Driving in Athens? Is it as bad as they say?!!
Driving in Athens is not really as bad as
they say. It needs a little extra attention
though, mainly due to the many motorcycles
and scooters that are driving all around.
They sometimes look like they don’t
care and just go everywhere but here’s
a tip: If you drive in a predictable way for
them, they will never bother you. That is
if you want to change a lane for example,
have your flash on, look at the mirror, and
they will have seen you! If they’re
not too close they will stop for you. If you
don’t make your move as expected, they
will not wait long, they will just keep on
like they ignore your intention…
Which brings us to the 2nd issue: Greek drivers
are inpatient. They will horn more and probably
cause panic to anyone who’s not used
to such behavior. You shouldn’t let
it get to you, it doesn’t mean that
you almost caused an accident or something,
they just want to make a fuss in every chance!
So, here’s what you do: Drive carefully
and in a predictable way and don’t mind
the horning and aggressiveness, and I can
guarantee you will have no problem driving
anywhere in Athens.
2. How are the roads in Greece?
The road network of Greece is pretty good
and is getting better and better. Therefore
you may find works on some roads. All the
national highways are in good shape. The smaller
roads may have old pavement and be slippery
in some parts. Nothing you can’t handle
by reducing speed a little before the turns…
The biggest “inconvenience” is
that the roads to most destinations contain
a couple of mountain climbing(!) so it will
take you longer than what you have estimated
by looking at the map. However, the view is
awesome, it will definitely pay you back.
3. Is it easy to park in the center
The center has an obvious parking problem
during day time. When the shops are closed
things are much better, and you can find a
spot quite easily if you don’t mind
walking a little. The very many parking lots
everywhere in the center, give an acceptable
solution to this problem, as with aprox. 8
€ you can leave your car for half a day
(or all night). Be aware of the brand new
“parking measures” by the municipality
of Athens, where parking is not allowed in
some places (unless you live nearby and have
the appropriate license) and allowed for 3
hours at the most and with a fee in some other
places. Be careful because the municipality
police is sensitive about it and you can easily
get a ticket.
4. What is the best time to leave
the city (rush hours)?
Although there are always a lot of cars on
the central streets, the rush hours are aprox.
0830 – 1030, 1400-1600 and 2000-2100.
• Shops are open half
day (0900-1530) on Mondays, Wednesdays and
Saturdays. This results to more cars on the
streets those afternoons/evenings.
• The “historic
center” (Plaka, Monastiraki, Psiri,
Thisio) wakes up later and stays up later.
Traffic will start at about 1100 and will
never be too heavy. Action on those streets
will continue until late at night.
Anyway, our advice is not to change any of
your plans because of the probable traffic
because nothing is for granted, the traffic
may change from minute to minute and the worst
thing that will happen to you is get stuck
in a jam for 15-20 minutes. Nothing more than
that, the center is close to the highways.
5. Where are you located and what
are your opening hours for pick-up and drop-off
of the rental cars? Is it easy to find the
highway from there?
No need to worry about that. We can deliver
the car to your hotel in Athens for no charge
from 0900 to 1900 on the week days and from
0900 to 1600 on Saturdays and Sundays. You
can drop the car off again at your hotel any
day and time you prefer. If it’s after
our office hours, we will collect it the following
morning (no charge). If you don’t feel
confident about driving in Athens and heading
for the highway, we can even take you to the
beginning of the highway and point you to
the correct direction! That also is a free
service but you have to have asked for it
Our main offices are on 50, Syngrou Ave. 117
42, Athens. We’re open from 0900 to
1900 on the week days and from 0900 to 1600
on Saturdays and Sundays and we answer the
telephone 24 hours, 7 days a week!
Anything you may need is probably possible
• We rent cars anywhere
• We make one-way-rentals
• Deliveries –
Collections from anywhere in Greece with a
small extra charge according to the distance
• Transfers with Mini
Vans and driver, and more…
So, don’t let pick-up and drop-off be
a problem, just tell us what you want!
6. What does your insurance cover?
We have road assistance in all of our cars
with 24 hour service anywhere in Greece. In
case of accident, if it’s our client’s
fault, he is only responsible up to until
500 €. Our insurance will cover the third
party and our car’s damage after the
first 500 € (Collision and Damage Waiver
with 500 € deductible). Additionally
our cars are covered for theft and fire.
7. What is your cancellation policy?
As soon as you have completed the wizard
and paid for the rental with your credit card,
you have a reservation with us and you receive
our automatic confirmation e-mail. You can
still make any changes at any time, just inform
us a couple of days earlier. If you want to
cancel the whole reservation
• more than 10 days
before the original pick up date, we will
refund the 90% and keep the 10% as a cancellation
fee, but it has to be at least 15€.
• less than 10 days
before the original pick up date, we will
refund the 80% and keep the 20% as a cancellation
fee, but it has to be at least 20€.
Here’s some tips that are not “frequently
asked” but are good to know…
• When entering a roundabout
in Greece you have priority. Meaning that
the one who is already moving in the roundabout
has to stop for the one who enters. Unless
there is a stop sign of course.
• On a red light you
cannot even turn right. You have to stop no
• You can “break”
the speed limit as long as you go more or
less like the other cars are going. The limit
changes very often and sometimes is obscene(!)
so it’s hard to keep track of it. The
police will not expect you to follow the limits
exactly, they’re more sensitive about
going faster than the rest and driving carelessly.
• Some places of major
tourist interest and the distance in hours
from Athens: Cape Sounio (1 hour), Nafplio
(2 hours), Patra - Olympia (4 hours), Sparti
- Mystras (3 hours), Delphi (2,5 hours), Meteora
(5 hours), Thessaloniki (5,5 hours). An interesting
and very popular 1-day-tour would be the tour
of Argolis: Athens - Korinth – Ancient
Korinth – Epidavros – Nafplio
– Micynae – Korinth – Athens.
• Together with the
info you have from your tourist book, double
check by calling the site you want to visit
because they close early especially during
the wintertime and you can never predict a
possible strike or maintenance which is not
often but it happens…