Has anyone driven in Greece, specifically in the Athens area? Do you have any himts or tips for us?
I strongly urge you to rethink driving inside of Central Athens. It's a nightmare. Not only is parking impossible but unless you know the ins and outs of the street system you will find yourself hopelessly lost in a New York minute. As far as driving in general in Greece, be sure to go to your local AAA office to pick up an International Driving Permit, no test or membership required, for $20 plus a photo fee if you don't bring 2 passport photos with you.
Judith I second Lee's comments about driving in Athens. As well as the problems he points to there can be dreadful traffic jams. Public transport, on the other hand, is now pretty good, especially the metro. Also, most of the major sites are near each other and in a pedestrianised area. It's much more pleasant to walk round them. Alan
A third vote for never driving in Athens if you can at all avoid it. Traffic congestion is incredible and the drivers a bit crazy. Add to that scooters constantly wizzing by in between cars with just inches to spare, and it isn't for the faint of heart. Central Athens especially is a no-no for trying to drive. Even the beltway can be very stressing. Having said that, I survived it and locals deal with it everyday. Outside of Athens, driving is just fine. Roads are lightly traveled and well marked. The passing lane is down the middle so stay more to the right and never use the middle as a "turn lane" like we do in the U.S. An International Drivers Permit is REQUIRED to drive legally in Greece. It is used in conjunction with your state license and most rental firms won't rent to you without one.
I have driven in "downtown" Athens and the route Athens, Delphi, Olympia, Napflio, and back to Athens. The roads are fine, safe and it's great having the independence to go where the gods call.
Athens is something else. Yes, it's a mess but once you adjust it's not that difficult but it is easy to get lost if you can't read the Greek street signs.
Completely agree with Lee's comments. There is enough public transport available in Athens. Central Athens - around Acropolis / Syntagma square is tricky.