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30 September 2006

See Athens, Take the Bus!

Trying out the Athens Sightseeing Bus Line 400

Update 2010: The sightseeing busline 400 was stopped on 2010-06-01, due to "lack of demand". Sorry to see it go.

Yesterday evening we had some spare hours between buying a new fill for my rotring pen and meeting with Lorena and Kostis for Ouzo and Meze. We were near the Athens Archeological Museum and trying out the sightseeing bus line 400 from OASA (the Athens public transport) was on our to do list for some time now. So we hopped in. It was an interesting experience, though we should have handled things a bit different...

First of all, even though it's public transport, the line 400 is very special. It's not just your average bus line. There is someone selling you your ticket right on the bus (can be bought only on the bus) and answering any questions you might have. She spoke English and had to adjust to speaking Greek with us every time she talked to us, as she was so used to speaking to foreigners. Most of the tour she was chatting with the driver, but that was fine. There are recorded messages announcing some of the sites you can see. Mind that the messages are not announcing everything you can see, that's not their point.

Stop and see

The sightseeing tour is not so much meant for you to see things from the bus (you can do that some of the times). Rather it's a means of transport to do your sightseeing. The ticket is valid for 24 for hours from your first start. So you prepare yourself with a good guide book for Athens and the map of where the 400 bus goes. Then you - more or less - plan which sites you want to see. The recorded voice warns you in advance when you should get down. That's its job, it announces stops, not the scenery. When you want to see for example the national gallery, you step down from the bus and take the next one, maybe half an hour later, maybe one or two hours later. Same thing you can do for Monastiraki or my beloved ancient site, the Kerameikos.

That way you can see all the modern or ancient sites of Athens in your own time schedule. You don't have to find out where to get from ancient point A to ancient point B with the public bus lines. But you are neither tugged to a classic sightseeing plan, where you might want to linger on at some place when the rest of the group has to move on. All in all a very good idea and - judging from our little test - well implemented. It might not be the right thing for you if you want everything to be well prepared and to be served to you in a professionally guided tour.

More information

Information is available online at the OASA site. The ticket is 5 Euro per person. Tickets are valid for 24 hours, for the bus 400 and for the other public transport lines in Athens. So you can take the metro back to your hotel after the sightseeing without having to buy another ticket.

Posted by betabug at 12:45 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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Re: See Athens, Take the Bus!

The islands i want to visit in greece are athens , santorini , crete , rhodes and lots more also the temples and other things that interest me


candie champion

Posted by: candie champion at August 24,2009 11:57
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