By Isabelle Clayton
As the cheapest and most efficient mode of travel within Athens, the Metro provides easy access to all the city has to offer. Three lines make the train network simple to navigate, especially compared to systems in Paris or New York City. In Athens, we refer to each line by both its endpoints and a color. Line 1 is green, and moves between Kifissia and Piraeus. Thus, if you are planning on island hopping, Line 1 is for you! Anthoupoli and Elliniko are the endpoints of Line 2, the red line. This line notably stops at the Acropolis (at Akropoli Station), for those interested in exploring one of the most renowned structures of the ancient city! Finally, Line 3, the blue line, moves between Nikaia and the Airport. If you opted to take the Metro from the airport, you took Line 3.
Signage within the Metro Stations displays a color and one of these six endpoints. If you know that you must take Line 2, look at a map to determine whether you want to take the Anthoupoli or Elliniko-bound train. If you need to take the latter, follow signs which say ‘Elliniko’. As you wait on the platform for your train, signs overhead denote how much time is expected until the next train. These signs also label trains by their final stop, a way to re- establish that the arriving train is the one you should be boarding.
If you need to switch lines, you will do so at Syntagma, Monastiraki, or Omonia. As you leave your train, look for signs directing you to the platform where you can wait for your next train. Should you plan on taking the Metro back to the airport, make sure to buy an airport- specific metro pass and board a train explicitly bound for the Airport, as some trains on Line 3 stop earlier, at Doukissis Plakentias.
Ultimately, as is the case with most train stations around the world, familiarity and confidence within the system are focal to safe and effective travel. These skills are not difficult to come by; rather, they are cultivated with practice. And luckily, in a place like Athens, ‘practice’ is just another opportunity to hike up to the Acropolis, go clubbing in Psiri, or take the ferry to a nearby island for a weekend getaway!