Preferred rental car company out of Athens?

We're doing two weeks in Greece and will be flying from Crete to Athens with plans to spend the next 3-4 days driving through the Peloponnese.

Does anyone have any suggestions on the best company to rent from? Or any good/bad experiences that you've had in the past?

Looking for an economical option (cheap) and while we will pick up at the airport, we're also wondering if any company will receive the return off-site (we have reservations at a B&B on return close to the airport, but seeing if we can save some time on the drop off).

Thanks

Posted by Lee
Oregon
1867 posts

I just wanted to warn you away from Odysseys Car Rental. There have been serious complaints of extra charges showing up on customers' credit card statements after the fact when they're back home where they can't confront the company..

Be sure to go to your local AAA office to pick up an International Driving Permit, no test or membership required. Bring 2 passport photos with you to save a few dollars.

Posted by Rosie
Rick Steves' Europe
107 posts

We generally recommend comparing between U.S. companies (such as Hertz and Avis) and European companies (Sixt, Europcar) as well as with a consolidator (Auto Europe or Europe by Car). The U.S. companies will have higher rates generally and fewer pick up/drop off locations but can be easier to deal with if you need to change or cancel or have some other kind of problem. You'll find cheaper rates on a consolidator but if an issue arises they can be more difficult to communicate with (think an Expedia or Hotwire-type company for comparison).

Posted by T.
Seattle, WA, US
283 posts

I agree with John about Swift. They will pick you up at your hotel and drive you to the outskirts of Athens, so that you avoid driving in the horrendous Athens traffic. All they ask is that you drop their driver off at a convenient bus or Metro stop. Believe me, this service was worth it. However, be sure to get specific directions on how to return the car. I took one wrong turn and got terribly lost in Athens traffic--a nightmare worthy of Jean-Paul Sartre's "No Exit."

Posted by janet
Philadelphia, PA, USA
589 posts

I have used 3x Budget-Athens http://www.budget-athens.gr/?gclid=COKUzp30k58CFdx05QodUkGLfw (the hyphen is important! Without it, u go thru the multinational & they farm out their rentals; with the hyphen u get locally-owned & run affiliate). Large selection of cars (including automatics) all sizes and prices that meet or beat the rest; vehicles in good condition. Also, one year, due to changes in # of people we had to change vehicle preference TWICE; they were v. good about it. We picked up at airport (after paperwork at counter you walk just outside about 100 yards for vehicle... a fast process). Not sure why u wd want to drop off somewhere else if you are at nearby (i.e. Peris Hotel? St. Thomas?). Peris will give you free transfer to/from airport.

Posted by Kim
Jasper, GA, USA
16 posts

We've used Sixt several times and had no problems. The one time we went with another company...it was a major name but I'm not positive which and I don't want to demean anyone incorrectly!...we got socked with a damage charge for something that had been in place before we left and was misrepresented (the window in the back of a van that opens about 2 inches to let in air had a bad latch...they listed it upon return as a "broken window"--yikes!). Anyhow, after that, I'd definitely stick with Sixt.

I can also second that Odysseys is iffy...we had a standard class manual rented from them a few years back and they didn't show up at the airport for the scheduled pick up...we finally reached them and they said the car had been in a wreck and they only had that one, sorry, which was weird because we weren't picky on class, etc. and it was shoulder season, not high. The main thing is that they didn't let us know...they just didn't show up. From reading reviews about them afterwards (I know, probably should have done that beforehand), though, it looks like we dodged a bullet.

Incidentally, I've rented from local companies on Crete for years and they have been great...it's just this particular one I've had issues with. :-)

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
3037 posts

I used Swift and they were great. Good car and great service. Plus the flexibility of where you want to pick up and drop off.

As noted by someone else, you MUST have an IDP to legally drive in Greece, along with your valid state license.