Greece

Facts

Greece (Hellenic Republic) is a country of 11 million people.  It’s capital and largest city is Athens with a population of over 3 million. The currency is the euro. Greece, and specifically Athens, is referred to as the birthplace of Western civilization and the cradle of democracy.

Route

We entered Greece by ferry from the Turkish town of Cesme to the island of Hios. The crossing is about an hour but is quite expensive at 20 euro. From Hios we took a separate ferry to Athens, a crossing that takes 8 hours and costs about 37 euro. Overnight ferries are good because they are the most comfortable form of transport for sleeping. Just unroll your sleeping bag in an open space and fall asleep.

From Athens we took a bus to Litochoro. This journey was 4 hours and 30 euro each, about 10 euro cheaper than the train. The bus drops you off about 5 km from town but we easily hitchhiked (for the first time). From Litochoro we climbed Olympus.

To reach Thessaloniki from Litochoro (only about 100 km) we also hitchhiked, picking up a ride in a few minutes right to the heart of the city.

Leaving Thessaloniki, we took a bus to Sofia. This trip is 6 hours and costs 20 euro. The cheapest bus seems to be run by the train company from the train station once daily in the morning (currently 8:00). Across the street a Bulgarian company (Arda Tur) runs two buses daily (including a night bus leaving at 00:30) and a third bus in the morning on Mondays and Wednesdays. Calling ahead to reserve a seat is probably wise. The train company charges 20 euro if you are under 26. Arda Tur charges 20 euro for students and 23 euro otherwise. Currently there are no international trains from Greece.

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