Hiring a car is a great way to get out of resort and see all that Kefalonia has to offer, but driving in Greece is always an adventure and Kefalonia is no different. Here’s some things that you need to know before you tackle the roads.
One of your first stops after hiring your car may well be to get some petrol (depending on how much you have been left by the hire company) and all of the petrol stations operate in the same way.
All of the petrol stations on Kefalonia are operated by attendants – there are no self service petrol stations at all. Although the petrol hoses are long enough, you can tell what side the petrol cap is on by looking at the little arrow on the petrol gauge on the dashboard. Simply pull up to the pump and tell the attendant how much petrol you would like in Euros. You should also be able to pay by card at any petrol station, but do check first.
Petrol in Greece is some of the most expensive in Europe and due to the cost of transportation the islands can be more so. In recent years petrol prices have exceeded €1.65/litre.
Although few and far between, there are some roundabouts on Kefalonia and their operation can cause confusion to locals and visitors alike.
The Greek traffic code says that you should join the roundabout and give way to any traffic that wants to join from the right. That’s right, you stop on the roundabout. There is more however. The code says that this rule does not apply if there is a Give Way sign – an inverted yellow triangle with a red border – at the entrance to the roundabout. Until autumn/winter 2019/20 there were no Give Way signs on the roundabouts and then everything changed.
Check with your hire car provider exactly which rules apply to which roundabout.
Just because you are on holiday, it doesn’t mean that road safety goes out of the window. Here’s a few things we have learned from experience, reading and from talking to the locals:
- Driving in flip-flops is considered unsafe and police can and do check – especially hire cars.
- Drink-driving laws are stricter in just about every European country than the UK. Just because you may not necessarily see a police presence, doesn’t mean that they are not about. Don’t drink and drive!
- It doesn’t happen very often, but when it rains hard after a long dry spell, the roads can become quite slippery so exercise some caution in wet weather.
- Satellite navigation (sat-nav) works better here than it used to and the roads are slightly better. However, still use one with caution because some roads may start off looking safe but then quickly turn into little more than a dirt track. It would be advisable in this kind of situation to turn around and find another route if possible. Please don’t blindly follow sat-nav!
Some final points
- When you pick up your hire car, ensure any marks or damage is clearly noted on the agreement. Take your own pictures with your phone too.
- There are some hilly, winding roads, but driving in Kefalonia is fun and once you reach your destination you’ll quickly discover it was well worth it. Drive at your own pace and don’t let a queue of cars or an impatient taxi behind you put you off, simply put on your hazard lights, pull over in a safe place and let the cars go by.
- Some of the locals will drive in the middle of the road, the reasons for this may include: winding roads, cattle, goats, sheep, pedestrians, mopeds, quad bikes, parked cars, roadside bins, fallen rocks and poor road maintenance.
- When you drive around in a hire car, you are obliged to carry your rental agreement and driving licence at all times.
You may get some advice from hire car companies, listen to them, they know what they are talking about.
The best advice we can give is: be sensible, stay safe and enjoy driving here, it’s so much fun.