- Renting a car in Greece will give you full freedom regarding the destinations you will visit and the pace of your trip.
- If you are a non-EU citizen, you will need an international driver's license to rent a car in Greece.
- You must get car insurance for your rented vehicle for safety and peace of mind.
- A GPS app on your smartphone is the easiest way to navigate Greece easily.
Planning a trip to Greece means considering how you’ll get around the beautiful country. You can take advantage of the taxi and bus systems in cities, but a more authentic visit means privately traveling in your own vehicle, like a rental car.
Renting a car in Greece requires proper planning and consideration to get the most out of your trip while traveling freely. Enjoy a scenic drive through the lush countryside of the village of Assos in Kefalonia, a gem of the Ionian Islands, or gaze out at the stunning ocean views of the coast of Santorini from the comfort of your own car.
This guide provides tips for renting a car in Greece, legal requirements for Greek car rentals through a rental car company, and other information to help you enjoy a Greek road trip.
When a Car Rental in Greece Makes Sense
The exquisite landscape in Greece consists of multiple Greek islands and busy cities. Depending on how you plan your visit, you may be able to rely on public transportation for safe and effective traveling.
Vacationing in Thessaloniki, in northern Greece, or Athens puts you in the center of a bustling metropolis where buses and taxis make more sense than renting a card due to the lack of parking spaces that will put a damper on your Greek vacation.
If your idea of a great vacation includes wandering around the small towns and villages in Greece populated by locals, or a long scenic road trip across mainland Greece, renting a car allows you to do so at your leisure. Besides escaping the crushing crowds in Greece’s most famous cities, you’ll experience authentic Greek life.
Choosing to rent a car opens your eyes to a more relaxed version of Greece experienced at your own pace.
Requirements for Renting a Car in Greece
To legally rent a car in Greece, you must meet certain conditions. Eligible drivers must be at least 21 (for most rental companies) and hold a valid international driving license. Depending on your country of origin, you may only need to present your EU driving license.
Drivers from certain countries like the United States or the United Kingdom may need to obtain an International Driver’s License, or IDL. While current laws don’t require one as long as you have a legal driver’s license from your home country, check IDL status of IDLs in Greece before planning your car rental.
Another requirement includes purchasing car insurance for your rented vehicle. Greek car rental insurance should cover the following:
1. Theft and fire protection
2. Collision and super collision damage waiver
3. Third-party liability and personal accident coverage
Keep in mind that renting a car in Greece requires a credit or debit card. Most car rental companies put a temporary hold on your funds that may climb as high as 1,000 euros. Read the fine print in any car rental contracts so you know what to expect.
Driving Tips for Traveling in Greece
When you drive in Greece, brush up on local traffic laws and driving etiquette with these top tips:
- Stay to the right: Greek citizens drive on the right side of the road, confusing drivers from other parts of Europe. This confusion often leads to drivers traveling on the wrong side of the road, so stay vigilant.
- Stay alert for road hazards: Busy cities have congested roads with frustrated drivers moving at a snail’s pace while traveling in the mountains involves sharp twists and turns. Many mountain towns in Greece have free-roaming livestock, so keep an eye out for pigs, goats, and other animals that may have wandered away from their farm.
- Use GPS: If you opt for a car rental in Greece, use a GPS app on your phone to help you navigate. The last thing you want is to get lost! Greek measures speed and distance in kilometers, a problem for US travelers used to the Imperial system. With a GPS, you can also set your speed limits to miles and avoid doing the conversion in your head as you drive.
- Under no circumstances should you drive a rental car in Greece without having a third-party liability insurance.
Besides these Greek travel tips, adhere to normal driving etiquette, like wearing your seatbelt at all times and refraining from drinking and driving.
Getting Gas in Greece
Renting a car in Greece also means buying gas. Greece offers drivers the benefits of full-service gas stations. While most drivers from the US, UK, and other parts of Europe often pump gas themselves, in Greece, an attendant pumps the gas for you.
Another Greek gas station oddity: Most gas stations close on Sundays and stay open from 7 AM until 7 PM the rest of the week. Because gas emergencies can happen, Greece legally requires some 24-hour stations to stay open in particular areas. Make your trip easier by gassing up before Sunday rolls around so you can drive without worrying.
The Cost of a Car Rental in Greece
Many visitors start their car hire journey online but carefully read any agreements before scheduling your pick-up. Some car rentals online hide fees or mask prices with legal language that may lead you to pay more than you planned.
For that reason, and because most rental companies have real-life shops, not to mention that there are dozens of car rental locations all across Greece, you should finalize your car rental in person when you find car rentals to ensure you have a clear idea of what you’ll pay for your car rental.
Rental car prices vary and are higher during the summer months. You can expect to pay between 25 and 40 euros per day for your car rental in Greece.
You can keep the pricing low by choosing smaller vehicles and avoiding additional accessories like navigation systems.
Perform an inspection of your rental car and photograph any damage to the vehicle before driving it, including:
- The car’s exterior
- Rearview mirrors
- Tail lights
- Windshield and windows
This small action can save money -hundreds even- if a shady car rental company attempts to charge you for dings or dents on the vehicle during drop-off. If damage does occur to the vehicle while under your control, your car rental insurance should cover it.
Greek tourist attractions provide fun and entertainment, but they won’t get you close to the lifestyle of everyday Greek citizens.
Renting a car in Greece puts you up close and personal with the beaches, mountains, and towns of this beautiful country, making exploring Greece fun and comfortable.
Use this guide to find the right car rental for you, then hit the roads and enjoy your vacation all the more. Do you need more reasons to visit Greece? Read our blog, and you'll find what you're looking for!