Greece is very contradictory when it comes to driving. Most travelers have no problem driving the main roads and most travel destinations are well connected by roads, but Greece has the highest accidents rate in Europe! So if you are an inexperienced driver, Greece might give you a lot of headaches. Also, many roads are curvy since Greece is a mountains country and in the fall and winter, these roads are icy, wet or snowy. Traffic in Athens is nightmare and so is parking.
The Greek drivers’ habits are quite dangerous and red lights are often ignored. The roads are narrow, congested and you will have a lot of trouble finding a parking space. The driver should be at least 18 years old. To sit in the front seat, children must be at least 10 years old. The use of seat-belt is compulsory for front-seat passengers.
Speed limits for cars are: 50 km/h (30 mph) in urban areas, 110 km/h (68 mph) outside cities and 120 km/h (75 mph) on expressways. Drive on the right side, just like in the United States. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05%. Multitone hors are illegal and the use of horns in towns is permitted only in case of immediate and extreme danger.
The parking rules are quite strict but no one really follows them. You are not supposed to park within 15 meters (49.2 feet) of a public transportation stop or 5 meters (16.4 feet) of an intersection.
European Union citizens can you their own drivers licenses while other nationals should have an International Drivers License. US drivers licenses are accepted but it’s recommended to have the international version as well.
The emergency number is 112 and offers multi-language help.
Some stations accept credit cards and most close at 7 PM. But note that gas stations are not that common, so take advantage when you find one. Regular unleaded gasoline has an octane rating of 91 or 92, unleaded super has an octane rating of 95, while super has an octane rating of 96 or 98. You can also find lead-free gasoline.
What Car to Rent
If you are not used to renting cars, you might not know what you should rent while visiting Greece. If you are traveling in a small group – 5 or 6 persons – a minivan is a good option for you. Note that minivans have poor luggage capacity so even though they can technically take up to 8 passengers, they can’t take too many bags. 4x4s are very popular among tourists as well.
Don’t try to learn to drive a stick shift in Greece! If you are used to automatic transmission, get an automatic car.
Stick with “compact” class cars but note that you’ll have some problems when parking.
The quoted price generally doesn’t include the VAT of 18% and airport rental tax of 3-6%. The prices also exclude the summer premium which varies from provider to provider and from period to period. Generally allow for $10-15 a day extra if you plan to rent a car from June to September. Make sure to take the offered insurance coverage and double check what that offers.
Companies which provide car hire services
There are plenty of car hire companies which you can choose once you get to Greece. Here are only some ideas: