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raklio leave from the western end of Akti Kondyli, but ferries for other Cretan ports occasionally dock there as well, or in other places.
Schedules & Tickets All ferry companies have online timetables and booths on the quays.
Ferry schedules are reduced in April, May and October, and are radically cut in winter, especially to smaller islands.
Find schedules and buy tickets online (www.greekferries.
gr, www.openseas.
gr, www.ferries.
gr or company websites), at travel agents or phone companies directly.
In this book, we list ferry schedules in the relevant island/destination chapters.
Piraeus Port Authority ( 1441; www.olp.
gr) also has schedule information.
BUS The X96 Piraeus¨CAthens Airport Express (€5) leaves from the southwestern corner of Plateia Kara?skaki and also stops on Kalimassioti.
Bus 040 goes from Leoforeos Vasileos Geourgiou to Athens.
METRO The fastest and most convenient link between the Great Harbour and Athens is the metro (€1.
40, 30 minutes, every 10 minutes, 5am to midnight), near the ferries at the northern end of Akti Kalimassioti.
Take extra care as the section between Piraeus and Monastiraki is notorious for pickpockets.
TRAIN Piraeus is also connected to the suburban rail, whose terminus is located opposite the metro station.
To get to the airport or the Peloponnese, you need to change trains at Nerantziotissa.
Getting Around The port is massive and a free shuttle bus runs regularly along the quay nearest the metro station (see signposted maps).
The city of Piraeus has its own network of buses.
The services likely to interest travellers are buses 904 and 905 between Zea Marina and the metro station.
TOP OF CHAPTER Rafina Rafina, on Attica?ˉs east coast, is Athens?ˉ main fishing port and the second-most important port for passenger ferries.
It is far smaller than Piraeus and less confusing ¨C and fares are about 20% cheaper ¨C but it does take an hour on the bus to get here.
Getting There & Away BUS Frequent KTEL buses ( Rafina 22940 23440, info 210 880 8080/8000; www.ktelattikis.
gr) run from Athens to Rafina (€2.
40, one hour) between 5.
45am and 10.
30pm, departing Athens?ˉ Mavromateon bus terminal.
Buses from Athens Airport (€3, 45 minutes) leave from in front of the arrivals hall, near the Sofitel.
Both stop on the Rafina quay.
SHORTCUTS Because of Lavrio?ˉs, and especially Rafina?ˉs, close proximity to Athens?ˉ airport, if you are going to the northern Cyclades it is often fastest to travel straight from the airport to the port, bypassing Athens and Piraeus completely.
BOAT Rafina Port Authority ( 229 402 8888; www.rafinaport.
gr) has information on ferries.
See the destination island chapter for ticketing specifics.
Boat Services from Rafina DESTINATION TIME FARE FREQUENCY Andros 2?hr €16 4-8 daily Evia (Marmari) 1hr €7 2-4 daily Ios* 4hr €55 5 weekly Mykonos 4?hr €25 2-3 daily Mykonos* 2hr 10min €49 2 daily Naxos* 3hr €52 1 daily Paros 5hr €29 1 daily Paros* 3hr €50 1 daily Santorini (Thira)* 4?hr €69 1 daily Tinos* 1?hr €49-54.
50 4-5 daily Tinos 4hr €23 4 daily *high-speed services TOP OF CHAPTER Lavrio Lavrio, an industrial town on the coast 60km southeast of Athens, is the port for ferries to Kea and Kythnos and high-season catamarans to the western Cyclades.
In antiquity, it was an important mining town.
The silver mines here funded the great classical-building boom in Athens and helped build the fleet that defeated the Persians.
Some of the underground shafts and mining galleries are still visible.
Lavrio has also become a windsurfing spot.
The town has a small Archaeological Museum ( 229 202 2817; Sepieri; admission €2; 10am-3pm Tue-Sun) and a Mineralogical Museum ( 229 302 6270; Iro?n Polytehniou; admission €1.
20; 10am-noon Wed, Sat & Sun).
Lavrio has many fish tavernas and ouzeries, as well as a great fish market.
Getting There & Away BUS Buses to Lavrio (€5.
20, two hours, every 30 minutes) run from the Mavromateon terminal in Athens.
Airport buses (€5, one hour) leave from the front of the arrivals hall near the Sofitel, and you must change buses at Markopoulo.
Both stop on the Lavrio quay.
BOAT Lavrio Port Authority ( 229 202 5249) has ferry information.
DESTINATION TIME FARE FREQUENCY Kea (Tzia) 1?hr €10 4 daily Kythnos 2hr €10 2 daily Syros 5hr €18 2 weekly Limnos 10?hr €30 2 weekly TAXI Lavrio taxis ( 6981040085, 229 202 5871) to the airport (€40, 30 minutes), central Athens (€50, one hour) and Piraeus (€60, 1? hours).
AROUND ATHENS Until the 7th century, Attica was home to a number of smaller kingdoms, such as those at Eleusis (Elefsina), Ramnous and Brauron (Vravrona).
The remains of these cities continue to be among the region?ˉs attractions, although they pale alongside the superb Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion.
An agricultural and wine-growing region with several large population centres, Attica has some fine beaches, particularly along the Apollo Coast and at Shinias, near Marathon.
Many of these places can be reached (often with some difficulty, as schedules can be infrequent) by regular city buses or KTEL services from the Mavromateon terminal.
It?ˉs easiest to go with your own wheels.
TOP OF CHAPTER Cape Sounion The Ancient Greeks certainly knew how to choose a site for a temple.
Nowhere is this more evident than at Cape Sounion, 70km south of Athens.
The Temple of Poseidon ( 229 203 9363; adult/child €4/free; 9.
30am-8pm) stands on a craggy spur that plunges 65m down to the sea.
Built in 444 BC it is constructed of local marble from Agrilesa, and its slender columns, of which 16 remain, are Doric.
It is thought that the temple was built by Iktinos, the architect of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens?ˉ Ancient Agora.
TOP OF CHAPTER Mt Parnitha The Mt Parnitha National Park (www.parnitha-ng.
gr), about 25km north of Athens, is the highest mountain range surrounding the city, and serves as the ??lungs?ˉ of Athens.
Tragically, more than 4200 hectares of century-old fir and pine forest was razed in devastating fires in 2007.
The state has since tripled the area designated as national park and launched a reforestation program.
Mt Parnitha comprises a number of smaller peaks, the highest of which is Karavola (1413m).
The park is crisscrossed by walking trails, is a popular hiking and mountain-biking destination, and has two shelters for hikers.
Find the Road Editions hiking map of the area.
There are many caves and much wildlife, including red deer.
TOP OF CHAPTER Marathon & Around The plain surrounding the unremarkable small town of Marathon, 42km northeast of Athens, is the site of one of the most celebrated battles in world history.
In 490 BC an army of 9000 Greeks and 1000 Plataeans defeated the 25,000-strong Persian army.
The Greeks were indebted to the ingenious tactics of Miltiades, who altered the conventional battle formation so that there were fewer soldiers in the centre, but more in the wings.
This lulled the Persians into thinking the Greeks were going to be a pushover.
They broke through in the centre but were then ambushed by the soldiers in the wings.
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