Road trip in Greece and the Greek islands
How to get around Greece by ferry and car
A road trip in Greece is an excellent idea for travelers who want to discover the most beautiful and remote corners of the country!
Our team has collected useful tips for your road trip, including how to transfer your vehicle by ferry to Greece, suggested routes from major ports and what you need to know when driving around Greece. Book your ferry tickets on Ferryhopper and start your exciting journey by car and ferry in Greece in just a few clicks!
How to bring your car to Greece?
The easiest way to bring your car from central and southern Europe to Greece is by ferry through the ports of eastern Italy. Normally, the 4 ports of the east Italian coast that serve ferry connections to Greece are Venice, Ancona, Bari, and Brindisi.
Ferry routes are very frequent throughout the year and direct ferries connect the Italian ports with the port of Igoumenitsa (in Epirus) and the port of Patras (in the Peloponnese). During the summer season, there are also ferry connections to the Ionian islands of Corfu and Kefalonia.
Ferries that operate on the Italy - Greece lines have large car decks that can accommodate cars, motorcycles, campers, and caravans.
Why take your vehicle to Greece by ferry?
There are many reasons why you should consider transferring your own vehicle to Greece by ferry, including itinerary flexibility, safety and comfort, as well as independence.
Let's break it down into 8 reasons why to arrive to Greece by ferry with your vehicle:
- You have the chance to drive through Italy and spend time in some of the most beautiful cities in the world like Venice, Florence or Rome. There is a rumor food there is delicious!
- Transferring your vehicle by ferry from Italy to Greece saves you time and money, since you don’t have to pay for gas or tolls on the way.
- Crossing the Adriatic and Mediterranean seas by ferry allows you to enjoy a unique scenery, taking in views of the coasts of Croatia, Albania, the Ionian islands, and northwestern Greece.
- The ferry ride can be more relaxing and fun than you have imagined! Ferries from Italy to Greece offer many on-board entertainment options, often including screening rooms, bars, restaurants, cafeterias, as well as open-air decks where you can enjoy the sunset or the sunrise.
- Ferry rides from Italy to Greece are usually overnight, which means you can sleep on the ferry and wake up in Greece next morning, ready to start your road trip with your batteries charged. Booking a bed cabin is the best option for a comfortable ferry trip from Italy to Greece.
- If you are an early planner, then you can benefit from early booking discounts that many ferry companies offer on the Italy - Greece ferry routes for passengers and vehicles.
- Ferry companies operating on the Adriatic Sea also have exclusive offers for campers and caravans. Find more information about traveling to Greece with your campervan.
- The ports of Igoumenitsa and Patras, where you arrive by ferry from Italy, are perfect starting points to explore some of the most beautiful areas in Greece or catch a ferry to the Greek islands.
So, bring your car to Greece by ferry and have a true experience of Greece’s landscapes, vibe, tastes, and history. Explore more details for your road trip planning below:
Ferry traveling along the beautiful Greek coast
Road trips in Greece: where to go after your ferry arrival
When you travel from Italy to Greece by ferry, your road trip to Greece can start as soon as your ferry arrives in the port!
The 2 Greek ports that serve most ferry connections from Italy are Igoumenitsa and Patras.
- The port and town of Igoumenitsa are located on the northwest coast of Greece, opposite the island of Corfu and close to the country’s borders with Albania.
- Patras is the third largest city in Greece located in the northwest corner of the Peloponnese. The port of Patras is one of the main gateways to the Ionian islands.
You have many road trip options from both ports, depending on your time, taste and budget.
Here are 4 road trip suggestions in Greece from Igoumenitsa and Patras:
Roadtrip 1: Igoumenitsa - Meteora - Thessaloniki - Halkidiki
Igoumenitsa is a great point of departure to explore the beauty of central and northern Greece. In just 2.5 hours from the port of Igoumenitsa, you can drive to the impressive site of Meteora. The breathtaking view of the immense rock formations and the mountain-perched Byzantine monasteries are an unforgettable experience.
From Meteora, you can then drive north to Thessaloniki, the second largest city of Greece. You can get from Meteora to Thessaloniki via the Egnatia Odos (A2/E90), a modern highway that passes through the impressive Pindos mountains.
Impressive landscape in Meteora, Greece
Thessaloniki is a vibrant city and you should definitely consider spending a few days there. The history of the city is evident throughout its old center with archaeological sites, monuments and historical buildings coming regularly into sight when walking around the city.
Thessaloniki is also famous for its amazing food and its nightlife, so make sure you try some of the local delicacies and do some bar-hopping before you continue your road trip!
The next (and final?) stop of this road trip should definitely be Halkidiki (or Chalkidiki), the beautiful peninsula in the south of Thessaloniki. In Halkidiki, you will find many great beaches and small villages to visit, while there are many campsites across the two "legs" of the peninsula. Halkidiki is an ideal destination if you want to relax by the sea for a few days.
Roadtrip 2: Igoumenitsa - Corfu - Lefkada - Zante
This road trip itinerary includes a visit to 3 of the most beautiful islands of the Ionian Sea, as well as a great drive to the west coast of Greece.
- To begin with, as soon as your ferry from Italy arrives in Igoumenitsa, you can board one of the many ferries that depart from Igoumenitsa to Corfu The ferry ride is just 1.5 hours so you can even organize this as a day trip. In the summer months, you also have the option of getting a direct ferry from Italy to Corfu. After a visit to the cosmopolitan island of Corfu, you can return to Igoumenitsa for the second part of your road trip.
- In just a 1.5-hour drive from Igoumenitsa, you can get to the island of Lefkada for some of the most impressive beaches in the Ionian Sea. Lefkada is the only Ionian island accessible via a causeway from mainland Greece! On your way to Lefkada, you can also stop at the picturesque town of Parga, or dive in the crystal sea of Syvota. By driving around Lefkada, you can see some of its most beautiful beaches like Porto Katsiki, Kathisma or Milos, as well its rich nature including waterfalls, caves and cliffs.
- From Lefkada, you can then drive further south through Ionia Odos (A5), pass the Rio-Antirrio bridge and reach the port of Kyllini, in Peloponnese, in about 3 hours. From the port of Kyllini, there are many daily ferry connections to the island of Zakynthos, while the ferry trip duration is approximately 1 hour. Zakynthos (or Zante) is a great holiday destination that combines great beaches, beautiful nature, seaside resorts, watersports, and sea activities (and of course the famous beach of Navagio).
The popular Porto Katsiki beach in Lefkada
Roadtrip 3: Patras - Peloponnese - Poros - Aegina - Athens
A road trip in the Peloponnese is an absolute must if you have at least 5-6 days to wander around the coast and mainland of the region. Heading southwest from the port of Patras, we recommend that you stop at the archaeological site of Ancient Olympia. You can reach Olympia in just a 1.5-hour drive from Patras for a visit to the birthplace of the Olympic Games.
Then, continue south along the west coast of the Peloponnese, where you can enjoy the long sandy beaches before you reach Pylos and Foinikounta at the very south of that side of the peninsula.
Heading towards the southeast coast of Peloponnese, make sure that you drive through Areopolis and Gytheio before reaching the picturesque and romantic town of Monemvasia.
From Monemvasia, start heading up north, enjoying the coastal views of the Aegean Sea all the way to the historic city of Nafplion, the archaeological site of Mycenae and the ancient theatre of Epidaurus.
Across the way, you will find many accommodation options including beach resorts, smaller apartments and campsites.
Now, if you want to make your road trip a bit more interesting, you can drive east from Epidaurus and get to the small coastal town of Galatas in just 50 minutes. From there you can get a ferry that takes you to the island of Poros in just 10 minutes! Poros is one of the islands of the Saronic Gulf, ideal for peaceful holidays in a beautiful scenery.
After your visit to Poros, you can consider some island-hopping in the Saronic islands and catch a ferry to the island of Aegina. Aegina is a popular destination as it’s very close to Athens and it has many beautiful places and beaches to explore.
From the ports of Aegina, there are daily ferries to the port of Piraeus in Athens, so you should definitely pay a visit to the capital of Greece, one of the most lively European cities.
From the ports of Athens, you can find many ferry connections to the Greek islands, while many of the ferries have a car deck to transfer your vehicle. You can therefore continue your road trip to the islands and combine it with some island-hopping in the Aegean!
On Ferryhopper's Map of ferries, you can find all available ferry connections from Athens, to plan your ferry trip with confidence!
Driving through tall mountains in Greece
Roadtrip 4: Patras - Delphi - Volos - Skiathos
Our next suggestion for a road trip from port of Patras is to travel northeast to the impressive village and ancient sanctuary of Delphi. It will take you 2 hours to drive from Patras to the beautiful landscape of Delphi via E65/EO48.
From there, you can drive through Mount Parnassus to the east coast and drive north to the Pagasetic Gulf and the city of Volos. Volos is a coastal city, the capital of the Magnesia region, a place famous for its food and agriculture. Don’t miss the chance to spend some time in the renowned tsipouradika of Volos and taste the local food!
From Volos, you can also go on a road trip through the mountains of Pelion for some exciting natural routes and dramatic views of the Aegean Sea.
The awe-inspiring archaeological site of Delphi on Mount Parnassus
The port of Volos is also an important gateway to the Sporades islands, so we recommend that you continue your road trip by taking a ferry to the island of Skiathos. The ferry trip to Skiathos is approximately 2.5 hours and from there you can also take a ferry to the neighboring island of Skopelos.
The ferry ride is just 30 minutes and the ferry ticket can be quite cheap, so you could even plan this as a day trip.
On our pages, you can find more details about the Skiathos - Skopelos ferry route.
Tips for driving in Greece
In general, getting around Greece with your vehicle is straightforward especially in the mainland or the main roads of Crete, Euboea and other large islands. You can plan your road trip to the Greek destinations smoothly, using online or printed maps. Here are some additional tips for you:
Roads in Greece
Greece has a good and wide road network with several highways connecting the largest cities and towns around the country. This means a road trip can be a fun and relaxing experience.
The most modern motorways in Greece are:
- Egnatia Odos (A2), which extends from the port of Igoumenitsa to the eastern border of Greece with Turkey
- Ionia Odos (A5), which covers western Greece from Ioannina to the port of Patras
- Olympia Odos (A8), which connects the bridge of Rio - Antirrio (next to Patras) with Eleusis, Athens
- Moreas Motorway (A7), which runs from the north to the south of eastern Peloponnese, connecting Corinth to Tripoli and Kalamata
- Attiki Odos (A6), which is the main urban motorway network of Athens, connecting the different suburbs with the city center and the airport
Watching the sunset over the mountains of the Peloponnese
Driving license for a road trip in Greece
A valid driving license is required to drive in Greece. The minimum age limit to drive a car in Greece is 18 years old. You must have your license with you at all times, as there might be police controls, particularly on highways. Also, make sure that you respect speed limits.
Citizens of the EU and the UK can drive with their licenses in Greece, while international travelers should also have an International Driving Permit. You have to apply for an International Driving Permit (or License) in advance of your trip to Greece.
Road signs in Greece
Most of the times, road signs in Greece are both in English and in Greek. Highway signs are usually green, while regional road signs are usually blue.
Toll stations in Greece
During your road trip in Greece, you might encounter several toll stations, especially if you are traveling in the long, modern highways or through bridges like the Rio-Antirrio one. Toll station fees depend on the area, but it's usually under €10 for a standard passenger car. Toll fees are higher for the Rio-Antirrio bridge and the underwater tunnel Aktio-Preveza. In general, toll stations accept card payments, but we suggest that you keep some cash with you, in case a toll station is cash-only.
Gas stations in Greece
Finding a gas station while driving in Greece is very easy! It is actually defined by law that at least 1 gas station must remain open during the night and on Sundays in each area. So, you can find unleaded gas and diesel even in isolated areas.
Usually, gas stations in Greece also have a mini-market or a snack-bar, while the station staff may also help you with a free air pump for your tires or water/oil check for your car.
Tip: Want more advice about driving in the Greek islands?
Goat checking the traffic in Greece
Where can I book ferry tickets from Italy to Greece for passengers and vehicles?
On Ferryhopper, you can compare all ferry ticket types and prices for passengers and vehicles, as well as the latest 2021 ferry itineraries to book your ferry trip from Italy to Greece in the most convenient way. On our Map of ferries, you will find all ferry connections from Italy to Greece, as well as to the Greek islands, so you can organize the best island-hopping and road-trip experience!
Tip: Don't forget to download the Ferryhopper App to book your ferry tickets fast and easy, and have all the information you need at your fingertips wherever you are!