Greece is a beautiful country with a rich history, stunning landscapes, and picturesque coastlines. Many travelers who visit Greece choose to rent a car to have the freedom to explore the country at their own pace. However, when you rent a car in Greece, there are certain areas where driving is restricted, and it's crucial to be aware of these zones to avoid fines and enjoy a hassle-free journey.
Restricted Areas in Greek Cities
Athens: Downtown Restricted Zone
Driving in Athens can be challenging due to traffic congestion and limited parking. To reduce traffic and pollution, the city has implemented a restricted driving zone in its downtown area. This zone, called the "Daktylios," operates from 7 am to 8 pm on weekdays and requires a special permit to drive within it. Rental cars are not allowed in this area, and fines apply for violations.
Thessaloniki: Limited Traffic Zone
Similar to Athens, Thessaloniki has a Limited Traffic Zone (LTZ) in the city center to combat traffic congestion and improve air quality. The LTZ is in effect from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm on weekdays, and driving rental cars within this zone is prohibited without a permit.
Restricted Driving Areas in Archaeological Sites and Islands
Several archaeological sites in Greece have restricted access for vehicles to protect the historical and cultural heritage. For example, the ancient site of Delphi and the Acropolis in Athens do not permit cars. Parking lots are usually provided near these sites, and visitors are expected to walk or use alternative transportation methods like shuttle buses.
Some Greek islands, such as Hydra, Spetses, and Poros, have banned cars to preserve their unique atmosphere and natural beauty. If you're planning to visit these islands, be prepared to explore them on foot, by bicycle, or using local transportation options like horse-drawn carriages, water taxis, or public buses.
Before renting a car in Greece, make sure you familiarize yourself with the local traffic rules and restrictions. Some rental car companies may provide information on restricted areas, but it's always a good idea to double-check and plan your route accordingly.