A Comprehensive Overview of Roads, Rails, and Sea Routes

During the last 20 years the road and rail network of Greece has been modernised in such a degree that offers fast and secure access from almost every part of Greece to the other.
The road and highways network has been upgraded and new modern highways are connecting the Greek cities. One of the major works was the Egnatia highway that connects north west Greece (Igoumenitsa) with northern and north west Greece.

The bridge of Rio Antirio (the longest suspension cable bridge in Europe) connects the western Peloponnesus from Rio (7 km from Patras) with Antirion in the central west Greece. Until the year 2014 it will be ready the new Pyrgos-Patras-Athens highway witch will be replace the old Patras Athens national motorway.

The new road to Tripolis from Corinth makes the journey from Corinth to Tripolis in only one hour. Most of the parts of the highway Athens-Lamia-Thessaloniki has been also upgraded making the journey to Thessaloniki only a 4 hours drive.
One of the biggest infrastructure works that have improved the transport in Athens was the creation of Attiki odos, the Athens metro, the tram and the suburban railway. Getting around in Athens has been enormously improved since then.


total: 117 000 km
paved: 107 406 km (1030 km of motorways – 2006 estimate)
unpaved: 9594 km (1996)


The Greek railway network has been also upgraded with double lines in many parts of the 2500 km network and new and faster trains of the latest technology (Intercity) make the train journey faster and confortable.The Greek railways connecting many cities of Greece as well as Greece with the rest of Europe, the Balkans, Russia and Turkey.

Total: 2548 km
standard gauge (1435 m): 1565 km (83 km electrified AC 25 kV 50 Hz, 408 km double track, 23 km double standard gauge and metric)
narrow gauge: 961 km gauge metric mainly in the Peloponnese, 22 km gauge of 0750 m (mountain railway to Diakofto to Kalavrita).

Cities with a subway system: Athens, Thessaloniki.
Cities with a tram network: Athens, Thessaloniki

Air transport

The new airport of Athens is one of the most modern airports in Europe it start operating a few years ago and serves thousands of flights to Greece from all over the world. Most of the Greek islands and many main cities of Greece are connecting by air mainly from the two major airlines of Greece Olympic and Aegean air.

The air connection of many smaller Greek island has improved their tourism industry making the journey from Athens in less than an hour. Many major Greek island have long runways where during the summer season have hundreds of charter and direct flights from many European countries.

Transportation in Greece is more than just a way to get from point A to point B; it’s an essential part of the overall travel experience.  Whether you’re hopping between islands or wandering through ancient ruins, having reliable transport options opens up a world of possibilities. From bustling cities like Athens to idyllic island getaways like Santorini, navigating Greece seamlessly allows you to immerse yourself fully in its beauty and culture.

With well-connected public transport networks, scenic drives along coastal roads, and convenient rental services available, getting around Greece offers a blend of convenience and adventure.

Public transport

Public transport in Greece has undergone significant transformations over the years, adapting to the growing demands of both locals and tourists. The country’s strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa has historically made it a hub of various transport modalities, from ancient footpaths to modern highways.

Starting with the road network, Greece boasts an extensive system of highways that connect all major cities across the mainland and also link Greece to its neighboring countries. The construction of new highways has been a priority in recent years, with projects such as the Ionian Highway and the Olympia Odos enhancing connectivity between important regions. These modern roads are designed to European standards and offer a faster, safer driving experience, which is a significant upgrade over the older, narrower roads that were once prevalent.

Trains in Greece have a nostalgic charm, with the national railway company, TRAINOSE, operating services across a network that spans the mainland and parts of the Peloponnese. While the train system is not as extensive or as advanced as those found in other European countries, recent investments aim to modernize existing lines and services. High-speed services are limited, but the intercity routes are quite efficient and provide scenic views of the Greek countryside.

Buses are a crucial component of Greek public transport, offering extensive coverage that reaches areas not serviced by trains. KTEL, the main bus company, operates a fleet of buses that connect almost every city and town, making it an affordable and accessible option for travelers. The buses are comfortable and relatively modern, often proving to be the most practical way to navigate the rugged terrain of the country.

Cars remain a popular mode of transport among Greeks, especially on the islands where public transport options are limited. Car rentals are a common sight, particularly during the tourist season when visitors prefer the flexibility of exploring at their own pace. However, traffic congestion in cities like Athens can be a significant problem, leading many residents to rely on motorbikes and scooters. These smaller vehicles offer easier maneuverability and are a common choice for quick commutes.

Speaking of motorbikes and bicycles, they are not only practical but also increasingly seen as a healthier and more environmentally friendly alternative to cars. In response to this growing trend, cities have started to develop more bike lanes and routes, particularly in Athens, where the mild climate allows for year-round cycling.

The focus on new highways and infrastructure development does not overshadow the challenges that still exist. Environmental concerns, economic constraints, and the need for further modernization of public transport are pressing issues. Nonetheless, the improvements in road safety and the gradual expansion of the train network highlight Greece’s commitment to enhancing its transport systems to meet the needs of its population and its visitors.

Rules and Regulations

Driving in Greece can be a thrilling experience, but it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations before hitting the road. In Greece, driving is on the right side of the road, and seat belts are mandatory for all passengers. Speed limits vary depending on the area, so pay attention to signs.

Keep an eye out for aggressive drivers and be prepared for some chaotic traffic situations in cities like Athens. Make sure you have your driver’s license, registration documents, insurance papers, and identification with you at all times while driving in Greece.

It’s important to note that drinking and driving laws are strictly enforced in Greece; the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05%. Additionally, using a mobile phone while driving is prohibited unless you have a hands-free system.

Renting a Car or Motorbike in Greece

Renting a car or motorbike in Greece opens up a world of possibilities for exploring this beautiful country at your own pace. With stunning coastal roads, picturesque villages, and ancient ruins waiting to be discovered, having the freedom to drive yourself around can truly enhance your travel experience.

When renting a vehicle in Greece, it’s essential to have all the necessary documents in order. Make sure you have a valid driver’s license, passport, and any other required paperwork before hitting the road. Additionally, familiarize yourself with local traffic rules and regulations to ensure a safe journey.

Whether you choose to cruise along the scenic coastline of Crete or navigate through the narrow streets of Athens on two wheels, renting a motorbike can offer an exhilarating way to see the sights. Just remember to wear appropriate safety gear and always follow road signs for a smooth ride.

Exploring Greece by car or motorbike allows you the flexibility to venture off the beaten path and discover hidden gems that may not be easily accessible by public transport.

Taxis, Ride-Sharing, and Bicycles

When exploring Greece, you have a range of alternative transportation options beyond buses and trains. Taxis offer convenience, especially for short distances or late-night travels. Ride-sharing services like Uber are also available in major cities, providing an economical and easy way to get around.

For a more eco-friendly and adventurous experience, consider renting a bicycle. Many cities in Greece have bike-sharing programs or rental shops where you can pedal your way through charming streets and scenic coastal paths.

Each transportation option has its unique advantages – taxis for quick rides, ride-sharing for affordability, and bicycles for exploration at your own pace. Whichever mode you choose, be sure to enjoy the journey as much as the destination while navigating the beautiful landscapes of Greece.

Long-haul vehicles

The significance of long-haul vehicle transportation in Greece for imports and exports cannot be overstated. Given its strategic geographic position, Greece serves as a vital nexus for trade between Europe, Asia, and Africa, making efficient transport systems crucial for its economy. Long-haul vehicles, particularly lorries and trucks, play a central role in facilitating this international trade by ensuring the smooth movement of goods across borders.

Lorries are indispensable to Greece’s import and export sectors. They transport a diverse range of goods including agricultural products like olives and feta cheese, which are staples of Greek exports, as well as textiles, machinery, and pharmaceuticals. These vehicles are crucial for delivering goods to and from maritime ports, where they are then shipped to global markets. The port of Piraeus, one of the busiest in Europe, relies heavily on road transport to move containers efficiently from ships to land transport and vice versa.

The extensive network of roads and highways in Greece, such as the Egnatia Odos that stretches from the Ionian Sea to the Turkish border, enhances the role of lorries in national and international logistics. These highways are designed to support heavy traffic and reduce travel times between major economic centers, thus optimizing the logistics chain. The improved infrastructure also helps in mitigating the risks associated with road transport such as delays and accidents, thereby ensuring the reliability of supply chains.

Moreover, the modernization of road transport infrastructure has had a direct impact on the export competitiveness of Greek products. By reducing transportation costs and transit times, Greek goods can be priced more competitively in international markets. This is especially important for perishable goods, which require swift and efficient transport to maintain quality and value.

The Greek government recognizes the critical role of road transport in economic growth and has been investing in road safety and modernization projects. These initiatives are aimed not only at enhancing the efficiency of domestic movements but also at improving cross-border trade capabilities. This includes upgrades to road quality and capacity, as well as regulatory reforms to streamline operations and reduce bureaucratic obstacles for long-haul transport.

Long-haul vehicles are a backbone of the Greek economy, pivotal for the success of both import and export activities. They connect the country’s agricultural and manufacturing sectors to global markets, promote economic stability by ensuring goods can move freely and efficiently, and support Greece’s position as a key trade hub in the Mediterranean. The ongoing improvements in road infrastructure further bolster this role, making Greek products more accessible and attractive on the international stage.

Sea transport in Greece

The sea travel has been also enormously upgraded within the last decades with super fast ferries, high-speed boats, hydrofoils and catamarans that reduced in many cases the journey from Piraeus to 50% . Today the journey to Crete takes only 6 hours with the fast ferries and the journey from Patras to Ancona in Italy has been reduced from 36 hours to 19-20 hours.

The Greek vessels like Greek ferries, passenger ships, cruise ships, are modern and they are build according the international and EU regulations with the latest standards for safe navigation, fire safety, marine environment protection and health regulations with many non smoking areas onboard.

The passengers can enjoy their journey with all comforts that the Greek shipping companies offer on their ships.
From the ports of Piraeus,Rafina and Lavrion depart the ferries for all the islands of the Aegean while the ports of Patras, Igoumenitsa and Kylini are connecting with the Ionian islands. From the ports of Volos and Agios Konstantinos you can get to the Sporades islands while from the ports of Thessaloniki, Kavala and Alexandroupolis to the North Aegean islands.

Sea transport is a vital component of Greece’s transportation network, reflecting the country’s extensive maritime history and its strategic position in the Mediterranean basin. With numerous islands and a mainland surrounded by sea, Greece relies heavily on maritime transport to ensure the connectivity and economic cohesion between various parts of the country and with the external world.

Greece’s maritime infrastructure is centered around several key ports, with the Port of Piraeus standing out as the most significant. Piraeus serves as the main gateway to the Aegean Islands and beyond, functioning as a crucial hub for both domestic ferry services and international shipping routes. This port is one of the busiest in Europe and has undergone substantial upgrades to enhance its capacity and efficiency, particularly after significant investments by international entities.

The domestic sea transport network is highly developed, providing critical links between the mainland and the islands. Ferries and smaller boats are the lifelines for many islands, not only for transporting tourists during the peak summer months but also for moving goods and services, ensuring that island communities have access to all the necessities of daily life. These ferries range from large car-carrying ships to smaller passenger-only boats, depending on the route and demand.

Internationally, Greek shipping plays a prominent role in global trade. The Greek merchant navy is one of the largest in the world, accounting for a significant percentage of the world’s total deadweight tonnage. This dominance is due to the expansive fleet of Greek-owned vessels that transport goods across the world’s oceans, including oil tankers, bulk carriers, and container ships. Greek shipping magnates have invested heavily in modernizing their fleets, thereby enhancing their efficiency and environmental compliance in response to global shipping regulations.

The economic impact of sea transport on Greece is profound. It not only facilitates international trade but also stimulates the local economy by supporting tourism. The Greek islands are a major tourist attraction, and the availability of frequent and reliable ferry services makes island-hopping a popular activity for visitors. This, in turn, boosts local businesses ranging from hotels and restaurants to local artisan shops.

Moreover, the shipbuilding and repair industry, although smaller compared to its peak in the 20th century, still contributes significantly to the local economy. Shipyards in areas like Elefsina and Skaramangas specialize in repairing and maintaining large vessels, providing employment and enhancing skill development in these communities.

Environmental concerns and sustainability are becoming increasingly important in Greek sea transport. Initiatives to reduce emissions from ships, improve waste management on board, and promote the use of cleaner fuels are gradually being implemented. These measures aim to protect the marine environment, which is crucial for maintaining the health of marine ecosystems and the attractiveness of the Greek seas for tourism.