Athens by Metro
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Athens by Metro
The best magic carpet ride in town is the metro. Cars are not worth the stress and road rage and, happily, the metro is fast, cheap, and convenient; its three lines go to all the major spots in Athens. Line 1, or the Green Line, of the city's metro (subway) system, is often called the elektrikos (or the electrical train) and runs from Piraeus to the northern suburb of Kifissia, with several downtown stops. Downtown stations on Line 1 most handy to tourists include Victoria Square, near the National Archaeological Museum; Omonia Square; Monastiraki, in the old Turkish bazaar; and Thission, near the ancient Agora and the nightlife districts of Psirri and Thission.
In 2000, the city opened Lines 2 and 3 of the metro, many of whose gleaming gray marble-stations function as mini-museums, displaying ancient artifacts found on-site. These lines are safe and fast but cover limited territory, mostly downtown. Line 2, or the Red Line, cuts northwest across the city, starting from surburban Ayios Antonios and passing through such useful stops as Syntagma Square, opposite the Greek Parliament; Panepistimiou (near the Old University complex and the Numismatic Museum); Omonia Square; the Stathmos Larissis stop next to Athens's train stations, and Acropolis, at the foot of the famous site, finishing off at the south suburb of Ayios Dimitrios.
Line 3, or the Blue Line, runs from the suburb of Aegaleo through Kerameikos (the stop for bustling Gazi) and Monastiraki; some trains on this line go all the way to the airport, but they only pass about every half hour and require a special ticket. The stops of most interest for visitors are Evangelismos, near the Byzantine and Christian Museum, Hilton Hotel, and National Gallery of Art, and Megaron Mousikis, next to the U.S. Embassy and the concert hall. The fare is €1, except from tickets to the airport, which are €6. A 24-hour travel pass, valid for use on all forms of public transportation, is €3. You must validate all tickets at the machines in metro stations before you board. Trains run between 5:30 am and 1 am. Maps of the metro are available in stations. There is no phone number for information about the system, so check the Web site (www.amel.gr).
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