Car hire in Athens
Hiring a car in Athens
Athens is the capital city of Greece, and one of the oldest cities in the world. It's recorded history spans as far back as 3,400 years and is known for some of the most influential arts, knowledge and philosophy throughout the ages.
Since its regeneration for the 2004 Olympic Games, Athens has been reborn as a tourist destination, bringing in travellers from across the globe.
The main road out of Athens is the 56, which heads west towards Pireus, the 83 that takes you north to Chalandri and the E75, which goes as far north as Schimatari.
What you need to know
The popularity of Athens has grown substantially over the last decade, meaning that tourism facilities have also improved. As such, car hire has become much more competitive, with top-quality providers including Europcar, Thrifty, Avis and Caldera just a few of the suppliers in the area.
Searching with our booking engine before you travel will show you the variety of options available, including a range of vehicle types. All bookings also come with 24/7 support and the option for free cancellation, meaning that there's no need to worry if your needs change slightly.
Where to pick up your car
When you arrive, you have the option of either collecting your car from the Athens airport (ATH), or from one of the many city centre locations.
At the airport, you'll find a number of supplier desks just outside of the arrivals area. If you've booked in advance, then it's as easy as picking up your keys, signing your paperwork and driving off to enjoy your holiday.
However, if you haven't booked in advance then you'll find hiring a car much more expensive, so make sure to arrange it through our booking engine before you travel.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
There's so much to see in and around Athens, so you'll be pleased that you have a hire car enabling you to visit all of the stunning places the capital of Greece has to offer.
The area is rich with Western history, with stunning monuments including the Acropolis, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian's Arch.
To the north and east of Athens, you can see the mountains Imittos, Pendeli, Parnitha and Egaleo, which can be reached by heading along Ilioupoleos to the east, or north on the E75. By going south down the 91 for just 15 minutes, you can reach the shores of southern Attica, with stunning beaches at Palaio Faliro and Alimos.
Just 20km west of Athens along the 8 you can reach Evgenia, a small coastal town. This area has a beautiful beach, and is a contrast to the busier areas of Greece.
If you follow the 8 north-west out of Athens, you can follow the ancient Ierá Odhós - the Sacred Way - as far as Elefsína, ancient Eleusis. Here you can see the ruins of the Sanctuary of Demeter, which was one of the most important in ancient Greece. For 2,000 years, ritual ceremonies known as the mysteries were performed here.
Alternatively, if you travel ten minutes south on the EO91, you'll reach Plaka. Once you get here you'll need to explore on foot, as the area is filled with narrow lanes and steep alleys that climb towards the Acropolis.
If you're looking to explore even more of Greece, then you should head north-west on the E75 to Delphi. It's just over two hours away from Athens, but it's definitely worth the trip.
The ancients of Greece considered Delphi to be the centre of the earth. With Parnassós surrounding the city and wildflowers cloaking the valley, the area really does exude unimaginable beauty.
Make sure to visit the Sacred Precinct, which retains the ruins of what was once the Temple of Apollo. Follow the sacred way and see a jumble of statue bases where as many as 3,000 gold, bronze and painted-marble figures once stood.
Top attractions to visit in Athens
The beauty of Athens extends outside of the city, so by hiring a car, you can be sure that you're able explore and take in the best of what the area has to offer.
Eating and drinking
As well as traditional Greek restaurants, Athens also has many western-themed restaurants to cater for the influx of tourists. To get some traditional Greek food though, you should head to one of the street vendors and try a koulouri (sesame seed bread), galaktoboureko (custard-filled pastry), tyropitta (cheese pie) or souvlaki (kebab).
Lamb and seafood are common ingredients in greek dishes, as well as lashings of olive oil. Mezze is a popular choice, which is lots of smaller dishes, meaning you can try even more of the delicious food.
Wine and Ouzo are the most popular drinks in Greece, with many restaurants offering Ouzo following a meal.
Things to do
The Museum of Cycladic Art is the place to visit if you want to learn more about the history of Athens. Over 3,000 artefacts of Cycladic, Ancient Greek and Cypriot art are displayed across the four floors of the museum, while the building is also spectacular and a sight to see in its own right.
To really immerse yourself in the Greek culture, head to Plaka Square, where you'll find shopping, street music and some top-quality restaurants, bars, cafes and traditional tavernas to enjoy, as well as vendors selling you street food.
Athens is well-known for its stunning ruins, and you really won't want to miss them. Acropolis and Parthenon are the two most popular, offering sights up close that photographs cannot do justice. Seeing these ruins in person is an amazing experience, allowing you to step into a piece of Ancient Greek history.
You might also enjoy strolling up Monte Licabetto, from where you can look across Athens and see the beauty it exudes. Alternatively, if you prefer not to walk, you can take a train up and still enjoy the view.
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