Guide on driving rental cars in Greek islands
You have planned your vacation in Greece and you are wondering whether you should rent a car Santorini car rental or not? We have prepared a full guide on driving rental cars in Greek islands that you can use to decide your plan. If you have chose to visit one of the many Green islands, you should definitely take a glimpse at our guide on driving rental cars in Greek islands.
We will cover many issues and answer all of your questions in some simple steps. Keep reading to find out more tips about rental cars at the Greek islands.
1. Do you really need a rental car?
Ask yourself the question above so that you can decide whether it is worth renting a car or not. This will save you money and make your stay at the island easier. First of all it depends on the island you are visiting. Islands like Crete are large and definitely require you to have a rental car, while smaller islands don’t.
Santorini for example has many places where you can go on foot but if you will not get a rental car you might miss some of Santorini’s best beaches. Usually the Greek islands have their best beaches a little farther than their centre and many buses do not reach them. Of course, you could get a taxi but it is not advisable as they are really expensive.
2. Pick the right side of the road!
When you come to Greece, you should bear in mind that the side of the road that you must be driving onto, is the right one. If you are coming from Australia, Cyprus or England, please stay alert and try to remember that. Many accidents are caused by tourists every summer as they tend to forget about the driving code in Greece and drive at the opposite side.
3. Careful when going off road!
If you have information about a more quiet and exotic beach at the island you are visiting, bear in mind that the rental car is your responsibility. We know that a private beach is tempting and that if you are the type of person who loves exploring and going on adventures you will want to get off road.
Always remember that the car you are going to rent is not yours and that any damage will be charged at you. Make sure not to drive on the beach sand as it you are not allowed to and that your car wheels could get stuck in the sand. In this case, you will need to call the car rental company to help you out.
If you are one hundred percent sure that you will go on adventures off road, then you should consider renting a vehicle that is capable of going off road. A jeep or a 4×4 car which has movement on all four wheels and can not stuck that easily. This way you can enjoy your trip and not have any issues with the car rental company at the same time.
4. Mind the road signs
In Greece, we have road signs of course . The point is that they are a little bit different from the signs in other countries. First of all they are mainly in Greek and English, although sometimes the 2 languages are on separate signs. Usually the English sign is some meters after the Greek one.
This could cause a lot of confusion and you could also miss some turns or exits. In some islands, the sings are too old or for example in Crete most of the signs have gunshot holes on them. It is a regional tradition called “balothies” where the locals shoot the signs or at the air. Too dangerous, we know.
Anyway, you need to be extra careful when driving anywhere if it is your first time. Especially in islands where a lot of tourists drive rental cars and do not care about them, your driving should be a lot more careful than usual.
You might have not been used to it, but the truth is that Greek people especially the locals in the islands are not often following the regulations of the driving code. You will definitely experience some kind of overtaking on the national roads so you need to be alert.
When driving on the roads of a Greek island it is better to keep on the right side of the road so that the other cars will be able to overtake you easily. Please do not mess with the locals especially f you are in islands like Crete, as they take the road honour very personally!
6. Beware of the animals
In many islands on Greece you may experience some other kind of traffic. Animal traffic! Many animals like goats, cows, foxes, dogs, chickens etc. It is common for these animals to be on the streets, either if they are domesticated or wild. They will probably not cause you any trouble or trauma but make sure not to hurt them too.
In any case do not exceed the speed limit and mind the signs that warn you for wild animals. Sometimes the problem is that the animals will not move from the centre of the street causing traffic. At this point you must get creative to make them move!
7. Natural obstacles
Except from the animals that you might have encounters with, you could also find some natural obstacles. Remember that islands are natural habitats so they have rocks, plants and bushes in the middle of the road often. Many signs are hidden behind trees or bushes too so you need to keep an eye on them so that you will not miss your exit.
Nowadays though, the GPS or other phone apps will warn you for any obstacles on the roads.
8. Traffic Police
The traffic police is always alert on islands due to the great amount of tourists. If you rent a car you should know that it is possible that the police will stop you to run their checks. If you follow the Greek driving code regulations you do not have to fear anything.
Remember that drinking and driving is never legal or safe and never provoke them. They are here to help you and keep the streets safe for everyone.
Many times Greek people use signals to communicate through their cars. Do not ignore the signals and pay attention. For example the flashing of the lights could mean that the person behind you wants to overtake you and they warn you to let you know you have to move on the right. Flashing of the lights could also mean that there is traffic police later on so they warn you to reduce your speed.
Following these tips will definitely make your vacation more pleasant and of course safe while renting a car!