Greek hire cars to get older after change in law
Andy Cornish: January 2016
Your rental car in Greece could be a few years older thanks to a recent decision to extend the life of hire cars.
Under previous laws, Greek car rental outfits were legally obliged to renew any vehicle more than nine years old.
An update to the regulations means that car rental firms can hang on to hire cars for 12 years before renewing them.
The move has not met with approval from the Greek Car Rental Companies Association (STEEA) which wants cars replaced every seven years.
The claim that high mileage and rough use on Greek roads takes its toll on hire cars, especially those rented by tourists.
Visitors to Greece might be surprised to learn that their hire car should not be more than nine years old.
Many Greek car hire firms regularly flout the regulations and hang onto rental cars as long as the possibly can, a practice readily admitted by STEEA.
The Association warns that new rules will lead to even more violations and older hire cars on Greek island roads.
And it comes at a time when the Greek government is trying to upgrade tourism generally and attract more affluent visitors.
Many holiday visitors prefer to book ahead by hiring a Greek holiday car online.
That's fine for visitors on since island holidays, but those who enjoy island hopping may be hampered by restrictions on taking hire cars on ferries.
There are car rental firms that will allow you to take a car to another island, but the practice is not encouraged, and some even ban it outright.
You can understand their position when they sometimes have to retrieve cars from distant islands, especially out of season when ferries can be delayed by bad weather.
Booking your car hire in Greece has other advantages too. Greek car hire firms are much more prepared to haggle over the price.
There are some great car hire deals to be found, especially out of season, and you can also rent for a day or two, then maybe a day to two later in your holiday to help cut the costs of hiring for a whole week.
Whichever method you choose for Greek car hire remember that you must be at least 21 years old, although the age may vary by car category, and to have held a license for at least a year.
Drivers under 25 may have to pay a young driver surcharge, and some firms won't lend you a hire car if you are over 70.
When driving in Greece always carry your driving licence, proof of insurance, some ID such as your passport, and your car hire papers or proof of car ownership.
Hefty on-the-spot fines can also be issued for failing to carry a warning triangle, a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit.
Motorcyclists, scooter riders and their passengers must all wear crash helmets. Although locals never seem to bother on some Greek islands, don't assume that the laws will not be enforced for tourists.
Also, never drink and drive. There are police spot checks of hire cars, and fines can be hefty. Also, remember that seat belts are compulsory and children under ten years old must sit in the back of a hire car in Greece.