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Athens Car Hire : Discovering Greece on Wheels

Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveller, this guide will ensure you're well-prepared for your driving adventure in Athens. Let's hit the road, shall we?

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Planning to explore Greece, the vibrant country that beautifully blends ancient history with modern lifestyle? One of the best ways to delve into its captivating culture and scenic landscapes is by opting for a hired car. This service provides the freedom and convenience to plan your itinerary around your interests and pace, without the constraints of public transport schedules. This All-encompassing guide will cover everything you need to know about Athens car hire, from online booking procedures to picking up your vehicle at Athens airport. We’ll navigate you through the major roads you’re likely to traverse, and discuss tolls, insurance, and fuel policy.

Online Booking for Athens Car Hire

Booking your Athens car rental online can dramatically simplify your travel preparations. With just a few clicks from the comfort of your home, you can compare rental prices, read customer reviews, and select a service that caters to your specific needs and preferences. The primary advantage of booking in advance is the peace of mind it offers. You can rest assured knowing that a vehicle that suits your requirements will be ready for you upon your arrival at Athens airport, eliminating the stress of last-minute arrangements.

Another advantage is the potential cost savings. Often, early online bookings come with discounted rates, allowing you to secure a better deal than what you might get onsite. Additionally, you have the luxury of time to thoroughly understand the terms and conditions of your Athens car hire, including aspects such as insurance and fuel policy. This transparency helps avoid surprises down the line.

So, why not make your travel experience smoother by booking your Athens car hire online? After all, the less time you spend on logistics, the more time you have to immerse yourself in the rich history and vibrant culture of Athens.

Athens Airport Car Hire Services

When your flight lands at Athens International Airport, wouldn’t it be convenient to step off the plane and straight into your rental car? Thanks to Athens airport car hire services, this scenario can be your reality. Numerous car rental companies operate within the airport, ensuring that you can start your Athens adventure almost immediately upon arrival.

Companies like Avis, Budget, Hertz, and Europcar are some of the major names offering Athens airport rent a car services✈️. These firms provide a wide range of vehicles to choose from, whether you’re looking for a compact car for city driving or a spacious SUV for family road trips. Keep in mind, though, that availability can vary, especially during the peak tourist season. Hence, it’s always wise to book in advance.

Car hire services at Athens International Airport are typically located in the arrivals hall, making them easy to find. Simply collect your baggage, head over to your chosen car hire desk, and within minutes, you’ll be ready to embark on your Athens adventure. Now that’s what we call an easy start to your holiday!

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Navigating the Major Roads of Athens

Navigating through Athens by car can be a thrilling experience. The city’s major roads and highways, such as Attiki Odos, Poseidonos Avenue and Syngrou Avenue, offer drivers a unique blend of urban scenery, historical landscapes, and coastal views. However, it’s important to be prepared for peak traffic times, particularly in the city centre and around tourist hotspots.

Attiki Odos is a privately owned toll motorway that circles the city, providing a convenient route to Athens International Airport. It’s an ideal route for those seeking a quick and efficient way to traverse the city. Poseidonos Avenue, on the other hand, takes you along the stunning Athenian Riviera, offering breathtaking views of the Saronic Gulf. Last but not least, Syngrou Avenue is a major city road connecting the city centre with the southern suburbs, passing by numerous points of interest such as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre.

When driving 🚗 in Athens, it’s advisable to have a reliable GPS system to help you navigate the city’s labyrinthine streets. Remember that roads in the city centre can be narrow, and parking can be challenging to find. It’s often easier to park outside the city centre and use public transport or walk to reach the central areas.

Finally, Greek driving style can be assertive, so stay alert and be patient. Avoid rush hours if possible and always adhere to speed limits. With these driving tips in Athens, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate the Athens major roads with confidence and ease. Remember, a safe journey is the first step to an unforgettable adventure.

Understanding Tolls in Athens

While exploring Athens by car, it’s essential to have a good understanding of the Athens toll system as you’ll likely encounter tolls on the major highways. These tolls fund road maintenance and infrastructure improvements, ensuring a smoother and safer driving experience. As such, they are relevant to anyone opting for car rental in Athens.

💸Toll rates vary based on the type of vehicle, with higher rates for larger vehicles. As a general guide, expect to pay between €1.80 to €2.80 when driving a standard car on highways such as the Attiki Odos. Do note that toll rates can change, and it’s always a good idea to check the most current rates online or at the toll booth.

The Athens toll system accepts cash and credit/debit card payments at manned booths, but it’s most efficient to use electronic toll passes if your rental car is equipped with one. Some car rental companies include toll passes as part of their rental packages, so be sure to inquire about this option when booking your vehicle.

While toll roads are often the quickest way to get around, toll-free routes in Athens do exist for those looking to cut costs. However, these routes may be longer or involve more complex city driving. Always weigh up your options and choose the route that best aligns with your comfort, schedule, and budget.

Choosing the Right Type of Car Rental 🚐

When it comes to Athens car hire, you’ll find a broad spectrum of vehicle types to choose from. Selections range from comfortable compact cars, ideal for navigating the city’s narrow streets, to spacious SUVs and minivans or seven seaters, perfect for family trips. The key lies in understanding your travel needs and selecting the right vehicle accordingly.

One of the first things to consider when choosing a car rental is the amount of people travelling with you. If you’re travelling solo or as a couple, a compact or mid-sized car would suffice. These cars are not only cost-effective but are also easier to park and drive within the city’s bustling streets. In contrast, for larger groups or families, an SUV or a minivan is recommended. These provide ample space for both passengers and luggage, making the journey more comfortable.

Another point to consider is the nature of your itinerary. If your plans are confined to the city centre with narrow roads and limited parking, then compact types of rental cars in Athens are most suitable. However, if you’re venturing out into the countryside or planning a road trip across Greece, consider a larger, sturdier vehicle for a smooth ride on the diverse terrains.

Lastly, think about your comfort and convenience. Automatic cars might be a more comfortable option if you’re not used to manual transmission. Similarly, if you’re travelling during summer, ensure the car has effective air conditioning.

So, consider your needs, do a bit of research, and you’ll be well on your way to choosing the right car rental for your Athens adventure. Remember, the right car can make your journey not just smoother, but also more enjoyable. Read our Car Types Cheatsheet to dive in the details of choosing the right car!

Tips for a Smooth Car Rental Experience

Embarking on your Athens journey with a hire car can be an exhilarating experience. To make the most of it, there are a few car rental tips in Athens that can ensure a smooth car rental experience.

Firstly, consider your insurance options carefully. While basic coverage is usually included in the car rental, you might want to consider additional coverage for peace of mind. This might include Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Theft Protection.

Secondly, familiarise yourself with the fuel policy of the rental company. Some companies offer a ‘full-to-full’ policy, meaning you pick up the car with a full tank and are expected to return it full. Others might have a ‘pre-purchase’ policy, where you pay for a full tank upfront and return it as empty as possible.

Lastly, conducting a thorough vehicle inspection🔍 before you set off is crucial. Check the car for any existing damage and report anything significant to the rental company to avoid being charged for it later. Also, ensure all the car’s features, such as lights, wipers, and air conditioning, are working correctly.

By following these car rental tips in Athens, you’ll navigate any car hire challenges with ease and focus on the joy of exploring this enchanting city.

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Crafting your Athens Car Hire Strategy

The true essence of a well-executed journey lies in the details, carved out with meticulous planning and strategic decision-making. Based on the original car rental strategy weaving article below you can find the answers to the most common quetsions.

Booking an Athens Car Hire in Advance vs. On-the-Spot

To ensure a seamless Athens car hire experience, advance booking is generally recommended. Not only does it allow you to select from a wider range of vehicles, but it also often results in more competitive rates. Plus, having your transportation sorted prior to your arrival provides peace of mind. Conversely, on-the-spot rentals at Athens airport might be convenient, but the availability of vehicles can be limited, particularly during peak travel season. Also, instant bookings may attract a higher price. Therefore, while on-the-spot rentals provide flexibility, early bookings are a prudent choice for convenience and cost-effectiveness. You also have to consider the collect and return policy of each company.

Necessary Documents for Athens Car Hire 📝

To ensure a smooth start to your Athens adventure, it’s vital to be prepared with all the necessary documents for car rental. Typically, you will need the following documents when hiring a car in Athens:

  1. Driving License: An International Driving Permit (IDP) is required along with your original driving license if it’s not in the Roman script. If your license is in English or another language using the Roman script, you can usually rent a car with just your domestic license. Always carry both parts if it’s a two-part license.
  2. Passport or ID: A Passport or a valid ID is necessary for identification purposes. The rental company will need to verify your identity before handing over the keys.
  3. Credit Card: Car hire companies in Athens generally require a credit card for the security deposit. The card must be under the main driver’s name. Be aware that not all companies accept debit cards.
  4. Booking Confirmation: If you’ve booked your car hire online, bring your booking confirmation. This document should detail your reservation specifics, including the car type and any extras you’ve paid for.

Age Restrictions for Car Rentals in Athens

In Athens, age matters when it comes to car rentals. Generally, the minimum age to rent a car is 21 years, and drivers must have held a valid driver’s licence for at least one year. That being said, some rental companies may enforce their own age restrictions, often requiring drivers to be at least 23 or even 25 years old, particularly for higher category vehicles.

If you’re under 25, you might face what’s called a “young driver surcharge.” This is an additional daily fee that rental companies charge to cover the perceived added risk of younger drivers. The exact fee can vary significantly between different car hire companies, so it’s worth comparing these if you’re under 25.

On the other end of the spectrum, drivers over 70 years old may also face additional surcharges or even restrictions. Some companies might require senior drivers to provide additional documentation, such as proof of good health or a recent driving record.

As the age policies and fees can vary by company, it’s always a good idea to thoroughly check the terms and conditions of your Athens car hire before you book. This way, you can ensure there are no surprises when you pick up your keys and start your Athens adventure.

Understanding the Toll System in Athens 💶

When navigating Athens in your rental car, be prepared to encounter tolls on major highways. The toll payment process is straightforward, usually paid at toll booths along the route. Not all rental cars come equipped with automatic toll devices, so it’s advisable to have some change on hand. For more in-depth information on navigating tolls and their charges, refer to the section above.

Exploring Insurance Options for Athens Car Hire

When renting a car in Athens, you’ll generally encounter the following insurance options:

  • Third-Party Liability (TPL): Basic insurance included in most car hire packages, covering damages to other vehicles and property.
  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW): Limits your financial responsibility for damage to the rental car.
  • Theft Protection (TP): Reduces your liability in case the rental car is stolen.
  • Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW): Provides more comprehensive coverage with lower excess fees.
  • Personal Accident Insurance (PAI): Covers medical expenses for the driver and passengers in case of an accident.

Geographic Restrictions and Cross-Border Policies for Athens Car Hire

When it comes to car hire in Athens, certain geographic restrictions may apply. While you’re generally free to explore all parts of Greece, some rental companies may restrict travel to specific regions or islands due to road conditions or ferry transportation. Always confirm with your car hire company about any such limitations.

Cross-border travel with an Athens car hire is typically possible but tends to be subject to specific conditions. If you’re planning a trip that includes neighbouring countries such as Albania, North Macedonia, or Turkey, you’ll need to seek approval from your car rental company. This is because cross-border trips often necessitate additional insurance or permissions due to different driving laws and insurance liabilities in other countries.

Another critical point to note is that taking a rental car off the mainland could involve additional fees. For example, if you plan to ferry your vehicle to Greek islands such as Crete or Mykonos, you’ll need to inform the rental company beforehand, and there may be a charge for this.

In summary, when planning to take your Athens car hire beyond the city or even outside the country, always check with the car rental company about their specific policies and any extra charges. This way, you can avoid unexpected costs and ensure a stress-free journey.

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Fuel Policy for Athens Car Hire ⛽️

The fuel policy for your car rental in Athens is an essential aspect to consider and usually depends on the specific car hire company. There are four commonly observed fuel policies that you might encounter:

  1. Full-to-Full: This is the most common fuel policy among Athens car hire companies. When you collect the car, you’ll receive it with a full tank of fuel. You are expected to return the car with a full tank as well. If the tank isn’t full upon return, you’ll be charged for the missing fuel, usually at a higher price per litre than the current market rate.
  2. Pre-Purchase (Full Tank): Under this policy, you pay for a full tank of fuel upfront when you collect the car. You can then return the vehicle with any amount of fuel, but remember, you won’t get a refund for any remaining fuel.
  3. Pre-Purchase (Partial Refund): Similar to the above policy, but with a twist. You pay for a full tank of fuel upfront, and you can return the car with any amount of fuel. However, you’ll get a refund for the unused fuel, although a service charge may apply.
  4. The Empty-to-Empty: This policy is quite rare. You get the car with a full tank of fuel, which you pay for upfront, and you’re expected to return the car as empty as possible. No refunds are given for unused fuel.

Generally, the Full-to-Full policy is considered the most economical one, as you only pay for the fuel you use. However, do remember to refill the tank before returning the car to the rental company to avoid paying higher refuelling charges.

Finding the Cheapest Fuel in Athens

After considering the fuel policy for your Athens car hire, you may wonder where to find the most cost-effective fuel options in the city. Fortunately, tools are available to assist you. Check out, a handy website that provides real-time updates on fuel prices across Greece. With this tool at your disposal, you can locate the cheapest petrol stations in Athens and ensure you get the best deal when refuelling your rental car.

Handling Emergencies and Breakdowns with Athens Car Hire

In the event of an emergency or if your rental car breaks down while exploring Athens, it’s important to stay calm and take the appropriate steps. Most Athens car hire companies offer some form of roadside assistance that can help you in such situations. To ensure your safety and to minimize disruption to your journey, here’s what you should do:

  1. Contact the Car Rental Company: Your first point of contact should be the rental company. They typically have dedicated helplines for emergencies and will be able to guide you on the immediate steps to take.
  2. Seek Roadside Assistance: Your rental agreement with the Athens car hire company often includes a breakdown service or roadside assistance. Make sure you have the contact details for this service noted down before you start your journey.
  3. Report the Incident: If the breakdown involves another vehicle or if there is property damage, be sure to report the incident to the police. This is not only a legal requirement but also crucial for your insurance coverage.
  4. Cooperate with the Rental Company: Depending on the severity of the breakdown, the rental company may provide a replacement vehicle or arrange a repair service. Cooperate with the company and follow their recommendations to ensure a swift resolution.

We recommend asking your Athens car hire company about their specific breakdown and emergency procedures when you collect your vehicle. Being prepared can significantly alleviate stress if the unfortunate occurs. Remember, your safety is paramount, so never hesitate to request assistance if you need it. Greece’s emergency number is 112, and the police can be reached at 100. Save these numbers on your phone in case of any emergencies during your trip.

Ready for the next step?

Now that you learned the essential tips on hiring a car in Athens, you are ready to head to the next level: Read the tutorial to hack your car rental and get the most out of it! (dont worry about the “Rhodes” references, the deep knowledge applies to all destinations!

Famous Destinations Around Athens

Exploring Athens with your car hire allows you to venture beyond the city limits and discover a host of enchanting destinations. Here are some of them within a 150km radius.

  • Delphi: Known as the centre of the world in ancient Greek mythology, Delphi is a UNESCO World Heritage site that offers stunning archaeological sites and structures, including the Temple of Apollo.
  • Nafplio: A charming seaside town with vibrant streets, Venetian houses, and stunning views from the Palamidi fortress.
  • Mycenae: Dive into Greek mythology and history at Mycenae, where you can visit the ancient ruins of an important city in ancient Greece.
  • Epidaurus: Renowned for its ancient theatre, which is still in use today, Epidaurus is a must-visit for theatre and history lovers.
  • Loutraki: Known for its vast natural springs and beautiful beaches, Loutraki is the perfect spot for a relaxing getaway.
  • Marathon: Visit the historic town where the famous marathon race originated and explore the archaeological museum and Marathon Tomb.

Remember, having an Athens car hire at your disposal makes these excursions straightforward and flexible. Enjoy the freedom to explore at your own pace and discover the rich history, diverse culture, and remarkable scenery of Greece.

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