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Kefalonia is a truly beautiful and largely unspoiled island.  Hiring a car is an excellent way to discover its hidden charms for yourself, at your own pace.

There are many car hire companies on the island, in May and June and again in October you shouldn't have a problem getting a car but during July, August and September it can be difficult to obtain a car, especially if you want a particular type of vehicle for specific dates so booking well in advance is pretty much essential, especially if you want a seven  or nine seater, or a car with automatic transmission - these are like hens' teeth.

You can normally pre-book a car through your holiday company (if travelling on a package holiday) or through your travel agent. Bear in mind that the first holiday brochures are printed well over a year in advance and car hire prices have to be calculated based on the current year's demand and predicted demand for the year ahead.

Demand for holidays, and car hire, may increase or decrease, at little or no notice, due to any number of circumstances such as the mortgage rate, the exchange rate, the price of fuel, the economy, weather in the UK, whatever. Prices in resort are based upon actual current demand and may be higher, or lower, than prices quoted a year earlier in the UK.

The advent of the internet has made it much easier to pre-book direct but, before you commit yourself to any booking, read and understand the contractual details and know what is included in the price and what isn’t. If the details aren't clear it might be best to look elsewhere.

Pre-booked cars, whether booked over the internet, on the telephone or via your tour company or travel agent, may seem a bargain but don’t always include, for example, the same insurance as you’d receive if you booked in resort, even if you booked the same car with the same company.

Best to check what terms such as "full insurance" and "free local delivery" actually mean: 'full insurance' may cover you for more than your UK full-comp insurance, but it may not. 'Free local delivery' may mean if you're staying around the corner from their office - if you're staying in e.g. Skala you may have to collect the car from and return it to Argostoli, so add another 100€ or so for taxi fares.

If you're picking the car up at Kefalonia airport and returning it to the airport make sure the model you book is big enough not only for all your party but also for their luggage. Trying to fit five people and all their luggage into a Seicento isn't a great idea (besides invalidating the insurance it's been known to cause family and friends to fall out).

As a general rule, the minimum age for hiring a car is 23 years, 25 for larger cars and 4x4 vehicles. You'll need to have held a valid, full, licence for at least a year. If you don't have a licence issued by an EU member state you'll need a valid licence and a valid International Driving Permit. Beware scams!

If you arrive in resort and find that you’ve left your driving licence at home then holders of a UK licence can obtain confirmation of entitlement to drive by contacting the DVLA by phone, the least expensive option is usually an OTE phonecard. After going through an automated menu ("Press button χ for…") you’ll be speaking to a living person and they are invariably helpful and quick. There is a small charge (around five pounds sterling) so you’ll need a credit card and be sure to give them whatever details are on your licence as; if the info you provide doesn’t tally with the info they have on file they won’t fax the confirmation to your chosen car hire company.

The DVLA phone number is (0044) 
300 123 1278
Residents of Northern Ireland call (0044) 845 402 4000

Note: in Greece it is now illegal to smoke in a car if children (under age 13) are present.

See also:  Driving in Greece

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