Train and ferry from London to Greece
Green Traveller's Guide to taking the train from London St Pancras International Railway Station to Igoumenitsa or Patras on the west coast of Greece.
Summary: Train via Paris to Milan and Bari in Italy then ferry across the Adriatic to the west cost of Greece - Igoumenitsa (for Thessaloniki) or Patras (for Athens)
Journey Time: about 48 hours
Carbon emissions: train to Bari is approx 65kg (flight would be approx 480kg)*
Train tickets provided by Trainline:
Ferry tickets provided by Direct Ferries
What's the journey like?
In Paris, you change stations from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon, which can take about half an hour on the Paris RER line (it's only two stops, though we recommend you leave at least 50 minutes for the entire transfer - you have about an hour and a quarter to get the connection). See our guide to How to transfer between train stations across Paris. At Gare de Lyon, board a TGV high speed train to 'Milan Centrale' station. Stay overnight in Milan, then the following morning take the high speed train to Bari to catch the overnight ferry to either Igoumenitsa or Patras on the west cost of Greece, arriving just after midday.
Stopover hotels to break the journey in Paris
If you want to break the journey and stay overnight to see a bit more of Paris while you're travelling through, there are lots of lovely places to stay near both Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyon. Here are some examples of hotels that are conveniently near these stations:
Miss your connection in Paris?
Don’t panic. Railteam’s ‘Hop on the Next Available Train’ service means that if you have missed your connection between high speed trains because of a delay on the preceding leg of your journey, you’ll automatically be put on the next available high-speed TGV train. NB Remember to get your ticket stamped by your Train Manager. Whenever you’re connecting, always remember to validate your onward train ticket at the machine on the platform before departing (these are often coloured yellow).
On arrival at Milan Centrale station
Benvenuto a Milano! If you’re arriving on an international train service, you will probably arrive at Milano Centrale, the city’s main rail terminus – however various intercity services also serve Cardona and Garibaldi stations: all three are connected to Milan’s metro and bus services for onward travel around the city. There are plenty of hotels close to the station, see below:
Hotels near Milan's train station (Milan Centrale):
Milan has one of Italy’s best developed public transport systems, consisting of a metro network, trams, buses, and a suburban rail system (the latter is unlikely to be of use to visitors). Whilst many of the city centre’s main sights are within walking distance of one another, you’ll probably end up using public transport at some point during your stay. The metro consists of four lines, with a fifth under construction; there are seventeen tram lines crossing the city – trams are emblematic of travel in Milan; and numerous bus services, they are co-ordinated by ATM. You can find maps of the metro and suburban rail network on ATM’s website - see Milan Journey Planner, as well as a breakdown of the different tickets (including useful tickets for tourists), and a journey planner for transport within the Milan urban area.
Like many European cities, Milan has a bike sharing scheme, allowing you to hire a bike from numerous points across the city and then return it to a different docking point when you have completed your journey: for more information, and maps, check out BikeMi (information in English).
On arrival at Bari Railway Station
From the station, you'll need to take a bus to the port to catch the ferry. The buses leave from just outside the railway station. Bari is a lovely city so it's worth spending some time here if you can, but if you only have a few hours and want to have a pizza, then I recommend Solho (see photos below), which is just a few hundred yards from the railway station.
Solho Gourmet Pizza and Apulian food is just a few hundred metres from Bari railway station.
Photos: Richard Hammond
Bus from Bari Railway Station to Bari Port
The buses depart from just opposite the railway station exit. Buy your ticket from the ticket booth and then board the 50 bus to the port. On arrival at the departure terminal of the port, you'll then need to take a transit bus to the ferry check-in terminal. Once you've checked in, you then take the transit bus back to the departure terminal. Do make sure you check-in at the check-in desk (not at the ferry departure terminal) as you won't be allowed on without doing so.
Left: Bus No. 50 goes from the Bari Centrale to the port. Right: Bus ticket booth opposite the station.
Photos: Richard Hammond
Left: The transit bus takes from the port departure terminal to the check-in desk (Right)
Photos: Richard Hammond
Ferry from Bari to Igoumenitsa or Patras on the west cost of Greece
If you're looking to travel onwards to Thessaloniki then take the ferry to Igoumenitsa, if you're going to Athens, take the crossing to Patras.
Left: Boarding as food passenger for the ferry from Bari across the Adriatic. Centre: Sunset from the Muster station. Right: four berth cabin. Photos: Richard Hammond
Onward travel from Igoumenitsa or Patras
At Igoumenitsa, it's just a short 5-10 minute walk from the port to the bus station from where it takes 4 hours by bus to Thessaloniki. For information timetables, see ktelmacedonia.gr
At Patras, you'll need to take a bus to town centre bus station (it takes 15-20 minutes) to board the bus to Kiato railway station from where there are trains to Athens. For more information on timetables, see: hellenictrain.gr
For other overland routes to Europe, see our Flight-Free Train/Ferry Journey Planner
See our Green Traveller Guides to the following places in Greece: West Macedonia and Thessaloniki | East Macedonia and Thrace | Athens | Central and Southern Peloponnese | Pelion | Naxos and the Small Cyclades | Lesvos and Chios