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Car travel in Greece

Travelling around Greece is probably best done with a car, as there are many times when you could pass something that looks of interest to you, and simply make a short stop - something that you can't really do if travelling by coach or train.

There are many car hire places all over Greece, and in Athens, it is hard to miss them. Syngrou Avenue, near the top end in Athens is literally filled with them, one after the other. For more information, head to our Greece Car Hire section.

Seasonal rates usually apply to car rental, so be prepared to pay more during the high season in the summer. Also, even though the minimum driving age is 18 in Greece, most car firms rarely hire out vehicles to anyone under the age of 21. However, most will insist on the driver being at least 23, so you may need to check around to find yourself a vehicle if you are a young driver.

Driving around Greece is very easy and if you are departing from Athens, you will use the 1st National Road, which officially starts at Nea Kifissia, where the roads become wider, but unofficially, you can get onto this road from the start by turning onto it from Piraeus Road or via the coastal road near the Stadium of Peace and Friendship in Neo Faliro.

In recent years, major work has taken place on this road, and getting into and out of Athens is now easier than previously, when at many places this road was operating with only 2 or 3 lanes. Road signs will guide you to wherever you are traveling to, be it Thessaloniki or the Peloponnese.

Road conditions throughout Greece are very varied, so you must take precautions when driving on some stretches of road. And always wear your seatbelts. The police are now heavily cracking down on drivers and passengers who don't wear seatbelts, and you could be hit with an on-the-spot fine if you fail to do so. Driving in Athens can be a particularly stressful experience, with traffic jams a common sight.

Greece borders with Albania, The Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia (FYROM), Turkey and Bulgaria, and all are accessible by car from Greece. Most travelers who do decide through Europe would have, in the past, traveled through Yugoslavia and cross into Greece at the border at Evzoni. However, after the wars and problems in the former Yugoslavia, many now have altered their route and travel instead to Italy , from which they take a ferry to Greece.

Ferries to Turkey are not available directly from Piraeus, but you will be able to find services for this journey at some of the islands, such as Rhodes and Samos. At Piraeus, you may find a ticket for the journey to Turkey, as well as Cyprus and Israel, but this does not mean that the boat on which you depart on from Piraeus, will be the one on which you reach your final destination.

It will mean changing to another vessel at some point. Again, tickets should be purchased in advance to save on any trouble at a later time. Also, tickets for Turkey must be purchased at least 24 hours prior to the actual departure.

If you would like to see a selection of various travel routes to destinations all over Greece, simply head to our Greece Route Planner section, where you can see road plans and routes to popular towns, cities and resorts around Greece.

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