Windmill on Santorini island, Greece
When you visit Greece, you’ll find it filled with fascinating places, significant history and colorful cities. Discover it all on your Greece train travel adventure. From its seemingly endless coastlines, sun-soaked island beaches and archeological treasures to its hip, modern, vibrant cities, Greece’s influence on the western arts, philosophy, language and sports is undeniable.
Athens, city of contradictions
When you first arrive in Athens, you may be surprised by the busy, fast-paced, high-traffic flow. But take the time to explore, and you’ll find plenty of interesting attractions. From the Acropolis and Parthenon to the hip and trendy clubs, you’re sure to find plenty of interesting contradictions in this ancient city. It received a pretty good makeover for the 2004 Olympics, so traveling in Athens should be a breeze. View more things to do in Athens.
The famous Acropolis and the surrounding attractions are best accessible by Metro. The closest stop is named Acropoli.
Mycenae: an archeologist's heaven
This fortress, which was built around 2000 B.C., is southwest of Athens in the northeastern Peloponnese and boasts impressive walls, amazing tomb shafts and a host of other archeological must-sees. The Mask of Agamemnon and many other treasures have been unearthed here.
From train station Mykines, it is best to take a taxi to the Mycenae ruins. The journey is just over two miles (3.5 km) from the station.
Delphi and Meteora
With breathtaking mountain scenery as its backdrop, it’s no wonder the amazing ruins of Delphi are one of the most popular sites in all of Greece. In ancient times, this was the center of the world, where people would go to consult the Oracle. It was also place of worship for the God Apollo. The day trip from Athens is well worth it, especially if you include a trip to the ancient mountaintop monasteries of Meteora.
From Athens, you’ll have plenty of options for a bus trip (around €10) or a sightseeing taxi to Delphi & Meteora. The taxis will charge per ride, and not per person, which makes them very affordable.
Ancient wonders in Olympia
As the site of the first Olympic Games, held in honor of Zeus beginning in 776 B.C., this was a natural shrine of the Greeks. It’s located in Litochoro, in western Peloponnisos, and features the Temple of Zeus, the Stadium and the Prytaneion.
Trains run daily from Athens to Larissa, and from Larissa, it’s a short bus ride to Litochoro.
Greece has beautiful islands and beaches. Combine your rail trip with a boat trip to enjoy the beaches and islands at their best. Rhodos is extremely popular with western European travelers. It has the largest inhabited medieval town in Europe, complete with fortified walls nearly 40 feet (12 meters) thick. Long and lush, unique and friendly, Kos is another island you won’t soon forget. From the active, Vegas-like nightlife to the ancient ruins it's all worth a trip.
Your Eurail pass entitles you to significant discounts on ferry crossings to the Greek Isles. A list of discount ferry providers can be found under the Benefits tab.
Crete, Greece’s largest and southernmost island is an excellent ferry destination. Don’t forget to visit Knossos Palace. It’s believed to be the center of the Minoan civilization and culture and was home to King Minos, whose wife gave birth to the mythological Minotaur (half man, half bull). You can experience, firsthand, the royal quarters, throne room and queen’s quarters.
When to go
Want to be in Greece for the peak of the tourist season (and the temperature)? July and August are the most popular times to visit. If tranquility is key, May - June and September - October are perfect periods to visit Greece. The weather is still warm and you don’t have to fight the crowds.
Sun, sun, and more sun. Rainy periods begin in late October or November, but temperatures rarely drop too low.
Athens & Epidaurus Festival
- June 1 - August 31, 2013
A lively festival of contemporary dance, classical Greek theater, jazz, traditional Greek music and various other entertainment forms. The majority of performances are held at the ancient Herodes Atticus Theatre.
During Friday and Saturday evenings, ancient Greek dramas are re-enacted at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus – the acoustics are especially noteworthy.
- July 7-9, 2013
This is one of Greece’s most well-known music festivals, held just outside of Athens. It attracts a decent mix of international rock and indie acts as well as local bands.
International Jazz & Blues Festival
- June 1-30, 2013
Every year in June, the Lycabettus theater in Athens organises the International Jazz & Blues festival. Enjoy the beautiful scenery at this historical location while listening to some of the best national and international artists!
The Lycabettus theater can be reached by public transport from Athens' main train station.
International trains suspended in Greece
Unfortunately, the Greek national railway company OSE has suspended all international trains indefinitely.
This means that you can not travel by train from Greece to Bulgaria, FYR Macedonia or Turkey.
There's currently a limited service running on domestic trains in Greece.