Being well-prepared for your vacation is always a good idea. That includes learning about the driving rules and conventions as they can differ from one country to another.
Driving is a skill most of us possess but driving abroad can sometimes be tricky. This article will tell you about the major Greek driving rules, official regulations, and some unofficial tips for driving in Greece. Learn about the conventions of Greek roads and enjoy your vacation without worries. Following our tips should help you avoid penalties and make driving in Greece more pleasant.
1. General Greek Driving Rules
Seatbelts are compulsory for all passengers in Greece, and children under 10 are not allowed in the front seat.
Children aged 4 and under must be in a child seat, and children 11 years and under and those less than 1.35 meters tall must be seated in a restraint appropriate for their size.
It’s illegal to use a mobile phone when driving in Greece or to drive with a blood-alcohol level of more than 0.05%.
Cars and motorcycles can use the left lane for overtaking. However, if there’s not much traffic it can be used as a regular lane too.
Dipped headlights must be used for poor daytime visibility and dark, and the use of full-beam lights is not allowed in towns.
Contrary to what you might be used to, whoever is already on a roundabout has to give way to the traffic entering the roundabout.
In Greece, you cannot overtake if there are humps in the road, on bends, at bottlenecks, at pedestrian crossings, at junctions, or in the case of low visibility.
According to Greek driving rules you’re not allowed to change lanes at junctions, and you should make sure to only use your horn, in emergencies and when you’re in direct danger, otherwise, you can be fined.
2. Speed Limits in Greece
- Urban areas: 50 km/h
- Outside of towns: 90 km/h
- On larger, open roads: 110 km/h
- On highways/motorways: 120-130 km/h
3. Tolls in Greece
Greece has multiple paid highways, and they are by far the fastest way to drive around mainland Greece. The toll fees range from under one euro to around 5 euros per payment point except for The Rio-Antirio Bridge. This project continually requires maintenance which makes it the most expensive toll point in Greece. The cost for a regular passenger vehicle amounts to 13,5 euros.
4. Car Rental in Greece
Car rental in Greece is fairly easy because there are many global car rental services all around. Especially in major cities, towns, and airports.
In most cases 21 years old is the age you must be to rent a car in Greece. However, this can differ, so check it the age limits on their websites before you hire a car.
EU and US licenses are valid in Greece but if you’re from a different country you will need an international driver’s license (a.k.a. international driving permit).
The cost of a rental car depends mostly on the time of year and availability.
When it comes to insurance the Greek law requires fire insurance and third-party liability insurance. The rental price should already include this. Then you can add collision damage waiver, theft protection, personal accident insurance, and others.
5. More Friendly Tips for Driving in Greece
When driving in Greece, assume that you’re the only one who knows how to drive properly. Expect the unexpected from your Greek road buddies. Regardless of this rule of thumb, we have some helpful unofficial tips for driving around Greece.
Tip no. 1: Slow Down Early
The first unofficial driving tip you must know when visiting Greece is to not be afraid to slow down the drivers behind you. For some reason, Greek drivers tend to start racing when the traffic light turns from green to yellow. So if you’re not joining the race, make sure you brake early to avoid being rear-ended.
Tip no. 2: Respect the Lanes Even When Others Don’t
Secondly, it happens that sometimes even a double line won’t stop Greek drivers from passing and overtaking. Practice safe driving by sticking to your lane and remaining on guard at all times.
Tip no. 3: Motorcyclists Are Road Rebels
Motorbikes don’t often stick to the road rules. They tend to cross lanes and wiggle their way through traffic to get to their destination as fast as possible. So our driving tip is to be patient around motorcyclists in Greece. They will get in your way at some point so give them space.
Tip no. 4: Greek Taxi Drivers Are Renegades
A guide to Greek roads wouldn’t be complete without mentioning taxi drivers. They’re a little wild and think they own the roads. If you encounter a taxi make sure to give it a lot of room because they might do something unexpected. Greek taxi drivers might turn without using a blinker or suddenly pull over to pick up/drop off customers so watch out for your own safety.
Tip no. 5: Use Your Horn on Winding Greek Roads
Small Greek village roads in the islands or the mountains have many steep and winding roads and sharp corners. Our driving tip is to use your horn before making any sharp turns. This will let drivers going in the opposite direction know that you’re there too.
Tip no. 6: Pedestrian Crossings Are Irrelevant
When it comes to driving in Greek cities and towns you should be careful with stopping at the pedestrian crossings. Greek drivers might not be expecting this, and you can end up shouted at or in the worse scenario, rear-ended. However, the pedestrians are aware of this dynamic, so don’t feel bad about not giving them the right of way. Rather, be careful because neglect comes from both parties and the pedestrians will jaywalk even busy avenues.
Tip no. 7: Animals Don’t Follow the Road Rules
In the countryside, you should be cautious of farm animals. They often roam around freely so you might find them crossing or even sleeping on the road. When it comes to animals always be vigilant, unless you want to end up accidentally hunting your dinner with your car’s hood.
Tip no. 8: Greek Roads Can Be Run Down
Road conditions might not be all that good in Greece. They vary but you should expect areas without any lanes painted on the road, and roads full of potholes. They are rather normal, and you might not be able to avoid them.
Tip no. 9: Parking in the Cities Can Be a Nightmare
Our last driving tip is to park in a parking lot rather than trying to find a roadside parking spot. You won’t find one that easily, especially in major cities or towns.
Athenian Police are strict and will remove your number plates if you are parking in a no-parking zone, be careful.
Also, keep in mind not to park too close to the following:
- a fire hydrant (at least 3 meters away),
- a junction (at least 5 meters away),
- a public transport stop (at least 15 meters away)
The rule of thumb is that if you are unsure park further away.
If driving in Greece still sounds a little daunting don’t worry. We are sure that your driving experience will be great. All you need to do is trust your driving skills and use these tips to your advantage.