Carrying on from my previous post, “Should You Rent A Car In Santorini?,” in this post I want to offer some tips and advice for renting a car in Santorini. For my UK and Australian friends, of course I mean “hire a car” but it’s all the same in the end. If you haven’t already read the post about deciding to rent a car or not, please be sure you do. There’s a lot of info in that post that I won’t be covering here. So, now that we know that you definitely should rent a car, let’s talk about how to make it happen…
Where To Rent A Car In Santorini
Here’s my short answer to this question — rent your car directly from your hotel staff. Most hotels in Santorini will offer some sort of concierge services. This includes helping you organize car rental, book tours, plan excursions, find restaurants, so on and so forth.
Now, obviously your hotel will recommend car rental companies and other agencies that pay your hotel a commission of some kind for bringing you to them. These arrangements will rarely (if ever) made apparent to you, the client, but it should not surprise you. This is how the travel industry works the world over — and many other industries too.
I mention this only because some people are shocked or disturbed for some reason by these “kickbacks.” But I really don’t understand why. Honestly, this is how the world works, so get used to it. 🙂
Plus, I’m actually comforted by these arrangements because I see it as a vote of confidence and an extra layer of security for me. Renting a car is serious business — you could end up in a car accident, have your car vandalized, or even get seriously hurt (or hurt someone else). And there’s always that risk that you might get overcharged by the car rental agency or they might falsely accuse you of scratching the car, etc etc.
Simply put, there’s a lot to consider when renting your car.
By booking through your hotel staff, you can get their help if something goes wrong with the car or if you end up in an emergency. If your hotel staff is smart and business savvy, they will only recommend car rental companies that they trust and that they know will treat their guests well. Now… if you’ve chosen a bad hotel, I can’t help you much here.
There’s always the option of renting a car or ATV directly from a car rental shop alongside the road. This will probably be the option for you if you’re staying at a hostel or you’re staying in a hotel that doesn’t offer at least some basic level of travel assistance.
I won’t go into this option because I’ve only booked cars and ATVs through my hotel staff in Santorini.
Should You Purchase Car Rental Insurance?
When it comes to car rental insurance, you have 3 options:
1. Don’t get any car rental insurance.
This is always an option. Just say “no” when booking your car, and that’s that. Granted, if something goes wrong, you will be liable for the car and any damages. But you knew that already. 🙂
2. Use the car rental insurance associated with your credit card.
If you have a credit card that offers car rental insurance, you should be automatically covered as long as you (A) pay for the rental car in full with the credit card and (B) decline the car rental company’s insurance option. Just be sure your credit card insurance option includes “Greece” as a coverage zone and be aware of your coverages, deductibles, etc.
3. Pay the car rental company for their insurance.
And finally, you can simply pay an extra fee to get insurance directly from the car hire company. Be sure to inquire about what exactly you’re getting before you sign any paperwork, etc etc etc.
Now, which option is the best option? That all depends on you and the level of risk you like (or don’t like) to take. Personally, I like peace of mind so I usually opt to pay for the car rental with my credit card which already includes car rental insurance. In Santorini, I feel very safe and have never had any problems with car rental experiences.
But let your own experiences guide your decision-making and ask your hotel staff what they recommend as well. In the end, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
How Much Is It To Rent A Car In Santorini?
Car rental prices will vary based on the time of year and the type of car you rent. Be prepared to pay slightly higher rates for cars with automatic transmissions rather than manual. I prefer manual myself, but not everyone knows how to drive a stick shift or even prefers manual over auto.
Car rental rates can range from 20 euro per day to 40 euro per day during the high season. Specialty cars can run even higher if you’re looking to rent a high-end car.
Renting motorbikes can be quite cheap, from 10 or 15 euro per day and up. ATV prices will usually run somewhere similar to car rental prices as listed above.
How Long Should You Hire A Car?
The length of time you want to have a car will depend on the length of your trip and the breadth of your adventure. If time allows, i recommend a full weekend or 2-3 days of car rental at a time. During a 1-2 week trip to Santorini, this will afford you enough time to explore and then get back to your beach lounging or pool sunning time.
General Safety & Driving Tips
As I mentioned in my last post about car rental, I highly recommend that you practice a high-level of awareness and safety driving around the island. With all the beautiful scenery and the idyllic weather, it can be tempting to let your guard down and start driving like a Greek 😉 but keep your wits about!
Above all else, have fun and enjoy the ride!