19 Tips for Renting a Car in Greece (2024)

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Greece is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe renting a car in Greece is one of the best ways to see as much as possible. We highly recommend renting a car in Greece to have the freedom to explore at your own pace and discover everything the country has to offer. From the epic sights of the Peloponnese Peninsula to the mythical Meteora and the stunning beaches dotted around the country, Greece has so much to offer for a road trip. Here are our tips for renting a car in Greece to help you on your journey!

Renting a Car in Greece
Our rental car at Meteora

Tips for Renting a Car in Greece

Overall, we found driving in Greece to be very safe. We encountered good roads and a mostly high standard of driving. We were also able to take our vehicle on a car ferry to both Corfu and Zakynthos which made for amazing side trips.

1 | Why Rent a Car in Greece?

Greece is easily explored by car. It’s a relatively small country and is jam-packed with amazing historical sights, beautiful beaches and vibrant cities.

Renting a car is a huge advantage in Greece as it allows you to travel at your own pace, gives the flexibility to follow your own timing schedule and means you can visit the places you really want to go. We were able to visit 13 UNESCO World Heritage Sites on the mainland, travel to two islands and visit some off the beaten track gems!

Renting a Car in Greece
Having a rental car meant we could get epic sunrises like this at Meteora

2 | Booking a rental car in Greece

Renting a car in Greece can be relatively cheap compared to other European countries. We always advise booking your rental car well in advance to secure your rental and have a good selection of vehicles to choose from. We recommend using RentalCars.com to reserve your car. We always find them to have a great selection and very competitive prices – check prices now!

We’re huge fans of road trips and have driven rental cars in almost 50 countries so we have a lot of experience renting cars in foreign countries. Book your car now with RentalCars.com, where you will find competitive rental car prices.

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Renting a car in Greece tip: The biggest benefit of having a rental car in Greece is that you can visit the off the beaten track sights and stay in hotels from the crowds. This also allows you to save money as generally hotels in urban areas are more expensive as tourists can’t travel too far from them without a car.

3 | Choosing a rental car

We highly recommend renting a smaller car for road-tripping in Greece. Renting a smaller car makes navigating and parking in the many towns and villages that you will visit in Greece significantly easier. In particular parking in Thessaloniki and Athens was a lot easier with a smaller car.

It was just Elaine and I driving in Greece and we traveled with hand-luggage only so a more compact car was perfect for us.

Renting a Car in Greece
We chose a Peugeot 306 which was the perfect size

4 | Rental Eligibility

Most rental companies require drivers to be at least 21 and to have held their license for more than two years. Some companies impose a surcharge for renters aged under 25.

5 | Drive on the right-hand side of the road

Driving in Greece is on the right-hand side of the road similar to most of Europe and the USA.

6 | Rental Car Insurance

There is a mandatory minimum of third-party liability insurance required when renting a car in Greece. This will be included in the base price of your rental agreement, however we highly recommend purchasing fully comprehensive cover with your rental car.

The basic cover usually includes third-party liability and a basic Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) that covers damage to the car in the event of an accident or accidental damage. This basic CDW usually has an excess payable by you in the event of damage to the rental car. This excess varies by rental car agency, however they usually range from a few hundred Euros up to thousands.

It is possible to reduce or remove this excess by paying an additional daily rate for full CDW cover. We always purchase this additional insurance and recommend it for two reasons:

  • it gives us peace of mind that any damage to the car is covered (i.e. less stress on your trip)
  • returning and picking up your rental car is a lot easier and quicker as the rental car agencies usually don’t check the car for damage at pick up or return.

RentalCars.com allows you to include the price of the additional insurance at the time of booking so you know exactly how much your rental will cost and there is no risk of extra costs while you’re in Santorini – check prices now!

Book your Greece rental car now

Greece Rental Car Insurance
You can purchase the full insurance on RentalCars.com in advance

7 | Sim card

We recommend purchasing a SIM card with data when you arrive in Greece. We always find having mobile data invaluable for navigating in the rental car. It also meant that we could research places to visit when we were on the road. You can order your prepaid sim card online with Sim Options before you travel so you don’t have to stress about finding one at the airport when you land– check prices now!

Buy your Greek prepaid sim card now

8 | International Drivers Permit (IDP)

An International Drivers Permit (IDP) is a document separate to your driving licence that is a translation of your driver’s licence to several different languages.

Renting a Car in Greece tip: Since June 2022 visitors with licences from the following countries now do not require an IDP: European/USA/Canada/Australia/UK driving licence holders do not require an International driving permit to rent a car in Greece.

We understand that renters with licenses from the following countries do require an International Driving Licence. This list is not exhaustive, so please check the latest rules before traveling if you don’t have a driver’s license issued by the above countries that do not require an IDP:

Argentina, China, Colombia, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia

While rental companies don’t always check if renters have an International Drivers Permit, it will likely be an issue if you are stopped by the police. Make sure to check the rules of the rental and if you require an IDP prior to traveling.

Renting a car in Greece tip: We didn’t require an International driving licence as we have a European driving licence.

Renting a Car in Greece
Sunset at the Temple of Poseidon near Athens was only possible due to our rental car

9 | Driving style in Greece

We found Greece a very safe country to drive in. We’ve driven in almost every country in Europe and found Greece to be one of the safest countries we’ve driven to date.

Renting a car in Greece tip: Like any country in Europe, we encountered some hectic driving in cities like Athens and Thessalonika due to the congestion and traffic, but driving is generally calm and drivers are courteous.

Renting a Car in Greece
Our rental car at Mystras, Greece

 10 | Tolls

There are two main toll roads in Greece, both of which we used during our time exploring the country.

The first is from Athens to Thessalonika (E75) and the second is from Athens to the Pellepponese (8)  Peninsula. There are numerous toll booths, in particular on the Athens-Thessalonika route so make sure to have cash with you. Each toll is €1-4 each.

Renting a car in Greece tip: The tolls can add up if you’re travelling a lot in one day so make sure to have cash with you in the car. We drove from Athens to Thessalonica in a day and the tolls were around €35-40 euro for the full length of the toll road.

11 | Parking

There is very limited on-street parking in Greece. We parked mainly at our hotel and at tourist spots. We prefer not to park on the street due to safety as we find it a lot more likely for the car to be broken into, especially in the cities.

Renting a car in Greece: Most hotels offer parking in their rooms rate so try and pick hotels where it is included.

12 | Navigation

Google Maps worked great throughout Greece and it was very useful to have data with our pre-paid sim card during our time in Greece. It’s also worthwhile having an offline navigation app just in case you run out of cell signal. This happened to us a few times in hilly parts of the country, like the  Peloponnese Peninsula, where coverage is spotty due to the terrain.

13 | Drive times

The drive times we experienced were pretty close to the Google Maps predictions. However, we didn’t factor in enough sightseeing stops. Greece is a country packed with phenomenal scenery and unique sights.

Due to this, you should probably budget some additional time on drives for stops – the country is just so beautiful that you might have lots of unplanned stops and detours. It’s part of the fun of exploring Greece!

Renting a Car in Greece
The ruins of Philippi are just some of the incredible sights in Greece

14 | Fuel

Petrol cars are more popular than diesel in Greece, however, try to request a diesel car from your car rental company when picking up your rental car. Diesel is considerably cheaper than petrol in Greece so you’ll save some money on your trip if you can get one.

Fuel stations are frequent, however, we found that a lot of the fuel stations did not take credit cards. Make sure to check before you fill up if you don’t have cash!

15 | Road quality

Most of the main roads in Greece are of good quality and aligned with international standards. The two main tolls roads are similar to motorway grade roads and other main roads are in decent condition.

Once you leave the main roads, however, you can encounter some pretty bad roads, both in terms of road quality and windiness! If you plan to use secondary roads make sure you know the route before you go and if in doubt check with your hotel before you set off!

Renting a Car in Greece
One of the winding roads in the Peloponnese

16 | Speed limits

Most speed limits are very well signposted in Greece. The general limits were 100-120 km/ph on highways while secondary roads were 90km/ph with residential areas being 50 km/ph.

Renting a car in Greece tip: these speed limits are a guideline. Make sure to check the roadsigns and adhere to the posted speed limits in Greece.

Renting a Car in Greece
Most roads in Greece were very good quality

17 | Car Seats for babies and children

We usually travel with our own car seats. It is also possible to reserve these with the car rental company. At the time of publishing the below rules applied but make sure to check the current rules on an official website at your time of travel.

  • Children under 135cm and aged between 3 and 11 must use an appropriate child restraint,
  • Children under 3 must use an appropriate child restraint.
  • The airbag must be deactivated if placing a rear-facing infant in the front passenger seat.

Visiting the Greek Islands with a Rental Car

We visited the islands using both car ferries and by flying and renting a separate car:

18 | Taking the Ferry with a rental car in Greece

One of the most common questions we receive about renting a car in Greece is whether it is possible to take rental cars onto the island car ferries.`

Renting a car in Greece tip: There are a number of short duration ferries which you might want to take from mainland Greece, either for day trips or longer. During our Greek road trip, we took our rental car on the ferry to both Corfu and to Zakynthos and it was extremely easy and a lot of fun.

Renting a Car in Greece
Taking the car ferry to Corfu was amazing!

Rental Cars and Ferries

While most car rental companies will allow you to take your rental car on the ferry’s it’s best to tell your car rental company at the time of pickup that you plan on taking the ferry.

You may need special permission from your car rental company and there may be an extra cost and additional terms to use the ferry. Some rental companies have a fixed charge to pay and some provide written authorisation while others don’t cover damage to the car while on the ferry.

Renting a Car in Greece
Sunsets from the ferry in Greece were amazing

Booking Ferry tickets

Most ferry’s don’t actually sell out, however during peak season it can advisable to book your crossing in advance to secure your passage. One of the best sites for booking your ferry is Ferry Hopper.

Renting a car in Greece tip: We visited Greece in early April, during shoulder season, so we were able to turn up before sailings and had no problem getting space on-board

Three of the most popular short car ferry routes from mainland Greece are to Corfu, Kefalonia and Zakynthos islands.

  • We visited both Corfu and Zaknythos and loved our trips to the islands. The beaches in Corfu are simply breathtaking. It offers a real taste of Greek island life and is easily reached from the mainland.
  • The main reason most people visit Zakynthos (also known as Zante Island) is to see the famous Shipwreck Beach – Check out how to get to Shipwreck beach here
Renting a Car in Greece
Shipwreck beach on Zakynthos

Boarding the ferry

You’ll need to arrive at the car ferry terminal 30-45 minutes before sailing and join the queue of cars to get on-board. There will be staff there to assist with driving onto the ferry and to help with parking your car on deck.

Once you’ve parked your car make your way above deck to enjoy the crossing. Some of our favourite memories of Greece are the ferry crossings on the turquoise Greek waters with the sun setting on the horizon. Make sure to take your valuables with you above deck.

Renting a Car in Greece

19 | Renting a car on the Greek Islands

Popular islands like Crete, Rhodes and Santorini are further away from the mainland meaning it is much easier to fly and rent a separate car.

Renting a car in Greece tip: we flew from Athens to both Santorini and Rhodes and reserved our rentals on RentalCars.com in advance. For us, it was much easier and cheaper than taking an overnight ferry. We did these trips at the start and end of our Greece adventure so we could avoid having an overlapping rental on the mainland which we would have to pay for renting and parking.

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10 thoughts on “19 Tips for Renting a Car in Greece (2024)”

  1. Hi Elaine&Dave, great post!

    My girlfriend and I will be travelling to Greece in some weeks and we wanna make some kind or road trip… some days in mainland and take the ferry to Corfu.

    We wanna make sure the company allow the use of ferry, could you tell us which company did you book?

    Thanks a lot!

  2. Hi Dave and Elaine
    Tks very useful.
    If Rental cars uses companies like Avia etc did you have and insurance surprises? regards john

    • Hi John

      It does happen but we always check for added extras when we’re picking up the rental- we just inform the agent we don’t want them and get a new receipt issued. We always make sure to check the coverage is what we need.


  3. I have read that only enterprise allows rental cars to be taken out of the country, can anyone confirm this? (We would be going to Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Albania)

    • Hi Tara

      If you go to each rental companies terms and conditions they list the specific countries you can travel to – I’ve checked before on their individual sites.



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