Driving in Greece
Greeks have been used to driving on poor roads and in most parts of the country there is a lack of highways. The vivid temperament of the Greek does not help with safe driving , all believing they have the right of way.
Greek drivers do not respect other road users, there is no courtesy and consideration for other vehicles or pedestrians .The Greek driver will just stop wherever he desires, be it in the middle of the road.
Turning left or right is carried out often without signaling and overtaking is from any side which suits them best, therefore they have unfortunately been honored with the title of being among the worst drivers in Europe.
The road situation in Greece has improved of late but not all over the country but it has a long way to go to reach the standards of say France and Germany. Greece is surrounded by water, but the mainland is full of mountains. Greece has very few valleys...so even if the distances between cities look near in the map it will take a long time to approach.
At present Greece has 5 big national highways:
The E65 which goes West from Athens to Patra, via Corinth, The highway of Patra to Athens still has only one lane and a hard shoulder in each direction! There is no safety barrier in the middle of the road to separate you from oncoming traffic. This is the situation for more than 100 kilometers after leaving Patra. Only arriving at Corinth does the road turn into a highway of 3-4 lanes which will then take you to the tolls at Elefsina about 20 km before Athens.
From Elefsina anew ring road E94 goes around Athens which also takes you to the airport. It consists of 4 lanes with a central reservation.
The new E65 which takes you from Corinth to Tripolis and Kalamata The highway from Corinth to Kalamata has two lanes and a hard shoulder all the way. This has reduced the journey time from Athens to Tripolis to 2 hours and to kalamata 3.15 hours. The distance on this new road being 170 kms. There are some unfinished parts.
The E75 which goes North from Athens to Thessaloniki via Larissa. The motorway from Athens to Thessalonica only has three lanes and a central barrier for 350km of the 520km distance. There are many unfinished parts.
A new construction is the the Egnatia Odos E90 highway which goes from Igoumenitsa (connection port with most ports of Italy like Bari, Brindisi, Ancona and Venice) to Thessaloniki and further until the borders with Turkey in Evros. This high way has three lane with a central reservation.
Road tolls exist throughout Greece, every 50 km. Sedan car fee is 2.80 euro or 3 euro on the Athens new ring road. (Attiki Odos).
Because of the lack of lanes on many roads, Greek drivers have the habit of using the hard shoulder which means that there is no emergency lane. Professional drivers are aware of this and on blind corners will always avoid being in this lane in case someone has stopped there. Speed limits exist but are rarely adhered to if they can get away with it and the middle of the road is where they all want to be! Always stay alert when driving and don't be hassled by the idiot driving at excessive speed behind you, flashing his lights and trying to pass you. Always keep in mind that they will probably try to pass you from all sides so check all sides before changing lanes.
Night driving can also be a bit frightening as the highways are full of freight trucks. everyone drives at excessive speeds at this hour trying to arrive at their destination as quickly as possible. Driving in the rain can also be a bit harrowing as the water gathers on the road (due to poor drainage) and ditches, on the often poor roads are undetectable. The speed limit on minor roads is 70km, in built up areas it is 50 km and on highways 120 -130 km. Seat belts are compulsory, although not often used by the Greeks, always wear yours!
When filling with gas always use reputable (or what you can only presume to be reputable) as dishonest gas station owners is not a rare event. After living in Greece for 25 years I have survived the Greek way of driving. My preference of vehicles being SUV's and people carriers! I wish any visitor safe, patient and careful driving.