Driving in Greece
List of important aspects of driving a vehicle in Greece
As a visitor to Greece, you will need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to legally drive a car.
Like any other country, driving in Greece comes with its own set of laws and responsibilities. For example:
Driving License: EU driving licenses are accepted. Non-EU visitors should have an International Driving Permit (IDP) in addition to their valid driving license.
Driving Side: In Greece, you drive on the right-hand side of the road and pass on the left. However, the middle lane of a three-lane highway is for passing.
Speed Limits: Generally, speed limits are as follows: 50 km/h in urban areas, 90 km/h on open roads, and 130 km/h on highways, unless otherwise posted.
Urban: 50 KMH = 30 MPH
Open Road: 90 KMH = 55 MPH
Highways: 130 KMH = 80 MPH
Seat Belts: Seat belts are required for the driver and all passengers.
- Roundabouts: Traffic already on a roundabout has to stop and give way to traffic entering the roundabout.
- Passing rules: In Greece it is not allowed to pass at bottlenecks, bends, or pedestrian crossings. Inadequate visibility always means passing is prohibited.
Drink Driving: There are strict drink-driving laws, with the blood alcohol content limit typically at 0.05%. For drivers with less than two years of driving experience, professional drivers, and motorcycle riders, the limit is 0.02%.
Children: Children under 10 years of age cannot travel in the front seat of a car. Those under 12 years of age must use a suitable child restraint.
Mobile Phones: It's illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving.
Headlights: Headlights must be used during poor daylight visibility, and at night. The use of full beam headlights in towns is illegal.
Traffic Offenses: On-the-spot fines can be issued for traffic offenses, and you're obligated to pay a portion of the fine immediately.
Emergency Numbers: The pan-European standard emergency number is 112. Other important numbers are Police: 100, Fire Service: 199, and Ambulance: 166.
Vehicle Documents: You should always carry your driving license, IDP (if required), passport, insurance documents, and vehicle registration documents when driving.
- Be alert! In Greece outside of cities animals may be on roads.
- Snow chain requirements come into play during winter depending upon conditions.
- Parking: There is very little on Street parking in the major cities, so be prepared to use paid lots and garages.
- Fire Hydrants: Do not park closer than 3 meters (approx. 10 feet) to a hydrant.
- Bus Stands/Public Transportation: Do not park closer than 5 meters (approx. 17 feet) to a public transportation stand.
- No Parking Zones: The plates form your vehicle may be removed by police if you park in a no-parking spot.
- Car Horn "honking": You can be fined for unnecessary use of horns.
- Signs: Greece conforms to the European style of roadway signage, but this can change when reaching smaller and more remote villages where signs may only be in Greek.
- Gassing Up: In remote rural areas a petrol station can be very distant or nonexistent, it is recommended to have a full tank when exploring into more remote areas.
- Maps and Using GPS: You can use Google Maps in Greece, along with other services such as OsmAnd and Here WeGo.
Driving Safety Tips for visitors to Greece:
It is recommended by just about every travel guide and online resource that discusses the act of driving in Greece to drive defensively. There is a lot of humor applied to how Greeks themselves drive and visitors remark on the eccentric and unique ways that automobile traffic rules are (not) obeyed by a portion of the populace. In particular, motorbike riders are a worry, and there are a lot of them in Greece.
You may want to read Matt Barrett's 27 Simple Rules of Survival on the Greek Roads
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