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We will be in Athens for 3 days then intend to venture out to Metora Delph and Peloponnese. We do not intend on having a car in Athens the first 3 days. However we would like to make a early departure on the 4th day 6AM to head out of town. (will be staying in Planka). When we return from Peloponnese week later, we will return to Athens Night before and plan on returning the car at airport.
I heard it is a nightmare to drive and figure way out of Athens so I am looking for Ideas on how to accomplish the task above with least amount of pain. I initially thought to rent car night before we leave(maybe at airport or maybe in downtown car rental) park car on street overnight to make our departure easier. Not sure if this is viable option. (We want to get to be in Metora by 11AM) Any advice from those that rented a car before leaving Athens? If there are any hints or tips on how to make this work smoothly with the least amount of pain. Was also planning on booking a place close to the airport on last night to catch the AM flight back to states.

Santorini - was planning on renting a car at airport(place we are staying has parking). Any good car rental companies recommendations?

I seen others recommend but I have to pay IN FULL for car TODAY for a car I will use 3 months from now...

Damage & Theft insurance for a rental car is that a MUST while in Greece?

Thanks for time in advance!

Posted by
290 posts

Athens Car Rental comes highly recommended by people in this group. We are using them in September for our first trip to Greece.

192 Euros for 8 days,,, Rate/Amount includes “Civil liability and third party liability insurance”, C.D.W. insurance (500.00 Euros deductible per accident), theft and fire insurance, unlimited mileage, second driver, free and pre-authorized permission to ferry the car, 24Hrs road assistance and 24% VAT.

If you can move things around, maybe our itinerary can help.
Newark direct to Athens then immediately to Santorini/Naxos for 7 nights.
Fly back to Athens airport to pick up car mid morning drive to Peloponnese for 7 nights.

Return car at Athens airport and take train or taxi to Athens (Plaka) 3 nights.
Taxi to airport to return home.

Thus eliminating the need to drive in Athens. There is a 6:20am flight from Santorini to Athens, arrives at 7:05, so you could still be on the road pretty early!!

Good luck!!!

Posted by
781 posts

We went with a company called Swift / Avanti (family owned company, as opposed to the chains):

The driver drove the car to our hotel in the Plaka to pick us up, drove us to their shop on Syngrou (main street out of town), pointed us in the right directions and sent us on our way. Take Syngrou down to the highway, turn right and head out of town. It was awesome!

Then we dropped the car at Athens airport. They are too small to have a desk in the airport, but they had a guy with a sign who met us there and took the car back.

Whether they can meet your 6:00 am departure time, I'm not sure. That's pretty early. We were headed to Meteora that day too, but I think we left around 8:00.

Don't take the insurance. Get a Visa gold or platinum card, use it to pay for the rental, and it should have more coverage than you will ever need.

Posted by
2708 posts

Easiest to rent a car at the airport - driving from the airport is easy, driving in Athens center looks unwise. Get a cab or bus to the airport early in the morning, get your car, and head on. This means a very early start but airport transit and agencies should be open.

Return, do the same thing. Return at the airport and either stay at an airport hotel if you have very limited time, like if you drop the car off in the late evening or head into Athens for one night to enjoy it if you have a few more hours.

Posted by
989 posts

We also used ACR Athens car rental and picked up and dropped off at the airport. We have used them several times. They are reliable and have a good reputation. Just a couple of tips though. They inspect the car carefully on return looking for new dents or scratches. When I did the walk around on pick up I failed to notice a dent however my wife recorded the walk around on her phone and we were able to demonstrate the dent was there.
Do video the car before you take it.
Also we picked up the car on arrivals level so we returned it to the same spot. Turns out we were supposed to return it to Departures level so we had some difficulty connecting on the drop off. Just something to be aware of.

The drive from the airport is on major divided highways so you do not get into Athens proper. Just stay way over in the right lane and let fast cars pass you on the left. The small rental cars do not have the same kind of power many of the Locals have in their vehicles.
It takes a team of people to drive. The second person needs to be watching where you are going, looking for signs and traffic problems. Even with GPS it is a good idea to have a decent paper map so the second person can check progress regularly. Who would have guessed there are 7 different places in Greece called Meteora. We ended up in the wrong one with the GPS.

As I recall ACR rentals came with full insurance included. We paid by credit card during pick up.

Posted by
989 posts

I forgot. We used to use taxi to get us to and from the airport. Several times the drivers were a bit sketchy. We now use a company called City Cab. They use large unmarked Mercedes and meet you where and when you need a transfer. We used them for a 5am pick up from our hotel to the airport and the driver was standing on the sidewalk at 10 to 5. Excellent service and the same price as a taxi.

Posted by
7693 posts

We use a broker,AutoEurope based in Maine , for all car rentals in Europe. They stand behind you and will take care of any problems. Stress free rentals for twenty years.
We always go out to airport to pick up rental cars to go to Napflion, get on highway, no issues ever.
On the islands we have rented through hotels for a day whenever we want one.

Posted by
1799 posts

I used stanbr’s recommendation for Athens Rental Cars and had the same good service. It came with insurance with a €500 deductible, for which they said they put a hold on my credit card. (I never saw it.) They require a non refundable deposit (I think it was €50) with a discount on total price if you pay the balance in cash at pick up. They were quite a bit cheaper than AutoEurope, whom I have used in other places. Echo everything else he said. After riding airport to Plaka and back,I cannot imagine driving on most of the streets. Some would be ok, but street parking would be a nightmare.

For Santorini, I used Vazeos. Also a local company, no office at the airport, but good service. They were waiting at the airport for us and we dropped it back off there. They asked about insurance (none included in the price) but I used my credit card coverage. Fortunately didn’t need it.

Posted by
2934 posts

For Santorini I always recommend Vazeos in Oia, Tony's in Firostefani, Spiridakos in Fira and Motor Inn in Kamari Beach. All these will deliver a car to you at the airport. If you live outside the EU be sure to bring an International Driving Permit with you. If you live in the U.S. pick one up at your local AAA office, no test or membership required. Bring 2 passport photos to save a few dollars, or have the auto club take them for you.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks Much for all your recommendations!

While Few of you recommended Athens Car Rental(ACR) and thankfully no-one had any issues. I find the 500 euro deductible(per occurrence) this is VERY UN-NERVING to me. So, ACR can charge you 500 euro for a parking lot dent/scratch that you have to pay(each occurrence, hopefully no new dents/scratches on other side of car). Really? My credit card will not reimburse me for for anything if this occurs. I must refuse ANY AND ALL insurance coverage offered by car rental company for my credit card insurance company to reimburse me.

While another recommendation of "AUTOEUROPE" for 50 euros more has ZERO deductible "supposedly" on anything except for Glass, tires, the top or bottom/undercarriage of the car( for this possible damage they will hold 300 euro on your credit card). Autoeurope is not a car rental company they book the car for you at "local" company so not sure how all this "0" deductible works when dealing with the actual car rental company( I feel it will be a different story if there is any damages) .

Has anyone use a Greek car rental company and simply used their credit card as insurance? If so what company is that? This Greece car rental seems sketchy for me. Maybe answer is just pay Double and rent form Avis or Hertz.

Thanks for your thoughts incite and experience in advance.

Posted by
1799 posts

You will need to do what feels right and safe for you. With any car rental, you need to walk the car, examine, and video or photograph existing damage. Same for when you return it. Athens Rental Cars carefully did that with me and, while I certainly couldn’t say it would happen every time, they didn’t worry about or charge me for the ding on the windshield that happened when a passing car threw a little rock up on the freeway. I was surprised, impressed, and grateful.