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Renting A Car In Greece: 10 Important Tips Plus Mistakes To Avoid


by Marie Whitener



Renting a car is a popular option for travelers exploring the beautiful country of Greece. With its stunning landscapes, rich history, and picturesque coastal towns, having a car provides you with the freedom and flexibility to discover all that this Mediterranean gem has to offer.


However, before you embark on your Greek adventure, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the car rental process and some key tips to ensure a smooth and stress-free experience. In this article, we will share 10 important tips for renting a car in Greece, as well as some common mistakes to avoid.


Whether it’s your first time renting a car or you’re a seasoned traveler, these tips will help you navigate the rental process with ease and make the most of your time in Greece. From booking in advance to understanding rental terms and conditions, we’ve got you covered.


So, buckle up and let’s dive into the essential tips that will make your car rental experience in Greece a breeze!


Tip 1: Book in Advance

One of the most important tips for renting a car in Greece is to book in advance. As a popular tourist destination, the demand for rental cars can be high, especially during peak travel seasons. By booking in advance, you secure your preferred vehicle and avoid the disappointment of not finding any available cars when you arrive.


Booking in advance also gives you the opportunity to compare prices and find the best deals. Many car rental companies offer discounts for early bookings, so you can save money by reserving your car ahead of time. Additionally, booking in advance allows you to review the rental terms and conditions, ensuring that you understand all the requirements and restrictions.


To book a car in advance, you can visit the websites of various car rental agencies or use online travel platforms that offer car rental services. Compare the prices, vehicle options, and customer reviews to make an informed decision. Keep in mind that popular car rental locations like airports and major cities tend to have more availability, so consider picking up your car from these locations if it suits your travel plans.


Remember to have your driver’s license and a credit card ready when booking. Some rental companies may also require additional documents, such as an international driving permit. It’s essential to check the specific requirements of your chosen rental agency to ensure a smooth booking process.


By booking in advance, you can secure the car of your choice, save money, and avoid any last-minute complications. So, don’t wait until the last minute – plan ahead and make your car rental reservation early for a hassle-free experience in Greece.


Tip 2: Compare Rental Agencies

When renting a car in Greece, it’s crucial to compare rental agencies to find the best option that suits your needs. Each rental company may have different rates, vehicle options, and additional services, so taking the time to research and compare can save you both time and money.


Start by looking at well-known international car rental agencies such as Hertz, Avis, or Europcar. These companies often have a wide range of vehicle options and reliable customer service. However, don’t overlook local rental agencies that may offer competitive prices and personalized services.


Check customer reviews and ratings for the rental agencies you are considering to get an idea of their reputation and customer satisfaction. Online travel platforms and forums are great places to find real-life experiences and recommendations from other travelers. Pay attention to reviews that mention the condition of the cars, customer service, and any hidden fees or issues that may have arisen during the rental period.


Consider factors such as the pickup and drop-off locations. If you plan to rent a car in one city and return it in another, make sure the rental agency allows for such arrangements and inquire about any additional fees or restrictions related to one-way rentals.


Additionally, compare the rental rates and understand what is included in the price. Some rental agencies may offer lower daily rates but may have hidden fees for extras such as GPS devices, baby seats, or additional drivers. Take note of these additional costs and factor them into your budget when comparing rental options.


By comparing rental agencies, you can find the best rates, suitable vehicle options, and reliable service for your trip to Greece. Take the time to research and evaluate different companies to make an informed decision that meets your requirements and ensures a smooth rental experience.


Tip 3: Check for Hidden Fees

When renting a car in Greece, it’s essential to carefully review the rental agreement and check for any hidden fees that may catch you off guard. Hidden fees can significantly impact the overall cost of your rental, so it’s crucial to be aware of them upfront.


One common hidden fee is the “airport surcharge.” Many rental agencies charge an additional fee for picking up or returning the car at an airport location. This fee is often not included in the initial rental quote, so be sure to ask about it when making your reservation. You may consider picking up the car from a non-airport location to avoid this surcharge.


Another hidden fee to watch out for is the “additional driver fee.” If you plan to have multiple people sharing the driving responsibilities, some rental agencies may charge an extra fee for each additional driver. Be sure to clarify this fee beforehand, as it can add up if you have multiple drivers.


One more fee to be aware of is the “late return fee.” If you return the car later than the agreed-upon time, rental agencies may charge you an additional fee. It’s crucial to understand the exact return time and give yourself enough buffer time to avoid any late fees.


Insurance-related fees are also important to consider. While basic insurance coverage is often included in the rental price, some rental agencies may offer additional insurance options at an extra cost. Evaluate your insurance needs and budget accordingly. Additionally, check if the rental agency requires a security deposit and if it will be refunded after the rental period.


To avoid any surprises, carefully read the terms and conditions of the rental agreement and ask the rental agency to explain any charges you may be uncertain about. By doing so, you can budget effectively and ensure that there are no hidden fees that catch you off guard.


Tip 4: Understand Rental Terms and Conditions

Understanding the rental terms and conditions is crucial when renting a car in Greece. It ensures that you know your rights, responsibilities, and any potential limitations or restrictions during your rental period. Before signing the rental agreement, take the time to review and clarify any uncertainties regarding the terms and conditions.


Start by familiarizing yourself with the minimum age requirement for renting a car. Most rental agencies in Greece have a minimum age requirement of 21 or 25 years old, depending on the car category. Drivers under the age of 25 may be subject to additional fees or restrictions.


Next, take note of the mileage policy. Some rental agencies have a limited mileage policy, which means there is a maximum distance you can drive without incurring additional fees. If you plan to do a lot of driving, consider opting for a rental agency with unlimited mileage to avoid any unexpected charges.


Additionally, verify the policy on crossing international borders. If you plan to travel to neighboring countries, ensure that the rental agency permits this and if there are any additional fees or requirements. Some rental agencies may have restrictions on crossing certain borders due to insurance and liability reasons.


Another important aspect to understand is the fuel policy. Rental agencies typically provide the car with a full tank of fuel and expect it to be returned in the same condition. Make sure to clarify whether you should refill the tank before returning the car or if you will be charged for the fuel used. Returning the car with less fuel than when you received it may result in hefty refueling fees.


Finally, be aware of any cancellation or modification policies. Life is unpredictable, and there might be instances where you need to cancel or modify your rental reservation. Understanding the rental agency’s policies regarding changes or cancellations will ensure that you are prepared and can avoid any unnecessary penalties or charges.


By thoroughly understanding the rental terms and conditions, you can avoid misunderstandings, comply with the requirements, and ensure a smooth rental experience in Greece. Take the time to read and clarify any doubts before signing the agreement to set yourself up for a worry-free journey.


Tip 5: Inspect the Car Thoroughly

Before driving off with your rental car in Greece, it’s crucial to thoroughly inspect the vehicle to document any existing damages or issues. This helps protect you from being held responsible for damage that was already present when you received the car. Follow these steps to ensure a comprehensive inspection:

  1. Exterior Inspection: Begin by examining the exterior of the car. Check for scratches, dents, or any other signs of damage. Pay attention to the condition of the tires, windshield, and mirrors. Take photos or make a note of any pre-existing damage and be sure to inform the rental agency to prevent any disputes later.
  2. Interior Inspection: Move on to inspect the interior of the car. Check the condition of the seats, dashboard, and any electronic features. Ensure that all the necessary equipment, such as the spare tire, jack, and warning triangle, are present and in good condition.
  3. Functionality Check: Test the functionality of the car’s lights, wipers, air conditioning, and any other features specific to the vehicle. Ensure that all functions are working properly to avoid any inconvenience during your rental period.
  4. Take Photos: It’s always a good idea to take timestamped photos of the car’s condition before you drive off. These photos serve as evidence of any damages that were present beforehand and can be useful if any disputes arise regarding the car’s condition upon return.
  5. Report Any Issues: If you notice any damages or issues during the inspection, report them to the rental agency immediately. Request that they document the damages on the rental agreement or provide you with written confirmation of the pre-existing damage. This will help protect you from being held responsible for any damage that was not caused by you.

Remember, taking the time to thoroughly inspect the rental car before driving off can save you from potential conflicts and avoid unexpected charges. By documenting the car’s condition, you can enjoy your trip in Greece with peace of mind, knowing that you’re not liable for any existing damages.


Tip 6: Understand the Driving Laws in Greece

When renting a car in Greece, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the driving laws and regulations to ensure a safe and legal driving experience. Here are some important driving laws to be aware of:

  1. Driver’s License: To drive in Greece, you must have a valid driver’s license from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP). Make sure you carry your driver’s license and passport with you at all times when driving.
  2. Seatbelts: It is mandatory for all occupants of the vehicle to wear seatbelts at all times. Ensure that everyone in the car is buckled up, as failure to do so can result in fines and penalties.
  3. Speed Limits: The speed limits in Greece are as follows: 50 km/h (31 mph) in urban areas, 90 km/h (56 mph) on open roads, and 130 km/h (81 mph) on highways. Always adhere to the posted speed limits as speeding is heavily enforced and can result in fines or license suspension.
  4. Alcohol and Drug Limits: The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in Greece is 0.05%. However, it is advised to refrain from drinking and driving altogether. Driving under the influence of drugs is strictly forbidden and can lead to severe penalties, including imprisonment.
  5. Mobile Phone Use: It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving unless you have a hands-free device. Avoid using your phone while behind the wheel to stay focused on the road.
  6. Overtaking: Overtaking is only permitted on the left side of the road. Do not overtake on the right unless in specific situations or when there is a dedicated lane for it.
  7. Parking: Follow the parking regulations in Greece, which include avoiding parking in no-parking zones, blocking driveways, and adhering to parking meters and signage. Illegally parked vehicles may be fined or towed.
  8. Roundabouts: Greece has many roundabouts. Approach with caution, yield to vehicles already in the roundabout, and use your turn signals when entering and exiting.
  9. Child Safety: Children under 10 years old must be seated in an appropriate child restraint system based on their age, height, and weight. Make sure you have the necessary child seats or booster seats if you are traveling with children.

Familiarizing yourself with Greek driving laws will help you drive safely and avoid any legal issues while exploring the country. Stay alert, follow the rules of the road, and always drive defensively. Safe travels in Greece!


Tip 7: Get an International Driving Permit

If you plan on renting a car and driving in Greece, it’s recommended to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) in addition to your valid driver’s license. While Greece recognizes many foreign driver’s licenses, having an IDP can provide an extra level of convenience and legality during your travels.

An IDP is an official translation of your driver’s license and serves as an internationally recognized document. It allows you to legally drive in Greece and provides a standardized format that authorities can easily understand. It is a requirement in some countries, and while not mandatory in Greece, having an IDP can help overcome any language barriers or uncertainties regarding the validity of your driver’s license.


To obtain an IDP, you will need to visit your local motoring association or automobile club in your home country. Bring your valid driver’s license, two passport-sized photos, and the required fee. The process is usually straightforward and can be completed in a short amount of time.


It’s important to note that an IDP is not a standalone document and must always be used in conjunction with your original driver’s license. Both documents should be carried with you at all times when driving in Greece.


Having an IDP can provide peace of mind knowing that you are driving legally and can help you navigate any potential language barriers or confusion regarding your driver’s license. While it is not a requirement in Greece, it is a valuable document to have in your possession when renting a car and exploring the beautiful roads of Greece.


Tip 8: Fill up the Tank before Returning the Car

One important tip when renting a car in Greece is to ensure that you return the vehicle with a full tank of fuel. Many rental agencies require you to return the car with the same amount of fuel as when you received it, or you may be charged a refueling fee that can be significantly higher than the actual cost of fuel.


Before returning the car, take note of the nearest gas station and make sure to allow enough time to refuel. Plan your route accordingly to avoid any last-minute panic or running late to return the car.


It’s also a good practice to keep the fuel receipts as proof of refueling, just in case any disputes arise regarding the fuel level when returning the car. Take a moment to double-check the fuel gauge and ensure that it is at the same level as when you first received the car.


If you are unable to return the car with a full tank due to time constraints or other reasons, check the rental agreement to understand the rental agency’s policy regarding fuel. Some agencies may offer pre-paid fuel options, where you pay for a full tank of fuel upfront and return the car empty. This can be a convenient option if you know you won’t have time to refuel before returning the car.


By filling up the tank before returning the car, you can avoid unnecessary fees and ensure a hassle-free return process. It’s a small but important step to take to complete your car rental experience in Greece on a positive note.


Tip 9: Be Mindful of Parking Regulations

When renting a car in Greece, it’s important to be mindful of the parking regulations to avoid fines, penalties, or having your car towed. Parking in Greece can be a challenge, especially in busy cities and tourist areas, but with some awareness and careful planning, you can navigate the parking situation smoothly.


Here are some tips to help you navigate parking regulations in Greece:

  1. Understand Parking Signs: Familiarize yourself with the parking signs and symbols used in Greece. Pay attention to signs indicating no parking, reserved parking, time-limited parking, and restricted zones.
  2. Pay for Parking: In many cities, you will need to pay for parking in designated parking zones. Look for designated parking meters or ticket machines and purchase a parking ticket, which you should display on your dashboard to show that you have paid.
  3. Parking Discs or Parking Clocks: In some areas, you may be required to use a parking disc or parking clock to indicate your arrival time. These discs can usually be obtained from local shops or gas stations and must be displayed on your dashboard, showing the time you parked.
  4. Avoid Illegal Parking: Never park in areas designated for emergency vehicles, bus stops, disabled parking spots, or areas with a yellow or red curb. Parking in prohibited zones can result in fines or even towing of the vehicle.
  5. Parking Garages: If you are unsure about street parking, consider utilizing parking garages or parking lots, especially in congested city centers. While these may incur a fee, they offer secure and convenient parking options.
  6. Be Mindful of Parking Times: Some areas have time restrictions for parking, especially during certain hours or days of the week. Pay attention to any signs indicating time-limited parking and ensure that you adhere to the specified time limits to avoid fines.

By being mindful of parking regulations and following the rules, you can save yourself from unnecessary fines and parking-related stress during your car rental in Greece. Always respect parking regulations and considerate parking practices to ensure a smooth and trouble-free experience.


Tip 10: Consider Additional Insurance Coverage

When renting a car in Greece, it’s important to consider additional insurance coverage to protect yourself and minimize potential financial risks in case of an accident or damage to the rental car. While basic insurance coverage is typically included in the rental price, it may have limitations or exclusions that could leave you responsible for significant costs.


Here are some additional insurance options to consider:

  1. Collision Damage Waiver (CDW): CDW is an optional insurance coverage that limits your financial liability in case of damage to the rental car. It usually comes with a deductible, and if you choose to purchase CDW, the rental agency will cover the remaining repair costs up to a certain limit.
  2. Personal Accident Insurance (PAI): PAI provides coverage for medical expenses and personal injuries sustained by the driver and passengers in the event of an accident. If you have adequate health insurance coverage or travel insurance, you may already be covered, so it’s essential to review your existing policies before purchasing PAI from the rental agency.
  3. Third-Party Liability Insurance: Basic insurance typically includes a certain level of third-party liability coverage, which protects you in case you cause damage to someone else’s property or injure someone. However, it’s advisable to consider additional third-party liability coverage to increase the coverage limits, as the basic coverage may not be sufficient in more serious accidents.
  4. Excess Insurance: Excess insurance, also known as “super CDW,” covers the excess amount that you would be responsible for in case of damage to the rental car. It reduces or eliminates the deductible you would need to pay if any damage occurs.

Before deciding on additional insurance coverage, review your existing insurance policies to see if they provide any overlapping coverage. It’s also worth checking your credit card benefits as some credit card companies offer rental car insurance coverage when you use their card to pay for the rental.


Ultimately, the decision to purchase additional insurance coverage is a personal one based on your comfort level and risk tolerance. Assess your needs, review the policy terms and coverage limits, and consider the value of the added protection for your peace of mind.


Remember that understanding the insurance coverage options and considering additional coverage will help you make an informed decision and ensure that you’re adequately protected during your car rental period in Greece.


Mistake to Avoid: Neglecting to Take Photos of the Rental Car

One common mistake that many people make when renting a car is neglecting to take photos of the vehicle before driving off. Failing to document the car’s condition can leave you vulnerable to false claims of damage and disputes with the rental agency upon returning the car.


Taking photos of the rental car serves as crucial evidence to protect yourself from being held responsible for any pre-existing damage that was not caused by you. It provides a time-stamped visual record of the car’s condition before your rental period begins.


To avoid this mistake, follow these steps when picking up your rental car:

  1. Exterior Photos: Take clear photos of all sides of the car, capturing any existing scratches, dents, or damages. Pay close attention to the bumpers, doors, and other vulnerable areas.
  2. Interior Photos: Photograph the interior of the car, highlighting the condition of the seats, dashboard, and any existing stains or damages.
  3. Accessories and Equipment: Capture images of any accessories or equipment provided with the car, such as the spare tire, jack, or GPS device. Ensure that they are in good condition and properly functioning.

Remember to also take photos of the fuel gauge and mileage as additional documentation. These photos can help verify and dispute any false claims made by the rental agency regarding fuel or distance usage.


By taking photos of the rental car, you have a visual record that can be used to protect yourself and resolve any disputes that may arise during the rental process. It’s a simple and effective way to ensure transparency and maintain peace of mind throughout your car rental experience.


Mistake to Avoid: Not Understanding the Geographical Restrictions

An important mistake to avoid when renting a car is not understanding the geographical restrictions imposed by the rental agency. Geographical restrictions dictate where you are allowed to drive the rental car and can have significant implications if disregarded.


When renting a car, it’s essential to inquire about any limitations on where you can take the vehicle. Some common geographical restrictions that rental agencies may have include:

  1. Country Restrictions: Some rental agencies may have specific countries or regions where their rental cars are not allowed to be driven. This is usually due to insurance or safety considerations. Make sure to clarify the permitted countries or regions to avoid violating the rental agreement.
  2. Off-Road Driving: Most rental agreements prohibit taking the car off paved roads or driving on non-designated off-road trails. Off-road driving can cause significant damage to the vehicle, and renting agencies typically hold the driver accountable for any resulting repairs or damages.
  3. Island Restrictions: If you plan to visit an island in Greece, particularly more remote or less accessible ones, check if the rental agency permits taking the car on ferries or to specific islands. Some rental agencies may have restrictions due to logistical challenges or increased risk of accidents in certain locations.

Failing to adhere to the geographical restrictions can result in severe consequences, such as voiding the rental insurance and being held fully liable for any damages or accidents that occur in the restricted areas. It’s crucial to understand and respect these restrictions to avoid potential legal and financial complications.


When renting a car, ensure that you discuss any travel plans that may involve restricted areas with the rental agency. If necessary, consider alternative transportation options or renting from a different agency that allows for your desired itinerary. Planning ahead and understanding the geographical restrictions will help you avoid any last-minute surprises and enjoy a worry-free journey in Greece.


Mistake to Avoid: Returning the Car Late

One common mistake that many people make when renting a car is returning it late. Returning the car after the agreed-upon time can lead to additional charges and inconveniences. It’s crucial to understand the rental agency’s policies regarding return times and make sure to adhere to them.


Returning the car late can result in the following consequences:

  1. Late Fees: Rental agencies typically charge late fees for returning the car past the specified return time. These fees can vary and may be charged on an hourly or daily basis. Make sure to check the rental agreement for the exact late fee policy.
  2. Loss of Reservation: If you fail to notify the rental agency in advance about a delayed return and arrive significantly later than the agreed-upon time, they may consider it a no-show and release the car to other customers. This can lead to the loss of your reservation and leave you without a rental car.
  3. Additional Charges: In some cases, returning the car late may result in additional charges, such as extra rental days or an upgrade fee if the rental agency is unable to accommodate your late return with the originally reserved car.

To avoid this mistake, it’s important to plan your trip and allow sufficient time for returning the rental car. Consider traffic conditions, unexpected delays, and the working hours of the rental agency. If you anticipate a potential delay, it’s critical to inform the rental agency as soon as possible and seek their guidance on the best course of action.


If you discover that you need to extend your rental period while already in possession of the car, contact the rental agency immediately. They can advise you on the availability and the process for extending the rental duration. It’s crucial to obtain their approval and make any necessary arrangements to avoid any penalties or complications.


Returning the car on time ensures a smooth transition for both you and the rental agency. It helps maintain a positive relationship and avoids unnecessary charges or inconveniences. Plan your trip carefully, factor in the time needed to return the car, and communicate with the rental agency to ensure a hassle-free car rental experience in Greece.


Mistake to Avoid: Ignoring Local Traffic Customs

One common mistake that travelers make when renting a car in a foreign country like Greece is ignoring the local traffic customs. Each country has its own unique driving habits and customs, and failing to adapt to them can lead to confusion, frustration, and even accidents on the road.


To have a safe and stress-free driving experience in Greece, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the local traffic customs and follow these guidelines:

  1. Stay Alert and Defensive: Greek roads can be bustling with traffic, especially in major cities. Stay vigilant, keep an eye on other drivers, and anticipate their actions to avoid any potential accidents.
  2. Follow the Speed Limits: Respect and adhere to the posted speed limits. They are there for your safety and the safety of others on the road.
  3. Use Defensive Driving Techniques: Greek drivers are known for their assertiveness, especially when it comes to changing lanes and overtaking. Stay focused, use your indicators, and always check your blind spots before making any maneuvers.
  4. Be Courteous and Patient: Greece is famed for its hospitality, and that extends to the road as well. Be patient and give way when needed. Let other drivers merge or change lanes if it’s safe to do so.
  5. Use Horn Sparingly: In Greece, honking your horn is typically seen as a sign of frustration or aggression. Use it sparingly and only when necessary.
  6. Parking Considerations: Follow parking regulations and be mindful of parking customs. Avoid blocking driveways or parking in unauthorized or reserved spots.
  7. Pay Attention to Local Signage: Familiarize yourself with the local traffic signs and road markings. They may differ from what you are accustomed to in your home country. Observe and understand the signs to navigate the roads with confidence.

By respecting and adapting to the local traffic customs in Greece, you can ensure a smoother and safer driving experience. Being aware of these customs will not only prevent potential accidents but also create a more harmonious environment on the road for both locals and visitors.


Remember, it’s essential to drive responsibly, stay alert, and adapt your driving style to match the local traffic customs. This will help you have an enjoyable and trouble-free experience exploring the beautiful destinations of Greece.



Renting a car in Greece can be a fantastic way to explore the scenic landscapes, historical sites, and vibrant cities. By following the tips outlined in this article and avoiding the common mistakes, you will be well-prepared for a seamless and enjoyable car rental experience.


Booking your car in advance, comparing rental agencies, and understanding the rental terms and conditions are important steps to ensure a smooth rental process. Be mindful of hidden fees and consider additional insurance coverage to protect yourself and minimize potential risks.


Thoroughly inspect the rental car before driving off and document any existing damages through photos. Understand the driving laws and traffic customs in Greece and drive responsibly to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.


Lastly, be mindful of parking regulations, return the car on time, and respect the local traffic customs. By doing so, you can avoid unnecessary fines, penalties, and unpleasant experiences. With proper planning, awareness, and consideration, your car rental experience in Greece will be a memorable and enjoyable part of your journey.


So, buckle up and get ready to embark on an incredible adventure, exploring all that Greece has to offer, with the freedom and flexibility of your rented car. Enjoy the scenic drives, picturesque villages, and breathtaking views as you create memories that will last a lifetime. Safe travels!