Greek Car Hire, Cheap Rentals, Buses & the Metro in Greece
Car hire in Greece used to be relatively expensive compared with other popular European holiday destinations. But with more than 12 million tourists now pouring into the country each year the number of car rental firms is mushrooming and fierce competition is driving prices down in all the busiest resort areas.
There are plenty of car and motorbike hire companies in Athens but be warned that driving in the capital is likely to be one of the most hair-raising experiences of your life. The sheer volume of traffic and the bewildering maze of one-way streets make the city a nightmare for foreign drivers (and even for many Athenians). It's best to get around the city by trolley bus or on the metro and only hire a car if you're planning to spend a few days exploring mainland Greece.
If you survive the challenge of getting out of the city you'll find there are a wealth of fascinating places of interest to visit within easy driving distance of the capital. Of course there are plenty of coach tours to the tourist top spots such as Olympia, Delphi, Meteora and Mount Olympus. But with your own set of wheels you'll be able to explore at leisure, enjoy pit stops at roadside tavernas (free from hordes of fellow tourists) and take time to appreciate the stunning mountain scenery which dominates the Greek mainland.
Cheap car rental is in abundance on all the most popular holiday islands. Vehicle standards and prices vary enormously so check out a few firms before you commit yourself. Moped or scooter rental is a favourite way to get around the rough tracks of some of the smaller islands but be warned that there's a high number of accidents involving foreign motorcyclists every year. In fact the accident rate is so bad that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against motorbike hire in Greece. If you decide to ignore that advice, make sure you wear a crash helmet which is a legal requirement in Greece though you wouldn't think so to look at many of the indigenous moped mob.
If you plan to take a hired car on a ferry as part of your island-hopping tour you'll need to get special permission from the rental company.
Many of the country's winding mountain roads are extremely hazardous with either crumbling or non-existent crash barriers. So drive with great care and take enough cash with you to pay for petrol if you're going on a long journey because many petrol stations don't accept credit cards.
Greek drivers are notoriously reckless, often driving at ridiculously high speeds whilst blasting their horns at anyone who doesn't move onto the hard shoulder to let them overtake. If you're a nervous driver in your own country you'd be unwise to consider getting behind the wheel in Greece!