Transport and Driving in Greece
Expats shouldn’t have too many problems with transport and driving in Greece. The country has a developed transport infrastructure that continues to improve in spite of the last decade's economic issues. Public transport is fairly comprehensive, especially in major cities such as Athens.
Public transport in Greece
Expats can take advantage of regional railway lines which link most of the country as well as the urban rail networks in some of the larger cities. The majority of the rail network is good and expats shouldn’t have too many problems.
The country's only operational subway system is the Athens Metro, which runs along three lines and links the city centre to the surrounding suburbs and the Athens International Airport.
Since 2006, the construction of a metro system in Thessaloniki has been underway, with construction due to be completed in 2020. The system's completion has been repeatedly delayed due to archaeological finds unearthed by construction.
The Athens Tram is the only public tram network in Greece. The network began as a horse-drawn tramway in the 19th century and has developed into a modern system that is reliable and convenient, running from early in the morning to late at night.
Buses are the primary form of public transport on land in Greece. With a network that connects large cities like Athens and Thessaloniki to small villages, expats shouldn’t have much of a problem getting around. The majority of the mainland is linked to Athens or, alternatively, Thessaloniki. Islands such as Corfu can also be accessed by bus from the Greek capital.
Greek buses are most often modern, safe and affordable. While they are reliable most of the time, as with other modes of transport, they may face delays and cancellations as a result of sporadic strikes, especially in Athens and Thessaloniki. Expats are advised to arrive early to catch a bus since they have a tendency to run off schedule.
Greece’s ferry services are a popular mode of transport. From June to September, ferry services are very frequent, while only limited services are offered from March to May. It can be very difficult to get around using the ferry between December and February as very few routes remain operational. During this period, it's usually preferable to go by plane if needing to get to one of Greece's outlying islands.
Taxis in Greece
Taxis come in variable colours depending on the city they are located in. Taxis in Athens are yellow, and taxis in Thessaloniki are blue and white. Each taxi is fitted with a meter and expats should ensure that the driver has switched it on before embarking on their journey.
Driving in Greece
In Greece, cars drive on the right-hand side of the road. Driving in Greece can be a harrowing experience – the country is infamous for having some of the worst drivers in Europe. That said, the roads in Greece are generally good and many regional roads that used to be dirt tracks have been tarred over in the last few years.
Driving is a good way to explore some of Greece’s more remote areas. Expats may, however, want to consider public transport if they aren't prepared to become masters of defensive driving. Another option may be using a motorcycle for its manoeuvrability, though this too should be done with caution.
Those wanting to drive in Greece are advised to take out insurance. Expat motorists should also take note that the owners of all vehicles with a Greek license plate are required to pay a circulation tax.
Flying in Greece
With 15 international airports and a good domestic network, flying is an easy and convenient way to travel. Various Greek islands and cities on the mainland are all very accessible via plane.