Greece Driving Guide 2021
Experience glorious Greece and see the spectacular view of Mount Olympus and historical places in Athens. An international driving permit is a must-have. Read this guide for the best trip you could ever experience.
To make your European tour experience worthwhile, Greece must be on your itinerary. Considered as an archipelagic country that is surrounded by three seas, Greece offers highly diversified landscapes that range from sand and pebble beaches to dark sand typical of coastal wetlands and volcanic rocks. The archipelago is divided into seven large islands that you should all visit, as each one has its own unique experience to offer.
If you want to make your stay in this country more manageable, an International Driver’s Permit is a must for you to easily rent a car, thus making your road trip in Greece and exploring its amazing locations more enjoyable. The aforementioned permit can also offer you a flexible schedule, which is ideal for those who want to follow their own plan. Further, it allows you to access specific locations that cannot be explored when utilizing public transportation.
How Can This Guide Help You?
It is safe to say that to make the most out of your future travels, it is imperative to plan ahead. In this regard, one can prepare in advance by getting useful information about the country you are about to visit. This guide can provide you details that will certainly make your travel to Greece a pleasant experience. These details will include how to explore the country, beautiful places for you to visit aside from the major cities of Greece, road rules of the country, and dos and don'ts as a tourist in Greece.
This guide can also impart valuable knowledge on how you can safely and effectively explore all sites while driving in Greece as a tourist. Proceed by reading the following information you want to know more about the country, its people, culture, and traffic situation before traveling there. Buckle up in your car seat and prepare to be astonished by the magic that is Greece.
Greece is without a doubt a beautiful country and like other places that are known for their attractive scenery, it is best to explore it on an open road. In the past, Greece was traditionally an agricultural country, but because of the decline in the importance of agriculture, its tourism has become its largest industry. The country is popular among tourists because of its rich archeological sites, which provide a large percentage to the country’s tourism income.
Greece is situated in South-Eastern Europe and as mentioned above, it is surrounded by three seas that make the country archipelagic. It is composed of 2000 islands that sit in between Albania and Turkey, and has a total land area of 131,957 km2. Greece is a mountainous area where Mount Olympus is famously known to demonstrate its highest peak. Athens is the capital of the country which is known to be occupied by a third of the country’s population.
As a country heavily financed by its tourism, Greece has become a popular region for travelers across the globe to visit. As such, you can expect many hotels, restaurants and beaches that can cater your needs. Hotels found in Santorini, Greece are a favorite spot to visit by tourists, as the region is recognized worldwide for its stunning sunsets and dramatic views.
Standard modern Greek is the official language of the country. The said language is known to be a combination of two historic forms, which are Demotic and Katharevousa. Other languages that are prominent in the country include Turkish, Albanian and Macedonian. Coming to this country with zero knowledge to the aforementioned languages poses no problem, as Greeks are known to understand and speak English fluently.
Half of the country is known to speak English as they learn the language at an early age. Further, due to the fact that the country heavily relies on tourism for their economy, you can expect that their locals can speak English when communicating.
As mentioned above, the total land area of Greece is 131,957 km2, and it is famous for its mountainous terrain. The country is also known for its islands that constitute it. At present, there are 2000 Greek islands that comprise Greece.
Migrations and invasions during the 20th century are some contributing factors that influenced ethnic diversity in Greece. For this reason, national diversity in the country has remained a sensitive issue. However, the Greek government has made an official stand that there are no national or ethnic minorities in the country and all people living there can be considered as Greek.
Before the Archaic Period, there was a time in Greece where the condition of the country was known to be in a period of Dark Ages. It is during this time that people living in Greece are scattered and live in small farming villages. The people of the country eventually learned how to make laws and with this, they created their own government and began organizing their citizens. Taxes were soon collected and armies were established by these governments.
Greek colonies emerged between 750 and 600 B.C. as it became noticed by other nations because of its ever-growing population. Colonization of Greece was mainly facilitated by Mediterranean and North Africa, which at present, evidently influenced the culture that is prominent in the country. Greece became self-sufficient and self-governing by the end of the 7th century B.C.
Parliamentary Republic is the type of government in Greece. It is also known as the Hellenic Republic, whose Head of the State has the title of President. The President normally serves 5 years in a single term, and their election is mainly decided by the Parliament. On the other hand, the Head of the Government is the country’s Prime Minister. The Prime Minister, together with other decision-making bodies constitute the Greek Government.
The President of the Republic and the Parliament exercise legislative power in the country. The President has limited political power, but one of their most important duties is the appointment of the country’s Prime Minister. Executive power is vested to the President of the Government and the Republic. The courts of law exercise judicial power, whose decisions are normally made for the welfare of the people.
Unless the Parliament is dissolved earlier, elections in Greece are typically held every four years. The legal electoral age in the country is 18 years old. With each new elected Government, a voice of confidence should be requested and the new governing body must appear before the Parliament.
Every year, before the pandemic, millions of people try to visit Greece. The country is definitely one of the most popular European destinations that people dream of touring. It ranked 13th in the world rating of tourist destinations. The country approximately receives thirty million people from around the globe annually. It has the mainland and the Greek islands that are covered with a slew of popular tourist attractions.
This country is most popular for its long history and wonderful beaches. You can visit countless archeological sites in the country that will give you an idea about its past. The 2000 Greek islands are also a beauty to see, as their variations can attract almost all people with different tastes and interests. There are many facilities on these islands that can surely accommodate a myriad of tourist needs.
The Mediterranean climate of Greece is mainly characterized by mild temperatures, plenty of sunshine and little rainfall. During summer, you can expect to experience warm days that are still cooled by seasonal winds. In winter, a minimum amount of snow and ice is expected in lowland areas, while mountainous regions are usually covered in snow. This pleasant climate condition is one of the reasons why the country is visited by tourists all year round.
Exploring the country at the comfort of your own time will make traveling more fun, as opposed to being a hassle. Renting a car and driving around the country in your own free time can be the best way to achieve this. In line with this, one important question to keep in mind is if the country requires you to request for an International Driving Permit (IDP). In Greece’s case, the said permit is a must-have. A driving in Greece license is not sufficient for you to be permitted to operate a vehicle.
Getting an IDP is fundamental to a stress-free and safe journey to Greece. The acquisition of this permit is easy and hassle-free. It is a good idea to get an IDP before your road trip. To know more about the details of how you can get your hands on this crucial permit, continue reading forward to ensure easy and smooth driving in Greece as a tourist.
Who Needs an IDP?
An IDP is an essential document for people who frequently travel abroad. Due to the fact that many European countries can be accessed by land, the aforementioned statement is especially true for Europeans. Most of the time, Europeans travel across country borders that require them to show their regular license together with their IDP. If you are living in other areas, you can have the same experience of traveling across countries with an IDP. As for driving in Greece with a UK license, it does not require you to get an IDP.
Apart from using the IDP as a tourist, the permit is also a convenient document to possess when visiting a country for business purposes. The permit enables you to travel at your own convenient time, with comfort, as opposed to riding in public transportation that can be exhausting. The same can be said to those who are planning to stay in the country for good or simply for a long duration. The IDP can be your temporary license to drive a car while preparing yourself for the acquisition of a new local license.
Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Greece?
A local driver’s license is not enough to allow you to drive in Greece. In addition to this, you must acquire an International Driver’s License as your main driving license in Greece. The International Driver’s License essentially grants you the right to operate a car around the country. Failure to do so will encourage local law enforcement to subject you to a fine, especially when you are seen to not possess the appropriate driving license in Greece.
When you get your IDP from us, the International Drivers Association, aside from Greece, you are now allowed to travel 200 other countries in a vehicle. This will enable you to access neighboring countries by land, thus making your travel more worth it and exciting. The IDP translates your native license into 12 languages. So, when a law enforcer who doesn’t speak your language asks you to present your regular driver’s license, the IDP can easily translate it for them.
Who Can Apply for an IDP?
Anyone with a valid driver’s license can apply for an IDP. As such, you need to secure a local license first from your home country before requesting for an IDP. Keep in mind that this permit is basically just a translation of your native license. This way, traffic enforcers in the country that you will visit can assess whether you’re competent to drive a vehicle.
If you’re ready to apply for an IDP, visit our International Drivers Association’s application page and choose an IDP package. Here are the requirements for your application:
- Valid Government-Issued Driver’s License
- ● Passport size image of yourself
- ● Passport Copy (if needed)
How Long Is an IDP Valid?
The validity of an IDP can vary depending on your application price. The shortest validity if you acquire from the International Drivers’ Association is one year. There are two-year and three-year packages as well. Do bear in mind that when using the IDP, your regular license should still be valid for at least a year when in Greece. Therefore, the IDP cannot be used anymore if your native license has a validity period that is below one year.
When deciding on the validity period of your IDP, your purpose should be the primary thing to consider. If you plan to go overseas at least twice a year for the next three years, a three-year IDP works best for you. However, a one-year IDP is practical if you only plan to visit a foreign country for a vacation and will not go abroad for the next three years. An IDP with a longer validity is also suggested for those who frequently travel abroad for business trips.
Does an IDP Replace Your Native Driver’s License?
The answer to this is no. Your native license is not enough to allow you to drive in Greece. It is important to keep in mind that when traveling in a car around this country, apart from your overseas driver’s license, you must carry it together with the IDP. The IDP is not a replacement for your regular license. The validity of this permit is for one to three years and should be accompanied by your native license that should also be valid.
When you get your IDP from us, aside from Greece, you are now allowed to travel 200 other countries in a vehicle. This will enable you to access neighboring countries by land, thus making your travel more worth it and exciting. The IDP translates your native license into 12 languages. So, when a law enforcer who doesn’t speak your language asks you to present your regular driver’s license, the IDP can easily translate it for them.
Renting a Car in Greece
The convenience of driving a car when exploring the majestic scenery of Greece is close to being in paradise. This will not only make your adventure more comfortable, but it will also save you from the hassle of following a tight schedule. So, how do you even rent a car when you are in this beautiful country? Worry no more, this guide will provide you with useful information about car rentals in Greece.
Car Rental Companies
There are 2 ways on how you can rent a car in Greece. One is through online where you can book your desired vehicle before your trip. Another option is by going to a rental car service provider that is located in the area you are going to visit. Between the two, booking a car online is a convenient and more popular choice for tourists.
One notable online car rental service is Auto Europe. The said platform can provide you with the best cars that you can drive at a very affordable price. Whether you need a minivan or station wagon equipped to comfortably accommodate your whole family, Auto Europe works with the best Greece car rental companies to provide their clients with the lowest available rates and highest quality service.
While rental companies don’t always check if renting tourists have an international license, it will most likely be a conundrum if you are suddenly caught by the local authorities or if you are in a traffic accident. As such, it is imperative to check the rules of the rental service provider prior to traveling. There are specific driving license requirements for car hire in Greece. In most cases, a regular driver’s license and an IDP are the standard documents being required by these service providers..
The IDP can be easily obtained from your home country before you travel. You cannot request for this document once you leave your home country. Your rental car company will require this from you at the time of renting so make sure to get it before you visit your destination. Other documents that are of crucial importance include your passport and credit or debit card. European driver’s license holders are exempted from such driving license requirements for car hire in Greece.
Car rental service providers can provide different cars to suit the different needs of their clients. You just have to be explicit with what you are searching for in a car so that the rental company can suggest the best vehicle for you. A small car or a four-seater car is usually suggested for those who travel in small groups. As for those that are in large numbers, many rental companies can provide you large vehicles such as a 9-seater minivan.
Diesel cars are quite difficult to find in Greece, as petrol cars are quite popular. However, if you prefer diesel because it is considerably cheaper, do not afraid to ask the rental company if they can provide you with one. A small car is more fuel-efficient and less costly. A small car is also advisable in rural areas. Considering that you want to make the most out of driving in a beautiful country, it would be more practical to opt for a diesel car when exploring Greece.
Car Insurance Cost
Evidently, price is a huge factor to take into account when renting a car in Greece. You want to make sure that you obtain the best deal possible without compromising your driving experience. Fortunately, car rental service in the country is considerably cheap, especially if you rent ahead of time. Car rental in Greece for an economy vehicle usually costs $250 per week. One can also opt to drive a mini car if you are alone or with a partner at about $150 to $200 every week. The rental cost can be pricier in big cities.
With a rented car in Greece, you can visit its popular tourist destinations and indulge in the natural beauty and rich historic background. Many attractions can also be visited across the mainland via car. You can get cheap car hire services by comparing different car rental fees from different car rental providers in order to get the best deals.
The allowable age for you to be permitted to operate in a vehicle in Greece varies from company to company. Most car rental providers require you to be at least 21 years old before you can rent one of their cars. Other rental companies require a minimum age of 23 years old. Young drivers under the age of 25 are sometimes required to pay a premium for their rental insurance.
The maximum age for car rental in the country also varies, but most of the time they allow the age of until 70 to rent a car from them. Another requirement by most rental companies in Greece is that you should at least have a hold of your license for 12 months before renting a car. Further, it is pivotal to read the terms and conditions provided by your chosen rental company before you rent a car.
Car Insurance Cost
There are large differences in the costs of car insurances in Greece. As for the premium, this also depends on the model of the car, its power, and age. Therefore, you need to check with the car rental company in regards to this information.
Car Insurance Policy
Since your travel insurance does not cover potential theft or damage on your rental car, it is imperative to avail comprehensive car insurance when renting a vehicle. There are different specific car insurances available in Greece, but most rental companies offer a combination of all these insurances. Similar to renting a car in advance, it is also advisable to purchase comprehensive car insurance ahead of time. This will allow you to get the best price for your comprehensive insurance.
In general, the list below shows some required insurance coverage when renting a car in Greece:
- Third-party liability insurance
- Fire protection coverage
- Theft protection coverage
- Personal accident insurance
- Collision damage waiver
- Super collision damage waiver
Road Rules in Greece
When visiting any foreign country, you should be knowledgeable of the basic driving rules and regulations to avoid the possibility of fines and penalties. European countries, more or less share the same road rules. However, people coming from the US and the Asia Pacific might be unfamiliar with these driving laws. For this reason, when you are in this country, it is crucial to take the time to know the basic rules of living and driving in Greece.
Before you start hitting the roads of Greece, it is of utmost importance to be knowledgeable about the important driving regulations observed in the country. Significant consequences are expected to be given to people who fail to comply with their driving regulations. These consequences can be in the form of penalties, fines, or, worse still, injury and death. Below are the required rules and regulations that you should follow in Greece.
An Indian driving license in Greece is also considered inadequate and an IDP is needed. In addition, people who are below 18 years old are restricted from driving. Drinking and driving in Greece is also not permitted. As a person in a foreign country, you need to respect their rules and prevent yourself from getting caught and suffer the consequences enforced by the local authorities.
Driving under the influence of alcohol can pose some serious consequences in this country. Greece has an allowable blood alcohol limit of 0.2 permille. A blood alcohol test that is above this can cause you to be issued a fine of €200 to €2,000. Moreover, repeat drinking offenses can ban you from driving or even imprisoned for up to six months.
Traffic enforcers do not have the authority to collect fines from drunk drivers. They are only allowed to issue the offense ticket needed to be paid at any bank. If you pay this fine within 10 days after the driving offense, you are entitled to a 50% discount. Nevertheless, as a traveler in a foreign country, you need to demonstrate your best behavior and save yourself the hassle from being subjected to these troubles.
Defensive driving is the right kind of attitude if you want to operate a car when on the roads of mainland Greece or the Greek islands. It is of utmost importance for you to know the driving rules in Greece to ensure a safe trip and prevent you from being stopped by local authorities. As a responsible driver, you are expected to be vigilant and not intoxicated before driving. People with eye problems are restricted from driving, unless they have the necessary equipment, such as prescription glasses, to aid them while driving.
Turning Signals at an Intersection
A majority of the lanes in Greece are in good condition, especially in the main cities. In the case of rural areas, roads are narrow, so it’s a common practice for drivers to look out for other drivers by giving signals. Turning signals can also be used to indicate if it’s safe to pass for other drivers. When a driver flashes his right turn signal, it means it’s not safe to pass, and there's oncoming traffic. If the driver flashes his left turn signal, it means there’s no oncoming traffic for you.
Upon reaching your destination, park your car only on the allowable spots of the area. Park in well-illuminated areas if the location is dark. Be mindful of the country’s parking rates so that you’ll not get surprised with your parking fees. Never leave your valuables inside your car and do not forget to lock your vehicle before leaving.
Ensure you and your vehicle are in good condition before driving.
Before you leave your house to drive in Greek roads, try to always check if your car is in its best condition by scrutinizing its tires, battery, brakes, and engine. Moreover, have a sufficient volume of gasoline for your entire trip. Furthermore, never drive on the roads of Greece if you are sick or sleepy.
General Standards of Driving
When driving in Greece, be vigilant and pay close attention to the road and the different driving signs in Greece. Avoid anything that might distract your focus, such as loud music volumes or sound from your mobile phone. Do not entertain calls or read messages while on the road. If it is unavoidable, park your car on the side of the road before checking your cell phone. Lastly, do not forget to fasten your seatbelt and follow the standard speed limits of the road you are driving in, especially on the main roads of Greece.
When driving in a car in Greece, the maximum speed limit that you should follow on ordinary roads is between 90- 110 km/hr. This case is different when driving in motorways where the speed limit is between 110- 130 km/hr. And when driving in built-up areas, a speed limit of 50 km/hr should be followed, as these areas are expected to have narrow roads and are heavily populated.
As a driver in another country, it is important to stay below the aforementioned speed limits to see the driving signs in Greece clearly. This is also a good way to stay away from accidents, especially when driving in urban areas where roads are tighter and more dangerous. A slower speed is also advisable if you want to savor the beautiful sites that you can pass on while driving.
Wearing seatbelts is compulsory when driving in Greece. It is also mandatory that all car seats, not only the driver's seat, have their own seat belt to accommodate all possible passengers. If your medical condition exempts you from wearing a seat belt, you must retrieve from a medical doctor an exemption medical certificate that is accompanied by a Greek translation. In regard to having a child as a passenger, there are stricter rules that you should follow in the country.
A suitable child restraint must be mounted in the car for children that are under 3 years of age. Child restraints that conform with the standards ECE R44/03 are the one’s approved by local authorities. An appropriate child restraint should also be utilized for children between 3 and 11 years old, and measure less than 1.35 meters. Adult seat belts are already allowed to be worn by children ages 12 and above that measure over 1.35 meters. If you plan on installing a rear-facing child restraint, you are allowed to do so on the condition that the passenger airbag is deactivated.
If you are a tourist visiting Greece, you know that getting around a foreign country is quite tricky. Lucky for you, local residents of the country are welcoming, kind-hearted, and always eager to help people out, especially those who are asking for directions. For English speaking tourists, exploring Greece would prove to be easy as the majority of the country’s population can speak English at a conversational level.
Rules For Driving After Brexit
Driving in Greece after Brexit will follow the same driving license rules until the 31st of December 2020. Afterwards, if you are a resident of the country and possess a UK driving license in Greece, you are expected to exchange your UK license for a Greek driving license. The new Greek driving license can be used for short visits in the UK. If you are a tourist with a UK driving license in Greece, in addition to your native license, you are also required to obtain an International Driver’s Permit for you to be allowed to drive in the country.
Traffic Road Signs
While most road signs in Greece conform with the signs of the International and European standards, specific local signs are still present on the mainland and it’s islands. If you are a tourist exploring the country in a car, you’ll most likely encounter these signs that you might be unfamiliar with. To avoid confusion and overwhelming yourself with what they mean, you should at least have a foundational knowledge about them when driving in the country.
The list below are the important road sign categories that you should know before driving in Greece:
- Warning signs in Greece are often red or yellow to advise of potential danger.
- Information signs in Greece are designed to give general details about the road you are using as a driver and what to expect from the road ahead.
- Mandatory road signs are used where you are required to carry out a specific task and are arguably the most important roads signs in Greece.
- Priority road signs in Greece are designed to clarify who has priority at the junction / road ahead.
Right of Way
When driving in Greece, knowing which side of the road is the correct should be considered by tourists. Like most countries in Europe, you have the right of way when you are driving on the right-hand side of Greek roads. In marked/signed junctions, unless there is a stop sign, the right of way belongs to the traffic on the main road. In unmarked exits and junctions, right of way belongs to traffic approaching from the right and on the main road.
When it comes to driving in Greece roundabouts, determining who has the right of way is much trickier. Pedestrians and cyclists are provided the right of way when crossing cycle tracks or pavements in Greece. Road users who are entering roundabouts have right of way. In relation to this, motorists have right of way on roundabouts over cyclists. Finally, when leaving bus stops in the country, buses and trams have right of way.
Legal Driving Age
As repeatedly mentioned in several driving in Greece rules, the legal age for driving a car in the country is 18 years old. However, this driving age does not apply to all forms of vehicle. If you are a motorcycle driver, the legal driving age set by the authority is 16 years old. For driving trucks and cargo vehicles, the minimum age requirement is 21 years old. Being in the aforementioned legal driving ages is a must for drivers or else, you can be penalized.
For local residents to qualify for a driver’s license, you need to pass both the theoretical and driving test in Greece. The same applies to foreigners. They are also expected to pass a theoretical and a practical driving test in Greece. Primary school diploma is also one of the requirements before being bestowed a Greek license. If you speak English as your native language, you can access through the internet a driving test in English in Greece.
Laws on Overtaking
In addition to the previously mentioned driving in Greece rules, overtaking in the country also has a lot of regulations set to be followed by drivers. To know more about this, read the following rules below:
- It is prohibited to overtake at road humps,on bends, bottlenecks, at junctions, and pedestrian crossings.
- When driving in Greece, check the left or right sides of the road before overtaking.
- Overtaking when there is insufficient visibility on the road is highly discouraged.
- Changing lanes and overtaking at a bus top is also forbidden in Greece.
- It is important to exercise caution and restraint when overtaking in interurban and urban areas. Only do so when freeways are present.
Similar to a majority of the countries around the globe, Greeks drive on the right side of the road. For this reason, you should expect Greek vehicles to have the driver's seat positioned on the left side. If you are from a country that follows a left-hand traffic like Australia and plans to use a car in the country, you will most likely struggle. For United States residents, driving in Greece would be easy. It is therefore important to practice different cars before actually driving in the country you’re going to visit.
The Driving Etiquette in Greece
If you are going to come to Greece for a specific purpose, you should remember to always exhibit your best behavior and respect the rules of the country for your fellow drivers. This will allow you to stay away from trouble, and it will make your stay a pleasant experience, as opposed to being a hassle. If you are on the road most of the time, remember to always be courteous and respectful of the people and the driving rules of the roads. Here are some of the important things you need to remember when driving in the marvelous Greek land.
The most important rule that you ought to bear in mind when experiencing car breakdowns in a foreign country is to not panic. Car breakdowns can be a huge hassle, and they can definitely ruin your entire trip if you don’t know what to do in this situation. The following are some things you should do when subjected to such an unpleasant circumstance:
- Get off the road. Try to pull your vehicle away from the road with caution.
When you are stuck in traffic, get out of your car and carefully walk to another location. If you’re currently stuck on a busy road and your car is parked on the shoulder, exit on the passenger side.
However, if you own the car, lock it and leave a note containing your phone number on the windshield in case local authorities or traffic enforcers stop by your vehicle. If you are renting, make sure to contact your service provider before leaving and resting in a safe place.
- Make your vehicle as visible as possible.
To do this, you can turn on your hazard lights to notify people that you are experiencing a driving issue. When parked in a safe and allowable spot, use conspicuous warning signals, such as warning lights, flares, or a hazard triangle to alert anyone of your vehicle’s presence. It is more practical to position your warning tool as far behind your car to get the attention of motorists or local authorities.
- Keep the doors locked.
If you are in a safe location where people can see you, try to wait inside your vehicle. Make sure to lock your doors and keep your seat belts fastened and try to contact someone you know or your car rental service provider.
- Exercise caution.
It is imperative to be careful and exercise good judgement before accepting help from strangers. If you have a suspicious feeling about local residents who are trying to help, stay inside the car and lower your window enough to help them clearly hear your voice. If help is on the way, politely decline the offer of others and say thank you.
Every driver needs to prepare for the possibility of getting pulled over by a police officer, especially when you are a tourist in a foreign country. Do not panic and do not feel intimidated by the police. Try to remember that you have constitutional rights as a driver, but be mindful enough to only exercise them if you are not violating any traffic rules.
When being pulled over, turn your hazard lights and slowly park your car on the shoulder or side of the road. Afterwards, respect the local traffic enforcer or police and immediately show your driving documents such as your driver’s license and IDP. Finally, wait for the police’s instructions and most importantly, cooperate with them.
The Palamidi Fortress offers lovely views into the sea. It looks like paradise. A three-hour drive will take you to a hidden village called Monemvasia. They have paved alleys that will make you feel like you entered into another century.
As Greeks can speak English at a conversational level, it won’t be a problem to ask for directions when driving on their roads. However, it would be of extreme convenience to know some important words and phrases to show your effort in learning their language and allow you to immerse more in their culture. Here are some useful words, phrases and their corresponding Greek spelling that you can use when exploring Greece:
- Good morning / Good day in Greek- ΚΑΛΗΜΕΡΑ (καλημέρα) pronounced kalimEHra
- Good afternoon / Good evening in Greek- ΚΑΛΗΣΠΕΡΑ (καλησπέρα) pronounced kalispEHra ΚΑΛΗΝΥΧΤΑ (καληνύχτα) pronounced kalinIHta means Goodnight
- Hello (informal / formal) in Greek- ΕΙΑ ΣΟΥ / ΓΕΙΑ ΣΑΣ (γεια σου / γεια σας) pronounced yiA sou / yiA sass
- Thank you in Greek- ΕΥΧΑΡΙΣΤΩ (ευχαριστώ) pronounced efharistO
- Please / You are welcome in Greek- ΠΑΡΑΚΑΛΩ (παρακαλώ) pronounced parakalO
- Yes in Greek- ΝΑΙ (ναι) pronounced neh
- No in Greek- ΟΧΙ – (όχι) pronounced ohi
- Toilet in Greek- ΤΟΥΑΛΕΤΑ (τουαλέτα) pronounced tualEHta
- Water in Greek- ΝΕΡΟ (νερό) pronounced nehrO
- Coffee in Greek- ΚΑΦΕΣ (καφές) pronounced kafEHs
- Beer in Greek- ΜΠΥΡΑ (μπύρα) pronounced bEEra
- Taverna/restaurant in Greek- ΤΑΒΕΡΝΑ (ταβέρνα) pronounced tavEHrna
- Ouzo in Greek- ΟΥΖΟ (ούζο) pronounced OOzo
- Beach in Greek- ΠΑΡΑΛΙΑ (παραλία) pronounced parahlIa
- Sea in Greek-ΘΑΛΑΣΣΑ (θάλασσα) pronounced thAHlassa
- Hotel in Greek- ΞΕΝΟΔΟΧΕΙΟ (ξενοδοχείο) pronounced ksenodoHIo
- Greek salad in Greek- ΧΩΡΙΑΤΙΚΗ (χωριάτικη) pronounced horiAtiki
- Wine in Greek- ΚΡΑΣΙ (κρασί) pronounced krahsEE
Sometimes it is inevitable to pass checkpoints when driving in a car. This is especially true in Greece where you can visit neighboring countries by land and are protected by checkpoints. It is only normal that the authorities assigned at each checkpoint will stop you and ask questions or look for travel documents before they will allow you to pass through. When passing these border patrols, it is imperative to exercise proper etiquette.
Greet and show respect to the border patrols and present to them your pertinent documents such as your passport, driver’s license, and IDP. Always answer them politely when they ask questions. Be considerate and speak slowly when they are not fluent in English. To make conversation easier, install appropriate translating applications on your mobile phone. Allow them to check your vehicle when they ask for permission and open your back compartment for checking as well.
Driving Conditions in Greece
Traffic situations in Greece differ significantly in non- European countries such as the United States. It is pivotal to be mindful that the country’s driving and road related fatality rates is the fourth-highest of the 27 countries that make up the European Union. It is therefore of utmost importance to exercise extreme caution while driving in the country.
The same can be said when you are crossing streets or walking along roadways. Bear in mind that you need to drive defensively and with much caution when you are in this country.
Poor roads, high-speed pose hazards, and heavy traffic, especially at night, are to be expected in Greece. As data reported in 2018 by WHO, traffic and other road-related accidents in Greece reached 943 or 0.94% of total deaths. It ranks #140 in the world, and the age-adjusted death rate per 100,000 population is 7.35. These accidents are observed to be caused by factors that commonly include using a phone while driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and overspeeding. Greece has had a declining number of accidents per year since its highest car accident rate was recorded.
The primary means of land public transportation in Greece is the bus. They also are the main transport vehicle patronized by people who want to access the Greek islands. Buses on major cities and the mainland normally cover Greek primary routes. Train networks are present, but are limited. The best way to explore the country if you are a tourist is by using a car, scooter, or a bike, which are also abundant in Greek roads.
Renting a vehicle in the country is easy as rental outlets are usually prominent in areas with substantial towns or resorts. The cars being provided by these companies can also be used for inter-island travel. If you have the budget, internal plane flights or ferry travels are also quite common in the country.
Greece is reported to have a large system of National Roads, with four lane carriageways with central barriers, motorways, and two lane roads without barriers. Road systems are convenient for exploring travelers as they connect the mainland to the Greek islands. New motorways and Greek infrastructure were heavily invested upon by the Government in recent years. Still, road conditions vary from region to region. However, expect heavy Athens' traffic when driving driving.
Due to their poor drainage system, road surfaces tend to get wet after rains and are easily eroded. As a consequence, you can expect that their major highway roads have uneven surfaces. Sharp turns are also very common in rural areas. Most road signs are in Latin or the Greek alphabet with no English translation. For these reasons, a tourist who is planning to drive on Greek roads should be careful and make sure that their vehicle is in good condition.
As previously mentioned, many local drivers in Greece are not disciplined when it comes to following speed limits. The driving culture of Greece is safe for tourist drivers, so it's a good option to drive in Greece. Even when traffic lights are red, Greek drivers have a habit of hooting their horns at these traffic lights. Seatbelts are rarely worn by the locals, and children jumping on the back seats is a common sight in the country. Greeks normally have this mentality of “it will never happen to me”, but statistics show that unfortunately, accidents are common every day, especially in big cities.
Also, the locals of Greece seem to have a disregard for their own safety to an extent that is very unlikely for locals situated in Northern Europe. Shopping Greek grannies ignoring pedestrians and will rush their way in the middle of busy roads is just an example of this blatant disregard for safety and traffic rules. Although drivers are encouraged to move slowly in roundabouts, many Greek locals still tend to drive aggressively when entering them.
Finally, Greek drivers in built-up areas do not always respect traffic signs and often demonstrate poor clutch control when in stationary traffic.
Other important traffic-related details about Greek driving are necessary should you want to enjoy your trip. Speed limit signs and night driving are just two of the important information that you should know as a driver. Read more about them with the information written below.
What Is the Unit of Speed Used in Greece?
The unit of speed commonly used when driving in Greece is kilometers per hour. Speed limits vary in different areas of the country. A speed limit of 50 km/h (or 32 mph) should be followed on residential streets, 90 km/h (56 mph) when driving out of town and 110-120 km/h (69-75 mph) on freeways and major highways. You should keep in mind the freeways are not present on any of the Greek islands. When driving in Greece roundabouts, you should follow a speed of 25-30 kph.
An important reminder to driving tourists about speed limits in the country is that many local drivers do not respect them, especially when they are on larger straight roads. Thus, it is highly important to remain vigilant and exercise caution when driving. On roads with a shoulder lane or multi-lane highways, a tourist who drives obediently in accordance to traffic rules at 110 km/h should not be surprised to see cars that overspeed. Do not imitate their driving practice!!
Is It Safe to Drive at Night?
Things To Do in Greece
The land of Greece is one that is heavily ingrained with ancient mythology and if you like art, history, archeology, and philosophy then an adventure to this remarkable country is not to be missed. As an archipelago, Greece from all corners is surrounded by majestic blue seas. It is made up of a series of idyllic islands that are covered in white evocative buildings. You will also find charming coastal towns, ancient rumbling ruins, and engaging museums across the country.
Many of these to-do tasks can be done with a car and rest assured that we will guide you in every step of your Greek journey. If you find Greece as an excellent country and plan to stay there for employment, there are certain things that you need to exert your effort into to achieve this. To help you with your future plans, carefully read the following information on how you can attain your dream of living and working in Greece.
Drive as a Tourist
All tourists of legal driving age can drive in Greece as long as you have the necessary documents. For people with the UK driver’s license, you are permitted to drive around the country without any additional requirements. For other tourists, your native license is inadequate to qualify you for driving.
So, if you have an Indian driving license in Greece, you are required to request for an IDP if you plan on driving in the country before your travel. To be safe on the road, another document that you should bring is your passport.
Work as a Driver
If you are planning to apply as a driver in Greece, you may need to apply for the Greek driver’s license. To obtain the Greek driver’s license, you should take the driving test that is composed of a theoretical and practical exam. An online driving test in English in Greece can be accessed from the internet for English speakers, which is ideal before taking the actual exam.
In the case of European citizens, you can still use your own driving licence, as long as you are on the minimum driving age of 18 and the licence is valid. However, if you are going to renew your license, renewing it in Greece will automatically convert it into a Greek driver’s license.
Should you decide to apply for a Greek driving licence, you are required to
- Be a resident in Greece
- Not possess a driving license from the same category in EU, EEA or Greece
- Possess the mental and physical standards that will show your suitability to drive
- Acquire a passing mark on both practical and theoretical exam
Documents that are necessary should you decide to apply for a Greek driving license
- Application form
- An identity card or Greek passport
- Health certificates from an ophthalmologist and a general practitioner
- Non-Greek nationals must show their proof of residence
- Two recent passport-sized color photos
- Current driver’s license of the applicant
- Receipt of the fees at the local Tax Office
Apply for Residency
Greece sorted out a way to preface biometric, biometric residence permits for both non-EU and EU nationals residing in its premises. The permit can also be used as an identity card by its residents. After filing for a residency application in the country, authorities will have a span of thirty days to arrange for a date where you can register your data, which are recorded on the permit’s electronic chip. This permit will also determine who has the right to work in Greece.
Here are several types of residence permit that depend on the situation of the applicant. These include:
- Other EU citizens or Non-EU family member/s of Greek
- Retiree/s with independent support
- University students in Greece
- Self-employed entrepreneurs
- A Greek employer’s sponsorship
- A non-EU spouse or child (that’s younger than 21) of a non-EU citizen that’s living and working in Greece for two years
- Administrators, board members, and executives
- EU-wide residence/work permit for long term
- Foreign investment
Most of these permits that can be provided by the Greek Government are free and the necessary documents required to file an application include the following:
- Passport photos
- Birth or marriage certificate
- Working visa
Other Things to Do
Other things can be done in the country of Greece should you decide to stay longer or permanently. Due to its undeniable beauty, many are enamored and are enticed to live and work in the country.
Do You Need to Convert Your License in Greece?
Because of the IDP’s validity, you are required to get the country’s local license in the event that you want to stay permanently in Greece. Getting the license in this country has similar procedures with other nations. Some prerequisites for its application include your native driver's license, visa, passport, and your international driver's license. You also need to pass a theoretical and practical driving test before you are granted with their driver’s license.
The Top Destinations in Greece
Greece is considered a paradise by everyone, from travelers to holidaymakers. Today, the country is viewed by people as a land that was once loved by the Greek gods and many are enamored by the rich history that can be discovered from its magnificent monuments, which testify to the glory of the bygone days.
A lot of people are also captivated by it which invites visitors from all around the world. With the help of your rented car, you can explore all of these and experience truly the magic that is Greece.
You cannot visit this country without exploring its capital. Athens is seen by many people as a top Greek destination, as it provides a mix of ancient monuments, bazaars from the east, dense traffic and green parks to its visitors. As a place that is composed of many landmarks, the best way to cover everything is by renting a car and visiting all areas that can be accessed by the vehicle.
- Take Attiki Odos/A6/E94 and A/D PAThE/A1/E75 to Leof. Kifisou/Par.
- Leoforou Kifisou in Peristeri.
- Take the exit toward PERISTERI from A/D PAThE/A1/E75.
- Lastly, take Lenorman to Pireos in Athena.
Things to Do
If you wish to make your stay in this area worthwhile, here’s a list of the most enjoyable activities to do in Athens, Greece.
1. Join free Guided Tours
There are free guided tours in the old town of Athens. Do not forget to watch the magical sunset that can be seen from the Temple of Poseidon. It is also a great idea to climb the Acropolis of Athens and admire the magnificent Temple of Athena Nike.
2. Climb the World-Renowned Acropolis
You should get up early to visit and climb the Acropolis. The place is always packed with people to see the Parthenon, which is a previously recognized wonder of the world. The popular hill also boasts historically significant sites such as the Erechtheion and Arrhephorion.
3. Swim at the Edem Beach
The popular Edem beach is a perfect spot for those tourists who would like to do outdoor activities such as swimming and different water sports.
Driving in the Peloponnese is simple. The streets are tranquil and driving isn't as forceful as it used to be. The most serious issues that you can experience are individuals driving sluggishly, not keeping to one side of the road and by and large, not focusing for example rising up out of a side street and dallying along in ecstatic obliviousness that they're holding up the vehicle behind.
- Follow Leof. Athinon and EO8 to Olimpia Odos/A8/E94 in Mandra.
- Resume onto Olimpia Odos/A8/E94 and A7 to EO Tripolis Spartis/EO39 in Tripoli.
- Take the exit toward Tegea/Sparti from A7.
- Continue on EO Tripolis Spartis/EO39 to your destination in Skiritida.
Things to Do
Fall in love with this amazing tourist spot by doing the recommended activities below.
1. See the Greek Town of Nafplio
Making a trip to the nearby Peloponnese peninsula offers visits to many beautiful attractions. There lies the Greek town of Nafplio which is full of old monuments and picturesque streets that can be visited by just walking.
2. Learn Greek Civilization and History
You can also enter and walk through the shaft graves that are located in Mycenae, which is one of the first cities of the ancient Greek civilization. The area is famous for the cyclopean wall which boasts the remarkable limestone wall that is built by Cyclopean masonry.
3. Watch Great Productions at the Great Theatre of Epidaurus
This historical site can accommodate 16,000 people, and it is normally an attraction where different plays and productions are held for locals and tourists to watch. The area is a place to see amazing performances, especially during the Epidaurus Festival in the month of June and July.
Time to visit the Greek islands!!! The country has 6000 islands, 200 of which are inhabited. Each island has exciting activities to offer to travelers and Crete is definitely on your itinerary when you are in Greece. It is the largest island in the country and is considered by many as the home to numerous legends and the cradle of the European civilization. Trying to know about the traffic standards and your excursion around Crete should be all going great.
Simply recall that in Crete, vehicles are driven on the correct roadside and have the option to proceed when coming from that side. Also, this implies that vehicles entering a roundabout are permitted to go first while drivers who are now inside the circle must yield.
- Take Epar.Od. Arvanitokerasias - Kollinon, EO Tripolis Spartis/EO39, A7 and Olimpia Odos/A8/E94 to Pireas Iraklio in Pireas.
- Take the Pireas Iraklio ferry to Iraklio.
- Drive from Leof. Sofokli Venizelou, VOAK/A90/E75, PEO90, Epar.Od. Tylisos - Anogion, ... and Epar.Od. Agiou Silla-Axou to Zoniana.
- Drive to your destination.
Things to Do
Crete has a lot of amazing activities to offer to people who want to make their Greek experience more enjoyable. Read below some of the popular things that you could do while in Crete.
1. Mountain Climbing in Knossos
Some of the popular attractions in this area include the Knossos, which is known for its mountainous inland. The place became popular when different mountain activities were created in this attraction that can satisfy one’s adventurous soul.
2. Visit the Heraklion Archaeological Museum
Another popular Crete attraction is the Heraklion Archaeological Museum which you can visit if you want to know more about the island, as it stores most of its amazing history.
3. Stroll and Enjoy Wine Tasting
Crete’s landscape is gorgeous and dotted with aromatic citrus trees and olive tree plantations and vineyards. You can enjoy your day at these vineyards by trying some of the area’s most popular wines and cuisines.
The Dodecanese is a group of islands in the southern Aegean Sea close to the Turkish coast. The islands are full of beautiful landmarks, from castles, temples to Byzantine churches.You can easily work your way in Dodecanese by leasing a vehicle. It's as simple as going online, renting a car, and driving off.
Upon arrival, you'll need to experience visa control and show the local authorities at the vehicle recruit work area your driving permit as well. You don't have to get your head around any confounded public vehicle frameworks: just hop in your recruit vehicle and go.
- Drive from Stadiou, EO91, Leof. Andrea Siggrou, Leof. Posidonos and Mikras Asias to Pireas.
- Continue to Patmos - Pireas.
- Take the Leros - Patmos ferry.
- Drive along EO95 and Komninon.
- Fly via airplane to your destination.
Things to Do
The Islands of Dodecanese are known for the interesting activities that it can offer to its visitors. Listed below are some of them for you to read.
1. See the Medieval Towns in Rhodes
Its main island is Rhodes which is famous for its medieval towns where knights once resided. Seeing this amazing place in person will definitely give you an idea about Greek architecture.
2. Fishing in the Village of Lindos
A lot of travelers also journey to the fishing village of Lindos while passing old fortresses along the way. The place is a popular spot for doing fishing activities and watersports. You can also tour the charming small village via a boat ride.
3. Nature Walk on the island of Kos
Another island to satisfy your adventurous spirit is Kos, which is considered as the floating island of the Aegean Sea and home to an endless field of hibiscus, jasmine and elder trees. This place is perfect for those who love botanical gardens, or to simply have a moment to appreciate nature.
The Cyclades is home to wonderful sandy beaches, barren landscapes dotted with chapels, and blue and white houses. For this reason, the area is considered to be the epitome of Greek islands. One of its most popular tourist destinations is Santorini which is famous for its beautiful landscapes that are postcard worthy. The place is a popular spot to do different activities, but is most popular for swimming and fishing.
To be reasonable, driving in Santorini isn't for the cowardly. On the off chance that you are a bit anxious around steep precipices and tight streets that you need to impart to transports coming the opposite way, at that point you may need to choose which driver in your gathering will be more joyful to take on this test before you lease a vehicle. Having said that, investigating this novel island of the Aegean is simply worth the difficult drive.
- 1.Take Leof. Kifisias, Attiki Odos/A6/E94, Periferiaki Imittou/A64, Leof. Marathonos/EO54 and Al. Flemingk to Rafina - Tinos in Rafina.
- Turn right onto Akti Andrea Papandreou/Paraliaki.
- Take the Rafina - Tinos ferry.
- Drive to Eth. Antistasis.
- Fly via airplane to your destination.
Things to Do
Visiting Cyclades offers not only fun activities, but also beautiful attractions to see as a tourist. Here’s a list of things you can do while in the area.
1. Swimming and Fishing in Santorini
Santorini is probably the most popular tourist destination in Greece. Due to its popularity, different attractions and activities can be experienced in this area. Swimming, fishing, and going to the finest hotels and restaurants in Greece are just some of the things that you can do here.
2. Hiking at Trail Fira
If you have an adventurous spirit, you can test your strength and stamina by hiking at Trail Fira. The area is also famous for its view of the sea where tourist can take amazing photos to commemorate their Greek journey.
3. Santorini Hot Springs
Santorini is not only popular for its beautiful restaurants and hotels, but is also famous for the amazing hot springs that are present around the area. You can end your day in Cyclades by relaxing your mind and body in these therapeutic hot springs.