Driving in Rhodes: Your Complete 2024 Guide by a Local

Driving in Rhodes can be a wonderful experience that can transform your visit to the Dodecanese island into a road-tripping adventure. It is also not as intimidating as it may sound, even though a lot of travellers are nervous at the idea of driving on the Greek islands. The roads are well-maintained and light on traffic and the island is easy to navigate your way around. You can get from Rhodes to Lindos in just over an hour, and you can drive around the entire island in just a matter of hours. Having access to a vehicle during your trip gives you a lot more freedom and flexibility than you would have if you were to depend on buses and public transport. It makes it easy to travel to lesser-known beaches, villages, and archeological sites.

Driving in Rhodes in 2024

This guide to driving in Rhodes, Greece has been written by someone who has lived in Greece for close to five years. It will cover everything that you need to know about organising a car rental and driving on the island. The Greek island of Rhodes (Ρόδος) is one of the most popular travel destinations in the country and for good reason. Rhodes is not only naturally gorgeous, but it is bursting at the seams with stunning beaches (check out Tsambika, Anthony Quinn Bay, and Gylstra), archeological sites, and cute little villages. It makes a great starting point for a wider Dodecanese island-hopping adventure, or it is worthy of one or two weeks of exploration in itself. Public transport in Greece is generally pretty good, but if you plan on visiting Lindos, the Butterfly Valley, and the famous St Paul’s Chapel, it is much easier to get around with a car.

Organising your Rhodes rental car

Numerous reputable rental companies operate in Rhodes including the likes of Avis, Thrifty, Budget, Alamo, Europcar, and Hertz. There are also a lot of excellent independently-owned Greek rental companies which should not be written off and often offer more competitive pricing. Discover Cars is arguably the best platform to use for finding a good deal. The platform compares prices between various different providers and has free cancellation on most bookings up until the last minute. There are a ton of places that you can collect your rental car from in Rhodes old town, at Diagoras Airport, in Faliraki, and in Lindos. So you can choose which place is the most convenient for you. If you decide upon using a small, lesser-known local firm, it is a good idea to always check past reviews before you book. You can do so via Google reviews, Tripadvisor, and Discover Cars.

Requirements for driving in Rhodes

Rhodes drive to the beach near the old town
Rhodes drive to the beach near the old town
First things first if you have decided to drive in Rhodes: you need to make sure that you are eligible to rent a car in Greece first. Most rental companies require you to be aged between 21 and 70 and be in possession of a full, clean driver’s license that you have held for at least a year. Some companies may accept slightly older drivers. New drivers and drivers under 25 may have to pay a young driver’s premium. If you hold a full driving license from the EU, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein, or Gibraltar, you do not need to obtain an International Drivers Permit (IDP) to drive in Rhodes. Residents of most other countries need one to be able to rent a car here. If your driving license is not in the Latin alphabet (i.e. this one), you definitely need an IDP. (I.e. if your license is in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean letters). This useful website breaks down the process for obtaining an IDP in different countries around the world, the associated costs, how long it takes, etc.

Average car rental costs in Rhodes

Car rental costs in Rhodes are actually pretty reasonable, even during the summer months. The tourism season in Greece runs from May until early October, with July and August being the peak, and most expensive months to travel. It is a good idea to reserve your rental car as early as possible once you have confirmed your travel dates. Most rental companies, including Discover Cars, offer free cancellation – meaning that you can lock in the best deal that you find on your rental, and if you find a better one later or change your plans, you can cancel at no cost. In August, you are looking at rental costs of around € 235 for a week for a small, economy car. This works out at around €33.50 per day. Considering this price includes all of the essential insurance you need for Greece (collision damage waiver, theft protection, and third-party liability (TPL), that’s pretty good. (Unlimited mileage and airport surcharges are also included!) In September, the prices drop to around €154 per week, and if you are travelling out of season, you can secure a rental for as little as €79 a week in November. That’s just €11 a day!

What type of car is best for driving in Rhodes

It is better to rent a small, economy-sized car for driving in Rhodes. The streets in most towns and cities here are too narrow to accommodate large, SUV-style vehicles so if you rent a mammoth car, you will have difficulty maneuvering, finding parking, and fitting down some of the passageways. Some of the country roads in rural areas are also only wide enough to allow one car to pass at a time. A small vehicle like a Toyota Aygo, a Suzuki Celerio, a Skoda Citigo or a Fiat 500 is perfect for Rhodes. However, if you are travelling as a family or a large group and you have a lot of bags or extra things like strollers, pushchairs, and car seats, you may want to consider an ever so slightly larger vehicle.

Collecting and returning your Rhodes rental car

Always do your due diligence when renting a car overseas. Rhodes depends heavily on tourism and most car companies here are definitely not out to trick you but it is always better to be safe than sorry. When you pick up your car, you will be asked to sign a rental agreement and an inventory checklist that confirms the state the vehicle was in when you collected it. Make sure that you read this thoroughly so that you know exactly what is included and what is not. Check the inside and outside of the car for any damage, scratches, or bumps, and take photos on your phone so that you have time-stamped evidence of what the car looked like when you picked it up. Do the same when you return the vehicle so that you are covered if there is any dispute or claim that you caused damage. You should also note that most European rental companies require you to return your car with a full tank of gas. If you return your car with a tank that is only 50% full, you may be charged for a full tank anyway so double-check this when you pick up your vehicle.

Tips and Practical Advice for Driving in Rhodes

Driving in Rhodes is not that different from driving anywhere else in Europe. Greek drivers seem to have a stereotype of being impatient and chaotic and if you mention driving here to your friends and family, they will probably look at you like you have three heads. Chances are, when you arrive, you will wonder what you had been so worried about. In Rhodes (and Greece in general), you drive on the right hand of the road and overtake on the left. Driving in Rhodes town is not really necessary as the main areas of the city – the tourist area close to Elli beach and the old town, are very easily walkable. Still, it may be reassuring to hear that Rhodes is really not as congested and chaotic as other Greek cities. It is a far cry from trying to drive in Athens or Thessaloniki for example which is just a nightmare that nobody wants to experience. Some useful tips for driving in Rhodes are summarised below.

Rhodes driving tips

    • Greek drivers often speed or take speed limits as mere guidelines. It is better not to follow suit as speeding fines can be high.
    • Road signs are written in both English and Greek letters, making it easy to navigate your way around
    • Roads are generally asphalt and in great condition, free from potholes, wear and tear, etc. The only exception is on some dirt roads leading to more rural areas and secluded beaches where you need to proceed with caution, or you may have to park your rental car and walk part of the way.
    • Most rental cars do not come with a GPS system by default. To save money on paying extra for one, get yourself a Greek sim card when you arrive in the country and use Google Maps or an offline map like Maps Me
    • Be cautious when approaching roundabouts. Vehicles already in the roundabout have to give way to new vehicles that are joining it
    • You are not allowed to change lanes at junctions in Greece
    • You are not supposed to honk your car horn unless you are alerting someone of an emergency/hazard. You will note that a lot of Greek drivers are liberal users of the car horn but you can be fined for inappropriate use so this is best avoided.
    • Look out for farmers tending sheep and cows, and stray animals like dogs that may wander onto the roads in rural areas
    • Be cautious when driving along coastal/mountainous roads with sharp bends and no hazard barriers. Little churches at the side of the road indicate where someone has lost their life which can be intimidating but you will also note a lot of people driving far too fast.

Laws about driving in Rhodes

Some important laws about driving in Rhodes to be aware of are summarised below.
    • Seatbelts are mandatory for everyone in the vehicle
    • Children under 3 must be placed in a suitable car seat in Greece. Children from 3 to 12 are usually required to be seated in a suitable restraint for their size until they reach the age of 12 or a height of 135cm at which point they can wear an adult seat belt. You can rent car seats from your car rental company for an additional fee (there is a filter for them on Discover Cars) or you can bring your own.
    • Heavy fines can be imposed for the use of mobile phones while driving. Make sure that you have an appropriate phone holder if you are using the sat nav on your phone.
    • The alcohol limits in Greece are 0.05% for standard drivers and 0.02% for commercial drivers and drivers who have held their license for less than 3 years

Speed limits in Rhodes

The speed limits in Rhodes are measured in kilometers per hour (km/h). They vary in different areas, as per the below.
    • Towns and urban areas: 50 km/h (31 mph)
    • Main, intercity roads: 110 km/h (68 mph)
    • Greek highways: 120 km/h (75 mph)
Speeding fines in Greece can be steep so it is good to make sure that you adhere to the limits. Speed cameras are not really a ¨thing¨ in Rhodes yet but police do patrol the island and may stop you if you are speeding. Speeding fines can be given on the spot, or they may be mailed to you later which is likely not the kind of souvenir you want.

Toll roads in Rhodes

You may be pleased to hear that there are no toll roads in Rhodes. All of the roads here – from major highways to provincial roads are completely free to use.

Parking in Rhodes

You can usually find free street parking very easily in the towns and villages of Rhodes, although Rhodes town is a little more challenging, which could be said of any city. When you book your hotels and accommodation on the island, you might want to check whether the property has free parking for guests. In Rhodes City, there are a couple of large parking lots scattered around that are indicated by a large blue ¨P¨ sign and can be found on Google Maps. You will need to purchase a ticket from a nearby automated machine when you use a paid parking lot. This is often €1.50 per hour, although overnight and multi-hour passes are also available. When looking for free street parking, it is important to note that it is forbidden to park within 3 meters of a fire hydrant, 5 meters of an intersection, or 15 meters of a bus stop. You also shouldn’t park outside a marketplace where street stalls are being set up.

Visiting petrol stations in Rhodes

Most petrol stations in Rhodes are ¨full service¨ meaning that someone pumps your gas for you. Tipping in Greece is never essential but it is polite at gas stations – just 50 cents or so is perfectly fine. There are plenty of gas stations scattered every 2-3km around the island so you will never be frantically on the hunt for one. Opening times vary from place to place with some stations open 24 hours a day, and others open from  07:00 am until 21:00 daily. Although some stations close on Sundays, many do not so you will never have to go without. Use Google Maps to check the opening times of the stations along your route. Stations typically accept both cash and credit/debit cards. In July 2023, gas in Greece was sold at approximately €1.877 ($2.026 USD) per liter. Prices are subject to fluctuation, especially now with inflation/the state of the economy, and the Ukraine-Russia war driving up fuel costs. In Greece, gasoline is called “βενζίνη” (venzini). However, since most Greeks speak English, if you ask for gasoline or petrol, they will know what you are talking about!

FAQs About Driving in Rhodes

Do you have any further questions or concerns about driving in Rhodes and the Dodecanese? The answers to some frequently asked questions on the topic are detailed below. Hopefully, you will find the information you are looking for there. If not, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Can you drive around Rhodes in a day?

You can easily drive around Rhodes in a day and the route around the entire circumference of the island is likely to take less than 4-5 hours with minimal stops. Still, the best experience is planning an itinerary where

Do you need a car in Rhodes?

A car is not an essential requirement for experiencing and enjoying Rhodes. If you are nervous about the concept of driving overseas or cannot drive, then rest assured, you can still get around to the main sites, attractions, and beaches by bus or by excursions with local tour companies. If you are going to be basing yourself in Rhodes old town or Faliraki and taking day trips out from there, it is very easy to do that without a car. It is just that renting a car gives you a lot more freedom and flexibility in your schedule.

Is it safe to drive in Rhodes?

Driving in Rhodes is safe for the most part. You just need to use the same common sense as you would elsewhere. Mind your own driving and always be aware of other drivers. Crime in Rhodes and in Greece generally is low. Still, it is a good idea not to leave any valuables (or any personal items whatsoever) on display when parking your vehicle. Choose designated parking lots and main streets rather than any sketchy-looking side streets.

Do I need an IDP to drive in Rhodes?

You may or may not need an IDP to drive in Rhodes depending on where you are from. If you hold a driving license from an EU country, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein, or Gibraltar then no. However, if you hold a driver’s license from elsewhere then chances are that you require an IDP for Greece. If your driving license is in another alphabet (Chinese, Vietnamese, etc), it is a good idea to organise an IDP in advance of travelling anywhere in Europe.

Final thoughts on driving in Rhodes 

Exploring Rhodes is made seamless with an international driving permit. Rent a car in Rhodes beforehand to navigate its main roads and traverse the island at ease. Stay in Rhodes and utilize this guide to explore every corner, making the most of your visit to this enchanting island. Whether it’s the scenic beauty or historical landmarks, having a car at your disposal ensures an immersive experience across Rhodes’ diverse landscapes.
Moreover, Driving in Rhodes is a wonderful way to explore the island independently and to take magical trips out to beaches and ancient ruins like the Acropolis of Lindos and the Rhodes Acropolis. Try not to be too nervous about it – you will likely have a great experience! Rhodes is well worth visiting, and there is a reason that so many visitors come back here year after year. Be sure to reserve your car rental as early in advance as possible, especially if you are travelling between June and September. Do you have any further questions about planning a trip to Greece? Let me know in the comments below. You might also find it useful to join my Facebook Group ¨All Greek to Me¨ where you can chat with other expats and travellers in the country. Safe travels and enjoy Rhodes! Geia sou! xo


Alice Cooper is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.

Leave a Reply