Traveling on roads in a foreign country with an unfamiliar language is not an easy task, but it is interesting. That is why if you plan to rent a car in Greece, you should prepare yourself in advance: study the peculiarities of traffic rules, car rental conditions, and parking rules as well.
As in any European country, in Greece, almost all parking spaces in major cities are paid. It is almost impossible to find a free parking space in the centre. And when you park the rental car, you need to be careful, look at the prohibitory and allowing parking signs and markings because the fines are quite heavy.
In Greece, 3 colors are used to indicate parking spaces: white, blue, and yellow. This scheme is used in many European cities:
This color scheme is used in all cities except the capital. In Athens, the scheme is different.
Organization, location and features of parking lots
There are 3 types of Greek car parks: street parking spaces, outdoor parking lots and parking complexes (covered or underground ones).
Parking in the street
Paid street car parks work according to the color scheme; they are indicated by the "P" sign and by information plate, and are limited to 3 hours. A parking meter for paying is always located nearby.
Parking is possible if the marking allows and there are no prohibitory signs. You can find a free space on the street in dormitory districts and in the outskirts.
Outdoor public and private parking areas
Practically, the outdoor car parks are the most convenient for tourists who go sightseeing around the city. Most often, there is an English-speaking staff, clear payment conditions and reasonable pricing policy, if you leave the car for a few hours. But it is not always possible to pay with a bank card there.
You can always find such places near ports and important sights. Sometimes they are even free of charge.
On the islands, the outdoor parking lots can often be found in the city centre.
Parking complexes (covered and underground)
Multilevel or underground parking garages are situated mainly in the centre or busy districts of large cities.
They are a bit more expensive than outdoor ones, but rates are more flexible there (hourly, daily, weekly, etc.). The most favorable prices will be for longtime parking. This option is convenient for those who live at the same place for a long time and do not have free car park nearby.
Parking on the islands
On the islands, the situation is simpler: in large cities, even in the centre, you can find where you can park your car. In addition, there are large paid or free car parks around most of the attractions and beaches, so it is easier to find a place for a car there.
Cost of parking in Greece
There are no fixed prices for car parking in Greece. Usually the price depends on the region, proximity to the centre, etc.
You should consider that parking in the street is limited in time. That is, you can only pay for 3 hours. Later you need to pay for parking again. The cost of one hour is about €1 on average.
The cost of a parking hour in indoor and outdoor parking lots starts from €1.50. But sometimes the same amount can be paid for a few hours of parking as well.
You can always leave your car in the parking lots for any period of time, and pay for it both with cash and with a credit card.
How to pay for parking in Greece
There are classic European ways to pay for parking in Greece.
The first way to pay is with the help of the parking meter. They are always close to the parking zones and accept banknotes, coins, and sometimes cards.
The second way is to buy a card for paying for a certain period of time. They are sold in newspaper or cigarette kiosks. On these cards, you need to erase the correct time for activation (as on a lottery ticket).
The third way is to pay through special apps: myAthenspass and ParkPal.
Everything is much easier with parking lots: you pay for them either via the parking meter or to an employee. Large parking lots always accept cards and have English-speaking staff.
The receipts and cards should be left on the dashboard under the windshield, in an open view.
The parking ticket is not small — €80.
But this is not the only way to punish the driver: in exceptional cases, the police can seize the license plates of the car. Then you will have not only to pay a fine, but also get the numbers out of the police station.
Since 2019, the Greeks have tightened control over traffic discipline. That is why you should not break any rule even in a small village.
Note! Until recently, there was a 50% discount for paying a fine in Greece if the person paid it within the first 10 days. Unfortunately, this rule was canceled recently, and now in any case you will have to pay the full amount of the fine.
Fines are paid at the post office or at a local bank department.
Parking in Athens
In Athens, color markings on the road work differently:
The maximum parking time is 3 hours. An hour costs €1. Moreover, if half an hour costs €0.50, then 3 hours will cost €6. Paid time on weekdays is from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and on Saturdays, it is from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. During the rest of the time, parking is free. You can pay not only at parking meters and kiosks, but also through the MyAthenspass app.
As elsewhere, paid parking is the most convenient option for tourists.
You can find them in the Parkaround app.
The easiest and fastest way to find a good place is to search in the Google Maps and MapsMe apps for "parking". All main parking complexes are marked on the maps, and sometimes you can find links to websites and photos there.
This will be quite enough for small towns and islands.
In large cities such as Athens and Thessaloniki, searching can take much more effort. Here are a few services in English that will make life much easier.
This service works all over the world. You can search for a parking lot both on the parkme.com website, and in the app. It works in all major Greek cities. Here you can learn the cost and get directions to the place.
You can use the myAthenspass app to pay for street parking space in Athens. Top up your account, select the zone where you have stopped and the time, then enter the car license number and pay. 10 minutes before the end of the time period, the app will notify you that time is running out.
On the parkaround.com website and in the Parkaround app, you can find, book and pay for a suitable city parking space in Athens. You can also book a parking space in all major airports in Greece and in Cyprus.
There is a thesi.gr. website for searching in Thessaloniki. But its ParkPal app is much more convenient. Top up your balance with a card, choose a zone, specify the car license number, time and then pay. The maximum parking time is 4 hours.
Greece is a very advanced and developed country, which is friendly to its guests. If you follow the law and are careful, you will not have any problems, no matter where you are.
As you can see, there are no difficulties both in theory and in practice. Aktis Car service will help you make sure of this — you can book the car that you like with full insurance and prepay just 20% of the booking price.
Discover Greece with a positive attitude, and it will open up to you from its best side.