The Guide to Car Rental In Greece
Over the years, we have noticed that people ask many of the same questions when it comes to driving and renting a car in Greece.
So, whether you are planning a vacation in Greece, putting together a road trip based on Greek Mythology, or want to explore the lesser-known areas of the Peloponnese peninsula, these FAQs and Answers should help you.
If you have any questions that aren’t answered here, then please get in touch. We would love to help!
I would like to explore Greece with my family. Shall I use Public Transport, Rent a Car, or Private Transfer?
There is no right or wrong answer to that question as all three options, namely renting a car, using public transfer, and using private transfer, have cons and pros.
The short answer to that question is IT DEPENDS on your family budget, your family interests needs, and ages of kids, the duration of your vacation, how many places you would like to visit but most importantly. your comfort zone.
If budget allows, we recommend either renting a car or using private transfers as using public transport will be very tiring for kids and time-consuming.
We recommend that you read our article about the pros and cons of car hire in Greece and using private transfer.
Why rent a car with my family in Greece?
Car rental in Greece is a great idea for families who want to discover more of the area they are visiting and get a sense of living like a local. It is convenient, more affordable compared to private transfer, and enables you to see things your family likes that you might otherwise miss.
Greece is a relatively small country with lots of amazing historical sites, picturesque villages, stunning beaches, diverse landscapes, and vibrant cities. Renting a car during your family vacation in Greece will give you the flexibility to travel at your own pace and shape your own itinerary based on your kids schedule and interests.
All you have to do is rent the right car, do your homework in terms of itinerary, follow the driving rules and review our driving and car rental tips highlighted in this article.
DRIVING REQUIREMENTS AND LEGISLATION
How old do you need to be to rent a car in Greece?
To rent a car in Greece, you must be at least 21 years old and you must have held your driving license for at least 12 months, regardless of your age. Bear in mind that some Greek rental companies require 2 years. It is not uncommon that the minimum age may vary by car category.
Some car rental companies in Greece might charge extra if the driver who is renting a car is under 25 years old. The oldest you can be for your car rental in Greece is 70 years old (for some companies it is 75).
What driving license do I need to have in order to rent a car in Greece?
European Union (EU) residents just need the own EU driving license when driving in Greece.
Residents from other countries will need an International Driving License (IDP). This is an officially translated Driving License in different languages and it is valid for 12 months.
If you are a US citizen, you must get an International Driving Permit (IDP).
Learn How to Apply for an IDP | International Driving Permit. Make sure you always carry also your original driving license. The validity of IDP is 12 months.
An IDP or IDL is easily obtained in your home country before you travel to Greece. Your rental car company will ask you for this when renting the car, so make sure to get it before you travel.
Do I need a Credit Card?
When renting a car, apart from your EU driving license, your international driving license, or IDP, you will be asked to show your passport and your credit card. Bear in mind that most car rental companies in Greece do not accept debit cards.
Most Greek car rental companies need your credit card to secure the booking and will take a provisional deposit in case of any car damage upon return. Your card will not be charged if there are no issues when you return the vehicle.
USEFUL TIPS ABOUT DRIVING IN GREECE
Driving in Greece: general guidelines
- In Greece, all vehicles are driven on the right side of the road.
- Overtake on the left, and never overtake on a bend. Try to keep overtaking to a minimum if possible, as Greece is quite mountainous.
- You are required by law to wear a seatbelt at all times.
- Traffic coming from your right side has priority unless there is a stop sign on that road.
- Greek roundabouts can be very confusing as priority often changes as you drive around. If the approach road does not have a stop sign, traffic on the roundabout has to give way. If the approach road does have a stop sign, traffic already on the roundabout has priority.
- The legal alcohol limits for driving in Greece are very low, at 0.05% (0.25mg per liter of your breath). For drivers who have held their license for under two years, the limit is lower, at 0.02% (0.10mg per liter of your breath).
Gas (petrol) stations in Greece
- You will have no problem locating a gas (petrol) station in Greece if you are in the city or a large town. That said, you might have some difficulties in locating a gas station in rural areas, including on the smaller Greek islands. Try to plan ahead and keep an eye on the tank.
- The majority of gas stations in Greece do not offer self-service (with the exception of a few in Athens)
- Most petrol stations accept credit cards, but not all of them.
- During the weekend, most petrol stations (especially in rural areas) are open from 7 am to 7 pm. In Rural areas, gas stations might be closed on Sundays.
- Always return your car rental with a full tank of fuel.
There are two main toll roads in Greece; the first is from Athens to Thessaloniki (E75) and the second is from Athens to the Peloponnese (8).
There are multiple toll booths on both toll roads so many sure that you have enough cash with you. Each toll is between EUR1-4. Tolls from Athens to Thessaloniki EUR40.
What are the roads like in Greece?
Mainland: The main roads are mostly in very good condition, aligned with international standards, and are sealed. Once you leave the main roads and followed the secondary roads, you may encounter some bad quality roads, with poor signage.
Make sure you have studied the itinerary before, do not hesitate to ask your hotel concierge and even request the help of locals, in case you get lost.
Islands: Remember that Greek islands are mountainous and roads might have lots of beds and curves. Drive safely.
From all islands, Crete, as the largest one, has the main highway that connects the north east to the north west parts. There are multiple secondary roads that connect the south to the north.
Parking can be difficult in Athens and other big cities. Make sure that you only park in marked bays and adhere to the instructions displayed. If in doubt, ask a local for help.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW WHEN RENTING A CAR IN GREECE
What type of car should I rent?
You should choose a vehicle based on the type of family vacation you are planning in Greece. In general, the type of car that you need depends on the size of your family, your luggage, your itinerary and your personal preference.
For example, if you are staying in just one hotel, and need a car only for a few day trips in the area, a smaller, less expensive vehicle will be fine. in addition, we recommend that you rent a smaller car if you are planning to visit large towns/ cities as parking and navigating the small roads will be significantly easier.
However, if you are planning a long road trip in Greece and need to take all your luggage with you, you should ensure that it has adequate space for passengers and suitcases.
In general, we recommend that you consider renting a more comfortable car such as an SUV so that you drive to more remote areas including secluded beaches. Also, an SUV is handy if you are planning a family trip to a mountaneous area in Greece as you might go off-road.
In any case, shop around online for the best offer.
Automatic or Manual?
The vast majority of cars in Greece are manual/stick-shift. If you have never driven a manual car before, we would suggest that Greece is not the place to learn!
If you require an automatic car rental in Greece, contact Kids Love Greece, and we can arrange one for you.
Gas versus Diesel Rental Cars in Greece
Gas (petrol) cars are more popular than diesel in Greece, however, the popularity of diesel cars is on increase as diesel is considerably cheaper than petrol in Greece.
We recommend that you request a diesel car if available when renting a car as you will have some cost savings.
Where can I rent a car in Greece?
You can rent a car in virtually any large town or city throughout Greece, including the islands. Cars can be collected from airports, delivered to your hotel, or picked up from the rental company themselves.
Kids Love Greece has partnered with several car rental companies and has also created some family-friendly self-drive road-trip itineraries to help plan your driving holiday in Greece. Contact us for more details.
Is it safe to drive in Greece?
This is a great question! To visitors from the USA, Athens, in particular, may seem to have a somewhat aggressive, chaotic feel to it when it comes to driving. Parking is another problem!
We would suggest avoiding driving in the center when at all possible and using public transport such as the excellent metro system instead.
Outside of Athens, you should aim to be aware at all times, and be prepared for tight switchback roads leading up and down the mountains.
Renting a car in Greece is the best way to get around the country at your own pace. If you have any special requirements, such as child seats for younger kids, then get in touch with us, and we can arrange your car rental in Greece today.
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