What you should know before hiring a car in Athens
|Athens city centre|
|Eleftherios Venizelos Airport (ATH): 12 mi from city centre|
Car hires in Athens: practical information
Where to rent a car in Athens
Athens is an ancient city that will never lose its charms. Built of stone, built to last. It is the birthplace of Western civilization and should be on everyone's travel bucket list. Have you booked your tickets from London to Athens yet? Well, get on it! Once you've done that, it's time to browse the car hire prices in Athens and search for a good deal. You won't need car rentals in Athens to get around the city, but they certainly come handy if you want to escape the chaos of the capital and explore the rest of Greece. At Athens International Airport there are five car hire companies located in the Arrivals terminal: Avis, Budget, Hertz, National and Sixt.
While the airport is the most idea place to rent a car in Athens, you can also pick one up in the city. There are a number of places along Leoforos Vasilissis Amalias including Avis, Ada Rent, Astra Tours, and more. These are all located near the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
Driving in Athens: parking and other tips
Athens is notorious for having a poor road structure, mostly due to the fact that the city was laid out far before cars were even thought of. Add that to bad-tempered Greek drivers and you can spell catastrophe. Parking is rare and if you do find a spot, likely it is reserved for residents. Illegal parking is very popular in central Athens, but not recommended wit ha rental. There are colour-coded parking bays, Blue for residents only and White for visitors… you know which one to avoid and which one is okay.
You can buy parking time by mobile phone or from an attendant. You must pay for parking from 9:00am until 9:00pm, Monday to Friday as well as 9:00am until 4:00pm on Saturdays. Parking costs anywhere from €0.05/30 minutes to €6/3 hours. It is very rare for hotels in Athens to provide parking, unless you stay in a place far out of the city. There are less than a dozen in total with parking available.
Road trips from Athens: what to do, what to see
If you're heading to a Greek island by boat, Piraeus will be your port. It is the main harbour for Athens. There are some great street markets in this area as well, so stop for a while before hopping on your ferry. As well, there's an impressive (albeit small) archaeological museum. This is where all the yachts moor and it's nice at sun down to watch the boats leave port for sea.
From Piraeus you can sail to many a Greek island but we recommend you choose Hydra. It takes around an hour to reach and can be easily explore for an afternoon or entire day-out. What awaits you? Think white-washes houses, craggy cliffs and pebbly bays for sun bathing. It's the most popular island for day trippers on holidays in Athens.
Olympia is an ancient town, entirely protected as an UNESCO World Heritage Sight in the Peloponnese region of Greece. The first Olympic Games took place here, in 776 BC and today the flame still burns for each modern Olympic Games that takes place. The main sight here is Ancient Olympia, a living archaeological exhibit.