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Rental Cars

Has anyone had much experience renting a car in Greece. We want to rent a car in Athens for several days on the Peloponese. Also in Crete where we'll be arriving by Ferry and flying back to Athens.

Any companies to recommend, and should we book from home before we leave?

Posted by
2934 posts

If you live outside the EU or UK be sure to bring an International Driving Permit with you.

Traffic in Central Athens is a nightmare for first-time visitors. Rent your car from one of the agencies at the airport so you can drive around Athens, instead of through it, on your way to the Peloponnese. Return your car to the airport and take the Airport Express Bus X96 to the ferry port at Piraeus.

Book your car in advance if you need an automatic transmission. Otherwise wait until you arrive and inspect the car carefully before agreeing to rent it.

Posted by
2876 posts

Lee's faithful in reminding Americans to get the IDP, or else you'll find yourself car-less. To give best advice we need more info:
(1) Rent in Advance? It ALSO depends on when going: In July-August definitely rent ahead. if you are going now or October, it's off-season. If you want automatic shift, it's always a good idea; fleets have many fewer automatics to offer. If not, you could do it on arrival -- but it will save u time if you book ahead.

(2) In Crete, use LOCAL agencies not international. Two that I know & recommend: Autoway, and Anna cars. You can pick up at one port town & drop off at another without a fee, or only a small fee.
(3) In Athens we've used 3-4x http://www.budget-athens.gr/?gclid=COKUzp30k58CFdx05QodUkGLfw Very satisfactory.
(4) It would definitely help if you gave sequence. Is it first CRETE (arriving in Heraklion via ferry from Santorini?) then flying back to Athens, THEN going to Peloponnese.??? In Crete, if you arrive in Heraklion, you can avoid backtracking if you fly to ATH from the Chania airport.

Posted by
4535 posts

Just one more voice reminding you about the IDP - in Greece most rental firms will not rent you the car without it.

Renting from the Athens airport is a very good idea. They have all the standard corporate agencies. If you need an automatic, you will need to book ahead. And you will get better rates booking ahead. Avanti is also a very good local agency (I've used them). They have a downtown office but I think they can bring the car to the airport.

Posted by
8 posts

I just got back- we rented from Swift for a few days in the mainland, and had a good experience. I wanted an automatic, so I booked in advance. They dropped the car off at our hotel in Athens. and I returned it to them at the ATH airport (they can do either). They were a bit late on the drop off (which was true for my dealings elsewhere in Greece as well), but other than that everything went very well- they helped us get to the highway, the car was in great condition, and they were easy to contact and work with.

Posted by
179 posts

We rented a car (mini van) from the Sixt agency on Siggrou. I walked there from my hotel (Electra Palace) and drove back to pick up the family. The streets were narrow and the traffic was crowded but I didn't think it was any more difficult than driving in any major US city. Once you are on the main arteries, you just follow the traffic. Google Maps was a must. They did not ask for an international drivers license (though I had one just in case). Sixt was easy to rent from, close to our hotel in the old town and easy to return to.