Boat travel in Greece is common and relatively inexpensive. Every weekend thousands of Athenians set off on one- and two-hour trips to islands like Aegina, Hydra, and Andros, while in summer ferries are weighed down with merrymakers on their way to Mykonos, Rhodes, and Santorini. Cruise ships, ferries, and hydrofoils from the Aegean and most other Greek islands dock and depart every day from Athens's main port, Piraeus, 10 km (6 miles) southwest of Central Athens. Ships for Corfu sail from ports nearer to it, such as Patras and Igoumenitsa. Connections from Piraeus to the main island groups are good, while connections from main islands to smaller ones within a group are less so.
Travel agents and ship offices in Athens and Piraeus have details. Boat schedules are published in Kathimerini, an insert in the International New York Times. Also check the useful travel website www.openseas.gr. You can also call a daily Greek recording for ferry departure times. Timetables change according to seasonal demand, and boats may be delayed by weather conditions, so your plans should be flexible. Buy your tickets at least two or three days in advance, especially if you are traveling in summer or taking a car. Reserve your return journey or continuation soon after you arrive.
Getting to and from Piraeus and Rafina
To get to and from Piraeus harbor, you can take the Green Line metro (Line 1) from Central Athens directly to the station at the main port. The trip takes 25 to 30 minutes. A taxi can take longer because of traffic and costs around €15–€18. Express bus line X80 links the OLP cruise terminal to the Acropolis and Syntagma Square in the center of Athens and runs daily every 30 minutes from 7 am until 9:30 pm.
Athens's other main port is Rafina, which serves some of the closer Cyclades and Evia. KTEL buses run every 45 minutes between the port and the Mavromateon terminal in Central Athens, from 5:40 am until 10:30 pm, and cost €2.40 At Rafina, the buses leave from an area slightly uphill from the port. The trip takes about one hour depending on traffic.
Piraeus boat departures/arrivals (14541 or 14944.)
Piraeus Port Authority (Piraeus Port Authority, 10 Akti Miaouli, Piraeus, Attica, 18510. 210/455–0000 through 210/455–0100. www.olp.gr.)
Rafina KTEL Buses (22940/23440 bus terminal. www.ktelattikis.gr.)