Greece: the cradle of European culture
Democracy, philosophy, politics, sport, or tragedy - all of these originated in Greece and have had an impact on the European civilisation until this day. The fact that it is a country with magnificent culture and history is evident at every corner. A stroll among ancient landmarks will allow you to go back in time to feel the spirit of past centuries.
Greece is undoubtedly a paradise for travellers who want to catch some sun and spend some time close to nature. It enchants with its golden beaches, scenic islands, intense colour of the sea, and characteristic white houses, which create a magnificent contrast with the surrounding greenery. Of course, the country also offers modern elements and typical tourist attractions.
Almost throughout the whole year, vehicle and pedestrian traffic is really heavy here. Strict traffic regulations have been introduced in order to protect precious landmarks. However, it doesn't mean that moving around Greek roads in a vehicle is a torment. It's enough to follow the prevailing traffic rules and your driving experience may become pretty pleasant.
If you select this sightseeing option, you need to choose an appropriate car in one of the local car hire companies. There is a variety of car hire spots in Greece so you can easily rent a vehicle that will live up to your expectations. Remember that motorists who are younger than 21 and/or have less than a year of driving experience will face problems when trying to rent a car. Moreover, individuals who are younger than 25 are often obliged to pay the inexperienced driver fee.
Discover Road Trips in Greece
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Most interesting places in Greece
Ancient ruins, various museums, narrow streets, small cafés, the Acropolis, or the climatic Old Town are only a few highlights that await you in Athens. It is an extremely colourful city where you can see the blending of Mediterranean, Oriental, and European elements.
Of course, sightseeing around Greece shouldn't be only limited to the capital. An equally interesting place is Delphi, located along the road connecting Thermopylae with the Peloponnese. The city can boast well-developed tourist infrastructure so, apart from interesting landmarks, you'll also find hotels, bars, restaurants, and taverns here.
If you decide to visit Greece in the summer season, you should definitely see Patras, where various theatrical performances are organised. At the end of the carnival season, there is a parade taking place in the city during which you'll meet crowds of tourists and residents wearing colourful and original outfits. The crowning of the event is the burning of a carnival king and a firework show.
Another city worth your attention is Kalambaka, located at the foot of the Metéora rock formation. It is precisely where you can find the famous Orthodox churches that are enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Greek map also offers a place with a similar name, Kalamata, which can't boast a great array of landmarks, but is famous for top-quality olive oil.
Probably all travellers heard about such saying as "Spartan conditions" or "Spartan upbringing". They originated in ancient Sparta and refer to its residents who avoided too many pleasures and kept strict discipline in many fields of their lives. Today, the town is eagerly visited by tourists not only due its unique ambience, but also due to its location near Mistras, which serves as an open-air museum.
Greece is a country full of archaeological excavation sites. The most popular ones can be found, among others, in Mycenae, Olympia, and Corinth. Also, you can't really miss Messini, where you'll find the remnants of Arcadian Gate and the Temple of Asclepius. The temple was erected in 215 and had an extremely important political and religious function in the country.
If you want to see the best preserved Greek theatre, you should head for Epidaurus, located in the eastern part of the Peloponnese. The object was built around 300 BC. It is famous for excellent acoustic properties and has been the object of research for many years. Interestingly, it is still used for staging tragedies of famous Greek playwrights.
Greece encompasses so many fantastic places that you can enumerate them endlessly. It's also worth remembering that less known towns are equally interesting in comparison to more touristy places. These include Amfilochia (approx. 40 km from Arta), Larissa, with one of the largest ancient theatres, and Ioannina, nicely located on the western bank of Lake Pamvotida.
Greece: most important traffic regulations
Traffic regulations in Greece are similar to those prevailing in other European countries. Motorists drive on the right side of the road and overtake on the left side. It is vital to pursue the right-hand rule. Remember! If you enter a roundabout the right of way is yours!
Of course, we can expect speed control while driving around Greece. In built-up areas, the maximum driving speed is 50 km/h and in rural areas, you can drive as fast as 80 km/h. On expressways, you shouldn't exceed the speed of 110 km/h, whereas on motorways, you can drive at the speed of 130 km/h.
While travelling around Greece, having your dipped beam on isn't obligatory during the day unless there are adverse weather conditions. Fastening your seatbelts is, of course, mandatory. Only pregnant women are allowed for some leeway in this respect.
Passengers who are younger than 12 and shorter than 135 cm can't travel on the front seat; however, they can travel on a special child seat adjusted to their height. Talking on the phone while driving is allowed only with a hands-free set. Drinking and driving is severely punished - the blood alcohol content can't exceed 0.05% (0.02% in case of rookie motorists).
Before hitting the road, make sure that you have all the necessary equipment pieces. These include a first aid kit, a warning triangle, and a fire extinguisher. A reflective vest is something worth carrying in your vehicle, especially when you need to leave your car in rural areas.
State of Greek roads and tolls
Continental Greece has a well-developed road infrastructure, owing to which you can easily move between major cities. Motorists can use as many as 2000 km of motorways. Less frequented roads aren't that bad as well. You should be especially cautious on mountain roads, where the asphalt is narrow and surrounded by precipices.
Most of Greek roads are toll roads. However, the tolls aren't fixed but dependent on the vehicle category and the section that you have travelled. The only accepted payment method is cash. Queues to toll gates aren't long so your adventure will be pretty pleasant.
If you are planning to take the Aktio – Preveza Undersea Tunnel or the Rio - Andirio Bridge connecting the Peloponnese with the Balkan Peninsula, you should also prepare an appropriate amount of cash. The tunnel will cost you from 3 to 5 Euro, whereas the bridge will cost you approximately 13-20 Euro.
Greece: parking in cities
Greek cities are characterised by the scarcity of parking spaces. You can leave your car only in designated places. Restricted parking zones are usually marked with yellow road signs. Sometimes, motorists are required to purchase parking tickets that can be bought in kiosks. It's also worth remembering that illegal parking may result not only in a parking fine but also in losing your registration plate. Fortunately, most tickets and fines can be reduced by 50% if you pay them on time (maximally 10 days from the day you received them).