Location and Transportation

Piraeus-portOnce the glory of the classical world, contemporary Athens, the capital of Greece, home to 4.500,000 people and the cradle of democracy and western thought, is an important political, social, cultural and economic centre in the Balkans and Southeast Europe, pulsing with life and holding great fascination for thousands of visitors year round.
Located in east central Greece, Attica, the country's most populated region known as Creater Athens or Attica basin, the capital is surrounded by the mountains of Hymettus in the east, Pendeli and Parnitha in the north, the low hills of Mt Aegaleo in the west and the Saronic coastline south-west.
Attica comprises the capital, Athens, the adjacent port city and commercial centre of Piraeus, the picturesque Saronic islands of Aegina, Poros, Hydra and Spetses, the wine-producing region of Messogia in the east and a number of smaller towns in the west.

Travel to and from Athens is very easy. The selection of Athens as the 2004 Olympic assisted in the completion of many infrastructure projects with emphasis on the transportation sector, including the modernisation of road and rail links between Athens and the rest of mainland Greece.
The Egnatia Highway, a 680-kilometre four-lane motorway runs from Greece's west coast in the Ionian Sea all the way to the Turkish border in the east, featuring some 85 kilometres of bridges and tunnels. Major infrastructure changes have transformed the city of Athens, including 120 kilometres of new, modern roads, 90 km of upgraded roads, 40 fly-over bridges, 7.7 km new Metro lines, a 23.7 km Tram network, parking lots in central locations with accompanying new management systems, modern train stations and a new, ultra-modern Traffic Management Centre, making the city easier to navigate and more enjoyable for even casual tourists. Athens Airport

Athens’ new Tram system is modern and clean, impressive and peppy. The futuristic, Italian designed carriages run from the heart of the capital to the coastal suburbs, offering a good inexpensive tour of the seaside and taking to all the public and pay beaches on the capital’s southern coastal zone. The new Athens state-of-the-art subway system spreads to 21 stations and serves approximately 500,000 commuters daily, with one of its striking features being the underground "station museums" displaying 5th century BC artefacts unearthed during excavations for the project. Air travel has been made more appealing with the March 2001 opening of the Athens International Airport. Located just 20kms east of Athens, the new airport features state-of-the-art facilities for the comfort and security of 16 million passengers a year and it is linked with Athens by a recently constructed major freeway.

Regular public bus, light rail and cab services give easy access to every part of the capital, facilitated by a number of newly constructed ring-roads, another bequest of the Olympics. Ferry schedules to and from all the Aegean islands are carried out daily from the Attica ports of Piraeus and Rafina. Major cities and islands are serviced by national air carrier Olympic Airways and a number of private airlines.
Visitors from Europe have the option to reach the Greek capital by rail, road or daily ferryboat schedules from various Italian ports to the Peloponnese port town of Patra, just two hours away from Athens.