One of the best ways to enjoy your holidays, if you choose Crete for your destination, is to rent a car. Choosing a car rental company during your holiday it can look very simple but in fact it is a sensitive and difficult choice.You do not know whom to trust and what will be waiting for you upon delivery.
Most tourists think while searching for a car rental company in Crete: I don’t want to have any problems (the car is not the one I booked, its quality and appearance at the pickup is poor, the people of the rental company don’t help me and I don’t understand what they mean etc…)
Driving in Greece is not for the faint of heart, particularly with the sometimes horrendous Athens traffic. But renting a car will give you free access to the country’s numerous winding roads, hilly passes and quaint villages.
Car rental dealers in Greece do not carry the difficult restrictions found in some countries, so drivers should have a hurdle-free rental process. Some car rental companies in Greece do carry restrictions for certain drivers, however, and drivers should know a few of the country’s rules before hitting the road.
What Car Do I Need to Rent in Greece?
If you are using your rental car mainly to go out from a hub – visiting sites in the countryside around a town or city, then flying out of that spot or taking a bus, ferry, or train – you can get away with a small car since you will not be carrying all your gear with you for overnight journeys.
But if you have several people all with full luggage allowances, you may find it is almost impossible to fit everyone into one vehicle comfortably. Take a look at the trunk before signing the final papers. Nobody likes seeing the beautiful Greek countryside over the top of the suitcase on your lap.
Tips & Tricks
– Compare prices for car rental dealers using an Internet-based agency. Major international car rental companies have branches and affiliates in Greece’s major points of entry, including at Athens’ airport, but if you visit other places in the country you can trust local car rental companies.
– Check with the rental company for any special restrictions before booking. The standard minimum age for car rental in Greece is 21, but some Greek car rental companies might charge more for drivers under 25, restrict certain car classes for younger drivers or not allow drivers older than 70.
– Decide whether you’ll need any supplementary insurance, such as collision damage waiver or theft protection, or determine whether it will be provided by your credit card. Greece requires third-party liability insurance and fire insurance, and this will be included with the rental.
– Check with the rental company for any restrictions or fees if you plan to leave Greece with the vehicle. Check also if you plan to return the vehicle in a different part of Greece than your arrival point, as this might carry an extra charge or not be allowed.
– Familiarize yourself with some of Greece’s driving rules. Speed limits are 50 kph in a city, 80 kph on the open road and 100 kph on highways. On a three-lane highway, the middle lane is for passing only.
– Learn a few terms that will be helpful while driving. “Venzinadiko” means gas station; “diodia” means toll; “choros stathmefis” means parking; and “astinomia” means police.
– Even if you don’t plan to drive abroad, an International Driving Permit is an easily recognizable form of identification in Greece.
– Book as far in advance as possible during peak times, particularly if you need a certain class of vehicle, as supply in Greece can run low.
– Always park in approved parking lots. Illegal street parking can carry a hefty penalty in Greece.
Can I Take a Greek Rental Car on a Greek Island Ferry?
The answer may be no. Many car rental agencies in Greece, especially those on smaller islands, do not want you to take their cars onto a ferry. First, there’s the risk that you may damage it maneuvering in the tight area (or be damaged by someone else doing the same), and secondly, they like to keep their cars on their home island.
In practice, many people do rent cars and blithely take them onto the Greek ferries without mentioning their plans to the car rental agency, but if anything does happen, it’s one more strike against you.
Remember that not all Greek ferries take cars anyway- and the limited slots may require reservations in advance.
If you are planning on driving a Greek rental car across a national border, that’s an entirely different situation and you will need to clear that beforehand with the car rental agency. Also, if you know you are planning strenuous driving – lots of mountain roads, or dirt roads, more than a typical tourist in the area would attempt – mention it. You may be given a more powerful or more reliable car or be urged to upgrade into a more appropriate vehicle.