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Driving in Greece: A Helpful Guide for Tourists
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Published in Tourist Guide Category.

Greece has more than 100,000 kilometers of long roads. They go through different landscapes like mountains, coasts, and countryside. These roads make it easy to travel by car and find cool places that most tourists need to learn about.

Greece isn't just about the mainland, though. It has over 6,000 islands and small islands in the Aegean and Ionian Seas. You can explore these islands by taking ferries between them or driving around them when you get there.

In this tour guide, we'll provide you with all the essential information you need to know about driving in Greece to plan and enjoy a memorable driving adventure in Greece.

Stay tuned;

Is Driving Difficult in Greece?

Driving in Greece can be challenging for some visitors due to narrow roads, aggressive driving behavior, and unfamiliar traffic rules. Greek drivers are known for assertiveness and may engage in behaviors such as tailgating and abrupt lane changes. Additionally, navigating through crowded urban areas, especially during peak traffic, can be stressful. However, with proper preparation, caution, and awareness, driving in Greece can be manageable for most tourists.

Is it Safe to Rent a Car in Greece?

Renting a car in Greece is generally safe if you obey traffic laws and exercise caution while driving. Most rental companies offer well-maintained vehicles with standard safety features. However, it's essential to be aware of hazards such as aggressive drivers, narrow roads, and challenging terrain, especially in rural areas or islands. By driving defensively and staying alert, renting a car in Greece can be a convenient and enjoyable way to explore the country.

Manual or Automatic Transmission: Drive What You're Used To

In Greece, both manual and automatic transmission cars are available for rent. The choice between manual and automatic depends on your preference and driving experience. If you're more comfortable driving a manual transmission and have experience, you may opt for a manual car.

Conversely, if you prefer the convenience of an automatic transmission or are less experienced with manual driving, an automatic car may be a better choice. Renting a car with a transmission type that you're familiar with can enhance your driving experience and confidence on the road.

Can I Drive in Greece with a Foreign Driver's License?

You can drive in Greece without issues if you have a driving license from the European Union, the UK, the US, or Australia. However, if you're from the US, there must be clarity about whether you need an International Driving Permit (IDP).

Rental car companies in Greece should accept your US, UK, or Australian license. But sometimes, especially with US licenses, they might ask for the IDP. So, it's a good idea to get one before you travel, just in case.

The IDP is not the same as an International driver’s license. It's a translation of your license and can be obtained online for a small fee. Even though the rental company shouldn't ask for it, having the IDP can prevent any hassles during your trip.

For people from other countries, it's best to check the travel section of your government’s website or authority for the most accurate information.

Can I Drive a Foreign Car in Greece?

If you're visiting Greece, you can temporarily drive a car with foreign registration plates, usually for up to six months. However, there are certain things you need to keep in mind.

Such as;

Insurance and Registration: You must have valid insurance coverage and registration documents for the foreign-registered car from your home country.

Check Regulations: It's essential to verify with Greek authorities or your insurance provider if there are any specific requirements or regulations you need to adhere to before driving a foreign car in Greece.

Residence Verification: Owners of vehicles with foreign plates must demonstrate that their primary residence is outside Greece. It ensures people avoid Greek taxes and fees by registering their cars abroad.

For example, you're planning a trip to Greece from Italy in your Italian-registered car. Before you leave, ensure that your car insurance is valid for international travel and that you have all necessary registration documents. Once in Greece, you can drive your Italian car freely, but follow Greek traffic laws and regulations. If stopped by Greek authorities, be prepared to show proof of your residence outside Greece to avoid any fines or penalties.

Speed Limits in Greece

Speed limits in Greece are typically as follows:

Urban Areas: 50 km/h (31 mph)

Rural Roads: 90 km/h (56 mph)

Highways: 120 km/h (75 mph)

It's essential to adjust your speed according to road and weather conditions.

Winter Driving in Greece

Winter driving in Greece can present additional challenges due to adverse weather conditions, including rain, snow, and icy roads, especially in mountainous regions. Driving cautiously, reducing speed, and maintaining a safe following distance in inclement weather is essential. Carry snow chains and be prepared for road closures or delays in affected areas.

Driving on the Greek Islands

Driving on the Greek islands offers a unique and scenic experience but can vary in difficulty depending on the island. While some larger islands like Crete have well-developed road networks and are easy to navigate, smaller and more remote islands may have narrower roads and limited infrastructure. Be prepared for winding roads, steep inclines, and occasional unpaved sections, especially in rural areas. Additionally, consider renting a smaller vehicle for easier maneuverability on narrow island roads.

Rules to Follow When Driving in Greece

When driving in Greece, following specific rules to ensure safety and compliance with local regulations is essential.

Here are some fundamental rules to remember:

Drive on the Right-Hand Side of the Road

In Greece, vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road, which may differ from what some drivers are accustomed to in other countries. For example, if you're approaching a roundabout, you should enter and drive around it clockwise, yielding to vehicles already there.

Wearing Seat Belts

It's mandatory for all occupants of a vehicle to wear seat belts, regardless of whether they are seated in the front or back. For instance, ensure that all passengers securely fasten their seat belts before setting off on your road trip.

Child Safety and Protection in the Car

Children under 10 years old are not allowed to travel in the front seat of a vehicle. Children up to 4 must be secured in an appropriate child seat. For example, if you're traveling with young children, ensure they are safely restrained in seats suitable for their age and size.

Use of Mobile Phones Prohibited While Driving

Using a mobile phone while driving in Greece is illegal unless you have a hands-free system. For instance, refrain from making calls or texting while driving to avoid distractions and ensure your focus remains on the road.

Alcohol limits

The legal limit for alcohol in the bloodstream while driving in Greece is 0.05%. Exceeding this limit is considered a serious offense and can result in severe penalties, including fines, license suspension, or even imprisonment. As an example, if you plan to consume alcohol, designate a sober driver or use alternative transportation options.

Lane Discipline

On three-lane highways, the middle lane is reserved for passing slower vehicles. Keep to the right lane when not passing to allow faster-moving traffic to overtake safely. For instance, if you're driving in the middle lane and notice a vehicle approaching from behind at a higher speed, move to the right lane to allow it to pass.

Headlight Usage

Dipped headlights should be used during the day when visibility is poor, such as in foggy or rainy conditions. Conversely, using full-beam headlights in urban areas is strictly prohibited to avoid dazzling other road users. For example, if you encounter foggy weather during your road trip, switch on your dipped headlights to improve visibility for yourself and other drivers.

Roundabout Etiquette

When approaching a roundabout, vehicles already inside the roundabout have the right of way. You must yield to traffic already circulating within the roundabout before entering. For example, if you're approaching a roundabout and notice vehicles approaching from your right, wait for them to pass before entering the roundabout.

Overtaking Restrictions

Overtaking is prohibited in certain situations, including at bottlenecks, speed bumps, bends, pedestrian crossings, intersections, and when visibility is inadequate. For instance, if you're driving along a narrow road with limited visibility around bends, refrain from overtaking other vehicles to avoid potential accidents.

Intersection Rules

Changing lanes within an intersection is forbidden in Greece. Maintain your lane and exercise caution when approaching and navigating intersections.

Following these rules will help you have a safe and enjoyable driving experience in Greece. Always drive defensively, obey speed limits, and be mindful of other road users.

Book Your Car Rental in Greece With Finalrentals

Experience Greece your way! Rent a car with Finalrentals and unlock the beauty of this stunning country at your own pace. Whether you're drawn to vibrant cities, pristine beaches, or ancient landmarks, we've got the perfect car for your journey.

Booking with Finalrentals is super easy – enjoy transparent prices, free cancellation, and top-notch customer service every step of the way.

Book your rental car now and hit the road with confidence!