The Ultimate Guide to Driving in Greece: Do You Really Need an International Driver's License?

The Ultimate Guide to Driving in Greece: Do You Really Need an International Driver's License?

Welcome to the ultimate guide to driving in Greece! If you're planning a road trip in this captivating Mediterranean country, you may be wondering whether you need an international driver's license. Look no further, as we unravel the mystery for you.


Greece is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, ancient ruins, and charming coastal towns. Exploring all of these treasures at your own pace with the freedom of a car is an excellent way to discover the hidden gems this country has to offer. However, before you hit the road, it's crucial to understand the legal requirements for driving in Greece.


In this comprehensive guide, we will address the question of whether you really need an international driver's license when driving in Greece. We'll delve into the relevant regulations and clarify the confusion surrounding this topic. Whether you're a local, an international visitor, or an expat, this guide aims to provide you with accurate and up-to-date information, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free driving experience during your time in Greece.


So, fasten your seatbelts as we navigate through the ins and outs of driving in Greece and answer the burning question about international driver's licenses. Let's get started!


Basic driving rules and regulations in Greece


Driving in Greece, like any other country, requires familiarity with its rules and regulations. While some rules may be similar to those in your home country, Greece has its own unique set of driving guidelines that you should be aware of.


In Greece, vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road. Seat belts are mandatory for both the driver and all passengers. The use of mobile phones while driving is strictly prohibited, unless you have a hands-free device. Speed limits vary depending on the type of road, with a maximum of 130 km/h (80 mph) on highways, 110 km/h (68 mph) on expressways, and 50 km/h (31 mph) in urban areas. It's important to adhere to these limits to ensure your safety and avoid fines.


Additionally, Greece has strict laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.05%, and penalties for exceeding this limit can include fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment. It's always best to designate a sober driver or use alternative transportation if you plan on consuming alcohol.


Do you need an international driver's license in Greece?


One of the most frequently asked questions by travelers planning to drive in Greece is whether an international driver's license is necessary. The answer is yes and no. Greece recognizes driving licenses issued by most countries, including those within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). If your driving license is issued by a country that falls within these categories, you can legally drive in Greece without an international driver's license BUT having an international driver's license can help you avoid problems with the authorities as you will have your driver's license translated and also will help you communicate with the authorities in Greece.


However, if your driving license is issued by a non-EU/EEA country, you will need to obtain an international driver's license before driving in Greece. An international driver's license serves as a translation of your original license and must be carried alongside your valid driving license from your home country. It's important to note that an international driver's license is not a standalone document and does not replace your original driving license.


Driving license requirements for tourists in Greece


If you're a tourist visiting Greece and plan to drive during your stay, it's essential to understand the driving license requirements. As mentioned earlier, if your driving license is issued by an EU/EEA country, it is valid in Greece but you should have an international driver's license anyway.


For tourists from non-EU/EEA countries, the requirements may vary. Some countries have bilateral agreements with Greece that allow their citizens to drive with their national driving licenses, while others require an international driver's license. You can check here to determine the specific requirements for your situation.


Benefits of having an international driver's license in Greece


While an international driver's license is not mandatory for all drivers in Greece, there are several benefits to obtaining one, even if you have a valid driving license from an EU/EEA country.


Firstly, an international driver's license provides an additional form of identification that may be useful in certain situations. It can serve as a backup document in case your original driving license is lost or stolen. Additionally, it can be used as a form of identification when renting a car or dealing with authorities in Greece.


Furthermore, having an international driver's license can make communication easier in case of an accident or interaction with law enforcement. The license includes translations of the relevant information on your original driving license, which can help overcome potential language barriers.



If you determine that you need an international driver's license to drive in Greece, the process of obtaining one is relatively straightforward.


To obtain an international driver's license, you must first possess a valid driving license from your home country. The international driver's license is not a standalone document but rather a translation of your original license, so it cannot be obtained without a valid driving license.


You can apply for an international driver's license through the website The process usually involves completing an application form, providing a copy of your valid driving license, and paying a fee. The international driver's license is typically valid for one year from the date of issue.

  The Ultimate Guide to Driving in Greece: Do You Really Need an International Driver's License?

Tips for driving in Greece


Driving in Greece can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it's essential to be prepared and aware of certain tips to ensure a smooth journey.


- Familiarize yourself with the local driving rules and regulations before hitting the road. Understanding the specific guidelines will help you navigate Greek roads confidently.


- Be cautious of the local driving habits and etiquette. Greek drivers are known for their assertiveness and occasional disregard for traffic rules. It's important to stay vigilant and adapt to the local style of driving.


- Plan your routes in advance and use GPS or navigation apps to help you navigate. Greece has an extensive road network, but some rural areas may have less developed infrastructure. Having a clear plan will make your journey more enjoyable.


- Be aware of parking regulations in urban areas. Parking can be a challenge in cities, so it's advisable to use designated parking areas or park in garages.


- Take breaks during long drives and stay hydrated. Greece is known for its warm climate, and long journeys can be tiring. Make sure to take regular breaks and stay hydrated to maintain your focus and energy levels.


Road conditions and safety in Greece


Greece offers a diverse landscape, ranging from mountainous regions to coastal areas, each with its own unique road conditions. Overall, Greek roads are well-maintained, especially major highways and urban roads. However, some rural roads may be narrower and winding, requiring extra caution.


It's important to note that Greece experiences high traffic congestion during peak tourist seasons, especially in popular destinations. Plan your travel accordingly and allow extra time for potential delays.


In terms of safety, Greece has made significant improvements in recent years. However, it's always advisable to prioritize your safety by wearing seat belts, following speed limits, and avoiding aggressive driving behaviors. Additionally, be cautious of motorcyclists, as they are prevalent on Greek roads.


Renting a car in Greece


Renting a car is a popular choice for travelers exploring Greece. It provides flexibility and convenience, allowing you to explore both popular tourist destinations and off-the-beaten-path locations. Here are some tips for renting a car in Greece:


- Choose a reputable car rental company to ensure a reliable vehicle and good customer service.

- Read the rental agreement carefully before signing. Pay attention to any additional charges, insurance coverage, and fuel policies.

- Check the condition of the car before driving off. Take note of any existing damages and inform the rental company to avoid any disputes later.

- Familiarize yourself with the car's features and controls, especially if you are not accustomed to driving a particular model.

- Keep important documents, such as your driving license, passport, and rental agreement, with you while driving.

- Park your rental car in well-lit and secure areas, especially at night.


Conclusion: Making the most of your driving experience in Greece


Driving in Greece can be a rewarding and memorable experience, allowing you to explore the country's diverse landscapes and hidden treasures. Whether you're a local, an international visitor, or an expat, understanding the driving rules and regulations is essential for a smooth and hassle-free journey.


While an international driver's license is not always required in Greece, it can provide additional benefits and peace of mind, especially for non-EU/EEA license holders. Be sure to check the specific requirements based on your country of origin before traveling. 


We at IDL's international driver's license want to help you with your international driver's license process so leave everything in our hands and apply here.


Remember to familiarize yourself with the local driving rules, plan your routes in advance, and drive defensively. By following these tips and prioritizing safety, you can make the most of your driving experience in Greece and create lifelong memories of your time on the road. Happy travels! 🇬🇷