Greece is a lot more than the Acropolis, Greek islands and sandy beaches. Around the country you have the opportunity to explore a lot of beautiful middle size towns and small isolated villages located in the mountains of Epirus and the Peloponnese. Thrilling landscapes, wetlands, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, monasteries, local communities and places full of history wait to be explored. Bringing your car to Greece and going on a roadtrip will give you the chance to live a genuine and off-the-beaten-track experience of Greece. And this is the reason that we write this article!
How to bring your car to Greece?
The easiest way to bring your car from western and central Europe to Greece is on a ferry through Italy. Several ferries run daily from Italy to Greece. The main Italian ports that serve these ferry routes are Ancona, Bari, Brindisi, and Venice. The ports of Greece that serve this route is Igoumenitsa and Patras. You may find more info in our dedicated blog post and book the cheapest ferry tickets for your ferry trip from Italy to Greece. Through Ferryhopper’s ferry booking engine you can search among all available itineraries and compare ferry company prices as well as vessels, timetables, and itineraries from the Italian ports, Ancona, Bari, Brindisi and Venice, to the ports of Western Greece, Igoumenitsa and Patras, and book the cheapest ferry tickets and all available offers and discounts for your ferry adventure to Greece with your car!
Roadtrip around Greece starts after the ferry arrival
We can write a lot of pages for roadtrips around Greece. But when you travel from Italy to Greece, you really want to start from the port that you arrive! Thus, we will feature three roadtrips starting from the two ports that you may reach Greece from Italy i.e. Igoumenitsa and Patras
Roadtrip 1: Igoumenitsa – Meteora – Thessaloniki – Halkidiki
Meteora is a unique place to go and start your road trip! Mountain-perched Byzantine monasteries and astounding views are ideal for nature lovers and those looking for an easy trip. Meteora is located a mere 167 km away from Igoumenitsa and can be reached within 2 hours and 30 mins. Driving from Meteora to Thessaloniki can be a quick and beautiful trip, if you use Egnatia Road (E90/A2), as you will cross the mountains of Pindos. Thessaloniki is the second-largest city of Greece and is worthy of spending 2-3 days of sightseeing and integrating a bit with the local life. And then Halkidiki comes next! Great beaches and several small villages to visit by car. The first leg of Halkidiki is quite more crowded comparing to the second one, where virgin forests of pine trees are combined with very nice beaches.
Roadtrip 2: Patras – Peloponnese – Hydra – Athens
If you are lucky and manage to save five or six days to explore the Peloponnese, then you enjoy a great time by doing a roadtrip there. Fill up your gas tank, choose your songs and get ready to explore a genuine landscape. Starting from Patras, you will visit ancient Olympia first and then head to Gytheio and Monemvasia. On your way back you can pass by Nafplio and Epidavros. Visiting the island of Hydra is also a great idea! Keep in mind that no cars are allowed in Hydra! It is a car-free island, which after this long road trip sounds ideal. And then straight to Athens, to see one of the most lively European cities.
Roadtrip 3: Igoumenitsa - Corfu - Zante
Since there are no direct ferry itineraries connecting Italy - Corfu or Italy - Zante the best way to explore those two beautiful islands of the Ionian Pelagos is to visit Igoumenitsa. You can start your trip by taking the ferry from whichever port you want among Venice, Ancona, Bari or Brindisi, depending on the time you want to spend onboard. The ferry crossing from Italy to Igoumenitsa is the shortest connecting Italy to Greece and the tickets are the cheapest too. After arriving at Igoumenitsa you can take one of the multiple ferries to visit Corfu and then round back to Igoumenitsa. Then you can drive down the wonderful West Coast of Greece through amazing and captivating scenery, crossing the Rio - Antirio bridge and driving a bit more south to reach the port city of Kyllini. From there ferries to Zante or Kefalonia are daily throughout the season.
Tips for driving in Greece
Roads in Greece
Over the last years, Greece has built a network of wide highways connecting the big cities around the country. Thus, it is quite easy to go from Igoumenitsa and Patras to Athens, Thessaloniki, Ioannina, Meteor or Kalamata (of course there are also more cities to visit 😊 ). The roads that connect smaller cities and villages are usually small roads. Especially driving to the mountainous villages, can be quite tiring. However, the amazing view and the untouched nature will upgrade your roadtrip experience and reward your efforts.
A valid driving licence is required to drive in Greece. The minimum age to drive a car on the roads is 18 years. You must keep the license with you during on all journeys, as it may be asked by the local police. Citizens of the EU can use their own licenses for driving in Greece. USA and driving licences issued by other countries are also accepted but must be accompanied by an International Driving License. This International Driving Permit is an official verification and translation of your valid driver’s license into 10 different languages, and they are valid for one year from the date issued.
Road signs are easy to understand, they usually are in both English and Greek.
When driving in Greece, you will notice that during your road trip you will meet many toll stations. Tolls are collected during each pass at the toll gates. Besides fees for highways, there are also charges for passing some bridges. We would highly advise you to keep some cash with you, before you start your trip and make sure you have the change at hand.
As you might have imagined, it is not a difficult task to find a gas station! By law, at least one gas station must remain open in each area at night and on Sundays. So you will always find gas, even in the isolated areas. Gas stations in Greece do not sell only gas, but usually, have a mini-market or a snack-bar. The gas station staff may also provide you with a free air pump and a wash of your windshield.
How can I book the ferry tickets from Italy to Greece and bring my car for a road trip?
Ferryhopper specializes in providing you with all the available ferry itineraries and show you the best prices for your ferry tickets. You can find the most up-to-date ferry schedules and directly book ferry tickets from Italy to Greece for you and your car using our innovative ferry tickets engine, in just a few clicks!