Travel Information - How to get here
Travel by air
Flights from Europe
Most major European airlines fly to Athens daily (Athens International Airport).
Flights from USA
The only direct flight from the USA to Greece is a US Airways/Aegean Airlines jointly operated flight from Philadelphia (PHL) to Athens. As expected direct flights to Athens from the USA will typically be priced higher than flights that go through some of the major European hubs like Heathrow (LHR), Paris (CDG), Amsterdam (AMS) or Frankfurt (FRA) so plan accordingly to your budget.
During summer months there is an additional option for direct flights between USA and Greece. Starting June 2 there will be a Delta flight between Athens and New York (JFK). Unfortunately, due to the conference dates this flight will only be an option for the return travel.
Flights from Asia
There are numerous flights from all major cities of Asia to Athens and the most common intermediate destinations (for those cities where direct flight is not an option) are Moscow and Istanbul.
Citizens of EUEU Citizens do not need a visa to travel to Greece.
In most cases a personal ID card will suffice to enter the country.
Please check with a greek embassy or consulate in case of doubt.
Non-EU CitizensGreece is a member of the European Union and for most nationalities no visa is required.
A list of countries, whose citizens need a visa is listed here.
Time zoneGreece is in the Eastern European Time Zone. Eastern European Standard Time (EET) is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).
Like most countries in Europe, Summer (Daylight-Saving) Time is observed in Greece, where the time is shifted forward by 1 hour; 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+3). Daylight-Saving time will be observed during the conference.
CurrencyThe national currency is Greece is the Euro and current exchange rates can be seen here.
Athens Tourist InformationOfficial Tourist Information
Taxis in AthensTaking a taxi in Athens is inexpensive and a very easy way to go around. For the purposes of the conference, the Metro will suffice but if you choose the convenience of taking a taxi read on. While the majority of taxi drivers are professional and enjoy what they do, there is still a small minority that will try to exploit the ``unsuspecting tourist''. The solution to this is very easy : read the following and become a learned Athens urban dweller that nobody will consider tricking.
- Taxis in Athens are yellow. When they are available they have a light sign on the dashboard in the passenger side. (the taxi sign on top is always on and not an indicator of being available). Look for a taxi with such a lighted sign. The sign reads "ELEFTHERO" in Greek which means "free". When the sign is placed down it means the taxi is hired. There are no unmarked cars pretending to be taxis (sometimes called "gypsy cabs") in Athens so you need not worry about this.
- When you take a seat in the taxi, ensure you locate the meter (it is always visible in the dashboard somewhere) and that it is initiated. You should see the initial price which is 1,19 EUR and incrementing as you move on. If for whatever reason you don't see the meter initialized point it to the drive and say "put the meter". Even if he/she does not know English this the phrase is always clear.
- Taxis to and from the airport that go to Athens center charge a flat fee of 35 EUR during daytime and 50 EUR past midnight (flat fee). The conference hotel (Caravel) is just on the boundaries of the Athens center ring so the flat fee will not apply if you take a taxi to the conference hotel. You should be expecting to pay about the same though. In general there is a surcharge when coming from the airport which amounts to 3,84 EUR and 0,40 EUR for every piece of luggage exceeding 10kg. Typically you can round this amount to say 5 EUR which will be paid on top of what is written on the meter. You should always ask for a receipt and the driver is obliged to give you one.
- Taxis in Athens are allowed to serve more than one customer at the same time. This always looks weird to people that are accustomed to the rule that when you hire a car it is essentially your car. This is not the case in Athens and you cannot prohibit the driver from taking another customer even though it is a rare event (e.g., in my last 20 taxi rides only one happened to be shared with another customer). In any case do not be alarmed if the taxi driver decides to quickly negotiate with a person looking for a cab. He/She will very quickly try to evaluate whether the two routes are consistent and accept the extra passenger only in this case. This will not impact your fare. Also there is a chance that while you wait for a cab a taxi driver that is already hired may stop and ask you where are you going (hoping that you might become an extra passenger). In this case you can just nod that you are not interested and let him/her move on (unless you happen to really want a taxi at that moment in which case you may give it a shot!).
Useful links for TaxisTaxi fare calculator (fairly accurate)
Useful app for your smartphone that helps you arrange taxi rides in Athens