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Car Rental in Athens

We will be travelling in Greece in May 2018, and will need to rent a car in Athens for 2 weeks of touring. RS recommended local company is Swift/Avanti. Has anyone dealt with this car rental company recently? Most reviews are fairly old and are certainly not favourable. Any other suggestions?

Posted by
4535 posts

I rented from them almost 10 years ago and thought they were great at the time. But perhaps things have changed. Most any of the major chain agencies at the airport would be fine and getting your car from the airport avoids any city driving, which in Athens is really, really inadvisable. I also recommend the full CDW (or a less expensive 3rd party plan) as part of the cost of renting cars in Greece.

Also, an International Drivers Permit is required for Greece. When I last rented there, the IDP was enforced by the rental agencies.

Posted by
1073 posts

My only experience is I have booked with them for May. Very easy to book, very accommodating. They will pick you up at hotel, drive you out of city to motorway, and send you on your way. Now, whether they actually come through, I won't know until May. They are recommended by RS and by Matt Barrett, and that is pretty reassuring for me.

Also, an International Drivers Permit is required for Greece. When I last rented there, the IDP was enforced by the rental agencies.

Not according to either of the rental companies I"m dealing with, one of whom advises me: "Drivers must have a valid license held for at least one year. Driving License in characters not readable in English, Greek or Latin characters must be accompanied by an International Driving License or a copy of an English translated version."

Posted by
3362 posts

However Darren, if you are in a fender-bender without having an IDP, the small print in clauses means that the insurance company can deny coverage. do you really want to take that chance, just to avoid paying $10 and spending 15 minutes at the AAA office?

Posted by
1073 posts

Good points, but not the point I was responding to, which is that IDP's are enforced by the rental companies. Actually its $25 and 30 minutes, according to CAA, plus the time and cost to get a passport photo, but I probably will still get one.

Posted by
3362 posts

Yes darren, the rental companies do or do not enforce the requirement of an IDP in order to rent you a car. However, when an accident occurs, it is not up to the rental company to decide whether the insurance will cover you... that is up to the insurance company, and (from everything I've heard during the 15+ years I've been going to greece), an insurer has the right to deny coverage if you do not have the legally required permit ... and happily will do so; any excuse not to pay out.

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you for your replies, however I'd like to go back to my original topic. I would appreciate any comments on renting from Swift/Avanti in Athens? Thanks!

Posted by
3362 posts

The BIg attraction of Swift/Avanti is that they promise to save you the hassle of finding your way through Athens streets to the onramp of the highways leading out6... to Peloponnese, Delphi, etc. Their deal is that they pick u up at your hotel & drive you to the onramp (I gather that another car then picks up the driver). That being said (1) I've learned that the Matt Barrett website singing its praises is very seldom updated these days, some of the material hasn't been edited in Years and (2) On Trip Advisor there were several threads about S/A ... older, dented vehicles, flat tires, lack of english speakers etc. Check these reviews yourself.

I appreciate anyone's wish to avoid navigating Athens streets. Some agencies in the Acropolis area, I have heard, direct you South on a 6-8 lane super-busy road then 2 interchanges before you get to the "beltway". However, google "car rental agencies athens" and look at the map, you'll see an alternative route, through the National Gardens, leads right to a main street NORTH to that beltway, with no connections necessary, In fact, it appears Sixt & Hertz have offices right ON that route -- seems to me that if one rented from those offices, they could be asked to pick u up at your hotel, then drop the driver at that office on y our way out of town. That would avoid most city driving AND the S/A iffy alternative.

Posted by
186 posts

You might consider renting from the Athens airport--you are already there, it is easy to get on the road from there, they are open all the time, they will shuttle you and your luggage right to your car, and you will deal with major international companies are book online with no trouble. Not sure what your time/money cost ratio is, but we have always found competitive rates at the airport making it worth it every time.

Posted by
1397 posts

Even when we have been staying in Athens we return to the airport to rent the car. Its worth the extra cost of getting to the airport for the convenience of getting right on the highway and not having to drive in Athens.

I have not used Swift (they were too expensive when I contacted them a few years ago) I have rented from ACR thats Athens Car Rental. They are a local company with an excellent reputation. Local companies work hard to earn your business. ACR has an interesting business model. They meet you at a set spot in the terminal arrival door. They take you to the parking lot where the car is waiting for you. They do the paperwork, give you a run through on how the car works and give you a map. You will be on the highway within 15 minutes. They meet you back at departures where they look over the car and final paperwork and away you go. It may sound a bit odd but it is efficient. We have rented cars several times mostly in Crete and the local companies basically use this business model.
Oh yes we had a flight change on our return and needed an additional 4 hours of use with the car. They gave us this time without charge. As I said they work hard for your business.

Posted by
12 posts

Thanks for the recommendation, Stan. We have booked with Athens Car Rental. They seem very efficient and their rates are reasonable. We also appreciated their coverage for ferries. Like you, we will have spent a few days in Athens and will return to the Airport to pick up the car.