How To Get From Athens to Lefkada

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Written By: Pavlos Inglesis

athens to lefkada
Paros is very well linked to Athens and Thessaloniki by ferry and by plane

You basically have 2 ways to get from Athens to Paros: by ferry or by plane. Depending on your situation one way or another might be right for you.

I believe that the absolute Best Way to get from Athens to Paros is by taking the fast ferry.

Here are the 3 options you have basically:

How Long It TakesCost*
Ferry
(from Piraeus port)
3 to 4.5 hours47 to 70 euros
Ferry
(from Rafina port)
3.5 to 5.5 hours70 euros
Flight
(from Athens Intl. Airport)
40 minutes90 to 250 euros
*Obviously the cost fluctuates a lot and may differ; always check Ferryhopper for ferry costs and Expedia for flights

paros island port greece
Paros port can be very busy during the high season (May-October)

There are several ferries per day from Athens to Paros that take from 3 to 4.5 hours (depending on which ferry and port you choose), and I honestly think it’s a quick way to reach the island compared to taking another flight. The way I see it, if the ferry to a Greek island takes more than 5 hours, then it’s better if you fly to the island, otherwise, it’s probably better to just the 3-4 hours ferry since it’s not worth the extra money.

  • Ferryhopper is the largest and most safe website in Greece to book your ferry tickets from Athens to Paros, but you can also use it just for checking timetables and prices between Athens and all greek islands.
  • Expedia has all the available options for flights from Athens to Paros (PAS is Paros’s airport code) with all possible airlines (Aegean, Olympic, Sky Express)

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It’s obvious that whatever I am explaining in this post also applies to the return trip from Paros to Athens.

parikia paros greece
Parikia is the capital of Paros and, along with Naoussa, the largest town on the island

Keep reading…

ATHENS TO PAROS TIPS:

  • You basically have 2 options for getting from Athens to Paros: by ferry or by plane.
  • Best way To get From Athens to Paros: by Ferry (3 to 5 hours) because it’s simply faster and cheaper; the flight is still worth checking as it’s roughly 40 minutes but you need to consider the check-in process that can take more than 1.5 hours
  • Best Website for Ferry Prices & Timetables: Ferryhopper
  • Athens has 2 ports with ferries to Paros: Piraeus (or Pireas – PIR) and Rafina (RAF). Piraeus is the largest port with more ferry options in general, but Rafina is closer to the Athens Airport (El. Venizelos) and it may have ferries that suit your schedule better; in my honest opinion, you should choose Piraeus port if you decide to take the ferry to Paros as it’s more accessible and easy to get to than Rafina
  • The ferry port for Paros in Piraeus Port is E7 (on Google Maps)
    (but always check your ticket as this may change)
  • Between April-October there can be more than 7 ferries a day from Athens to Paros (from Piraeus Port or Rafina Port) ; there are far fewer ferry options in the winter (November-March) 
  • How long is the ferry ride from Athens to Paros: it varies from 3 hours to 5.5 hours ; the same obviously applies to the ferry from Paros to Athens
  • How much does it cost to take a ferry from Athens to Paros: it obviously changes every year but in general, it can cost from 40 euros to 70 euros per person
  • You must book your ferry online and you can then enter the ferry with the barcode that will be on the email that will be sent to you. This will be clearly written on the email you will receive from Ferryhopper and it is now the system that most ferry companies use BUT some smaller companies may ask you to get a printout from a kiosk that is outside of the ferry and it is this print out that will allow you to enter the ferry. As a rule of thumb, if your ticket you got through email from Ferryhopper has a barcode then you can enter the ferry directly.
  • How long is the flight from Athens to Paros: the flight is around 40 minutes long, and checking in is usually quick but you have to be 2 hours in advance at the airport, as with any flight in the world.
  • Best Way to go from Athens Airport to Athens main ferry port (Piraeus) to take any ferry is by taking the Athens Airport Bus X96 (X96 Bus Route – X96 Bus runs every 20-30 mins) – X96 Bus ticket costs 6 euros (adult) and 3 euros (kids) or buy an ATH.ENA Card
  • Best Way to go from Athens Airport to Rafina Port is by taking another bus (which is called KTEL) that runs around every 1 hour from the Airport.
  • Direct International Flights to Paros: there are no international flights to Paros as the airport serves only domestic flights to and from Athens
  • Strikes in Greece: strikes can happen anytime in Greece and for any means of public transportation within short notice; usually, they may happen on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays; yes, they may mess up your trip but they are necessary for the hard-working people of Greece so that they can have decent salaries and benefits for their lives. So, get over it and try to find some alternatives for your trip (a taxi is usually the best option).
  • Strong Winds – Ferries Cancellations: in case there are strong winds (which can be pretty common in August in Greece), then the Greek Port Authorities may stop all ferries from departing, so bear in mind this is also a possibility that can mess up your trip; as an average there might be 4-5 days during the summer months that this can happen so get prepared
  • Punctuality of ferries in Greece: in general, all ferries in Greece depart on time with no delays, and they won’t wait for you if you are late; however, they don’t always arrive on time as there are weather or other conditions that may affect their route to the islands along the way
  • Business Seats on Ferries in Greece: in my opinion, they are not worth the extra money as you only get a bit more space and a slightly quiet area to sit but even the standard seats are very spacious
  • The Ferry Schedule for all greek islands is announced only 2-3 months before the actual trips, so if you cannot find any scheduled ferries for your trip 3 years from now, please check again 2 months before your actual trip.

Ok, so let’s see all the available options from Athens to Paros (that also apply to the return trip Paros to Athens):

Athens to Paros Ferry Schedule

seajets ferry greece
The SEAJETS are usually the fastest ferries to any greek island

The Ferry Schedule from Athens to Paros is only announced a few months before the actual dates of the trips, which means that the times for the busy summer months of May, June, July, August and September are only announced around February or March of the same year.

However, there are not that many changes usually as there are always ferries that depart sometime in the morning, go through several islands and then come back to Piraeus in the evening.

Here is an example of a Ferry Schedule from Athens to Paros in September from Ferryhopper:

athens to paros ferry schedule
This is a typical Ferry Schedule from Athens to Paros in the summer months (May, June, July, August, and September); note the different departure ports (Piraeus / Rafina)

This is just an example of a ferry schedule though!

For the latest Ferry schedule, always check on Ferryhopper.

The winter ferry schedule is less frequent, with probably 1-2 ferries a day.

ferry ticket greek islands blue star ferry highspeed
If you book your ticket through Ferryhopper you are going to get a link through email where you can download the tickets with the barcode that looks like this (it will open up in your browser, and you can just screenshot it); this ticket will have your seat number as well, and it is individual for every passenger, so kids and vehicles will have their own barcodes and separate tickets
highspeed ferry greece
Highspeed and Seajet are usually the fastest ferries to greek islands
ferry greek islands inside
This is the Economy Class (or regular seats) on Highspeed ferry
economy class space seat greece
I am not the tallest guy in the world, but I had plenty of space in the economy seats of Highspeed 4
business class seats ferry greece
The business class seats were almost similar to the economy class but this may differ slightly from ferry to ferry; in my opinion, they are not worth it in any ferry
seat nuimber ferry greece
It might be tricky to locate the exact seat number that is on your ticket but you can always ask the crew of the ferry
food ferry greek islands
Unfortunately, there are no restaurants on any of the ferries but there are plenty of options for nibbles, sandwiches and greek pasties in the small shops that are called Everest and are pretty much on every ferry
luggage space ferry greek islands
There is always plenty of luggage space on board any ferry but you need to be careful as these are unattended
ferry greece outside space highspeed
There is always an open space on any ferry (smoking is strongly prohibited everywhere) but its size depends on the ferry itself; usually, the slowest ferries (Blue Star) have the largest outdoor spaces and the fastest ones (catamaran style Highspeed and Seajets) have more limited outdoor spaces

BLUE STAR FERRIES

Blue Star Ferries are the largest but slowest ferries from Athens to Paros and they only depart from Piraeus port twice a day during the high season (the journey takes around 4.5 hours)

Bluestar Ferries are the biggest you can take to go to Paros and are the most stable but also the slowest (4.5 hours to arrive)

No matter how bumpy or windy it is, you won’t feel much on Bluestar Ferries, but in case there are strong winds the Greek Port Authorities may not allow any ferries to depart, for safety reasons.

Almost all ferries from Athens to Paros, visit other islands before they arrive at Paros, which can give you a very good glimpse of some other greek islands too before they arrive at their destination. You don’t get to see much but it’s nice to feel like you are on a small cruise!

The best way to check for the available Blue Star Ferry times schedule is to visit the Ferryhopper website.

They run all 365 days per year and there are basically 2 ferries per day from Piraeus port to Paros: one in the early morning and one in the afternoon.

Check the exact timetables on Ferryhopper.

Where can you book Blue Star ferry tickets from Athens to Paros?

I highly recommend you book your ferry tickets online through Ferryhopper before you even land in Greece. It is the easiest and safest way to guarantee you are going to get a seat. In fact, for July, August and September, I recommend you book the ferry tickets online at least 1 month in advance. To be honest, you will always find a seat on a ferry but if you are planning to get your vehicle on the ferry then you need to book very well in advance as there are limited spaces for cars and motorbikes in their garages.

BE CAREFUL THOUGH:

As long as the email you receive from Ferryhopper has a barcode on it, you will be fine to enter the ferry with these ones. It will be very clear on the email you will receive from them, though. Otherwise, you will get instructions on how to get the printout ticket as some smaller ferry companies don’t have a barcode system on their tickets (very old-fashioned indeed…). This is not a problem however and all you have to do is to go to a kiosk outside of the ferry itself and people there will print out the ticket for you. Ferryhopper will give you instructions on where to go exactly.

How much the Blue Star Ferry ticket cost?

For the latest prices always check the Ferryhopper website.

FLIGHTS TO PAROS

The best and cheapest website to book or search for flights to Paros is Expedia, as it has all the available options (including any available low-cost airlines like Ryanair).

Aegean Air is the best greek airline that can take you to Paros

A few useful info to have in mind when booking your flight to Paros:

  • Paros Aiport on Google Maps
  • Athens Airport Code is : ATH  (Athens)
  • Paros Airport Code is: PAS
  • Every plane that lands on Paros, takes off after 40 minutes to fly back to Athens.
  • The exact times of the flights change and they are not the same throughout the year, so make sure you get the right times from Expedia as it will give you all the available flights immediately.
  • There are more flights from Athens to Paros between April – October (high season)
  • If you book your tickets well in advance (6 months) you could probably find some very good deals with return tickets.
  • The cost of the flight from Athens to Paros may come up to 250 euros during the high season (April-October) 

The airlines that fly from Athens to Paros (April-October) are:

paros airport greece
Paros airport is very small compared to other greek islands and it only serves domestic flights to and from Athens

There are no direct international flights to Paros as its airport cannot accommodate those.

The only flights that it serves are to and from Athens only.

In my honest opinion, it’s not worth flying to Paros and you should only choose it instead of the ferry, if you get sea sickness. The time you will spend going to the Athens airport (2 hours in advance) and the whole check-in process, is not worth it in my opinion. The fast ferries only get 3 hours to get to Paros and they are much more hassle-free than taking a flight.

HOW TO GET FROM ATHENS AIRPORT TO PIRAEUS PORT

X96 is the Athens bus that will take you from Athens Airport to Piraeus ferry port

The easiest and cheapest option to get to Athens ferry port called Piraeus is by taking the bus X96 that stops just outside of the Athens airport.

X96 bus takes between 50 mins to 80 mins (depending on the traffic) to go to the Athens ferry port (Piraeus) and the X96 bus route to Piraeus ferry port is the following:

This is how to get from the Athens Aiport Exit to the X96 and X95 bus stops just outside of the airport:

Paros Ferries depart from E9 Port Gate so you have to stop at the bus station which is called: STATION ISAP (this is also a metro station).

Or in greek : ΣΤΑΘΜΟΣ ΗΣΑΠ

In case you feel lost you can just ask the bus driver (they always speak english if you speak with a very clear accent like an italian mafioso in a away… 😉)

But in reality you will find some brand new GPS screens showing you where you actually are:

There are GPS screens showing you where you are on the X96 Athens bus

The X96 bus runs 24/7 and there is a bus every 30 mins roughly (in Greece time runs in a very strange way…so never expect something to be on time…that’s just a small tip from greeks…you’d better get used to that unfortunately).

But there is a X96 bus every 20-30 minutes, so there will be one for you too!

Click here to see all the stops of X96 Bus (from Athens Airport to Piraeus Ferry port to pAROS) and the live timetables

For the X96 bus, you have to buy tickets from a kiosk which is just outside of the bus stop (and also just outside of the airport, just follow the “Bus” signs in the airport).

For adults the Athens bus ticket (called “ATH.ENA) costs 6 euros and for kids (under 6) it costs 3 euros.

The Athens Bus Ticket for X96 Bus (and X95 bus that goes to the center of Athens – Syntagma Square) is called ATH.ENA ticket
You have to validate your tickets once inside the X96 bus but you can actually use the same ticket everywhere for 90 mins

You can also take a taxi from the Athens airport to the Piraeus Ferry port which costs 50-60 euros but it’s really not recommended because it’s not worth it in my opinion…

The X96 bus is pretty fast and it costs only 6 euros!

Also, BE CAREFUL:

Sometimes the X96 Athens Airport Buses say: “AEROLIMENAS-PEIRAIAS”

Don’t get confused.

This is a greek version of saying: “Airport – Pireaus” , so it’s the same really…

HOW TO GET FROM ATHENS AIRPORT TO RAFINA PORT

ktel bus rafina airport
This is how the KTEL bus that will take you from Athens Aiport to Rafina port looks like – they depart from a different bus stop than X96 and they usually have orange and white colours

The easiest and cheapest way to get from Athens aiport to Rafina port is by taking a KTEL bus.These are different buses than the blue ones (like X96 or X95) and the bus stop is just across the street from the airport exits (see picture above). You can buy the ticket on the bus from the driver and it costs around 3 euros (there might be a slight difference every year).

The timetables for the bus Athens Aiport to Rafina are on the following table but you should always check the official website of KTEL Buses for the latest timetables:

ktel bus rafina port timetable
Athens Aiport to Rafina Ferry Port Timetable but for the latest Schedules always check the official KTEL Website

HOW TO GET FROM ATHENS AIRPORT TO CENTRAL ATHENS

X95 is the bus that will take you from Athens Aiport to Syntagma Square (central Athens) but you also have the option of taking the metro (subway)

To go from Athens Airport to Syntagma Square (the most central point in Athens), you have to take either the metro from the airport (it’s actually overground for some stations and then it goes underground) or the bus X95 which will take you to Syntagma Square within 30-40 mins.

The X95 bus stop is next to the X96 bus stop and the tickets are exactly the same and are sold from the same kiosk.

This is Bus X95 route (from Athens airport to Syntagma square – central Athens):

You can also take the metro line 3 to get to Syntagma Square from the Athens Airport.

Check on this link the timetables for Athens metro lines

These are the timetables of Athens Metro Line 3 to and from the Airport (there is a train every 36 minutes):

athens metro line 3 timetables
Athens Metro Line 3 (Piraeus Port – Central Athens – Airport) – Click to Enlarge

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How long is the ferry ride from Athens to Paros?

The ferry ride to Paros is usually 3 hours with the fast ferry (Seajet, Highspeed) but it can also be up to 4.5 hours with the slower but cheaper ferry (Blue Star Ferry).

What is the best way to travel from Athens to Paros?

The best way to travel from Athens to Paros is by ferry because it is relatively quick and easier than going through the hassle of another flight.

Is it better to fly or ferry to Paros?

It is better to take the ferry to Paros because the fast ferry takes around 3 hours which in total is the same time you’d spend with the plane (including the check-in process and security). Flying is also way more expensive overall. Also, by taking the ferry, you can see a few more greek islands before arriving in Paros.

CONCLUSION

You basically have 2 options to get from Athens to Paros: by plane or by a ferry. I recommend to take the ferry instead of flying because a flight to Paros costs around 3 times a ferry ticket and you won’t be saving much time, to be honest.

If you do take the ferry, make sure you have plenty of movies loaded on your tablet, crosswords and books in hand… (it’s also a good idea to have some food with you because even though there are some snack shops they might not be enough).

For me, the best way to check timetables and even book your ferry tickets online has been Ferryhopper for the last few years, and I highly recommend it to everyone looking to get a ferry to Paros from Athens.

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AUTHOR
Pavlos Inglesis
Greek, born and raised in Athens. I have been to almost every greek island and pretty much in every region of mainland Greece. I have also been eating souvlaki and gyros since the 80s. I love being a dad to my 2 beautiful daughters and also taking great photos of the places I visit. This is my blog to help you out explore the places I have visited with my inside tips as a Greek, knowing the ins and outs of my country and culture. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section under the post you are interested in and I wIll try my best to respond asap.

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