Rent a Car for Travel in Athens

Athens is a vibrant and historic city with so much to see and do. With ancient ruins, world-class museums, great food, and a lively nightlife scene, you’ll want the freedom to fully explore everything this Greek capital has to offer. Renting a car is one of the best ways to get around Athens and make the most of your visit. Here’s a guide on renting a car for travel in Athens.

Rent a Car for Travel in Athens

Benefits of Renting a Car in Athens

Renting a car provides several advantages for travelers in Athens:

Convenience and Flexibility

Having your own set of wheels gives you the flexibility to visit sights on your own schedule. You don’t have to rely on public transportation or join group tours. With a rental car, you can come and go as you please.

Access to Outlying Areas

Some of Athens’ top attractions like Cape Sounion, Temple of Poseidon, and Vouliagmeni Beach are located outside the city center. With public transit, these areas can be time-consuming to reach. A rental car allows easy access.

Comfort and Privacy

Riding in a rental car is much more comfortable and private than taking crowded public transportation in Athens. You can blast the A/C on a hot day and listen to your own music.

Potential Cost Savings

Depending on the length of your trip, having your own wheels can potentially save you money compared to riding taxis or Uber around Athens. The ability to buy groceries and eat economical meals in your apartment can also cut costs.

Booking Your Rental Car

If you’ve decided to rent a car for your Athens vacation, here are some tips for booking:

Reserve Early

Especially during peak tourist season, you’ll want to reserve your rental car as early as possible to ensure availability and the best rates.

Location Matters

Pay attention to the pickup and dropoff locations when booking. Centrally located agencies near your hotel or apartment can save time and hassle. Verify parking policies at your accommodation.

Compare Rates

Shop around and compare rates between rental companies. Consider package deals that include GPS, insurance, etc. Check for any membership discounts that you can use.

Read the Fine Print

Before completing your booking, read the fine print carefully so you fully understand all fees, policies, and restrictions. This can help avoid surprises down the road.

Seek Promo Codes

Search for promo codes and coupons that you may be able to apply to your rental car booking for additional savings.

Navigating Athens by Car

Athens’ roads and highways are very congested, especially during rush hours. Here are some tips for driving in the ancient metropolis:

Avoid Traffic Jams

Use real-time GPS and traffic apps like Google Maps to identify congestion and route around it when possible. Leaving earlier or later can help bypass the worst bottlenecks.

Pay for Parking

In central Athens, you’ll have to pay for parking in most areas. Have coins, credit cards, or pay by phone apps ready. Park only in designated areas to avoid fines.

Use Caution in Pedestrian Areas

Drive slowly and carefully around the historic Plaka district and popular squares, where pedestrians mingle with vehicles.

Get an International Driving Permit

While your home license may be acceptable, getting an IDP translates it into Greek and can simplify the process if stopped by police.

Fill the Tank Often

With Athens’ narrow streets and heavy traffic, you don’t want to risk running out of gas. Fill up your tank whenever possible. Gas stations are readily available.

Use Common Sense

Use your best judgment when navigating Athens’ chaotic streets. Drive defensively and yield to aggressive local drivers. Getting there safely is more important than getting there fast.

Top Day Trip Destinations

One of the best perks of having a rental car in Athens is being able to take easy day trips to magnificent sites nearby. Here are some top day trip destinations to consider:

Temple of Poseidon (Cape Sounion)

The windswept ruins of the Temple of Poseidon sit dramatically atop a cliff overlooking the Aegean Sea. It’s only about a 60-90 minute drive from Athens.


Journey back in time exploring the ancient ruins and Oracle site at Delphi, considered the center of the ancient Greek world. It’s 2-3 hours from Athens.


This scenic seaside town with charming narrow alleys, Ottoman fountains, and medieval castles makes for a lovely day trip from Athens. It’s around a 2 hour drive.


Explore the Bronze Age ruins of the powerful city of Mycenae, including the iconic Lion’s Gate and Beehive Tombs. Under 2 hours by car from Athens.

Corinth Canal

Watch ships pass through this impressive, narrow canal cutting through the Isthmus of Corinth. It’s about an hour and a half drive from Athens.

Types of Rental Cars in Athens

Athens rental car companies offer a range of vehicle models and sizes to meet different needs. Consider these popular options:


Best for solo travelers or pairs on a budget. No frills but efficient for getting around the city. Examples: Toyota Yaris, Fiat Panda.


Good value for small groups with room for 2-4 passengers and a couple bags. Maneuverable for urban driving. Examples: Opel Corsa, Nissan Micra.


Solid pick for families or small groups with space for 4-5 passengers. Comfortable for longer day trips. Examples: Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Golf.

Standard SUV/Crossover

Versatile option with ample cargo and passenger room. Extra ground clearance for bumpy roads. Examples: Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Tucson.

Passenger Van

For large groups or families, with seating for up to 8 and lots of luggage room. Check license requirements for driving larger vehicles. Examples: Mercedes Vito, Volkswagen Caravelle.

FAQ About Renting Cars in Athens

How old do I need to be to rent a car in Greece?

Most car rental companies in Greece require drivers to be at least 21 years old, with some requiring drivers to be 25 or older for certain vehicle classes. Drivers under 25 may have to pay additional fees.

What kind of insurance should I get?

It’s highly recommended to opt for comprehensive collision and theft insurance when renting a car in Greece. This provides protection from damage or loss. Your personal insurance may not cover international rentals.

Are automatic cars available?

Yes, both automatic and manual transmission cars are available from Athens rental companies. Reserve early if you specifically need an automatic vehicle. Automatic cars are more limited in supply and cost a little extra.

Can I add an additional driver?

Adding a second authorized driver to your rental agreement is usually permitted for an extra daily fee. Both drivers must be present and show their licenses when picking up the vehicle.


Renting a car is an excellent way to experience Athens and the surrounding region at your own pace. With a rental, you can efficiently explore the city while having the freedom to reach top attractions in the countryside like Delphi, Nafplio, and Cape Sounion. Reserve early, understand insurance needs, and consider vehicle size based on your group and luggage. Use caution navigating Athens’ congested streets. With some preparation and defensive driving, cruising around in your own rental car can be an unforgettable way to unlock everything Athens has to offer. Enjoy the flexibility to create your own adventures during your Greek getaway!


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