LivingTravelTaking the bus in Greece

Taking the bus in Greece

Greece has excellent long-distance bus service, but there is no central website in English, so knowing the routes and schedules in advance can be challenging. Here is some help in discovering buses in Greece.

KTEL buses

KTEL is the name of the Greek intercity bus system. Most KTEL buses are like modern tour buses, with comfortable seats and luggage space under the bus and on the shelves inside. Seats are assigned, so the ticket number must match the number on your seat.

KTEL bus ticket offices generally have someone who understands English and other languages.

Many travelers will take buses from Athens; KTEL operates two terminals serving different locations (and located widely separated from each other). Make sure you know which terminal you need for your destination.

ΚΤΕL Athens Number: (011-30) 210 5129432

Terminal A: Leoforos Kifisou 100
Athens, Greece +30801114

Terminal B: Kotsika 2
Athens, Greece
+30 21 0880 8000

Things to know about Greek buses

Some bus routes may be direct, while others to the same location may have additional stops or even require a bus change, which can be difficult with luggage and the stress of not knowing exactly where to get off. There is usually a posted schedule. If you find that the bus you want seems to take longer to reach your destination than buses to the same location mentioned above or below, it is a good indication that you may have additional stops or a bus change at that particular exit.

While you want to tell the driver where you are going, he may or may not remember to tell you at the crucial moment. A good strategy is to talk to your fellow travelers. If there is a language barrier, pointing it out to yourself and saying the name of the city you are going to can give you a useful tap on the shoulder if you are about to miss the stop.

KTEL Official Websites

  1. The operator of each area is actually a separate company. These websites seem to come and go, and sometimes only the Greek language pages will be available. You may find my tips on automated Greek to English web page translation helpful if you are stuck on a Greek-only website. While the results won’t be perfect, they may at least be understandable enough to help you plan your trip.
  2. Volos (Greek)
  3. Thessaloniki En Español They also have a helpful page that lists some of KTEL’s other bus companies and also lists their buses to and from Turkey.
  1. More KTEL phone numbers
  2. Athens-Thessaloniki Timetable In Greek. Athens sample schedules from Ilisou / Liossion Street Terminal B and Kifisou Main Terminal Terminal A, via Athens Note that these bus schedules are not current , especially in pricing, but they can still help you figure out likely options before your trip. Athens KTEL offices do not print their schedules online in English, so it is as good as it sounds.
  3. Pelion Region Bus schedules
  4. Larisa-Trikala-Ioannina-Patras-Kozani-Lamia Schedule. In Greek, but give a schedule.

How to read a Greek bus timetable

Even when the site is in English, the times can still display Greek names for the days. At the bus station, it almost definitely will. Here’s help:

MONDAY – Deftera – lunes
TUESDAY – Triti – Tuesday
ΤΕΤΑΡΤΗ – Tetarti – miércoles
THURSDAY – Pempti – jueves
ΠΑΡΑΣΚΕΥΗ – Paraskevi – viernes
ΣΑΒΒΑΤΟ – Sabato – sábado
ΚΥΡΙΑΚΗ – Kyriaki – domingo

Greek days of the week are a classic case that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. If you see “Triti” and look at the root as “tria” or “three,” the temptation is to think, ah, the third day of the week, it must mean that my bus leaves on Wednesday. Incorrect! The Greeks count Sunday, Kyriaki, as the first day of the week, so Triti is Tuesday.

What day is it? What month is it?

No, this has nothing to do with how much raki or ouzo or Mythos you saved last night. Remember that Greece puts the day first, then the month , opposite what is standard in the United States (except, oddly enough, on customs forms that you fill out when you return to the United States). While you are unlikely to think that “18” or “23” means a month instead of a day, unfortunately, the summer months of June (06), July (07) and August (08) have a “meaning” perfect when reversed so be careful when booking the ferry ticket you want for 7th August – you’ll want 07/08, not 08/07.

What do you mean the 15th is Tuesday? I checked the calendar!

Glancing at the calendar on the wall of the Greek bus or ferry office, or at your hotel? Remember that Greek calendars start with Sunday unless they are designed for tourists to buy to use at home, and even that is not a sure thing. We are so used to our calendars that most travelers won’t notice this difference.

The Greek bus and other schedules use a 24 hour day. Here’s help with that too.

Timetable reading and 24-hour timetables in Greece

Midnight / 12: 00am = 00:00
1 am = 01:00
2 am = 02:00
3 am = 03:00
4 am = 04:00
5 am = 05:00
6 am = 06:00
7 am = 07:00
8 am = 08:00
9 am = 09:00
10 am = 10:00
11 am = 11:00
noon / 12: 00pm = 12:00
1 pm = 13:00
2 pm = 14:00
3 pm = 15: 00
4 pm = 16:00
5 pm = 17:00
6 pm = 18:00
7 pm = 19:00
8 pm = 20:00
9 pm = 21:00
10 pm = 22:00
11 pm = 23:00

PM means AM and MM means PM

One last area for confusion, although the 24:00 system makes this less frequent. In Greek, the abbreviation for “tomorrow” is not AM for ante-meridian, as it is in Latin and used in the US and elsewhere, but PM for Pro Mesimbrias or πριν το μεσημέρι (prin a mesimeri) (Before noon, think of “pro” replacing “before”). The afternoon and evening hours are MM for Meta Mesimbrias; if you like sweets, you might think that M & Ms are chocolate and therefore MM stands for “darkest hours.”

So there is no “AM” in Greece.

In speech, however, hours are used normally; For example, someone will arrange to meet you at 7:00 PM, not 7:00 PM.

Still not sure which bus is for you? Find and compare prices for Greece airfare, hotels, car rentals, vacations and cruises. The Athens international airport code is ATH.

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