Car Hire in Athens
This information is correct as of July 2015.
As one of the foremost cities of the ancient world, Athens brought forth a legacy that became the precursor of the modern civilisation. You will find here the magnificent Acropolis crowned by the famous Parthenon temple. The Roman Agora and Tower of the Winds also make fascinating structures to see, as well as the Panathenaic Stadium, which was restored for the 2004 Olympics.
Where to hire a car in Athens
There are various car rental companies to be found in Athens, such as international firms such as Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Sixt, and Thrifty. Local independent companies also offer a wide range of vehicles which you can check out for your trip. Be sure to arrange for a rental before arriving in Athens to minimise the difficulties of arranging a car rental upon arriving from the airport.
One of the documents you need to show is a driver's licence from your country. It is also necessary to bring an International Driver's Permit (IDP), so you can present them when asked by the traffic police. These would be enough if you are staying for up to six months. For more than six months, you will need to get a Greek driving licence. It is also important to look for a bigger, safer car with working seatbelts, airbags, air conditioning, and other equipment. You should also enquire with your provider on the restrictions on where you can take the vehicle and other concerns you might have.
What to expect when hiring a car from Athens
The traffic in Athens can be a trial due to the traffic jams and the amount of defensive driving you will have to do. This makes it important that you keep your whole attention on the road while you drive. The traffic can be especially bad in Syntagma Square area, the street between the Athens Polytechnic University and the American Embassy, as well as other crowded areas in the city. Be sure to avoid the rush hours, holiday weekends, Easter, and the beginning of August when many Athenians take their vacations.
Attiki Odos, the 'beltway' is a toll road that can take you across the north of the city to the airport. Several large avenues branch into and out of Athens from here. Congestion charges are not implemented here, which allows you to turn the funds into paying the toll on roads that would offer the most convenience. You should make way for trams and cyclists as you go along. One-way streets are also the norm in some parts of Athens, so be sure to stick to the main routes. You should also look for an available parking spot along the way to your destination. It would be better if you arrange for a space at the nearest hotel, due to the difficulty to look for free areas where you can safely park.
Getting to your destination
Built at the feet of Mount Elikon, Livadia is the capital of the prefecture, as well as the commercial and financial centre of the region. Those going here will find a number of natural attractions such as the Pyrgros Peak, Samari Ridge, and various other mountains.
Get on Α/Δ ΠΑΘΕ/E75/Α1. Follow E75 to Ακραιφνία. Take the exit towards ΚΑΣΤΡΟ/KASTRO from Α/Δ ΠΑΘΕ/E75/Α1. Drive to your destination in Λειβαδιά. The trip can be accomplished in an hour and 40 minutes, depending on traffic. Tolls will be paid along the way, so be sure to prepare enough money for the payment.
The ancient town of Argos has a history ranging back to more than 6,000 years. Most of its glory can be seen in the archaeological museum, as well as the ruins and fortress out of the town. The Fortress of Larissa is very impressive, with its conglomeration of Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian, and Turkish architecture.
Continue to Μάνδρα and follow A8 and A7 to ΕΟ Σιδηροδρομικού Σταθμού Νεμέας in Νεμέα. Take the exit towards Αρχ. Νεμέα/Anc. Nemea/Ναύπλιο/Nafplio/Μυκήνες/Mycenae from Α/Δ Κορίνθου Τριπόλεως/A7. Drive to Βασ. Σοφίας in Άργος to reach your destination. This route has tolls, with an estimated travel time of an hour and 40 minutes.
The grid-like streets of Modern Sparta is not as eloquent of its illustrious history as the ancient parts of the town. You will find here meagre ruins of the former city, the Archaeological Museum, as well as the King Leonidas Statue.
Start from the road going to Μάνδρα and follow A8 and A7 to ΕΟ Τρίπολης Σπάρτης/E961 in Τρίπολη. Take the exit towards Τεγέα/Tegea/Sparti/Σπάρτη from A7. Follow E961 to Κων/νου Παλαιολόγου in Σπάρτη. This route has tolls, with the drive taking around two hours and 30 minutes in good traffic conditions.