Greece is one of Europe's prime vacation destinations, welcoming around 30 million visitors each year to indulge in its culture, food, and beaches—a huge number for a country that only has 10 million people. From ancient ruins to paradisaical islands, Greece is one of the ultimate trips for any traveler. Athens is the capital, largest city, and generally the gateway for anyone entering the country.
Surprisingly, there are few direct flight options from the U.S. to Athens International Airport, and even the majority of these are seasonal flights that only run during the high-demand summer months. However, Aegean Airlines flies to Athens from almost every major European city, so if you can get to anywhere on the continent, it should be easy to find a connecting flight.
Direct Flights From U.S. to Athens
One of the best options for reaching Athens is to depart from New York City, which offers one daily Emirates flight from Newark Airport year-round. If you're traveling in the summer, you have a few more options: United Airlines also flies out of Newark or you can use nearby JFK Airport by flying with Delta, and American Airlines offers seasonal flights from Chicago O'Hare Airport and Philadelphia International Airport.
If you aren't departing from one of these three cities, then you'll need to include at least one layover in your plans. If you prefer that the final stretch of the trip is the long, transatlantic leg, then you could always look for flights to New York City, Chicago, or Philadelphia. Otherwise, you'll need to fly to Europe first and catch a connecting flight from there.
Low-Cost Airlines to Athens
Within Europe, several low-cost carriers make regular trips to Athens throughout the year—and even more so in the summer. Budget airlines often don't show up in international flight searches if the company doesn't have a connection with the first leg of the journey, which means American travelers are potentially missing out on some of the best deals for flights to Greece.
Some of these airlines and the major cities they fly from include:
- easyJet: Berlin-Tegel, Edinburgh, London-Gatwick, Manchester, Naples
- Eurowings: Düsseldorf, Stuttgart
- Norwegian Air: Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo, Stockholm
- Pegasus Airlines: Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen
- Ryanair: Barcelona, Milan-Bergamo, Berlin-Schönefeld, Dublin, Frankfurt, Kyiv-Boryspil, Kraków, London-Luton, London-Stansted, Madrid, Rome-Ciampino, Sofia, Tel Aviv
- Transavia: Amsterdam
- Vueling: Barcelona
- Wizz Air: Budapest, London-Luton
If your city doesn't offer direct flights to Athens, look for a cheap flight to one of the cities serviced by these low-cost carriers. Then, do a separate search from that city to Athens and you may just find a bargain.
If you go this route, be aware that low-cost airlines usually have strict restrictions on baggage limits and you'll likely have to pay an extra fee to check a bag and sometimes even to bring a carry-on. Also, if you book each leg as two separate flights, be sure to give yourself an extra-large time cushion during the layover. If the first flight is delayed and causes you to miss the second flight, you'll have little recourse when rebooking and likely have to purchase another ticket at full cost.