Are you planning a vacation to Greece? Make your trip more exciting and comfortable by renting a car. Renting a car in Greece can solve several problems at once.
You can perfectly combine beach relaxation with leisurely sightseeing of famous ancient structures, which are scattered throughout the country. Modern Greece stands on the foundation of ancient Hellas, and remnants of its rich history can be found everywhere.
Popular Cities for Car Rental in Greece
When it comes to car rental in Greece, several cities are particularly popular among tourists. These include Crete, Thessaloniki, Corfu, Athens, and Heraklion. These cities offer convenient access to various attractions and serve as excellent starting points for exploring the country.
Rental Costs in Greece
The cost of renting a car in Greece can vary depending on the season and the class of the vehicle. Based on bookings from the past three years, here is the average daily rental cost across all car classes:
It is worth noting that prices may fluctuate based on demand and availability, so it is advisable to book your rental car in advance to secure the best rates.
Where to Go with a Rental Car
Renting a car in Greece opens up a world of possibilities for exploration. You can visit the famous «Trident» of Poseidon, explore the stunning rock formations of Meteora, or drive along the coast of the Ionian Sea, discovering picturesque local towns like Parga. Renting a car allows you to create your own itinerary, stop wherever you like, and enjoy the freedom of independent travel. It is particularly beneficial for exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations that are not easily accessible by public transportation. Additionally, renting a car in Greece is not only more interesting and comfortable but also more cost-effective compared to organized tours.
Various car classes are available for rental, including SUVs, luxury vehicles, convertibles, and minivans, allowing you to choose the vehicle that best suits your needs and preferences.
Demand for Car Rental in Greece
The percentage of car rental occupancy varies throughout the year, indicating the level of demand for rental cars. For instance, August experiences the highest demand, resulting in a limited selection of available cars. The higher the percentage of occupancy, the earlier you should consider booking your car to secure the best options at the most favorable prices.
Here is the percentage of car rental occupancy by month:
To ensure a smooth rental experience, it is recommended to plan ahead and make your reservation well in advance, especially if you are traveling during peak months.
Documents and Insurance
Renting a car in Greece is a straightforward process, and the requirements are minimal. To rent a car, you will typically need the following documents:
- Driver’s license
- Credit card
Car rental companies in Greece usually offer insurance options included in the rental price. This can range from liability insurance (similar to third-party coverage) to rental vehicle insurance (similar to collision damage waiver). It is advisable to review the insurance coverage provided by the rental company and understand the terms and conditions before finalizing your reservation. This will help you make an informed decision regarding insurance coverage and any additional charges.
Driving in Greece
Before driving in Greece, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local traffic rules and regulations. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:
- Driving License: You must have a valid driver’s license from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP). The minimum age for driving in Greece is 18 years for a car and 16 years for a motorcycle.
- Driving Side: In Greece, vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road.
- Seat Belts: Seat belts are mandatory for the driver and all passengers.
- Speed Limits: The general speed limits in Greece are as follows, unless otherwise indicated:
- Urban Areas: 50 km/h (31 mph)
- Non-Urban Roads: 90 km/h (56 mph)
- Highways: 130 km/h (80 mph)
Speed limits may vary in specific areas, so pay attention to the signs.
- Alcohol Limit: The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for driving in Greece is 0.05%. However, it is advisable to avoid drinking and driving altogether.
- Child Safety: Children under 135 cm (approximately 4 feet 5 inches) in height must be seated in an appropriate child restraint system.
- Parking: In urban areas, you may need to park in designated parking lots or garages. Avoid parking in prohibited areas to avoid fines or towing.
- Tolls: Some highways and bridges in Greece have tolls. Make sure you have enough cash or a credit card to pay the tolls, as not all toll booths accept cards.
- Road Conditions: Greece has a well-maintained road network, but some rural areas may have narrower roads or uneven surfaces. Exercise caution and adapt your driving to the road conditions.
- Fuel: Gas stations are widely available in Greece, and most accept major credit cards. Some stations may have limited operating hours, particularly in remote areas, so plan your refueling accordingly.
Remember to obey traffic laws, be mindful of other drivers, and take breaks during long drives to avoid fatigue.
Booking a Rental Car
To book a rental car in Greece, you can use various online platforms and travel agencies. Here are a few popular options:
- Local Car Rental Agencies: Research and compare car rental companies in Greece, both international brands and local agencies. Some well-known car rental companies operating in Greece include Avis, Hertz, Europcar, and Sixt.
- Online Travel Agencies: Websites like Expedia, Kayak, and Rentalcars.com allow you to compare prices from multiple rental companies and book a car online.
- Hotel or Travel Agency: If you prefer a more personalized approach, you can contact local hotels or travel agencies in Greece. They may assist you in finding a suitable car rental option based on your requirements.
When booking your rental car, consider the following factors:
- Pick-up and Drop-off Locations: Choose a location that is convenient for you, such as an airport, city center, or your hotel.
- Duration of Rental: Specify the dates and times you need the car. Rates may vary depending on the rental period, so check for any restrictions or additional charges for early returns or late pick-ups.
- Vehicle Type: Select the type of vehicle that suits your needs, taking into account the number of passengers, luggage capacity, and any specific preferences you may have.
- Insurance Coverage: Review the insurance options offered by the rental company. Decide whether you want to purchase additional coverage or rely on your personal car insurance or credit card coverage.
- Additional Services: Check if the rental company provides extras like GPS navigation, child seats, or roof racks. These may come at an additional cost.
- Cancellation Policy: Understand the rental company’s cancellation policy in case your plans change. Make sure you know the deadline for cancellations and any associated fees.
Before signing the rental agreement, carefully inspect the car for any existing damage, and report it to the rental company. Taking photos or videos of the vehicle’s condition can serve as evidence in case of disputes regarding damage liability.
Once you have completed the booking process, ensure that you have all the necessary documents, including your driver’s license, passport or ID, and the rental confirmation voucher.
During your rental period, keep the rental agreement, insurance documents, and emergency contact numbers handy. In case of any accidents, breakdowns, or other issues, contact the rental company immediately for guidance and assistance.
Navigation and Road Signs
- It’s advisable to have a GPS navigation system or use a reliable navigation app on your smartphone to help you navigate the roads in Greece. Make sure you have the necessary maps or data coverage.
- Familiarize yourself with common road signs and symbols in Greece to ensure you understand the directions and warnings while driving. Many signs in tourist areas may also have English translations.
Parking and Traffic Regulations
- When parking in urban areas, pay attention to parking regulations and restrictions. Look for designated parking zones, indicated by blue lines on the road or parking meters. Some areas may have time restrictions or require parking permits.
- Avoid parking illegally or blocking driveways, as your vehicle may be towed, and you could receive a fine.
- In major cities like Athens and Thessaloniki, traffic congestion can be common during peak hours. Plan your travel accordingly and consider using public transportation if it’s a more convenient option.
- In case of emergencies or accidents, dial the European emergency number 112 to reach emergency services in Greece.
- It’s recommended to have emergency roadside assistance coverage either through your rental company or a separate service provider. This can provide assistance in case of vehicle breakdowns, flat tires, or other roadside emergencies.
- If you encounter extreme weather conditions or unexpected hazards on the road, such as flooding or landslides, find a safe place to park and wait until conditions improve. Stay informed about weather forecasts and road conditions, especially if you plan to drive in remote or mountainous areas.
Local Driving Habits and Etiquette
- Greek drivers may have a slightly different driving style compared to other countries. Be prepared for more assertive driving behavior, including frequent lane changes and overtaking. Stay focused and vigilant while driving.
- It’s common for Greek drivers to use their horn as a means of communication, such as to indicate overtaking or to warn other drivers. However, excessive honking is generally discouraged.
- Be courteous and yield to pedestrians at designated crosswalks. In some areas, pedestrians may cross the road without using crosswalks, so remain cautious.
Exploring Greek Islands
- If you plan to visit Greek islands, note that not all islands have extensive road networks or car rental services. Some islands may have limited rental options or prefer alternative modes of transportation like scooters, bicycles, or public transportation.
- It’s essential to check the rules and regulations specific to each island regarding driving and vehicle rentals. Some islands may require special permits or have restrictions on certain vehicle types.
- Ferry services are commonly used to travel between Greek islands. If you plan to bring a rental car on a ferry, inform the rental company in advance and confirm any requirements or additional charges.
Remember, road conditions and driving practices can vary across different regions of Greece, so it’s always a good idea to research and prepare accordingly before embarking on your journey.
Safe travels and enjoy exploring the beautiful country of Greece!