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Long Layover in Athens? What to Do.


Have a long layover in Athens International Airport?  Make the most of it.  It’s very easy to see the sights.


If you have a long layover in Athens, you don’t have to whittle away the hours bored and drinking overpriced coffee in the airport. Instead, see a large part of the old city of Athens, including the Acropolis, Hadrian’s Arch, the ancient Theater of Dionysos, the Library of Hadrian and many quaint and charming beautiful back alleys.


This could be done with a layover of more than eight hours (accounting for returning to the airport two hours before your flight and two hours of travel time and half an hour waiting time, giving you three-ish hours to see the sights).  Err on the side of caution time-wise as missing a flight is no fun. Have some backup money in case there is a mishap and you need to hop in a taxi. And, no, I’m not responsible if you miss your flights. This information was accurate at the time of writing but you follow this plan at your own risk.


Here’s How to Enjoy Your Long Layover in Athens:


1) Arrival at Athens International Airport: When you leave the baggage area you will be in Arrivals Hall A.  Upon exiting the doorway from the secure area to the public area, turn left to get to baggage storage.  It’s at the end of the hall.


2) Get rid of your luggage for a few hours at Care4Bag located at the end of the Arrivals Hall A.  Depending on the size of your bag, it costs as little as five Euros to store your bag securely for up to 12 hours.  Then you’re free like a butterfly.  You’re looking for this:


Long layover in Athens? Store your bag!

Long layover in Athens? Store your bag! Care4Bag is found at the end of Arrival Hall A in Athens International Airport, Greece.


3) Get your map!  Turn around and walk to the Information Center in Arrival Hall A where they’ll give you a map and answer your questions.


4) Get your bus ticket.  Go to the far end of Arrival Hall A (the opposite end of the bag storage) and walk outside.  There is a bus ticket booth.  Buy a ticket to the City Center for 5 Euros for a one-way ticket.  The ride will be about an hour.


5) Get on the bus (Number X95).  It will probably be at the furthest end of the bus queue.  The bus looks like this:


Long Layover in Athens? Get on the bus!

Long Layover in Athens? Get on the bus!


6) Validate. When you get on the bus, validate your ticket by putting it into the orange validators on the bus.  They look like this:


Long layover in Athens? Get on the bus.

Validate your ticket on the bus


7) Sit back and relax!  Get off at the last stop.  You will be on the edge of Syntagma Square with the Hellenic Parliament Building in your immediate view.  That looks like this:


Long layover in Athens? See the Hellenic Parliament Building

You’ll be dropped off beside Syntagma Square which is across the street from the Hellenic Parliament Building.


8) Go see some sights!  If you’re facing the Hellenic Parliament building, walk to your right, down Amalias Avenue, until you see Hadrian’s Arch which looks like this:


Long layover in Athens? See Hadrian's Arch in Athens, Greece

Hadrian’s Arch in Athens, Greece


Cross the street and go check it out.  It’s cool.


9) Walk towards the Acropolis Assuming you’re now standing at Hadrian’s Arch, you will see the Acropolis up above in the distance.  Walk towards it.  This will take you up and up and through some quaint stairways.  Or consult your map and choose your route.


Layover in Athens? Go see the Acropolis!

The walk to the Acropolis is rich with amazing views of Athens.


10) Return to Syntagma Square.  The airport bus will be close to where you were dropped off.  It’s on the corner, where taxis are queued up.  Buy your ticket at the booth (5 Euros as of 2013) and validate it.  Plan for at least an hour for the return.   You will be dropped off at the Departures level of Athens International Airport.


11) Retrieve your bag from the baggage storage.


12) And finally, enjoy the memories of a lovely day in Athens instead of a boring long layover in the Athens International Airport.


Please help keep this page up to date!  If you’ve tried this, let me know how it worked for you so I can update the page as needed.  Thanks!  If you have any other tips for how to enjoy a long layover in Athens Airport, please share them in the Comments section below.


Click to see pictures of my walk on my long layover in Athens, Greece. 



  1. You answered my question so quickly. Thank you very much for providing this level of detail. I am going to book a longer layover so I can take advantage of seeing a bit of Athens. Bravo!

    • Great! Please let me know if anything has changed since the post was written so I can keep the post relevant and helpful.Safe travels!

  2. What happens when your layover starts at 11:30PM? HELP!

    • Hi, Cerese. If you have the money, there is a Sofitel hotel across the street. I’ve had night layovers in the Athens airport many times because flights to the islands often leave early in the morning. There is a McDonalds which is open 24 hours and I have also found it possible to find benches at the end of the terminals which do not have armrests and allow sleep.

  3. Going to try this on Sunday.

    • Great. I hope it’s a nice day and I’d appreciate any feedback if anything needs updating.

  4. I followed this to a T during my long layover and it was terrific! Ironically enough, I was there the day after Christmas as well so it was extra helpful. Thanks so much!

    • That’s great to know. Thanks for the feedback and I’m so glad it was helpful.

  5. How so very helpful! The photos are great too! My husband and I were wondering how we would be able to explore athens during our 9 hour layover! thanks sooo much 🙂

    • Great! Glad it helps! Please, let me know if you have anything to add after your experience.

  6. so helpful especially with all the pictures!

    • Good! Thanks Paula!

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