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Driving in Greece

Has anyone had experience driving in Greece? Easy? Difficult? Safe? Hazardous? Crazy?

Posted by
2862 posts

Greek drivers go fast and tend to pass in unlikely spots, so it can be dangerous. Visitors on mopeds and ATVs pose one of the main problems on the roads because they're over-cautious and drive too slowly for the locals. It really depends on where you are. Be sure to pick up an International Driving Permit at your local AAA office, no test required.

Posted by
290 posts

Andy, in May we rented a car in Athens and drove from there to Delphi, around the Peloponnese for several days then back to Athens. I found the driving to be relatively easy and safe. Most of the roads we drove were wide, well marked and smooth (there were a couple of notable exceptions!) The traffic wasn't too bad except in Athens itself. Much of Greece is mountainous, so many of the roads are twisty, but nothing most people couldn't handle. IMHO, anyone with average driving skills should do okay. Hopefully, you are comfortable with a stick shift; automatics are a bit harder to come by. The Greeks have some unusual driving habits (like driving on the shoulder to let overtaking cars get around), but you'll quickly figure things out. A GPS would be some help, but really isn't necessary; you can do fine with just a map.

I'm usually an advocate of public transportation, but on mainland Greece a car is definitely the easiest way to get around.

Posted by
1814 posts

We have rented a car for a day or two on several Greek islands (Samos, Patmos, Ikaria, Paros, Sifnos) and highly recommend it. True, there are some narrow twisty roads, and we occasionally had trouble figuring out road signs, but it made for some memorable adventures. The islands are small enough that you really can't get too lost.

We didn't have an international drivers license with us on Lesvos and were not allowed to rent a car, so be sure to bring one with you just in case. As Lee said, you can pick one up at AAA (I think it's around $20). Also, every car we've rented had a stick shift so be prepared for that.

Posted by
655 posts

Drove the mainland for two weeks with no problems. Drove the islands for two more - also with no problems.

It is helpful to remember that, except for Athens, the traffic is very light in Greece and the cars are small.

The rules of the road are quite the same as home. You be OK.

Posted by
34 posts

Greek island (Naxos) was very good and fun and safe this summer. Get an international AAA permit. Have fun.