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

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

Suppose you are traveling around Greece, and your itinerary includes a stop in the country’s two most important cities. In that case, you need to understand what travel options you have to easily go from Thessaloniki to Athens.

It will all depend on how much time you have to devote to your trip – if you can take the long road to enjoy the landscape or if, instead, a plane would help you save on time.

Since there are five different ways to get from northern Thessaloniki to the capital of Greece, we will show you each one of them to help you make an informed decision, plus we’ve got ideas on where to stay in each of these incredible cities!

Things to do in Thessaloniki Greece - View
Thessaloniki, Greece – Trigonion Tower

Travel Options To Go From Thessaloniki To Athens Or Vice Versa

Since we are talking about the two most important cities in Greece, the capital and the second biggest town in the country, there are different means of transport and good roads connecting both metropolises. Basically, there are five ways to get from Thessaloniki to Athens: train, bus, ferry, car, and plane.

Getting From Thessaloniki To Athens By Train

One of the most romantic ways to get from Thessaloniki to Athens is to board a train. This kind of journey will allow you to see a lot of the landscape since your travel time will be around four hours.

There are more than 20 weekly trains bound to Athens, departing each week from the New Thessaloniki Railway Station, covering a distance of about 540 kilometers. The trip takes between 4 and 4 and a half hours.

Greek Railways (OSE) is the company operating this train route. During the high season, from Easter until the end of summer, as well as during the winter holidays and on the weekends, there can be variations in the schedules. It is always better to check in advance before purchasing your tickets.

Prices for this ticket are pretty affordable, ranging between €28 and €58. This last fee can sound a bit overpriced, but consider that you will be traveling on high speed and modern trains designed to offer passengers every comfort they might need during the ride. Travelers can choose the travel class and enjoy onboard amenities.

Greek Railways offers at least two daily departures and a higher frequency during the weekend. Carriages are spacious and comfortable, with modern seats and plenty of legroom for a comfy ride. Luggage space is also generous. If you love sightseeing, you will love the big panoramic windows that let you admire the spectacular views along the way.

And if all these advantages were not enough, train travel in Greece is a pleasant surprise, not as advertised as it should be.

Departing from Thessaloniki and arriving in Athens (or the other way around) is also convenient since both train stations are located just minutes from the city center and can be easily reached by metro or bus.

Each day, the first train departs from Thessaloniki at 6.27 am (arriving at 10.24 am in Athens).

There are train departures also at 10.24 am, 12:15 pm, and 4:15 pm. 

The last train leaves at 6:15 pm, allowing you to arrive in Athens just in time for a late dinner!

You can find more information at the official website here

Getting From Thessaloniki To Athens By Bus

Another option to get from Thessaloniki to Athens is to travel by bus. Long-distance buses depart from Thessaloniki Monastiriou Station and arrive at Plateia Karaiskaki in Athens.

Karaiskaki Square is a very central location served by buses and the metro, easy to reach from almost any point in town, not far from Monastiraki or Omonia. Karaiskaki Square is a popular place to stay in Athens, and there are many hotels in the area. This is because the place is also close to Larisis Station, with train departures to many other destinations in Greece and abroad.

The bus is a preferred means of transport by many over the train because long-distance bus prices are pretty affordable in Greece. In fact, a bus ticket from Thessaloniki to Athens starts at €25. Some of the trains cover the route up to Piraeus, which is great for those taking a ferry to the islands.

The bus will take longer than the train (about 6 hours), making it a more tiring option, but it is an excellent option if you are traveling to Greece on a budget. Remember that bus travel (and travel in general) is always easier when carrying a moderate quantity of luggage, so pack a bit less if you want to move around in a more comfortable way.

Buses depart from Thessaloniki at 7 am, 10 am, 12 pm, 1:30 pm, 3 pm, 4:30 pm, 6 pm, 11 pm, and 12 am. The total trip is 6 hours to get to Athens Karaiskaki and about 30 minutes more to arrive in Piraeus. Tickets can be purchased online here. 

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

Getting From Thessaloniki To Athens By Ferry

Did it ever occur to you that you can also go from Thessaloniki to Athens by ferry? Well, yes, you can! And this is a very popular option among locals, who seem unable to do without sea travel in their country… as you may have guessed, Greek islanders are experts in moving around the country on a ferry, preferring the boat over any other choice because it is often cheap, convenient and quite flexible.

Ferry travel is a great option if you have your own (or rental) car and would rather not drive from Thessaloniki to Athens. In fact, cars are allowed on most ferries departing from Thessaloniki, so you can always travel by ferry and pay an extra fee to put your vehicle onboard too.

And families will be happy to know that, when it comes to ferries, children usually pay half the fee on any route in Greece!

This is also a great option if you plan to catch a ferry from Athens to the islands and also want to travel there in your car. In this case, this itinerary is a great choice, and it can be a thrilling experience.

However, if you don’t have much time available, all the convenience seems to vanish when you consider that the trip from Thessaloniki to Piraeus takes 28 to 30 hours! Prices range from €80 to €170 since you can either travel on the deck or get yourself a comfortable cabin.

Although this is a favorite option for locals, it might be inconvenient for tourists who do not have much extra time to spare!

Getting From Thessaloniki To Athens By Car

Probably the best way to get from point A to point B all over Greece is by car (unless you’re island-hopping, of course).

Car travel allows you to discover the country at your own pace, with no rush at all. It gives you enough flexibility to stop at any point you want, admire unique and very different landscapes, and explore unknown corners that travelers would otherwise overlook.

A trip by car from Thessaloniki to Athens takes about 5 hours. The best way to travel the 501 km is via A1 and A/D Pireos Athinon Thessalonikis Evzonon/A1/E75 roads. All of these are in reasonably good condition, and it can be an enjoyable experience.

According to Via Michelin travel suggestions, you should bear in mind that the cost of the trip will be about €74.37 (tolls €30.65 + fuel consumption €43.72); you can check more route options here.

If you’re taking it easy and enjoying the road trip, you could stop in places like Veria, Larissa, and Volos (to name only a few) along the way.

Getting From Thessaloniki To Athens By Plane

This is, by far, the most popular way to reach Athens from Thessaloniki, mainly because there are dozens of weekly flights and because low-cost companies also cover the route, making the trip not only really fast but also quite affordable.

At the time of writing, prices range from €80 to €110, but several seasonal offers throughout the year allow you to save quite a substantial amount of money.

Local companies, such as Sky Express, Olympic Air, and Aegean Airlines, have frequent discounts and offer several flights every day, with an increased frequency during the holidays, in summer, and on special occasions, such as Easter and Christmas, and New Year.

When choosing this option, it’s always wise to remember that Athens is served only by one airport, Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos (ATH), which is not so close to the center of town. Thessaloniki International Airport is only 3.5 km from the center of town, so you can easily reach the place by bus or a short taxi ride (about €10).

So, take into account that you might save some time flying, but you would usually need at least one more hour to get into town, and some more extra money for the bus (around €5), train (approximately €10) or taxi (about €50). All these might make the train option look much more convenient for some travelers.

Where To Stay In Thessaloniki

Things to do in Thessaloniki Greece - Things to do in Thessaloniki Greece - Arch of Galerius and Rotunda in Thessaloniki

The following are some of the best places to stay in Thessaloniki; check which is best for your travel needs.

Budget Places To Stay In Thessaloniki

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Thessaloniki_Hotel Kastoria
Photo Credit: Hotel Kastoria

Hotel Kastoria is in the heart of the city center and offers affordable accommodation.


Little Studio is a comfy, small apartment in a very central location and with affordable fees.


Mid-Range Accommodation In Thessaloniki

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Thessaloniki_Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Thessaloniki_Hotel Olympia
Photo Credit: Hotel Olympia

Hotel Olympia is a beautiful hotel only minutes from Thessaloniki’s landmark, Aristotelous Square.


The Trilogy House is a very comfortable home in town, ideal for enjoying on a longer stay.


Luxury Stays In Thessaloniki

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Thessaloniki_Electra Palace Thessaloniki
Photo Credit: Electra Palace Thessaloniki

Electra Palace Thessaloniki, located right in the center, is considered among the best hotels in Thessaloniki.


Icarus Penthouse is a stunning home located in the central area of Aristotelous Square.


Where To Stay In Athens

Things To Do In Athens _ Athens Guide - Lycabettus hill in Athens
View Of Lycabettus Hill From Anafiotika

Athens offers thousands of accommodation options for all pockets; these are the ones we recommend.

Remember that booking with plenty of time can also get you better fees and booking conditions.

The following hotel options are in the most central part of Athens, the neighborhood of Monastiraki. A stay in the area helps you reach any point in town with ease since there are several means of transport. If you prefer to stay in another neighborhood in Athens, check this Athens accommodation guide.

Budget Places To Stay In Athens

Greece Travel Blog_Best Places To Stay In Athens_Suitas
Photo Credit: Suitas

Tempi Hotel is a super convenient budget place in Athens with excellent service.


Suitas is a cozy tiny home located close to the metro and the train station.


Mid-Range Accommodation In Athens

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Athens_Mythos Luxury Suites
Photo Credit: Mythos Luxury Suites

Mythos Luxury Suites is a very convenient place to stay in the central Monastiraki area, close to the metro station.


Arethusa Hotel is a beautiful place with stunning Acropolis views and a very convenient location.


Luxury Stays In Athens

Greece Travel Blog_Best Places To Stay In Athens_Amazing Penthouses With Acropolis View
Photo Credit: Amazing Penthouses With Acropolis View

Concierge Athens offers self-catering units in a convenient area of town, and it is ideal for families.


Fantastic Penthouse With Acropolis Views is a stylish place in the heart of Monastiraki, very close to the Monastiraki train station.


So there you have it – all the possible options to travel from Thessaloniki to Athens, and where to stay once there. Which one will be the one you choose?


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