Athens Happy Train was the focus of me and the girls on one sunny November morning. It is a great activity for winter and summer. Especially in the hot summer months when walking is not an option with kids. The Athens Happy Train is an open toy-like street train (no rails but wheels). It starts it sightseeing tour every 30 minutes from the Constitution Square or ‘Syntagma’ square and crosses the historical city, the old Athens’ neighborhoods the Acropolis hill. The train passes by the most famous sight and monuments such as the Acropolis, The Temple of Zeus, the Zappeion, the Panathinaiko Stadium, the Theatre of Herodes Atticus, Hadrian’s Arch, the New Acropolis Museum and the War Museum. The tour lasts approximately 60 minutes. It has a hop-on-hop-off system so you can start your tour from any point on its route or leave the train if you found an interesting place to explore further. You can use the same ticket and hop-on again for the next two hours. The train operates from 9am until 12pm.
Our starting point was Syntagma square. The train was waiting for us in the busy shopping street called Ermou. The train has open-style carriages but due to the soft weather during our November excursion, this was not a problem. The carriages are safe, the doors cannot open whilst drive but there are no seatbelts inside. Besides the driver t, here is also a hostess on board. She was not only looking after our safety but also provide some basic information in Greek and English about the places we passed. What we liked most was the drive through the old neighbourhoods of Athens around the Acropolis hill. This zone is partly car free and the tour was very peaceful.
I believe that the Athens Happy Train tour is a great introduction to the city for families that do not want to walk the whole time. Young children will love sitting on this red Thomas the train like vehicle. Strollers fit on the train when folded. My 7 year old daughter found the tour a bit boring but that is probably because she knows the city so well already. And she was still happy to sit back instead of walking as we normally do. You can also consider to walk partly through the city and hop on the train at the end of your tour when your little ones are tired of walking. My family did not jump off at the stops. We decided to stay on board the complete tour. During our November visit the sun was pleasant but not strong. I think that the train is a very good way to see the city on hot summer days. You will be sitting in the shade and there will still be plenty of fresh air.
The train offers good views on the sites but I felt that I needed to hop off at some of the sightseeing stops if I wanted to make a really nice photo. You may also want to consider the time of day. My children were tired in the afternoon and lost interest at the end of the tour.
Tried, tested and recommended for families with young kids!
Find more information and prices, have a look on their website: www.athenshappytrain.com