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Certainly to rent a car in Greece is the most convenient way to travel around the country and see the beauties it has to offer: interesting archaeological sites, picturesque villages and nice beach destinations. Car rental agencies are found in the main towns and popular islands in the country and offer various types of vehicles: from mini passenger cars to jeeps.
Here are the most important regulations that you should know before renting your car.
The legal driving age to rent a car in Greece is 23-70 years old. The driver must hold an international driving license and have at least 2 years of driving experience. The driver is the only person licensed to drive the rental vehicle unless a second driver is stated in the contract with the rental company.
Most car rentals in Greece offer unlimited miles and LDW (loss damage waiver, also called collision damage waiver) coverage in case of an accident. This means that if an accident happens and it is the fault of the rental’s driver, then this driver is only responsible for the small amount of money that has already been prearranged with the rental company. Upon car delivery, drivers can ask for extra coverage or full damage waiver, if they wish.
Want a piece of personal advice on this matter? Better take some photos of the rental car upon pick up and note together with the rental representative all possible scratches or damages on the vehicle. This way, you can prove that none of these damages were caused by you when the rental period is finished.
Ask for extra features
When you make your car rental booking, make sure that you ask if you need something special. For example, if you need a GPS or a child seat, make sure that the rental company is informed about it because not all cars have such extra features. Certainly inform them if you need an automatic car, as most car rentals in Greece have manual cars.
What you should be careful of when you drive a rent a car in Greece? Here are the basic things you should know.
Probably you know it: in Greece, we drive on the right side. This could be strange for tourists from the UK, Cyprus, Australia, South Africa or other countries who drive on the left side.
Highways in the mainland
Most first-time drivers in Greece may be anxious but if they drive carefully, then there is no reason to worry. The Greek mainland is crossed by many large highways. The route from Athens to Thessaloniki is a highway and very easy. The route from Athens to Kalamata is also highway and in fact, the last part of the road (Tripolis-Kalamata) was recently completed (winter 2014). The road from Athens to Corinth is also a highway, but the road from Corinth to Patras still has some unfinished parts and needs a more careful driver.
Along the Greek highways, be prepared to pay tools. Toll rates are about 2.5-3.5 euros for a normal passenger car.
The most challenging parts for driving in Greece are the narrow roads in the islands or in the countryside. Due to the mountainous landscape of the country (even the islands have mountainous terrain), roads are windy therefore drivers must keep slow speed. These roads usually have one line per direction and as some signs may be in Greek only, you are advised to have an updated map with you or a GPS. If you get lost, just ask! The locals will guide you on your way.
Reasons to get fined
Talking on the phone while driving is illegal in Greece and you may be stopped and fined for that. Violating the speed limit could also result in a fine and license removal. Also always wear your seat belt, especially if you are seating in front.
On-street parking could be hard in large towns or in popular islands during high season. Also have in mind that in some parking seats in large towns, like Athens and Thessaloniki, you may need to pay a parking meter, or that some seats could be eligible only to permanent residents. Therefore, you should better make sure that your hotel has a parking space.
Unfortunately, the Greeks may be really anxious when driving. Just drive safely and keep the signs and the speed limit. Pay special attention to motorbikes because they tend to pass you when you least expect it. Also, while driving in rural roads, do not be surprised if you have to stop the car to let sheep or other agricultural animals cross the road. After all, they lived there before you come!