One of the most common questions in our Facebook Group and other travel forums is “Do I need an international drivers permit for Greece?’.
The short answer is: maybe.
It depends one where you are from and what you want to rent. Here is the long answer:
International Driver’s License 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.
Renting a car in Greece
Having a car really does open up a world of possibilities when it comes to exploring Greece and it allows for a much slower and more spontaneous pace than having to rely on public transport or taxis.
You don’t necessarily need one the entire you time you are in Greece but if you can get one for at least a day or two in each destination I guarantee you won’t regret it.
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.
International Drivers License Greece – Scooters, Buggies and ATVs
It can be a different situation when renting some other forms of transport in Greece.
It is possible to rent an ATV with your standard license or International Drivers Permit as they are considered a ‘car’ in Greece as they have 4 wheels. Be warned however that 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.
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: Newsauto.gr 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.
Important contact details in Greece
|Traffic Policeemail@example.com||+30 21 0960 8000|
|Ministry of Shipping & Island Policyfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Association of Tourist Car Rental Companies of Greece (STEEAE)||email@example.com||+30 211 1066020|
|Hellenic Association of Insurance Companies Greece (AAEE)||firstname.lastname@example.org||+30 210 3334100|
|US Embassy||AthAmCitizenServices@state.gov||+30 210 721 2951|
|Embassy of Canadaemail@example.com||+1 613 238 6271|
|Australian Embassyfirstname.lastname@example.org||+61 2 61613305|
|UK Embassy||Information.Athens@fcdo.gov.uk||+30 21 0727 2600|
Safe driving and enjoy your trip!
Renting a Car in Greece ( including best agencies)