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Rent a Car in Greece - Touristic Guide

Rent a Car Greece

 

Our company offers rent a car solutions in Greece and provides the following country guide:

 

 

Greece

 

 

  • -Official name: Hellenic Republic (in Greek Ελληνική Δημοκρατία, also known as Ελλάδα)
  • - Form of government: republic
  • - Area: 132,000 sq km
  • - Population: 10,700,000 inhabitants
  • - Official language: Greek
  • - Religion: 95% Orthodox, 2% Islam
  • - Capital: Athens
  • - Currency: EUR
  • - All times are GMT +2 / 3
  • - Internet domain: .gr
  • - Area code: 00 30

 

Geographical location of Greece

 

Greece is situated in Southeastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula, and it is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, European Union and Euro area. Greece consists of a piece of the continent and nearly three thousand islands. One fifth of the country is occupied by islands. The accessibility is easy in most cases, also with a rented car, using a ferry.

 

Neighbors of Greece

 

In northern Greece, there are Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania; in the East - Turkey, and the East to the South and West is surrounded by the Aegean Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Ionian Sea.

 

Greece consists of 13 administrative regions, which are divided into 51 prefectures. The regions are: Central Greece, Crete, Central Macedonia,  Attica, East Macedonia and Thrace, Ionian Islands, Epirus, North Aegean, West Greece, Peloponnese, South Aegean, West Macedonia and Thessaly. There is also an autonomous region, Mount Athos (Ayion Oros - Holy Mountain), a monastic state under Greek sovereignty.

 

Relief

 

Greece consists of a mainland with many bays and peninsulas and of course, islands (about 3 000 islands in the Aegean, Ionian and Mediterranean). The most important are Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, Zakynthos or Mykonos, and a whole group of islands called Cyclades. Greece itself has about 15,000 kilometers of coastline. It has also a very mountainous relief; the highest peak of the country is Mount Olympus (2919 m), which is well-known in the Greek mythology as the residence of gods.

 

Climate

 

Greece belongs mostly to the Mediterranean area, therefore the country's climate is mild. Summer rains are very rare, the weather is dry and sunny. In winter, the temperatures are mild and you can expect a lot of rain. However, snow is not an exception in the mountains and also on some islands. The best time to visit Greece is during late March - mid-June or September - late October.

 

History

 

The first advanced cultures in the territory appeared and ruled since 3000 BC. The Minoans dominated Crete, and together with Cycladic and Myceanean civilization were the ancestors of today's Western cultural heritage. After invasions of wild tribes, led by the Dorians, the old civilizations collapsed. The first Greek cities were established in approximately 800 BC, closing the period known as the Dark Age, which was masterfully documented by Homer in his Illias and Odyssea. This first, archaic period, is followed by the classical period, beginning in the 6th century BC. It is connected with a remarkable expansion of two cities (polis), Athens and Sparta. Despite being previously united against Persia's invasion, they finally fell into a war of power over the territory, the Peloponnesian war. The depletion of the country contributed to a successful invasion by Macedonia, led by king Phillip and later Alexander the Great. His death in the 4th century BC marks the beginning of the Hellenic period, a slow decline of the former titans as Athens or Sparta, moving the centers of culture and education to Alexandria, Pergamon or Rhodes. It took only two centuries to be conquered by a new rising star in the Mediterranean, the Roman Empire.

 

Since then, Greece lived in the shadow of the Romans, although their cultural heritage has been carried on. In 476, after the empire split, Greece belonged to the Eastern Roman Empire, later carrying the name Byzantine Empire with its center in Byzantium (Constantinople). In 1453, the Byzantines were defeated and conquered by the Turkish - Ottoman Empire. The Greeks fought a battle for independence in 1821 - 1832 and won, also because of a strong involvement of other European states, who had a large interest in stopping the Turkish expansion. Greece was then proclaimed a kingdom. After the First World War, Greece saw an expansion of its industry, leading place taken by maritime shipping. Other important branches include food processing and industrial products. Greece also has its own car manufacturers, as Theologou or a well-known Biamax, established in 1956. Greece became a republic in 1974 and accessed the European Communities (later resumed as EU) in 1981.

 

The major cities

 

Athens, Pire, Saloniki, Patri, Volos, Rhodes.

 

Tourism - what can you visit using our car rental services?

 

Greece. That is mountainous landscapes, hidden beaches, and ancient cities. Who once visits Greece, will be impressed for a life-time. There is so much local color here; each island offers a wonderful cocktail of history, tradition, hospitality and joy. Indeed, Greece does not only shine with the beauty of its islands. The whole country is a crown jewel of the Mediterranean. Ancient civilizations, their legendary times and their heritage, come and live together in the new millennium. The past and present alternate, like the change of scenery, from the sea to the mountains, and they offer visitors memorable experiences. If you visit this country, you will be surrounded by priceless historical monuments and museums, experiencing cultures of ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine - all in a single day. Or you can just enjoy yourself by, practicing water sports, going on sea cruises, fishing, relaxing in luxurious hotels, tasting of traditional Greek cuisine or spending the night in one of the hundreds of night clubs or discos. An adequate infrastructure, by road (you can hire a car in Greece and take advantage of it during the summer season), air or water, is making Greece a very accessible destination for all those who arrive here, and who will be free to choose their own lifestyle and certainly to make plenty new friends.

 

Athens

 

The capital of Greece is located on the Attica peninsula in the south-east of the country, therefore it is easily accessible by car from the mainland. Athens is a city with a rich past, and also one of the oldest European capitals. The city was recognized as one of the cultural centers of the ancient world.  The area of Athens has been inhabited since the Bronze Age and from 1000 BC ruled by the Ionian kings. The town takes its name from the goddess Athena, which stands for wisdom and battle strategy in Greek mythology. Legend says that two gods, Athena and Poseidon, the god of the seas, have competed for the patronage of the city. Poseidon stroke the rock with his trident and a fresh spring of water spurted out. Athena planted a mysterious tree instead, which appeared to be an olive tree.  The oil from the tree became a desired commodity and the residents showed Athena their gratefulness by calling the city after her - Athens.

 

Athens is one of the great cities of Europe, which offers a unique vacation: museums, art galleries, historical monuments, and if you want a change of scenery, seaside resorts are waiting for you, all brilliant and full of life. You can visit Athens Acropolis, Parthenon and the National Museum where you'll find some of the finest traces of ancient Greece and feel the charm of monuments and sacred art. When you look at Athens, every time you discover another city, full of contrasts and surprises: the ancient, Byzantine, neoclassical, modern, vibrating. You can find ancient theaters, modern exhibitions and sports competitions, or you can enjoy the nightlife that this city offers with its restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Athens benefits from an excellent location; the Piraeus port located nearby the municipal area is one of the largest passenger ports in the world. You can rent a car for a very affordable price directly in the port, as well as in the airport. Also, you can choose to explore the sea and join cruises to nearby islands: Aegina, Poros and Hydra. The city of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games is awaiting you.

 

Tourist attractions and events in Athens which can be visited by car

 

- Acropolis of Athens

 

Acropolis hill, so called "Sacred Rock" of Athens, is the most important site of Athens. During the Golden Age of Pericles, there were built some of the most representative architectural masterpieces of the era. The remains of the first settlement on the Acropolis date from the Neolithic period. For centuries, the hill was being used as a place of worship or dwellings. During the classical period (450-330 BC), three important temples were built on the ruins of the old ones: Pantheon, Erechtheion and the Temple of Nike, dedicated to the Goddess of victory.

 

- Acropolis Museum

 

It is one of the most important museums in the world. It contains masterpieces of ancient Greek civilization, and it was founded in 2003, to be opened for public in six years later. Of course we are talking about the New Museum,  as the original Old Museum located on Acropolis met its limits in terms of space in the middle of 20th century.

 

- Temple Olympus

 

 The temple of Olympian Zeus is a famous ruin in the center of Athens. It was dedicated to the ruler of the Olympian gods, and after its completion it was known as one of the biggest temples in Greece.


Rhodes

 

The largest island of the Dodecanese archipelago is Rhodes. Rhodes became an important regional center, thanks to its location, climate and natural attractions. It is also known as the Sun Island. Pindaros mentions in one of his odes, that is was born from the union of the god Helios and the nymph Rhoda. The island is covered with fertile soil and rich vegetation. The highest point of the island is Attavyros (1.215 m) located in the southwest. The capital, also named Rhodes, is in the northern part of the island and consists basically of three sub cities: modern, ancient and medieval.

 

The modern city has a cosmopolitan character, with most buildings originating from 20th century. The ancient city is dominated by the ruins of temples of Zeus, Athena and Apollo, the Stadium, Gymnasium and Theater. Medieval city is surrounded by high walls, which were built by the Knights Hospitaller, later known as Knights of Rhodes. The island offers interesting places that are worth visiting, such as the Valley of Butterflies, Triada village, beautiful bay lalissos, the ruins of the temples of Athena and Zeus, and many more. Above all, however, you should not miss Lindos. The contrast between bright white houses built on two terraces, beaches and the old town, form one of the most striking images of Greece. Finally, the entire island is surrounded by magnificent beaches, which are perfect for relaxation and sport. Rhodes is connected by airlines with Athens, Heraklion, Thessaloniki, Karpathos, Kassem, Kos, Megisti, Mykonos and Santorini. If you think of renting a car, Rhodes ferry connects the Piraeus, the other Dodecanese, the Cyclades, Crete and eastern Aegean islands.

 

Tourist attractions in Rhodes which can be visited by car

 

- Hill of Monte Smith

 

Hill of Monte Smith is the ancient Acropolis of Rhodes. The archaeological park contains beautiful Hellenistic stadium, where athletic events took place. They were part of a festival, which was held in honor of the god Helios, worshipped largely by the people of Rhodes.

 

-  Palace of the Knights of St. John

 

The palace was built by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem on an century Byzantine fortress. After the order left during Turkish occupation, it was heavily damaged by the explosion of a powder storage. Restoration of the palace took place in the 20th century. It offers a remarkable view on the Kiotari and the surrounding mountains, although you will need to do some climbing to get there, as the car parking is located down the hill.

 

-  Valley of Butterflies

 

Valley of Butterflies is a unique ecosystem, located along the river Pelekanos. Every summer, thousands of butterflies gather here for a ritual of reproduction, creating one of the most attractive destinations in Rhodes.

 

Naxos Island

 

Naxos Island is the largest island of the Cyclades island group and by far the most fertile of them. It is located in the center of the archipelago and was established as a favorite tourist destination soon, because of a number of easily accessible ruins locations, ideal for a car traveller. Its many beaches, surrounding the island, are making it a perfect destination for the lovers of lazy holidays, nature, serenity and beauty. The Naxos villages are well known for their hospitability and a delicious cuisine.

 

Tourist attractions in Naxos that are ideal to see with a rented car

 

- Castle Chora

 

The castle, built as a protective guardian of Naxos, is a dominant of the island. The walls surrounding the fortress are pentagonal and there are three gates. The round Glezos tower, well recommended for visiting, is under archeological construction now.

 

- Iria

 

One of the most discussed sacred places in the region, of a priceless scientific value, has been discovered during the late 20th century. It is considered to be one of the richest sources of artifacts, as well as a proof of a continuous cultural settlement on Naxos.

 

- Portara

 

The ruins of the temple dedicated to Apollo (or perhaps Dionysus, who was worshipped on Naxos) in the neighborhood are preserved until today. Portara has been separated from the island, and it is connected to Naxos by a causeway, forcing you to leave the car on the actual coast.

 

Crete

 

With its wild beaches and cliffs, it is probably the most beautiful island of Greece and the fifth largest in Europe. The geography of the island is different from the rest of Greece, as the mountains are naturally dividing it into several provinces. All of them can of course be proud of very fine beaches, washed by turquoise waters. Ancient Minoan civilization and traces from its long history only underline the fact, that Crete is the top destination in Greece. It is a tourist paradise equipped with first class hotels, holiday villages and bungalows located on or near the seashore.

 

Tourist attractions in Crete you can visit  with our car rental

 

- Castle Franco - Frangokastello

 

Eastern from Chora Sfakion, you can explore and old castle built by the Venetians in 1371 as defense against pirates, Turks and Cretan rebels.

 

- Knossos

 

Knossos is the largest and best known Minoan civilization. According to tradition, this was the residence of the legendary King Minos. Palace is linked to the sensational stories of the maze and the Minotaur, and that of Daidalos and Icarus.

 

- Phaistos

 

Phaistos was also a centre of Minoan civilization, and a rich and powerful city in southern Crete. It is also the second largest palace complex after Knossos, rich with archeological findings.

 

- Heraklion

 

Heraklion (Iraklion), Crete's capital, accommodates 1/3 of the population of the island. Heraklion is the main gate to Crete, by sea or air. The surroundings are masterpieces of Cretan civilization and art. The Palace of Knossos can be reached by car in approximately 10 minutes of driving from the airport.

 

Hire a car and visit exotic destinations in Greece

 

- Halkidiki

 

Halkidiki is a peninsula located in northern Greece and consists of 3 branches called Kassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos. With a coastline that stretches over a distance of 522 km, you can find beaches various in size as well as form, from long beaches with fine sand, to the small and picturesque bays, harbors, or small traditional fishing villages.

 

Considered to be the most beautiful area in northern Greece, the peninsula has always kept its charm. The three strips of land, are entering the Aegean Sea as a trident of Poseidon, God of the seas. Kassandra and Sithonia are the most developed. Athos, the most eastern strip, is well known for the twenty monasteries scattered there. They are usually not accessible on foot or by car, but the boat trips along the coast also offer the most unusual views.

 

- Thassos

 

Thassos Island, the northernmost island in the Aegean Sea, has 22 km from east to west and 26 km from north to south, and is surrounded by 93 km of coastline. The "Emerald Island" is a place with a fascinating history and a rare beauty. Whether you are sporty, nature lover, or you like nightlife, you will have a wide variety of places to visit in Thassos. As for tourist attractions, remember to visit Archaeological Museum in Limenas, the Museum of Kallirachi, Folk Art Museum in Potamia, archaeological sites, the castle of Potos, monastery of St. Panteleimon and abbey of Archangel Michael in Aliki.

 

Entertainment starts from taverns and restaurants with specific menus, to nightclubs and small bars at the seaside. With music and traditional dances, with thousands of shops and possibilities to practice sports (water skiing, surfing, scuba diving, etc.) the island is perfect destination for you. Being very close to the continent, paying a visit with a rented car is not a problem.

 

The hosts are very welcoming, as tourism has a great meaning for them. Hospitality comes first, which is renowned for the respect they have towards local traditions and customs.

 

- Santorini

 

Santorini is a small island, very beautiful, located in southern Greece, within the Cyclades island complex. The current name Santorini comes from St. Irene, but it was previously known as Kalliste, Strongyle or Thera. In the middle of the island, there is a blue water lake that has been formed on a very old volcano which, according to the legend, destroyed the lost continent, Atlantis, when it erupted 3500 years ago. Santorini island has several major towns; for example Fira, Therasia or Oia, located in the higher areas of the island - therefore renting a car is an apparent advantage here.

 

You can find hotels, restaurants, bars and plenty of other tourist facilities to keep tourists happy when they relax between visits to the archaeological ruins of ancient Thera. The most recommended locations are Akrotiri and Museum Archontiko Argyrou. Santorini has two accessible beaches, Perissa and Kamari, both characterized by black volcanic sand.

 

 

- Zakynthos

 

Zakynthos is the southernmost island of the Ionian Sea, with lush forests, hills, plains and mountains, olive groves and grape. Famous poets and composers have created their pieces here. It is also here where the first Music School of Greece was established. With the most beautiful beaches in the south, there is also the tourist center of the island. Modern hotels, quality services, many possibilities of entertainment and sports completely satisfy even the most demanding visitor. Places to see are Anafonitria mountain village and monastery, Blue Caves, and the Shipwreck Bay. You can either use a ferry to travel to the island, or take a plane and pick up your car at the Zakynthos International Airport.

 

- Corfu Island

 

Corfu, the island of miracles and forests in which, according to Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus made his last stop on his way back to Ithaca. Corfu is a cosmopolitan cultural centre, which happily combines fun and relaxation with intense night life. Covered by olive groves, cypress and lemon trees, offering endless supply of sun, sand, and blue sea, are irresistible reasons for which tens of thousands of tourists from all over the world return here every year. The City of Corfu, the capital, is situated on the relics of various civilizations that have blended over time, creating a unique atmosphere.

 

The most famous sightseeing place is Achillion, a palace located in the village Gastouri. It was built in 1890 for Elizabeth (Sissy), Empress of Austria as a place of rest and relaxation in summer. Later, Emperor Wilhelm of Germany bought the palace because of his passion for yachting.

 

- Kalambaka

 

Kalambaka is located in the heart of Greek peninsula. It is the closest town to Meteora monasteries, spectacular ancient monuments included in the UNESCO Heritage. Visiting Kalambaka, and especially those monasteries is a fantastic experience, unique in the world, something quite extraordinary, and unforgettable.

 

- Kavala

 

Kavala is not only a beautiful place, but a modern city with a long history, rich traditions and unique landscapes. It is a very important port in the northern Greece, and as such offers a possibility of a convenient rent a car service.

 

- Paralia Katerinis

 

The blue waters of the Mediterranean, that embrace Pieria and Olympus shores, are waiting for you in the municipality Paralia. In Paralia, you will find everything you need: recreation, entertainment, energy and quiet atmosphere at the same time, a stay which is comfortable and pleasant, producing powerful emotions that will accompany you for many years. By visiting this resort, you will understand why they chose it as the residence of the gods of Olympus. Very beautiful and picturesque beaches create a special feeling to every visitor, who feels like in a fairy tale. Paralia is connected with a frequented highway, making it a perfect stop on your car/bus trip.

 

- Salonika

 

Salonika, also known as Thessaloniki, is the second largest city, capital of Macedonia and northern Greece. This city was founded by a Macedonian king in 4th century BC, named after his wife, a sister of Alexander the Great. The town is surrounded by hills, facing the bay Thermaikos. Despite the fact that it is one of the oldest cities in Europe, Thessaloniki nowadays is a modern and lively city, more attractive than Athens, with wide roads, beautiful parks and markets. In 1917, the town was destroyed by a massive fire and was rebuilt afterwards. Because the area is prone to earthquakes, Thessaloniki has mostly low buildings, which gives it a special charm. The main markets of the city are Platia Elefterias and Platia Aristotelous, both located close to the sea and equipped with many cafes and restaurants.

 

Because the town was under Ottoman rule a long time, there are Byzantine churches and museums which accommodate artifacts and Byzantine art. Also, the city has a legacy of recent Christian community, especially near the renovated Mount Athos monasteries. Considered as one of the finest museums in Europe, the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, located near the famous White Tower, presents a huge collection, including the incredible treasures of the tomb of Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great.

 

 

Featured Activities (you can use a rental car to view the cities)

 

- Mount Athos

 

A wonderful day trip by yacht on clear waters of the Aegean Sea, around Mount Athos, an opportunity to admire some of the great monasteries scattered between mountain ridges.

 

- Meteora

 

One of the most attractive sights in Greece; it offers unique views of the Meteora monasteries built on top of steep cliffs, where up to eight decades ago, the monks were accessible just by pulling the rope. Today's tourists can visit climbing the stairs carved in mountains. There is a possibility stop in Kalambaka at famous icons workshops.

 

- Waterland

 

Aqua Park is located near Thessaloniki and is recommended for those passionate about extreme adventure and willing to experience strong emotions. Those with weak hearts can relax on the beach and bathing in the pool complex.

 

- Cruises in the Gulf Toroneos

 

This is an unforgettable adventure at the sea, with fisherman's breakfast, beach and bathing in places with crystal clear waters, accompanied by the Greek music on board and traditional dances. Opportunities for snorkeling are endless.

 

- Scuba Diving

 

Discover the rich fauna and flora of the Aegean Sea with adequate facilities for diving. Courses last at least one day, accessible to both newbies and professionals.

 

Other information

 

- Shipping

 

Most places on the island are accessible by local transport, but it is recommended to rent a car, then they can explore the island freely.

 

- Shopping

 

Shops are generally open in the morning and afternoon until late evening. In most resorts, shops are open during weekends.

 

- Tipping

 

Tip is included in most bills from restaurants and hotels, but it is customary to leave a few percent from the order.

 

 

 

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