The Greek islands are definitely among the most popular vacation destinations in the world. One of the things that make them so popular, is the fact that not only are they gorgeous, most of them are rather small, which means that you can easily enjoy them within a few days. Santorini, an island known all over the world for its unique volcanic geography and breathtakingly beautiful sunsets, for example is only a few kilometers big and very easy to explore. However, if you would like to offer everything your chosen has to offer, you will need a car.
Cars are needed on the Greek islands because although there is no shortage of public transportation and bus routes – especially on popular islands like Santorini – , a lot of the most beautiful beaches are not accessible by bus. Besides, being reliant on public transport means that you’ll have to carefully plan your vacation and your trips and meticulous is the last thing any reasonable human being would like to do while away on holiday.
Renting a car however is never an easy task, mainly because there usually is a lot of fine print involved and there can even be some price gouging going on, depending on when you choose to rent your car. With that being said, let’s see what you should look out for when renting a car in Santorini or any other island.
It goes without saying that the terms on which you will be renting your car are the most important deciding factor when it comes to deciding whether to prefer an agency or not. Most car rental agencies are online these days so take some time to read the terms carefully before renting a car. Never agree to a deal “blind” i.e. without having read the contract. If there is a term or condition that you don’t understand, don’t hesitate to contact the agency and ask for additional information.
Most car rental agencies will offer you some insurance when you rent a car from them. Just make sure that the package they offer includes pretty much everything that you consider important. If there is one thing that the contract should include, is road assistance. The last thing you want happening in a foreign place is getting stuck in the middle of nowhere because of a breakdown.
Most car rental agencies have a wide range of cars at their disposal, of course it goes without saying that anything other than a regular sedan or compact car will have a pretty expensive rate, which is why most agencies will offer 4x4s and SUVs first when you visit their sites . You don’t need SUVs and fancy sportscars on most Greek islands, since they have well maintained roads. Also, with the exception of popular islands like Santorini, the roads on Greek islands can be rather narrow and they feature many tight turns due to their topography, which makes driving large cars on them a very difficult task. Keep your money and just rent a regular car.
Choosing local over multinational agencies
This tip might seem a bit weird and even unintuitive at firsts, but it will make sense once you read this. A popular tourist destination like Santorini is home to tens if not hundreds of car rental agencies. Local agencies have to find ways to compete with the “big dogs” and the other local agencies on their island, which is why they offer some pretty fantastic packages and deals. Simply put, a local agency’s rate will be way cheaper than that of a multinational corporation for the same type of car. This is because the local company doesn’t have a reputation to fall back on when it comes to attracting business from tourists, which means that their only option when it comes to attracting business is offering amazing deals. Furthermore, the people working at local agencies are locals, which means that they can provide you with valuable tips and information regarding the island you’re on. They are also available 24/7 to offer you any assistance that you will need.