home next


Driving in rural Greece is like stepping back in time: the roads uncrowded, the scenery unspoiled. Driving is a joy, not a chore. Here's a short guide on how to enjoy exploring Kef by car:

Most obviously: drive on the rightmost Greeks do!

Road signs are usually in Greek and English - but are likely to be hidden behind a bush or a sign for someone's taverna. Road maps look pretty and, sometimes, bear some resemblance to reality. Getting lost is all part of the fun and a great way to find some lovely places you didn't know existed. The locals are friendly so, if you do get lost, just ask for directions.

Petrol is currently a little more expensive than in the UK, petrol stations tend to be pretty plentiful. Usually they are open seven days a week from 08:00 to 21:00 in low season, later in high season. Petrol pumps are rarely self-service, you'll probably find an old guy sat there and, when you pull in, he'll send his wife out to serve you. Petrol is called venzini and the attendants usually speak enough English to get by. They will automatically go for the unleaded pump and petrol is bought by the euro, not by the litre or gallon, so just ask for, e.g. ten euros of venzini rather than ten litres - it saves messing about with loose change. Some petrol stations accept credit cards, but not all, so have enough cash available.

Greek police are pretty laid back but, nevertheless, road rules exist and are, sometimes, enforced. Particularly in the event of an accident where someone is injured. Parking restrictions do apply, even if most Greeks seem to ignore them. In some places yellow lines exist and it's best not to park on them - about once a summer the police will come round and ticket the cars and you never know when that once-a-summer will be! Apart from that, the general rules are not to park on private property and not to obstruct the coaches. Some accommodation is situated up narrow little lanes that look like farm tracks and coaches need a wide turning circle to get round the tight corners. If a ’plane can't take off because a coach couldn’t get to the airport the police tend to be more upright.

Driving laws are similar to the UK – wearing seat belts is compulsory in cars, crash helmets are compulsory on scooters and motorbikes, drink driving is illegal (the legal limit is slightly lower than in the UK). On-the-spot fines apply for those contravening the law. When driving, always carry your driving licence and your copy of the hire agreement (contract). In the event of an accident (of any kind): don’t move the vehicles, call a doctor if required, also call the hire company and the police - they will come to the scene and assess the situation (get a copy of the police report). Render any assistance you are qualified to give to any injured parties. Take photos of the scene of the accident, particularly the positions of the vehicles involved.

*The (general) rule in Greece is to give way to traffic from the right.* Apart from driving on the right, the main difference in Greece is at roundabouts. In the UK, when approaching a roundabout you stop and give way to traffic on the roundabout. In Greece, traffic on a roundabout has to stop and give way to traffic entering the roundabout (from the right). On Kefalonia there are few roundabouts you're likely to come across but they do exist: on the main south coast road in to Argostoli there are three roundabouts and the main square in Argostoli is technically a roundabout, although as it's square and not round some people (even the locals) don't recognise it as a roundabout... So, it's safest not to assume right-of-way is the same as it would be in the UK. For example: donkeys have right of way on Greek roads
(or so I've heard said).

Many road junctions aren't marked with white lines and, even where there are white lines, at any junction it's safest to slow down and be prepared to let the other guy go first.

One-way streets exist in Argostoli, Skala, Poros, etc and, during the evenings, some streets are pedestrianised, e.g. the square in Poros.
Skala main street is now pedestrianised, top to bottom. Of course, cars still sneak along there...
so do the police.

You may notice that the locals tend to drive towards the centre of the road, probably because in many places there are no pavements. In some ways, Kefalonia is like a National Park: goats, cows, pigs, chickens - and humans - are liable to wander out from behind a bush and across the road at will - often just around a blind bend. Of course, they don't have lights on at night.

When you're out exploring you might notice road signs warning you to beware of deer. There aren't any wild deer on Kefalonia but… as I was told: when they made the road signs, they didn't have any pictures of goats.

Welcome to Greece!

For more detailed information see:  Driving to / in Greece

home next