How To Get From Rome To Athens (& Athens To Rome)

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

This detailed transportation guide tells you how to get from Rome to Athens and how to get from Athens to Rome by car, bus, train, and plane.

Greece Travel Blog_How To Get From Rome To Athens

Arguably the two most interesting European capitals from a historical point of view, no European itinerary should miss at least a short visit to Athens and Rome.

In this article, you can find some general information about both cities, the best routes connecting them, and alternative ways to go from Rome to Athens according to your travel style, budget, and preferences.

About Rome

The capital of Italy, Rome is unquestionably one of the most famous European destinations. Home to unforgettable sights, such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Tiber River, the city offers a unique variety of places to see and discover.

Landmarks such as the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona are among the most visited sites in the country. Rome is a city with beautiful fountains and lush gardens, first-class cuisine, imposing museums, and quaint Roman neighborhoods where you can catch a glimpse of the most authentic Italian panoramas.

About Athens

Traditional greek door on Sifnos island close to Athens

Greece’s cosmopolitan capital, Athens is an eclectic European capital that combines ancient archaeological sites, chaotic traffic, and unexpected street art. Hosting the magnificent Acropolis, with unique temples such as the Parthenon and Erechtheion, Athens is a must-see destination for those interested in the past of Western civilization.

Home to an exhilarating nightlife, consisting of pubs, discos, and tavernas, travelers can also find a more relaxing scenario in the bohemian Athens neighborhoods of Plaka and Anafiotika or enjoy some quality shopping along the streets of Kolonaki.

How To Get From Rome To Athens

View of Poros Island, Island close to Athens Greece

Below we will cover how you can travel between Rome and Athens and of course, traveling from Athens to Rome!

Rome To Athens By Plane

Rome is located 1,050 kilometers (651 miles) from Athens. A trip that can be easily covered with a direct flight that usually never takes more than 2 hours. If you would like to fly from Rome to Athens, planes depart from the airports of Ciampino and Fiumicino, but they will all land at Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, about 35 km from the center of Athens.

Typically, about 35 flights are running every week, and — of course — weekend and holiday schedules can vary significantly in summer. It is always a great idea to start searching at least four months before your trip to plan every single detail and get the most convenient fees.

The companies that cover the route are both national airlines, Alitalia and Aegean, both of them with fees on the mid-range side of costs (from 150 to 250 euro depending on seasonality, luggage, time of the day, day of the week, and a dozen of different factors).

Budget airlines connecting Rome to Athens are Ryanair, Volotea, Easy Jet, Sky Express, and Wizz Air. When it comes to these small air companies, prices can range immensely, from a flash-sale ticket costing under 10 euro to air fairs sometimes reaching almost the same prices as those of more prestigious airlines such as TAP, Malta Airlines others.

So it is always a question of hunting for the perfect price at the right time and playing with various factors to get the best fee on the market.

If you’re looking for the quickest means of transportation from Italy to Greece, flying is the way to go.

Getting From Rome To Athens By Train Or Bus

Greece With KIds - What to do in Greece with kids - Athens - Parthenon, Akropolis
Parthenon – Acropolis, Athens

Although not as convenient as traveling by plane, both regarding ticket prices and time spent traveling, it is also possible to travel to Athens by road… or almost!

This option includes changing from train to ferry and from the ferry to bus along the way. Prices can go up a lot, and time spent traveling often seems endless.

Italy’s high-speed trains, Trenitalia Frecce (Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, and Frecciabianca), offer four different service classes: Standard, Premium, Business, and Executive. All of them feature free Wi-Fi and include a seat reservation. Tickets can only be purchased before boarding the train and need to be validated in advance.

From Rome, you can travel by train to any of the four different ports that connect Italy with Greece, and from there, you would need to get on a ferry to cross the Ionian Sea. So you can travel from Rome to Bari, Ancona, Venice or Trieste, and from there either to Igoumenitsa or Patras, on mainland Greece.

The trip should then continue either again by rain or by bus until you reach the center of Athens. The whole itinerary could take anything from 20 to 36 hours (or more), and it is virtually impossible to do it with more convenient fees than the ones offered by airlines (both low cost and regular ones).

Italotreno is an alternative to Trenitalia; it is the country’s first private train line operating super comfortable high-speed trains on the same tracks as Trenitalia.

This modern company reaches 21 stations across the country, including the popular route Rome-Venice (from where travelers can board a ferry to Greece). Italo features four classes of service with free Wi-Fi.

An exciting feature is that the company also offers an integrated train-bus service that takes passengers from the main train stations to other Italian cities, a service that could be handy if looking to reach different port destinations on the Ionian coast.

For example, getting on a train in Rome to reach Bari Central Station can cost you from 30 to 80 euro, and the trip can last up to 4.5 hours. Add to that the time and cost of crossing to Patras (from 54 euro, 16.5 hours). Once in Patras, you can either rent a car and drive to Athens (2 hours) or continue by bus.

The bus journey typically lasts 2.5 hours (about 207 kilometers), and the ticket costs 25 euro. Approximately 127 buses are running every week on this route, and KTEL Achaias offer the services.

The route Rome-Bari-Patras-Athens is probably the most popular for train-ferry-bus travel, which ends up taking about 23 hours (without counting lay-off times), and the fee can range from about 105 to 160 euro. Although you can easily get from Italy to Greece by ferry, it’s the many Italy to Greece flights that still look like the most comfortable, convenient, and cheap way to travel from Rome to Athens.

Instead, the shortest route is Rome-Bari-Igoumenitsa-Athens, and although the time on the ferry shortens from 16.5 to 13 hours, the ticket price is also 55 euro, so there are not much savings choosing this route. The road trip from Igoumenitsa to Athens takes up to 7 hours and the ticket costs 60 euro. The total fee ranges between 145 to 190 euro.

Of course, if you’d like to travel from Athens to Rome by train, you simply have to reserve this itinerary.

Driving From Rome To Athens

Greece With KIds - What to do in Greece with kids - Athens - Changing of the guard

Probably the longest way to get from Rome to Athens is to do it by car. However, it can be the most rewarding experience if you plan several exploration roads along the way and take the time to discover the landscape and geography of the different countries you will see as you go.

There are two main routes from Rome to Ancona or Brindisi by car. The first of them is driving along the Adriatica Highway, checking on cities such as Pescara, Foggia, or Bari to reach Brindisi, then and board a ferry to Igoumenitsa. Alternatively, it is possible to drive from Rome to Bari along with Highway A1 and stop in stunning Italian places such as Napoli, Avelino, or Altamura.

The trip from Rome to Bari by car can last from 4 to 6 hours. To the cost of petrol, it is necessary to add the cost of toll roads along the way.

A different alternative is to drive northbound from Rome, passing through cities such as Florence, Bologna, Venice, and Trieste, to then cross countries such as Slovenia, Croatia, and North Macedonia to finally reach Greece. Once there, don’t miss a stop in cities such as Thessaloniki, Katerini, Larissa, or Volos.

Private Transfers

Much like a taxi, except you can book ahead and have a driver waiting for you at the airport terminal. Someone to carry your bags, lead the way, and, best of all, you’ll know the fixed cost ahead of time, no matter the crazy traffic.


This trip covers a distance of 2,370 kilometers and cannot be done in less than 2 or 3 days. Along the way, you will discover beautiful Italian and Greek cities and towns and other lesser-known European destinations.

Driving from Rome to Athens is significantly longer, both in distance and time, than flying from Rome to Athens or using trains and a ferry from Italy to Athens. It is, however, one of southern Europe’s most incredible road trips and well worth considering!

So, tell us, how will you get from Rome to Athens? Will you take flights from Rome to Greece? Or perhaps opt for the longer route and take trains and ferries from Italy to Greece?


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