Regulations on car rentals
Here are some of the most important rules / settings you need to know before renting your car in Greece.
Age of driver in car rental
The legal age of the driver to rent a car in Greece is 23-70 years. The driver must possess a Greek or international driving license and have at least two years of driving experience. Only one driver is accounted for driving the rental car and he is the one who has a valid driver's license, unless a second driver is designated in the contract with the rental company.
Insurance coverage on rental cars in Greece
Most car rentals in Greece offer Damage Waiver coverage (LDW) in case of an accident. This means that if an accident occurs and it is the fault of the rental driver, then this insurance program is only responsible for the small amount of money that has already been determined by the rental company. Upon delivery of the vehicle, drivers can ask for an additional coverage or complete waiver of any damage, if they wish.
If you would like a personal advice on this subject, I would say: Better to take some pictures of the rental car at the reception and note with the rental representative all possible scratches or damage to the vehicle. This way, you can prove that none of these damages were caused by you and they were there when you rented the vehicle.
Ask for extras at the car rental
When booking a rental car, be sure to ask for some extra things you might need. For example, if you need a GPS or a child seat, make sure the rental company has been informed of this. Because all the cars do not have such additional features you should ask for them during pick up of the vehicle. Surely you should know if you need an automatic vehicle gearbox, as most rental cars in Greece have manual gearbox (Stick Swift).
Tips for driving a rented vehicle in Greece
What should you be careful when driving a rental car in Greece? Here are the most basic things you should know:
1. Drive on the right side of the road. You probably know it: in Greece, we drive on the right side of the road. This could be strange for tourists from the United Kingdom, Cyprus, Australia, South Africa or other countries where they drive on the left side of the road.
2. Mainland highways in Greece. Most of the drivers that drive for the first time in Greece might be very anxious, but if you drive carefully, then there is no reason to worry. The Greek mainland is crossed by several major highways. At the journey from Athens to Thessaloniki is the PATHE highway which is wide, a great road and very easy to drive. The route from Athens to Kalamata is also part of the same highway and in fact the last part of the road (Tripoli-Kalamata) was completed recently (winter 2014). The road from Athens to Corinth is also part of the highway, but the road from Corinth to Patras still has some unfinished parts where one needs to drive more carefully. The road from From Igoumenitsa till the Kipi in the borders of Greece and Turkey there is Egnatia Odos and that he is a modern highway! The same road is the road from Thessaloniki to Evzoni which is also great. You will only see problems on island streets or remote regions that may be narrow and have lots of turns.
3. Tolls in Greece
Along the Greek motorways, the driver of the rented car should be willing to pay tolls. Tolls cost between 1.2 - 3.5 euros for a normal passenger car.
4. Rural Roads in Greece
The most difficult parts for driving a rental car in Greece are the narrow roads on the islands, rural and remote areas. Because of the mountainous landscape of the country (Even the islands have mountainous terrain), the roads can be windy, so drivers should maintain a low speed. These roads usually have a line in each direction and at some points signs are only be written in Greek and not English. We therefore recommend that you bring along an updated map or a GPS. If you get lost, just ask! The locals will gladly guide you on how to reach your destination.
5. Reasons to be fined by the police in Greece
If you talk on the phone while driving is illegal in Greece and can stop you and get a ticket for it. The violation of the speed limit could also lead to a fine and disqualification from driving. Also, you should always wear your seat belt, especially if you sit in the front seats.
6. Rented car parking in the Greek cities
Parking on the street is difficult in large cities or in popular islands during high season due to lack of space. Also, keep in mind that in some parking spaces in major cities such as Athens and Thessaloniki, you may have to pay for parking card you will get from a small shop nearby or a news stand. Some parking spaces could be only for residents of large cities and you cannot park there. Therefore, you should better make sure your hotel has parking for your rental car.
7. Careful driving in Greece
Unfortunately, the Greek drivers can be really bad drivers according to US or European standards. Generally you should follow the right od way and the driving code, but there are many drivers who constantly violate it. You just need to drive safely and obey the instructions of traffic signs and speed limit. Pay particular attention to motorcycles and scooters, because they tend to go through when you least expect it. Also, when driving on rural roads, do not be surprised if you have to stop your rental car to let sheep or other animals cross the road. Remember that they lived there before you came!
Generally Greece is a beautiful country with many attractions that you should discover using your rental car. To enjoy your trip and avoid troubles, you should drive according to the rules and carefully, following some or all of the above tips. This way you should be able to enjoy the best vacation of your life!