etc.) all over Athens.
You can buy an Ath.ena Ticket online, as long as you are already a registered user of an Ath.ena Card (in that case you’ll receive a code and issue it at a ticket machine).
According to the Athens Transport authority, credit cards are accepted at all ticket offices and ticket machines.
Since there are no half priced Ath.ena Tickets, you don’t need to show any document in order to buy a ticket.
You can recharge an Ath.ena Ticket at all Athens transport ticket offices, as well as on automatic ticket machines.
Locations and hours of operation of Athens Transport Ticket offices
Ticket offices are open at:
You can also see a map of all points you can buy and recharge Athe.na Tickets and Cards (only in Greek as of 2019)
Basic use of an Athens Transport ticket machine:
To use the machine in English, tap on the British flag:
On the screen that follows there are these options:
- Buy Travel Product: Tap this to buy a new Ath.ena Ticket charged with the fare of your choice
- Card info: Tap this to see what fares (if any) your ticket or card is charged with and when they expire. Place your ticket or card in the recharge slot before you tap this.
- Top Up: Tap this to recharge your Ath.ena Ticket or Ath.ena Card (remember: the Ath.ena Ticket has to be empty to be recharged, the Ath.ena Card can be recharge as long as it’s empty OR it has one ticket product that is in use)
- Online Booking: Tap this if you’ve already bought a fare online
Tip: If you make a wrong choice, tap on the green ‘Back’ button. Press ‘Cancel’ if you want to exit the menu completely.
If you tap ‘Buy Travel Product or Top Up, you’ll see the following choices:
- Airport Express Bus: (self explanatory)
- Athens & Airport: Tap this if you want a fare that includes a Metro trip to the Airport
- Athens & Airport, round: Tap this if you want a fare that includes a round trip to the Airport by Metro
- Athens Area: Tap this for fares that don’t include trips to the Airport
There are the options if you tap ‘Athens Area’. The single ticket is the last option (90 minutes). ‘2 trips’ means two 90-minute tickets that you can use for numerous transfers while they’re valid.
After you choose your fare (‘product type’ according to the machine, you can choose how many of them you want (if you’re buying an Ath.ena Ticket) and the way you will pay:
If you choose to pay by Cash, the screen will show you what banknotes and coins are accepted (note that banknotes of much larger value than your ticket are not accepted):
If you choose to pay by credit card, check the small screen over the credit card slot:
Recharging you Ath.ena Card is a similar process (you use the ‘Top Up’ option).
7. How and where can I buy an anonymous Ath.ena Card?
You can buy an anonymous Ath.ena Card from every open Athens Transport ticket office (see a list above, under question 6). You cannot buy it on automatic machines or online. Credit cards are accepted at all metro and tram ticket offices according to the Athens Transport authority.
You don’t need to show any document in order to buy an anonymous Ath.ena Card.
You can recharge your anonymous Ath.ena Card at all Athens transport ticket offices, as well as on ticket machines.
8. How and where can I buy a personalized Ath.ena Card?
You can issue a personalized Ath.ena Card at specific Athens transport ticket offices. In particular, at all open Metro stations and Tram ticket offices and at the bus ticket offices in the airport and at Syntagma square (see list and times of operation above, under question 6).
If you are a resident of Greece, you can issue a personalized Ath.ena Card online and have it mailed to a Greece address. In this case it’s impossible to predict how long it will take to arrive. More info (in Greek)
To issue a card for the first time, you need your passport (if you are a Greek citizen you need your Greek ID card and an AMKA document instead). For a half-priced card, you also need to show the appropriate document that proves you are eligible (for example university card). An online application can speed up the process [link – make sure to print the QR code] but you’ll still need to go to a ticket office in order to get your card issued.
During the issuing process, the clerk will take your photo using a webcam and will ask you to type an 8-digit PIN code for your card (make sure you write it down). The whole process takes less than 5 minutes.
You can recharge your personalized Ath.ena Card at Athens transport ticket offices, ticket machines, as well as online through the website athenacard.gr. (You buy a fare or add an amount of money online but the actual “recharging” of the card must take place on a ticket machine or with the Athena Card app for Android phones).
D. Using tickets and cards
9. How do I use an Ath.ena Ticket or Ath.ena Card?
Ath.ena Tickets and Ath.ena Cards are made from different materials but use the same contactless technology.
In buses, trolley-buses and the Tram, you use the blue card readers, installed close to all doors (in buses, you’re supposed to enter from the front door). You place your Ath.ena Ticket or Ath.ena Card close to the ‘contact point’, under the screen. A sound and message on the screen (green color) will let you know that your card is valid (you can also see the time or tickets remaining in the card). Red color on the screen means that something went wrong (empty or invalid card/ticket etc). You need to touch in every time you enter a bus/trolley bus/tram, regardless of the fare you are using. You DON’T need to touch in again before exiting the vehicle (you won’t be over-charged, it’s just not needed).
On the metro and suburban railway, you need to pass through the gates installed at every station. Use the card reader on your right side as you’re going through the gate. Again, a sound and message on the screen will let you know whether your card was read successfully, and of course, in that case the gate will open. You need to do this as you enter AND exit every station.
You can see the remaining time of your ticket while touching in the card as well as at ticket machines and ticket offices.
10. How about Athens Suburban Railway and other Railway tickets?
Athens Suburban Railway (Proastiakos) differs from the rest of the Athens public transport network in that it is operated by TrainOSE, a private company. TrainOSE is using a different electronic ticket system which is 100% compatible with the one used on the rest of the transport network.
Ath.ena Tickets and Athena Cards are accepted within the urban section of the Suburban Railway as well as the Airport station. For journeys from/to Athens Airport to/from any station within the urban section, metro tickets for the airport are valid and can be used in place for suburban railway tickets.
Ticket offices at Suburban Railway stations issue a ticket labeled “TRAIN TICKET” which is compatible and can be used to travel on buses/metro/tram etc.
- For journeys to or from stations outside the urban section, you’ll need a more expensive ticket which can be bought at all suburban railway ticket offices (open at every station). More info at TRAINOSE website.
- Athens Transport in English: An overview of the public transport system of Athens in English
- How to get to the Athens airport and the port: All the information you need about how to travel between the Athens airport (and the port of Piraeus) and the center of Athens using public transport
- Looking for places to visit in Athens, Greece? Check out: 20 places to visit in Athens, Greece and how to get there
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