Here's everything you need to know about Rafina Port in Athens. From which ferries to take to the Greek islands, to hotels in Rafina, learn more here.
Rafina Port in Athens
Most people visiting Greece have heard of Piraeus port in Athens. Not many people realize that Athens has more ports. The second biggest of these is Rafina Port.
Whenever possible, I prefer to use the ferry port at Rafina when going to the Cyclades islands, as I find it much friendlier to use and a lot less hectic!
Pro Tip: To look at ferry schedules and book ferry tickets online, I highly recommend Ferryhopper. It makes traveling the Greek Islands a lot easier!
Where is Rafina Port in Athens
Rafina Port is on the east coast of the Attica peninsula, about 30 km (18.6 miles) from central Athens and 25 kms (15.5 miles) from the Athens airport. It takes roughly an hour to get to Rafina port from the centre, and 30-45 minutes from the airport, depending on traffic.
The port itself is quite compact and, unlike Piraeus, it only takes a few minutes to navigate around the port area. There are several types of boats departing from Rafina port, ranging from small, fast ferries to bigger ferries that also take vehicles.
There are also several picturesque fishing boats and other types of private vessels in the bay.
How to get to Rafina Port from central Athens
The easiest way to get to Rafina Port from Athens centre is to get a taxi. A taxi from Athens to Rafina for up to 4 people will cost around 40 euro and will generally take a little under an hour, depending on traffic. You can pre-book a taxi here – Welcome Taxis.
It is also possible to take a KTEL bus from Marvommateon Street just next to Pedion tou Areos Park. The bus station is walking distance from Victoria metro station in central Athens, so you can get there by metro.
There are buses from Athens to Rafina every half hour or every 45 minutes, depending on season and time of day. There is normally an early bus at 5.45, which will take you to Rafina ferry port in time for the early boats departing at 7.15 am.
Tickets cost 2.60 euro at time of writing (July 2019). The bus can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on season, traffic and time of day, and it will drop you off right inside Rafina port Greece.
How to get to Rafina Port from the Athens airport
The best way to get from the airport to Rafina Port is by pre-booked taxi. If your party is up to 4 people, the taxi ride will cost around 40 euro. Depending on traffic, you might take around 30-40 minutes to get to Rafina Port. You can pre-book a taxi here – Welcome Taxis.
There are also KTEL buses departing from Athens International Airport to Rafina Port, but they are not so frequent and their timetables are irregular. Roughly speaking, there is a bus every 30-90 minutes, and it will take you about 40-50 minutes to get to Rafina.
The bus will drop you off just inside the port. Tickets cost 4 euro, so if you are travelling on your own and you have time to kill, it can be a good option.
What is there to do in Rafina
To be fair, most tourists coming to Rafina Athens only come to catch a ferry to one of the islands. Arguably, Rafina has nothing special in terms of sightseeing, but there is enough to do if you want to spend the evening here and catch an early morning boat – or your flight back home.
Go for a stroll around the port, check out the ferries, and have a nice meal at one of the local tavernas. The fish tavernas closer to the port have fresh fish on a daily basis, but there are also several other places to eat, as well as a couple of bars, on Rafina’s main square.
If you are feeling a little adventurous, walk up to St Nicholas church, which offers lovely views of the port and the nearby beach.
Beaches in Rafina
While it’s nowhere near one of the best beaches in Greece, there is a long, sandy beach very close to the port where you can spend a couple of hours. You will generally see several locals swimming there, though it might not be your cup of tea.
I actually cycle down to this beach most weekends from central Athens as part of my training, but have never actually swam there!
Hotels in Rafina Greece
While there are several apartments to rent around the wider area of Rafina Athens, our recommendation by far is Avra Hotel. The location is super convenient, just 500m from the port, and the hotel has recently been refurbished.
Additionally, the hotel offers free airport transfers (but double check!). Literally across the street from the hotel, you will find Rafina square, with plenty of restaurants and bars. More details about the Avra hotel in Rafina here – Avra Hotel.
For other hotels near Rafina, and f you want more of a holiday feeling and better beaches, you might be better off staying at nearby Artemida instead. Definitely a good option if you have your own transport.
Where do the Ferries go from Rafina?
As Rafina Port is much smaller than Piraeus, its ferry capacity is quite small. As a result, there are few departures per day, and ferries travel to only a handful of islands. Most of these are in the Cyclades island chain.
Compared to departures from Piraeus, it generally takes less time to get to any of these islands from Rafina Port, and in many cases fares are lower. Therefore, you should not dismiss Rafina port if there is a ferry to your island of choice!
Trying to find exact ferry information in Greece can be quite confusing if you don't know how. I recommend that you use Ferryhopper to look at ferry routes and book tickets online. More here: Ferryhopper.
These are the islands that you can get to from Rafina Port Athens.
Andros from Rafina
Andros has no direct connection with Piraeus, and as such is often neglected by tourists. It’s one of the greenest Cyclades islands, and home to some of the best beaches in Greece.
You can get there in just over an hour, so it’s also great for a weekend break from Athens. Two ferry companies that run this route are Golden Star Ferries and Fast Ferries.
Full guide here: How to get to Andros Island in Greece
Tinos from Rafina
An island famous for its massive religious ceremony on 15th August, Tinos is a wild, mountainous place with several amazing villages and many beautiful beaches. It’s also a great destination if you like authentic, traditional Greek food. As it’s only a couple of hours away from Athens, it’s easy to get to – but beware, as you may forget to leave!
Check here for how to get from Rafina to Tinos by ferry.
Mykonos from Rafina
This small island, which has been popular with the international jet-set since the 1950s, features on most Greece itineraries. Depending on your style of vacations, you will either love it, or hate it.
Mykonos Town is certainly very picturesque, and don’t miss a day trip to the island of Delos, full of archaeological findings.
Getting from Rafina Port to Mykonos can only take you as little as 2 hours 10 minutes. Here's a fuller guide on how to get to Mykonos from Athens.
More here: Mykonos things to do.
Syros from Rafina
The capital of the Cyclades, Syros is a busy, bustling island all year round. Its picturesque main town will fascinate you, and you may be surprised to know that it’s one of the few places in Greece with a Catholic church. You can get there from Rafina in just over two hours.
Check the price, ferry operators, an book an e-ticket online at Ferryhopper.
Paros from Rafina
An island with plenty of nightlife at a fraction of the cost in Mykonos, Paros is also popular with surfers. Choose between Parikia and Naoussa to base yourself, and explore the island. From Paros, you can easily get to the much smaller Antiparos, famous for its cave and Tom Hanks (who recently became a Greek citizen).
The Rafina Paros route is about a three hour crossing. You can organise your Paros ferry tickets via Ferryhopper.
Naxos from Rafina
A popular destination with Greeks and visitors alike, Naxos is the biggest island in the Cyclades group. Explore the traditional villages and the beautiful Chora, but make sure you leave some time to relax on the long sandy beaches. If you like cheese, make sure you visit a traditional cheese making facility. You can get to Naxos from Rafina Port in 3 hours 40 minutes.
Koufonisia from Rafina
A couple of tiny islands with some of the most beautiful beaches of the Cyclades, both Ano Koufonisi and the uninhabited Kato Koufonisi are definitely worth visiting. If you don’t like crowds, it’s best to avoid July and August. Koufonisia are just under six hours from Rafina Port.
Amorgos from Rafina
One of Greece’s most unique islands, Amorgos was the setting for the 1988 movie “The Big Blue”. Full of hiking trails, imposing cliffs, hidden monasteries and stunning beaches, this island has committed fans who return year after year, and it’s also popular with campers.
Don’t miss the picturesque Chora, the cult bars and the local alcoholic drink called “psimeni raki”. It will take you 6.5 hours to get to Amorgos from Rafina Port, but it’s totally worth it.
Ios from Rafina
Known mainly as a party island for teenagers and very young adults, Ios will surprise you if you can get past this stereotype. Leave the Chora behind and get around the island, and you will soon discover its laid-back and authentic side and its gorgeous beaches. You will need 5 hours 40 minutes from Rafina port, while Santorini is only an hour away, making Ios a great option if you want to visit one more island.
Santorini from Rafina
This world-famous destination needs no special introduction, as it’s a must-see on most visitors’ itineraries in Greece. The spectacular sunsets, the views to the volcano, the white blue-domed churches, the wineries, and Akrotiri archaeological area are all among the things you should do in Santorini.
The island is extremely popular, so it might be best to avoid peak season. You can get to Santorini from Rafina port in 6 hours 45 minutes.
Evia from Rafina
An island just an hour away from Athens and not too popular with foreign visitors, Evia is truly a hidden gem. You will need a car to get around and appreciate the untouched beauty. Expect winding roads, lots of green, amazing beaches, protected bays to the west of the island, and open, wild beaches to the east. Technically, you can get to Evia through a bridge, but getting there on the boat is quicker.
Rafina Port in Athens
FAQ About Rafina Port Athens
Here are some commonly asked questions about using the ferry port in Rafina.
How do I get from Athens to Rafina port?
The simplest way to get from Athens center to the ferry port at Rafina is by taxi, and the journey takes approximately one hour. Buses also leave from downtown Athens from the station near Victoria Metro stop.
How far is Rafina port from Athen City Center?
The distance from the ferry port at Rafina to Syntagma Square in Athens centre is 32.3 kms or 20 miles by the shortest road route.
How much is a taxi from Rafina to Syntagma Square in Athens city centre?
The taxi fare during the day time to Syntagma Square in Athens from Rafina costs between 24 Euros and 30 Euros depending on traffic. You can pre-arrange taxis for a set price.
We hope this introduction to Athens Rafina Port has been helpful. If you have any further questions, let us know in the comments.