Car hire in Greece is often a great idea and opens up a whole world of possibilities. There are so many car rental agencies though it can be overwhelming. There can be a huge variation in prices and vehicles on offer and lots of confusing reviews too. We’ve compiled this list of our favorites as well as those regularly recommended in the Facebook Group.

driving in greece

Hire car Athens

We strongly recommend you either rent from the Airport, where you can jump straight on the freeway and skirt around Athens itself and on to explore the Mainland or use an agency that will drive you to the freeway from central Athens.

You do NOT need a car to explore the ancient center, which is very compact and walkable. Even if you want to explore a little further out, like the Athenian Riviera, you can either do a tour or use public transport. The tram and Metro work very well.

Athens Airport

All of the big franchises can be found at Arrivals – Hertz, Avis, Budget, Europcar. We prefer to use them as they have desks inside and meet every flight. They also have a big car park right next to the airport where staff meet you and take the keys on your return.

You may save a few dollars with a small, privately owned operator but you usually have to catch a shuttle to their office and car park which is away from the airport, and this is much more time consuming and less convenient. 

Athens Downtown

There is a bunch of car rental offices on busy Leof Andrea Siggrou, one of the main arterial roads in and out of the historic center. Many people prefer a couple of smaller agencies that drive you out of the city so you can avoid all the crazy traffic. Swift and Athens Car Rental are recommended by many. 

Nafplio car hire

Nafplio is one of the most beautiful towns in Greece and is a fantastic place to base yourself and explore the northeast of the Peloponnese region known as the Argolis. Or even stay 3 or 4 days before moving on through the Peloponnese, one of Greece’s great road trips.

There is so much to do and see here but you really need a car. Driving is pretty easy and if you choose your hotel wisely parking should be ok too. We often have a car here but catch the bus back to Athens so we don’t have to deal with Athens traffic.

Staikos Rent A Car are great. We had them deliver a car to Kostas which we caught the sea taxi to from Spetses and delivered the car back to their Nafplio after driving it around the Peloponnese for almost a week. They will deliver to you not just in Kostas or Porta Heli but also in Corinth, Kalamata, Sparta, and more, for a reasonable fee. We did have trouble finding their office on the esplanade in Nafplio but Christos came and found us, and drove us around to our hotel too.

Volos car hire

Volos is the capital of Magnesia and a popular cruise port and the gateway to the incredible Pelion Peninsula and the Sporades Islands. It’s a nice city with a long, lively promenade along the waterfront and a lot of very affordable and authentic tavernas and coffee shops. 

You will need a car to explore the Pelion and indeed to traverse massive Mt.Pelion which lies between Volos and some spectacular beaches and coastal villages along the east coast such as Damouchari. The many mountain villages and waterfalls are also really worthwhile. It’s also popular to do a side trip to Meteora which really is one of the most incredible places in all of Greece.

Car hire is a oddly challenging here. There are only a handful of places and many were fully booked out when we tried to pre-book in June 2023 for a visit at the end of August.

We ended up using Enterprise Rent a Car who collected us from the port ( we flew in to Skiathos and caught the ferry from Volos the next day) and took us to their office on the outskirts of town, to do the paperwork. This worked out well as it was quite near the highway turnoff and we didn’t have to deal with traffic at the Port.

We were particularly impressed with this company as we were caught in a major strom in Damouchari – the biggest ever recorded, and they called to see if we were ok. They also had no issues with us returning the car covered in mud and in not great shape. It was a miracle we got it back at all!

Hiring a Car on the Greek Islands



On Santorini, we use and recommend Halaris. They will deliver a car to your hotel and pick it up again from there or the airport or port if you prefer.

We find driving on Santorini pretty easy, provided you avoid the port and the road along the Caldera up to Oia. There is a back road that runs right along the island, and traffic on this is usually very light. You simply turn up into the towns like Fira, Oia, and Pyrgos where there are large public car parks at the back. The wineries all have plenty of parking and there is a large carpark right outside Ancient Akrotiri which is also used for Red Beach.


Naxos Rent A Car – Naction  has a big range of cars, that will deliver to the hotel, port, or airport ( or you can pick them up at their office in Chora), and an easy online platform that has a good discount too.

Naxos is a huge island, the largest in the Cyclades, so a car is important if you want to explore the many beaches and go up into the amazing mountains. An ATV is only advisable for the beaches and Chora.

A car on Naxos really enhances any visit and exploring the mountain villages and the many beaches in the south is incredible. You can also take yourself out to the Temple of Demeter which is very isolated and much easier than catching a bus.


We like the service at Karent in Parikia. It’s a short walk from the ferry port along the main road and the ladies really look after you. Be sure to get the smallest car you can manage as the roads can be very narrow and parking is tight!

We always get a car when we visit Paros but not for the whole time. Even just one single day is fun so you can do the loop of the island, or go over to Antiparos on the car ferry.

Mykonos car hire

You can’t go past Mykonos Rent A Car online. Markos Xenarios keeps his prices down by not having an office and will bring the car to you anywhere, and collect it. We got a great little Mini Cooper Convertible this year and found it great to drive and the service was fantastic, even when I got Markus out of bed very early due to a last-minute ferry change.

Parking can certainly be a challenge in Summer as can heat stroke and sun exposure on ATVs. The Seabus and water taxis are great alternatives for transport at this time.

Further reading: How to get around Mykonos

Milos car hire

The main highlights of Milos – the many amazing beaches, the couple of charming towns, and the fabulous fishermans huts that are unique to the island, are very spread out and the bus service is limited so a car is pretty much essential.

Milos seems to be the one island where some agencies are still insisting on everyone having an International Drivers Permit, which of course is not required for everyone as we have already discussed.

Milos Rent A Car in particular seemed to be repeat offenders of asking unnecessarily for IDP’s although I note that as of June 2023, their website now says “Citizens of Non-EU countries or countries which are not a part of the International Driving Permit Agreement are required to have a valid international Drivers’ License along with their regular Drivers’ License.”

Giourgas definitely don’t require IDPs for all non-EU residents other than those from China. They have a good online platform and a modern fleet including some off-road vehicles. Many private roads on Milos are not paved and the car rental places will make a point of telling you regular cars are not insured to go on them ( although you really don’t need to there as there are dozens of easily accessible beaches).


On our first trip to incredible Syros, we only used the Sea Taxi to explore the beaches and a taxi to get up to Ano Syros. If you are visiting for just a few days you may get by without a car as there is so much to see and do in Ermoupolis alone. This year we booked a car with Syros Rent A Car and used it every day to explore further afield and to visit various beaches.

I’ve heard good things about Malena Moto & Cars but they don’t do online bookings and that’s important to me on the other side of the world these days.


Without a car on Sifnos, you can really struggle. There are only 7 taxis and the main dining and commercial hub is the capital Apollonia which is in the interior, something unusual for most Greek Islands. There is a bus but it is infrequent.

We hired a car from Suntrail in Kamares but because we did not book ahead we could only get it for 1 of our 5 days on the island. Book ahead as they are in big demand!


Further to the section above about Volos, Skopelos is one of the beautiful Sporades Islands and is well known due to being the location for the movie Mama Mia. It’s the greenest island in Greece and is often called the ‘Emerald Island’ as well.

I recommend staying in Skopelos Town where you there are many excellent tavernas, bars and cafes and a lively dining scene at night but there are many excellent beaches on the island so a car will allow you to visit them easily.

There are also a couple of other villages worth visiting, noteably Glossa, which also have a small ferry port as it home to the regular water taxis over to Skiathos.

Most people also want to visit the Church of Agias Ioannis which is where the wedding scene was filmed in Mama Mia ( the exterior of it). This is at the northern end of the island and almost an hour from Skopelos Town so if you don’t drive it’s a long bus trip. You can do a Mama Mia tour as well. Otherwise we have been very happy with The Local Route who delivered our car to our hotel and let us extend it a day too.


This is a big island in the Ionian group in western Greece, and even if you stay a week you likely won’t cover it all. Things on Kefalonia are very spread out and there are amazing things to see and do all over the island – stunning beaches, caves, villages, and more. The north is particularly pretty and you can also go over to the neighboring island of Ithaca.

We usually rent a car in Kefalonia from the Airport and drop it back there too. There are also a few agencies in Argostoli and even some very small ones scattered around the island in the main towns. Pefanis Rent A Car has a desk and lot at the airport and takes online bookings without a deposit.


Rhodes is another of the big islands and there is a lot to see and do. We highly recommend Rhorent. They have a desk at the airport and their fleet is parked right outside where you also drop the car back. Good cars and reasonable prices.

Parking is a big issue around the Old Town so I recommend only getting one for the days you want to explore further afield or if you are staying somewhere more isolated on the island.

Tip: If you want to avoid the crowds in Lindos, stay in Lindos! Go out and explore as the buses all start arriving and when you return they will have hopefully all left. It’s very beautiful at night time too.

Crete car hire

Crete is the largest island in Greece and is home to 650,000 people. There is a lot to do and see and it really needs a couple of weeks to do it justice. There is a good bus system but the best way to explore is to hire a car and do a road trip. Many of the best attractions and beaches are quite isolated.

Rental Center Crete is the largest privately owned agency on the island and they will deliver cars to almost any town. We picked up a car with them at Chania airport and dropped it at Heraklion port almost 2 weeks later after exploring much of the northern half of Crete. They also include Premium Insurance in every hire. 

International Driver’s Permit Greece – Cars

UK drivers and residents of EU nations can drive a car in Greece using their license from home.

On November 5, 2021, new legislation was passed that allows people from the US, Canada, Gibraltar, and Australia to also use their valid domestic driver’s license, provided they are staying less than 6 months. This is now also on the US Consulate General website and has been posted on the US Embassy Facebook Page and the Australian Embassy Facebook Page.

Citizens from other countries do still need one, however. You can get one quickly online.

Now and then we do hear of car rental agencies, usually very small ones, that are still asking for the IDP for everyone. For some reason, this seems to happen mostly in Milos. We rented 4 times in Greece ourselves in 2022 (Rhodes, Santorini, Paros and Skopelos) with no issues, and in fact I went out of my way to ask and all four companies told me ‘the law has changed’.

If you do need to get an International Drivers Permit ( IDP) it does not mean you can drive in every country in the world, just the countries that require it. It will also only cover you to drive the equivalent size and type of vehicle that you do at home – i.e if you drive a car at home, it doesn’t mean you will be covered to drive a motorcycle etc…In many countries, you can obtain an IDP online, usually within a week or so; South Africa, Singapore, Japan, other countries.

Tip: In Greece you need a ‘B’ license to drive a car. In some parts of the world it may be an ‘A’ or in the USA it is a ‘C’. Sometimes the car rental agencies don’t understand that they are the same.

International Drivers License Greece – Scooters, Buggies and ATVs

Of course you don’t always have to rent a car. There are other forms of transport in Greece that you may be interested in such as scooters, ATV’s, buggies and vans. These don’t all have the same licensing requirements.

It is possible to rent an ATV with a standard license or International Drivers Permit as they are considered a ‘car’ in Greece as they have 4 wheels. Most people are also able to rent a buggy with their domestic license and these are a safer and more comfortable option rather than ATV’s. Buggies are relatively new to Greece and are only generally found on the busiest islands.

It is not possible, however, to rent a Scooter or Motorbike without possessing a Scooter or Motorbike license at home. You may find some places will turn a blind eye to this but be aware that if you are in an accident any insurance you have will be void. 

reference: 17/1/2023

Tip: While ATV’s are easy to rent you may find your travel insurance does not cover them. Many consider them ‘adventure sport’ and will require you to add that as an optional extra to your policy ( along with bungee jumping, zip-lining, scuba diving, etc…). Check the PDS statement for your policy. Also remember that not wearing a seatbelt or helmet will also void your policy. Also, inexperienced drivers often get into difficulty with ATV’s and they account for the majority of accidents. Also be aware of the increased risk of sunburn and lack of storage for your things.

Car rental tips for Greece

1. On the islands and in Athens hire the smallest car you can. Roads can be very narrow and parking tricky.

2. Travel with small suitcases to enable this.

3. Many car rental agencies will allow you to prepurchase fuel which is often a good deal and worth looking at.

4. Due to the narrow streets and overhanging trees, shrubs and rocks, it is not unusual to find cars badly scratched and even dinted. Be sure to take photos of any of the damage before you take possession and ensure the agency has taken note too.

5. A lot of people think they can hire a car to take island hopping with them but many fleet owners do not allow this, or charge a hefty one-way fee to have the car returned. Insurance can be an issue too as can breakdowns, and if you are not experienced with driving onto big chaotic ferries you are best to hire a different car on each island.