GREECE DRIVING IN GREECE Despite what you might be told, there is no reliable rail service to the Western Peloponnese. Trains from Athens terminate at Corinth. There are buses from Athens main bus terminal to Zacharo and Andristaina but there are no regular connecting buses to Ancient Phigaleia. You can take a taxi but given the distances (Zacharo 50km and Andritsaina 25km) this could be an expensive option. So, the easiest way to reach The Ark from Athens or Kalamata airport is to hire a car and learn to drive like a Greek.
- Cars can be hired from both Athens and Kalamata airports.
- Easyjet customers get a 10% discount with Europcar but this may not be the best deal on offer.
- Shop around in the terminal or book your car online before you travel. Check out comparison sites such as www.rentalcars.com
- When booking online, look out for cars advertised as "meet and greet". Typically, these cars are less expensive as you will be met in the terminal at Athens Airport (or just outside the terminal doors at Kalamata Airport) by a person who will take you to your car. You save money but it will take you longer to get on the road.
- If your outward flight is to Athens Airport and your return is from Kalamata (or visa versa) beware of considerable additional costs of hiring a car at one airport and returning it to another.
Rules of the road
- Before you start your journey, be sure to have some euros handy as you will encounter many tolls on Greek motorways. The price varies according to the stretch of road but typically you will need 2-3 euros.
- If it is your first time driving in Greece, our best advice is to stay calm and take your time. Oh, and remember to drive on the right.
- It will not be long before roadside shrines catch your attention. These "kandylakia" are often thought to be ostensible markers of lives lost, but usually they give thanks for lives spared and act as a warning to others.
- Unless otherwise specified, speed limits are 50km/h (or 30mph) on residential streets, 90km/h on country roads and 130km/h on motorways, although not many drivers respect these limits.
- Fines are strict for breaking Greek traffic laws. Running a red light or ignoring a stop sign is 700 euros and your licence can be taken from you at the roadside and kept for 60 days!
- Watch out for driving in the rain. Road surfaces often incorporate marble chip and are very shiny and slippery.
- Note that petrol stations outside of Athens (except for motorway services) normally close at 20:00, so be prepared.
- Greek Emergency Services can be contacted by calling 166 for an ambulance, 199 for the fire brigade and 100 for the police.