A bicycle is the quickest way to get around in Athens, and it is not
nearly as unsafe as it looks. Outside Athens, a bicycle is the
perfect way to experience the glorious countryside, once legs and lungs
adapt to the steep slopes. Alas, bicycles are still considered in Greece
basically a children's toy for children too young to drive a
motorbike. Most of those available for sale, outside a few
specialized big-city cycle shops, are toys that will give as much
pleasure as a means of transportation.
Always wear a helmet, if
only to shame the motorcyclist!!
"Friends of the Bicycle" (Filoi tou Podhilatou) has bilingual
(Greek and English) meetings every Tuesday night at 9:45 pm or so in Thisio at Eptachalkou 3,
ground floor. See their web site (down part of August) at
They embody lifetimes of expertise about bicycling, and are
happy to share it. They are at the heart of an effort to make Athens, and Greece
generally, more bicycle-friendly. HELADA supports their campaign to ease restrictions on bicycles on
Greek trains and buses.
News 2006 piece on bicycle touring
Colleen McGuire of CycleGreece is
a another great source of info on
bicycle touring in Greece. See her site at http://www.cyclegreece.gr/index.htm.
In Athens, the serious
bicycle shops are clustered in a small area a five minute walk north of Omonia Square, where
Patision (28th Oktovriou) and Stournara intersect. For a spreadsheet list of Greek bicycle shops by city,
here (compiled from various sources on the internet in
September 2005 -- no endorsement implied).
Bicycles on Public
The official rules for
bicycles on public transportation are posted at the bottom of the
page. A mass demonstration by bicycle riders in central Athens in
October 2005 had some result. Though bicycles are still not allowed
at all on lines 2 and 3 of the Athens Metro, as of November 2005 they are
now permitted on the old ISAP electric train line (Kifisia-Omonia-Pireas)
during off-peak hours (all day Saturdays, Sundays, holidays; weekdays
before 0615, between 0930 and 1200, and after 1830). Only two
bicycles per train, from the last door of the last car. No entry or
exit via the Monastiraki, Omonia, or Attiki stations. No bikes on
elevators or escalators. A great way to get from Athens to the
Port of Piraeus. Use it or lose it!
Bicycles travel free on the
Suburban Railroad ("Proastiakos"),
in limited numbers, in the spaces reserved for
wheelchairs. Fly to Greece with your bicycle, get on the Suburban
Train (not the Metro) at Eleftherios Venizelos Airport,
wheel off the train in Corinth 80 minutes later (see
schedule here), and
disappear onto the beautiful back roads of the Peloponnese effortlessly
(mountains don't count as effort...)! Or (since May 2007) take the
other line from the airport to Piraeus (schedule
here), wheel your bike to the port, and head for your island
Ferry boats accept bicycles
at no charge. Usually, so will hydrofoils (flying dolphins), though
space is limited.
allowed only on those OSE (long-haul) passenger trains that have a baggage car -- one
per day each way from Corinth to Patras/Pyrgos/Kalamata in the south,
perhaps more from Athens to Thessaloniki. Bicycles are not currently
on the little passenger trains to Chalkis, unless
the bicycle is disassembled and disguised to resemble hand
Intercity (KTEL) bus drivers are cranky or worse about putting bicycles
in the luggage bins.
AN OFFICIAL GREEK GOVERNMENT
STATEMENT OF BICYCLE RULES
Ministry of Transportation and Communications
General Directorate of Transportation
Directorate of Passenger Transport
Section of Municipal Transit
Agrotouristiki AE, Nikis 2, Athens 10563
Political Office of the Minister of Transportation; OASA; Cycle
Greece; Directorate of Commercial Transport
Athens 25 August 2005
Protocol Number A- 45485/4808
Information: A. Plevritaki,
telephone 210 650945
Transport of bicycles by mass transit
a) your document with protocol number 762/25-7-2005
b) Cycle Greece document of 25 June 2005
In answer to the items referenced above, which refer to the subject
of the issue, we inform you as follows:
accordance with the rules of Transport and Security of Passengers (law
484 of 1930), on city buses
(ETHEL) and trolleys (ILPAP), the transport of bicycles is not
permitted for reasons of safety, inasmuch as the appropriate
infrastructure does not exist in the given vehicles for the transport
of such objects.
the electric train (ISAP) the transport of bicycles is permitted only
as baggage. [webmaster's note: this part superceded as guidance
November 2005] Thus the
transport of a bicycle is permitted only
when it is boxed. Likewise,
the transport of bicycles is proposed for the first or last car of the
train, where there are no seats behind the driver's cabin.
It should be noted that the old ISAP trains used to have suitable cars
(baggage cars) where, because of the arrangement of seats, the
transport of bulky objects such as bicycles was possible.
Today the density of passengers on the trains and platforms, as
well as the arrangement of seats in the new trains, does not allow the
transport of bulky objects without bothering or endangering the other
Metro trains (AMEL) the
transport of bicycles is prohibited,
since they have no spaces for transport of bulky objects.
These trains receive heavy passenger traffic and are designed
exclusively for transport of passengers (most of them standing), whose
need for safe transit limits the possibility of transporting bulky
TRAM trains, the transport
of bicycles is permitted in the
last doorway, on the responsibility of the bicycle owner.
the trains of the Suburban
Railroad, the transport of bicycles is permitted on condition that
they be placed, with full responsibility of their owner, in the special space with the folding seats for persons with
special needs, provided this space is not being used by a person
with special needs. The
placement must not inconvenience the other passengers.
KTEL buses, the transport
of bulky objects such as bicycles is
possible only when the buses are equipped with special trailers, which
happens only on the high-speed routes.
From the above it is clear that the transport of bicycles on buses and
trolleys is not possible, given that these vehicles do not possess the
suitable infrastructure for safe transport of bulky items (such as
Regarding the possibility of transporting bicycles on the trains of OSE,
the Directorate of Commercial Transportation is responsible for the
answer. They have been cc'd on
this reply, along with a photocopy of the relevant documents.
The General Directress