Athens’s Happy Train

Photo by HowieHunger
Photo by HowieHunger

Sometimes Athens in the summertime can get so gosh darn hot that even walking at a leisurely pace can sound like a bad idea. If, due to the heat or you’re simply feeling lazy and you want to check out the sights without walking or driving, consider the “Happy Train.” People riding it usually do look pretty happy.

The folks who run Happy Train must have some kind of hook-up with the city government. You’ll be sitting at a café in Thisseio marveling at the view of the Ancient Agora, Temple of Hephaestus, and Acropolis, when chug-a-chug-a-chug, along comes the Happy Train, rolling right in front of you in the five feet of space usually reserved for pedestrians.

The Happy Train takes passengers on a 40-minute ride through the heart of Athens, beginning at Plateia Monastiraki and rolling past the aforementioned and other ancient sites. If you decide to ride, you’ll pay €3 per child and €5 per adult for the convenience.

About the author

In order to keep a promise she and her brother had made to their grandmother (and to simultaneously fulfill one of her own dreams) Kaymaria left her beloved hometown of Oakland, California and headed to Athens in time for the 2004 Olympics. Today, she continues to work and play in the Greek capital, where you may find her writing atop Lykavittos, road-tripping with overseas guests, enjoying Athens cafés with friends, dancing to Greek hip-hop music, or reading Greek subtitles in an outdoor cinema. The daughter of two life-long educators and enthusiastic travelers, Kaymaria has explored North America, Mexico, and Europe. It was not until she spent a year as an exchange student at The University of York in England, however, that she discovered that she does not actually speak English.
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6 Responses to “Athens’s Happy Train”
  • Mark says:

    Best 5 Euros (per person) we spent.
    Cruisers, if you want to avoid getting taken for a ride (no pun intented) by the Athens cabbies, you can get from the Piraeus ship terminal to the Acropolis and back for under 7 Euro a person. You’ll see signs in the Ship terminal that the cab fare is about 8 or 9 Euro for a cab to the Acropolis, but no cabbie will take that offer. They all want to be hired for 5 to 8 hours to give you a tour of Athens for anywhere from 100 to 350 Euros. Here’s a far less expensive alternative.

    When you come out of the terminal, vear left (past the swarms of crooked cabbies) and continue through the parking area for the excursion buses. Follow the street that goes around the dock for about 20 mins. When you get to the heart of the section of the dock where the ferries load/unload, you will see an overhead crosswalk that connects the dock area to the train station. Use the overhead crosswalk to cross over the street. On the left (and slightly ahead) will be the Piraeus train station (green line). Purchase a ticket (70 cents, yes less than a 1 Euro) and take the train to the Monastiraki station (7th stop). Once you come out of the station, you can walk to the Acropolis, OR take the Happy Train (its kinda’ like the shuttles you get at the big amusment parks to get you around the parking lot, only faster), which stops right in front of the Monastiraki station. For 5 Euros per person, it will take you to the Acropolis entrance area. You are able to hop-on, hop-off at all its stops, so when you are finished at the Acropolis, just go down to where it dropped you off and catch the next Happy Train that comes by. Show them your receipt, and you’re on your way. It will take you to many of the other Athens sites, and sure beats walking in the Athens heat. When you’re ready to go back to the ship, just hop the Happy Train back to Monastiraki station, buy a 70 cent ticket back to Piraeus, and stroll back to the Ship terminal.

  • Debbie Autry says:

    This seems very helpful; thank you. Do you happen to know the train schedule? We wouldn’t want to miss the ship!

  • Despina says:

    If someone wants to buy a train like this…where can he find one? In which company?

  • Thomas Meyers Tom Meyers says:

    Hi Despina,

    I looked around for an official website and couldn’t find one. According to the website “Greek Dream Rentals” on their page about the Happy Train:

    It starts operating every day at 10 am with 1 train per hour. Each ride takes about 40 minutes.
    FARE: Adults 5,00 euros, Children 3,00 euros

    The train departs from Monastiraki Square (this is where you board the Happy Train). And this is where you buy the tickets.

    I hope this helps!
    Tom

  • Carole says:

    There are two “happy trains”, both running through the historical center. You can find details, along with the seasonal schedule on the True Athens website, http://www.true-athens.com/2009/03/01/the-athens-happy-trains.

  • BRUNAUD says:

    Does your train work in winter (2/2/2010 croisière Costa) ?
    At what times ?

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