Mykonos is one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea and is well known as a party island with bars and clubs staying open until sunrise. Although many beaches are packed with partygoers, there are quieter beaches with calm turquoise waters, which are great for families. However, there is more to the island than beaches and nightlife. There are monasteries and churches to visit and museums in Mykonos Town. You will find traditional villages in the countryside where time seems to have stood still. Do you need to rent a car to explore the island?
If you are staying in Mykonos Town and don’t plan to go further afield, then no. The town is mainly pedestrianised, so you won’t be able to drive anyway. It is easy to walk around town and safe as crime is low and if you want to go to one of the beaches, there is an excellent bus service from Fabrika Square. But not all the beaches are serviced by buses, particularly in the north of the island, or maybe you want to beach-hop. Perhaps you want to explore inland where buses don’t travel. If so, a car rental in Mykonos would be the answer. It will give you the freedom to go anywhere you want without restrictions. However, what is it like to drive in Mykonos, and what are the rules and regulations when it comes to car rental? We’ll take a look here so that you are prepared if you decide to rent a car in Mykonos.
- Car Rental In Mykonos
- Driving in Mykonos – An Overview
- Car Rental Requirements
- Rules Of The Road
- Car Rental Insurance
- Car Rental Restrictions
- How Safe Is It To Drive In Mykonos?
- The Best Car Rental Companies In Mykonos
- Scams To Look Out For
- Would You Want To Rent A Car In Mykonos?
- Differences Driving In Mykonos Compared To The UK Or The US
Car Rental In Mykonos
Best Mykonos Car Rental
When booking your Mykonos car rental online, use Discover Cars to find the best deal. The site searches international corporations and local companies to list cars that suit your circumstances.
Driving in Mykonos – An Overview
Although driving in Mykonos is nothing like driving in Athens or any other major Greek city, such as Thessaloniki or Heraklion on the island of Crete it can still be stressful.
Most of Mykonos Town is pedestrianised, so you can’t drive.
When you get out of town, there isn’t a highway and there’s just one lane going each way. This can make it difficult to overtake slow drivers.
The roads are good except when you get to the more secluded areas where they may just be rough tracks.
You will need to check with your rental company if you are allowed to take your car off the main roads.
You may only be permitted to drive off the beaten track in an SUV.
Mykonos can be very busy during the summer months and if you are driving along the south coast where all the popular beaches are, expect a lot of traffic.
You will need to be alert as you will be contending with both tourists and Greeks.
Greeks can be aggressive drivers and will overtake you at any chance they get if you are not going as fast as they want.
When it comes to tourists, maybe they are unsure about where they’re going and if they come from a country that drives on the other side of the road, they can get confused.
Beware of motorbikes.
Greeks on motorbikes don’t believe that there are any rules and will overtake you on the inside if that’s easiest for them.
When it comes to holidaymakers, you will find that people who have never ridden a motorbike or scooter decide to hire one to get about and they can be a danger.
Helmets are mandatory but you will see people riding a bike in swimming costumes which isn’t safe.
Keep an eye out for motorbikes all the time as the last thing you want is to be in an accident.
Be careful if you drive at night as many fatalities happen then when young people may take to their cars after a night out clubbing.
One word of advice is to not drink and drive as the police are strict, and you can incur heavy fines if you fail a breathalyser.
You might even end up in jail.
The Greek police even set up roadblocks at night to breathalyse drivers.
Car Rental Requirements
To rent a car in Mykonos, you must be 21 years old or over, although some car companies will rent luxury cars only to those over 23.
You must also have held a driving licence for at least one year.
In addition, some companies will add a surcharge for drivers under 25 while others won’t rent a car to people over 70, but they are few and far between.
When you come to pick up your car, you will need to show your driver’s licence and your passport.
If you don’t have an EU licence, you must have an International Driver’s Permit, which can be obtained online.
Most rental companies only accept credit cards for payment, not debit cards.
If you have a child under 4, you must rent a car seat which will cost you extra. If you don’t, you could be fined if the police stop you.
Rules Of The Road
Remember that traffic drives on the right in Greece.
This is easy if you come from the US and most of Europe but if you are from the UK or Australia, it will take getting used to if you have never driven on the right before.
If you are driving in a town or village, the speed limit is 50 kph (30 mph) but if you are on an open road, it is 80 kph (50 mph).
Be aware that there might be signs giving lower speeds in certain areas and fines are high if the police catch you breaking the speed limit.
Where there are double lines in the middle of the road, you mustn’t overtake although the Greeks often do.
It’s not worth it if the police catch you.
There are unwritten rules of the road which may not be the same as in your country.
For example, if someone flashes their headlights at you, it means that they are coming through while in most countries, it means the opposite.
Greeks ignore zebra crossings, so if you suddenly stop when someone walks onto the crossing, the speedy Greek behind you might crash into you.
The problem with zebra crossings is that people from other countries expect you to stop. My advice is to drive slowly all the time.
The Greek behind you might get annoyed, but it is better than an accident, either with a car crashing into you or you running over a pedestrian.
Car Rental Insurance
You have at least the basic car insurance to drive in Greece and your car rental company will provide this as part of your deal.
The standard insurance usually includes Theft Protection but there is always a deductible which is the amount you have to pay if the car is stolen.
You will find that different car rental companies give different deductibles, so it is worth looking around to get the best deal.
The standard insurance also contains Third Party Liability which covers an accident caused by the renter.
However, there will also be a deductible, which will vary from company to company.
If the deductibles are high, and they very well might be, you might want to take out extended insurance to reduce them.
You have to weigh up the cost of the extended insurance against the deductible and choose a waiver for added protection, such as:
- Choose Collision Damage Waiver to slightly reduces the deductible
- Super Collision Damage Waiver, which has a further reduced deductible or
- Full Damage Waiver, which is an option without a deductible and recommended if you’re renting a luxury car or an SUV.
Car Rental Restrictions
Always look at the small print in your car rental agreement to see if there are any restrictions.
The service staff might not tell you and you may end up with an unwelcome surprise on your credit card.
There could be geographical restrictions.
As Mykonos is a small island, you might want to visit one of the nearby islands by ferry. Check that your agreement covers the ferry journey and driving on another island.
If you’re not hiring an SUV, there could be restrictions as to where you can drive. Your agreement might not allow you to drive off-road if you are hiring an economy car.
Your car might have a daily mileage limitation, but as Mykonos is a small island, you probably won’t be doing that many miles.
Remember that if you have an accident and are found to be under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, your insurance will be null and void.
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How Safe Is It To Drive In Mykonos?
Greece has one of the highest numbers of accidents in Europe.
Young Greeks like to drive fast, and most Greeks don’t follow the rules of the road.
Having said that, you’ll probably be safer driving in Mykonos than in one of the big cities, mainly because it is so small and there aren’t that many roads.
However, roads leading to the more remote beaches can be steep.
Driving in Greece isn’t recommended if you are a timid driver, as you will encounter aggressive Greek drivers.
You need to drive defensively but follow the rules.
Don’t be surprised to see drivers coming towards you, headlights blazing while they overtake despite double lines in the middle of the road.
Always be prepared to stop.
Watch out for motorbike riders who ignore cars and pedestrians and do whatever they want. This refers to both Greeks and tourists!
If it is within your budget, hire a bigger car as the Greeks will give you more room on the roads.
An SUV is ideal, and you will probably feel safer being high up.
The Best Car Rental Companies In Mykonos
An easy way to find the right car for you is to use Discover Cars to find the best deal. The site searches international corporations and local companies to list cars that suit your circumstances.
This is a Greek car rental company and as such, offers a personal service, giving you all sorts of tips about your stay in Mykonos.
Volta4U offers a wide range of cars such as compact, family, luxury, and SUVs.
They have a few automatic cars for those unsure about driving a gear-change car but book one well in advance as they go quickly.
They offer car rental for as short as one day up to 28 days. They will meet you at the airport on your arrival between 8.00 a.m. and 9.00 p.m.
Volta4U has a loyalty programme; the more you rent from them, the more benefits you will get, such as discounts on your rental and free upgrades.
Budget is an international company with competitive prices.
They have offices both at the port and the airport in Mykonos and are open 24 hours a day so whatever time you arrive, they will be there to meet you.
Budget has all manner of cars, from economy to luxury, as well as SUVs and people carriers. They do have some automatic cars but again, book early.
Budget offers online renters Quick Pass, which means you can give them details in advance that you would usually give them on arrival.
All you then have to do when you get to Mykonos is to show your driving licence, passport, and credit card. Your car will be ready and waiting for you, thoroughly cleaned.
Thrifty is one of the largest rental companies in Europe and offers competitive rates. They have two offices on the island of Mykonos.
Thrifty has a wide choice of cars ranging from economy to family to SUVs to minibuses.
They have a reasonable number of automatic cars and competitive rates for additional drivers, children’s safety seats, GPS navigators, and snow chains.
A great offer is that they will give all passengers of Aegean Airways and Olympic Air preferential rates.
Compare rates for all the car companies above at Discover Cars.
Scams To Look Out For
The most important thing you should do before driving away in your rental car is to check it for dents or other damage otherwise, the rental company could charge you for damage you did not cause.
Ensure that any damage on the car is listed on your contract. If you have a prang, question the company if you think they are overcharging you for minor damage.
Beware of rental car damage claims filed long after the car has been returned. Somebody who rented the vehicle after you could easily have caused the damage and the company is trying to get paid twice for one repair.
If you have booked an economy car and the car rental company says that they haven’t got one available and try to sell you an upgrade, stand your ground until you get an upgrade for free.
After all, you have confirmation of the car you booked.
Don’t fall for hard-sell tactics if you have already decided on the budget you have for your car.
The customer service representatives may work on you to upgrade your car or your insurance and are usually very good at their job.
Stand firm if you don’t want what they are offering.
Would You Want To Rent A Car In Mykonos?
If you are staying at Mykonos Town or one of the beach resorts and don’t intend to go far, you might as well not bother hiring a car.
If you want a day out to a different beach, most are serviced by the bus service and some even by water taxi.
There are also taxis which are a good option if you want to enjoy an evening clubbing. Do not drink and drive.
However, if you want to explore the island and go where public transport doesn’t car hire is a good option.
It will give you the freedom to go anywhere you want in Mykonos.
Perhaps you want to go to the northern beaches or maybe inland or off-road.
You don’t have to hire a car for your entire holiday. Most car rental companies hire out cars for a day or two, so you could have a few days on the beach, a couple in Mykonos Town, and then explore the island by car for a few days.
Driving in Mykonos isn’t as stressful as it can be in Athens or any of the major Greek cities but you will still come across aggressive Greek drivers who break the rules, as well as tourists who have never driven abroad before.
If you are alert and not timid, you will be fine and will see parts of the island others miss.
Differences Driving In Mykonos Compared To The UK Or The US
If you are from the US, and, indeed, most of Europe, you will be used to driving on the right-hand side of the road, but if you come from countries such as the UK and Australia, it will take a bit of getting used to driving on the other side of the road.
In the US, warning signs are yellow and diamond-shaped. However, in the UK and Greece, they are triangular signs with red borders.
The alcohol limit for drivers is just 0.05% in Greece, while in both the UK and the US, it is 0.08%.
This isn’t a lot; just one extra sip could put you over the limit.
Fines are high if caught, and you may even go to jail, which would not be how you want to spend your holiday.
UK drivers will find Greek drivers unhelpful and aggressive. Greeks won’t let you out of a side road for example, while in many other places, they usually do.
This aggressive driving takes getting used to, and you might learn how to do the same.
Gear-change cars are more common in Greece, which won’t be a problem for most UK drivers but Americans usually drive automatics so if you want an automatic, book early as they are reserved quickly.
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