Greece’s nationwide bus network is extensive, with routes to even the most far-flung villages. It’s divided into a fairly reliable regional bus system (KTEL) made up of local operators. Buses from Athens travel throughout the country, and other Greek cities have connections to towns and villages in their own regions. Routes are listed on KTEL’s website, but unless you speak Greek or know someone who does, it won’t make sense. If you plan to visit Thessaloniki, you can visit the Macedonia KTEL site www.ktelmacedonia.gr, which has an English-language version that will enable you to plan your bus trip and purchase the ticket online. In most other cities you will need to head to the main KTEL terminal to inquire about schedules and rates. In Thessaloniki there is also a downtown ticket office at 119 Egnatia Street (more info on website).
There is no centralized website in English to buy KTEL tickets in advance, though most regional KTEL networks now have their own informative websites (and some of them sell tickets online, too). It's easiest to purchase your bus tickets in person at the KTEL station or on the bus. Reservations are unnecessary on most routes, especially those with several round-trips a day. If you are traveling on holiday weekends, it's best to go to the station and buy your ticket a couple of days in advance. To give you a sense of costs and schedules, the bus from Athens to Corinth costs €9 and takes about 1 hour (no e-ticket yet through this website www.ktelkorinthias.gr); to Nafplion, €14.40 (e-ticket available at www.ktelargolida.gr), 2½ hours; to Patras, €20.70, 2½–3 hours (e-ticket available but unfortunately their website www.ktelachaias.gr does not have an English version yet); and to Thessaloniki, €45, 6 hours 15 minutes.
Catch Your Bus
Athens has three bus stations. In Athens, KTEL's Terminal A is the arrival and departure point for bus lines to northern Greece, including Thessaloniki, and to the Peloponnese destinations of Epidauros, Mycenae, Nafplion, and Corinth. Terminal B serves Evia, most of Thrace, and central Greece, including Delphi. Most KTEL buses to the east Attica coast—including those for Sounion, Marathon, and the ports of Lavrion and Rafina—leave from the downtown KTEL terminal near Pedion Areos park.
The buses, which are punctual, span the range from slightly dilapidated to luxurious and air-conditioned with upholstered seats. There is just one class of ticket. Board early, because Greeks have a loose attitude about assigned seating, and ownership counts here. Although smoking is forbidden on KTEL buses, the driver will stop every two hours or so at a roadside establishment; smokers can light up then.
Public Transportation Buses
In large cities, you can buy individual tickets for urban buses at terminal booths, convenience stores, or at selected periptera (street kiosks).
Athens Bus Stations
Downtown Athens KTEL terminal. Aigyptou Sq., Mavromateon and Leoforos Alexandras, near Pedion Areos park, Athens, Attica, 10682. 210/880–8080; 210/818–0221; www.ktelattikis.gr.
Terminal A–KTEL Kifissou. Kifissou 100, Kolonos, Athens, Attica, 10442. 210/512–4910.
Terminal B–KTEL Liossion. Rikaki 6, Kato Patissia, Athens, Attica, 10445. 210/831–7186.