For detailed Train Information see the OSE website: www.ose.gr/echome.asp?lang=2
Travel in Greece is often associated with the sea, and for travel to the many Greek islands, this is accurate, with the exception of travel between Athens and the large island of Evia (Euboea). Poros and Lefkada can also be reached by land vehicle.
Even when one gets to the islands, the form of transportation is then via foot, donkey, mule, car, bus, or taxi. For travel on the Greek mainland, however, travel by railways is a definite and attractive option. Except for the westernmost parts of northern Greece, including western Macedonia and Ipiros, there are good rail connections to almost anywhere else one might want to go, and bus connections with trains where the latter end. The types of trains vary, from old ones that rattle but have lots of character, to modern ones that suit those with modern tastes. Then there is the famous 'rack and pinion' or 'cog' railway that traverses one of the most dramatic stretches of scenery in all Greece (See the article on Kalavryta and Mt Pelion). Just about all mainland ports, major and minor, are served by frequent rail services.
NOTE: The Athens electric train (Elektriko) and the Athens metro system, will not be dealt with here. These Piraeus-Athens-outer suburbs railways are well marked and easy to negotiate, with all signs in both Greek and English, as well as helpful station employees and passengers to guide you should you still get lost. This urban rail system is one of the most efficient, cleanest, and attractively -designed systems in Europe, and is a pleasure to use.
Athens-Aghios Stefanos-Halkidha (in Evia/Euboea) One of the truly amazing things aobut Athens is that you can get out of this vast, sprawling city of almost 5 million inhabitants in about 35 minutes, and be in open country, if you take the standard gauge train from Larissa Station that heads to the northwest (veering northeast at first to the village of Aghios Stefanos, which has plenty of trees.
The Larissa Station, in fact already gives you the feeling that you have left the city, once you pass through the doors from the busy street, get your ticket, and go out back to the train platform. The train itself also gives the feeling of having left the modern world, as it is one of the older types that, though it rattles a lot, and moves around a lot if you pass from one car to another, is full of that increasingly rare commodity known as 'character'. You'll pass a town called Acharnes where there is an old Breda steam locomotive, which was one of the biggest kinds of steam locomotives ever operated in Europe.
From Aghios Stefanos, excursions to Marathon are possible, though not by train (see Battle of Marathon). Lake Marathon has a marble-faced dam (built between 1925-31), which provides a lot of Athen's water, which comes from the mountain of Pendeli. There are buses from here to the Cave of Pan, to the battle site, to the beach of Skinias; to the northeast of Marathon is the seaside village of Aghia Marina , near the ancient port of Ramnous, with a Doric temple built in 435BC, which is open daily. In the village of Stamata is the Semeli Winery, which you can visit by appointment. This winery produces an excellent white wine based on the Savatiano grape, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, white wine of the Chardonnay type and other red wines.