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Retroactive 23% tax for prepaid hotels? Athens car rental advice, too please.

We are going to Greece in April and I just booked a flight from Athens to Santorini and was confronted with the 23% tax added to the price of the ticket on Aegean Airlines! I have all my hotel reservations and some of them I prepaid (nonrefundable) before this tax took effect. Does anyone know if the tax will be added to those prepaid confirmed reservations or to other preservation made but not paid prior to the tax being invoked? It's a nasty blast, but I do understand why it's happening.
I would also like some current recommendations on renting a car in Athens. One driver
is over 70. Is that going to be an issue?
Thank you.

Posted by
31271 posts

Bobbie,

I can't answer the questions on the hotel tax, but the hotel should be able to provide some information.

However, one very important point to mention regarding driving in Greece. Each driver MUST have the compulsory International Driver's Permit. If you're ever involved in a "traffic incident" and can't produce an IDP, you'll be in a world of misery.

You may find it helpful to read this other thread on the subject, in particular the second reply from Lee (Oregon).

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/greece/driving-in-greece

Posted by
2858 posts

It's only a guess, but I'd say you shouldn't be charged any more if you have pre-booked and pre-paid reservations, but in fact that doesn't mean someone along the way won't want to add that charge 'after the fact', even if it's not required by the government. It is Greece, after all. It's best to be prepared to pay the extra amount. It won't be the full 23%, just the difference between the old tax rate and the new.

Sometimes it’s possible to rent a car just by showing your passport and a current drivers license. No problem.
BUT....................
If you get in an accident and don’t have the IDP you'll be in serious trouble with the Greek Police. Greek Law requires it and if you can't produce it you could possibly be detained until you come up with the cash to pay for any and all damages to the vehicles involved regardless of whose fault it is and whether or not the damages were pre-existing (especially if the other car belongs to a local seizing the opportunity to play the system!)
AND...................
Your insurance will be invalidated because technically you will have been driving illegally.
And in that regard I also encourage you to take out the local insurance offered when you pick up the car, as much coverage as you can get. Don't rely on the automatic insurance your credit card claims to provide you. You'll be in a foreign country and there won't be a claims adjuster handy.
Just as important: Don't take "No Problem" as a substitute for indicating on the rental acceptance form every little scratch, dent, tear, stain, crack and missing part on the vehicle, inside and out and underneath. Take photos to back up your inspection. If the rental agent resists signing off on all that you've indicated walk away and find another agency.

Posted by
20 posts

Thank you Lee and Ken,
We both have international driver's licenses, but I'll check on the expiration dates on them.
I good tip about insurance and documenting any dings on the rental car at pick-up. Thanks.

Posted by
20 posts

Thank you Lee and Ken,
We both have international driver's licenses, but I'll check on the expiration dates on them.
I good tip about insurance and documenting any dings on the rental car at pick-up. Thanks.

Posted by
266 posts

It should be noted that driving laws in Athens are mere suggestions and are NOT enforced. I would NOT drive in Athens. We took the Athens tour last summer and were surprised at the street chaos. Are you planning on driving on Santorini? If so, the traffic and roads are worse there. Public transportation is easy and cheap. We hired Kostas on Santorini for a private day tour (with another family). He picked up at the hotel, drove us all around the island (including being our guide inside Akrotiri), then dropped us at the airport. No need to worry about our luggage or schlep it on public transportation. The hotels we prepaid for on Naxos and Santorini were inclusive of all costs, although I cannot say that's true for every hotel. Check your line item receipt. Bring plenty of cash (we were there during the peak of the financial crisis). You are going to love it. The people are so friendly, the food is great (and cheap), and the scenery is stunning!!

Posted by
31271 posts

One other comment about driving on Santorini.... watch out for those @#$% quads, as you may encounter them anywhere. I didn't find the roads especially difficult, but as everywhere one has to be drive defensively.

Posted by
20 posts

Julie,
We are renting a car to drive out of Athens, to Delphi and then around the Pelopennese. A car is really a drawback in big cities where there is great public transportation. We're not driving on Santorini either.
Could you please give me some contact information on Kostas on Santorini and what was the cost of his private tour? Thanks for your help. We'll be staying in Firostefani at Ellinon Thea Boutique Hotel.
Bobbie