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Picking up car at Athens airport

We are considering doing Rick's Athens and the Peloponnese trip (on our own, not the tour). We would pick up the car for when we were not in either Athens or Hydra. My question is, if we pick up at the airport, can we avoid driving in Athens itself? On Google maps it seems to suggest that the road up to Delphi is a major freeway, as is the road back into Athens from the Peloponnese. If we circle first up through Delphi and then return from Napflio, we would have to pass through Athens, but would the freeway allow us to avoid driving on surface streets? None of the other Athens pickup sites on Autoeurope seem to keep us out of driving in a very busy area, so the airport seems like the best option. Any thoughts from the RS community would be appreciated. (I have RIck's book and know about the local company that Rick mentions that will drive you out of town, would prefer to stick with Autoeurope.)

Posted by
2866 posts

You've got the right idea picking up and dropping off your car at the airport. Yes, you can drive around the city on the open highway without ever hitting the overjammed surface streets. Be sure to go to your local AAA office to pick up an International Driving Permit, no test or membership required. Avoid Odysseys Car Rental.

Posted by
4524 posts

Lee is correct. You circle the city on the highway. It can be nervewracking in itself, but far better than driving Athens city traffic. You MUST have an IDP or the airport rental agencies will not rent you a car. I've done this trip - PM me if you have any specific questions.

Posted by
2866 posts

One minor word of caution: I've read that if the car has a GPS it can take you through the city instead of around it. So be sure!

Posted by
1249 posts

I asume you are doing the round trip Athens to Delphi and then on to the Peloponnese via the Rio - Antirio bridge? If so I can recommend Nafpaktos as a nice place to break the Delphi to Rio part of the journey. There are various nice places for a cup of coffee or for lunch. Particularly if you are stopping for lunch it's worth turning left before you reach the centre and going down onto the east beach. A picture of the harbour to tempt you http://www.bookdirect24.com/greece/nafpaktos/ If you can spare a bit more time there the fort above the town is worth a visit. http://www.flickr.com/photos/vlavag/376524607/in/photostream/ Alan