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Car rentals in Greece - Automatic or Manual transmission


We are planning to be in Athens, Santorini and Mykonos in August. We are considering whether we should rent a car in the islands - Santorini or Mykonos. I don't know how to drive a standard transmission and I am worried if Europeans drive mainly standard.

Has anyone rented a car in Greece? How was your experience?
Are most cars manual transmission?


Posted by
23464 posts

Personally I don't know why you would need a car on Santorini or Mykonos. Public transit is available and the islands are pretty small. If you rent a car, the probability is high that it would be standard trans and diesel. You can request automatic but it depends on what is available when you show up. I would not drive in Athens. They are as crazy as the Italians.

Posted by
3133 posts

Yes, most rental cars have manual transmissions. If you need an automatic you will have to reserve it well in advance. Make sure you re-confirm this reservation just before your arrival and make it with a reliable company. On Santorini I always recommend Vazeos in Oia, Tony's in Firostefani and Spiridakos in Fira. Spiridakos also has an office at the ferry port if you're arriving by sea. They all have websites.

A rental car on Santorini is a good idea. It gives you the most flexibility for exploring the island. The bad news is that parking, although free, can be difficult to find in August because of the volume of cars on the road. With that in mind try to find the smallest car possible with an automatic transmission.

If you live outside the EU be sure to bring an International Driving Permit. If you live in No. America you can get one at your local AAA/CAA office, no test or membership required.

Posted by
27 posts

I agree with Lee, we rented a car in Santorini and it was great being able to travel all around the island whenever we wanted. We reserved an automatic transmission about a month or so in advance, you will definitely have to ask for one ahead of time as most will be manual. The roads are tiny, especially when sharing with a tour bus so it can be a bit stressful, and parking can be a bit difficult at times. We did get lost a fair amount but it's an island so eventually you'll find your way. :) Overall, very handy having a car if you want to visit beaches and other destinations not easily reached by public transport!

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you for your replies.

A friend recently visited Santorini a few months ago and said public buses on some routes were sometimes full, and he would have to wait to catch the next one (hopefully it wouldn't be full too). He ended up renting a car after waiting too long for buses which were already full. He recommended that we rent a car for our trip too.

Posted by
32264 posts

I also agree with Lee that a car is useful in Santorini as it will allow you to get to some of the locations that are not well served by public transit. As I recall, there's a great view point on mountain overlooking the airport (above the village of Pyrgos Kallistis).

Also as Lee mentioned, BE SURE that you have an I.D.P. which is used in conjunction with your home D.L. I suspect that the majority of cars will be standard transmission and they may not have many automatics available (and those will rent quickly, especially in August). The car that I rented was a small Nissan with standard transmission.