Car Hire

Tips and hints for car hire, driver’s license and age, insurance, fuel, mileage, driving, road traffic regulations and police penalties on Crete.

Suzuki Jimny Cabriolet SUV
One of the most popular and useful cars for hire in Crete is Suzuki Jimny Cabriolet SUV.

Getting a rental car in Crete is pretty easy. This can be done online or by telephone without any problems. It is even possible to visit one of the many car rentals on Crete in person and have a rental car after a short time. Even if the reservation is only made at the last moment, you can be quite sure to get a car – though perhaps not at the best possible price or a specific vehicle model.

Car Hire on Crete

As Crete is the largest island of Greece with more than 3,000 sq miles, a rental car can not be renounced for any traveler who is interested in exploring the varied areas. Even for visitors who have not booked a holiday package, but only a hotel or even different hotels in Crete, to visit several regions, a rental car is of course reasonable.

Depending on the length of stay and distance to the destination from the airport, the rental car can also be cheaper than a transfer by taxi or more convenient than by bus.

On Crete there are six cities (Heraklion, Aghios Nikolaos, Ierapetra, Sitia, Rethymno and Chania) to explore. For this purpose, excursions, e.g. to the Lasithi plateau, on the long coasts with numerous beaches and tours to the hinterland with many archaeological sites or to hikes in nature reserves are without a car very difficult.

However, to get a rental car is more than just contacting a car rental and give a credit card or cash. A contract has to be signed and it is important that the conditions are carefully observed before signing the contract so that no surprises can be experienced later in the event of problems.
The car rental agency of your choice in Crete should also take the time to explain these conditions before taking your money. In this way there will be no unpleasant surprises if, for any reason, the insurance of the vehicle has to be claimed. For example, there are sheep, goats, dogs and cats on the road on the island.

schafe auf strasse
Sheep on the road in Crete.

Driver’s license and driver’s age

One of the most important conditions that must be fulfilled to get a car rental in Crete is the minimum age of 21 years. It may also happen that car rental companies refuse to rent vehicles to persons over 70 years of age. If the driver is less than 25 years old, a surcharge may apply.
Apart from the age of the driver, a driver’s license is required for at least one year. If you do not have permanent residence inside the EU, you must have an international driving license or a European driving license.

State of the vehicle

Before you leave with your car from the rental agency, you should check the vehicle. Make sure that there is a (used) spare tire. If the car has lacquer damage, dents or any other visible damage, this should be noted in the contract with the car rental agent. If this is not the case, and you return the car later, you may be held responsible for such damages. The rental contracts often include a separate attachment for each individual vehicle for such endorsements.
In addition, you should have a look at all the special features of your rental car (often there are problems with the child safety, 4 wheel drive and driving on a rainy road, covers of cabriolets of unknown vehicle models, etc.).

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Insurance protection

Any car rental can handle the insurance protection in their offers differently. Fire and liability insurance is compulsory.
On the other hand, anti-theft protection (TPC) is usually optional. Should your rental car or parts of it be stolen and you have not agreed this protection, you must pay for the damage.
The accident protection (CDW) can be limited. In the event of damage, the driver is usually liable for up to 440 Euros, unless another person is fully responsible in case of an accident. The remainder of the loss will be taken over by the insurance company.
Most of the local car hire agencies usually only include insurance for half a year for the tourist season (April to October), so there are only a few cars available outside this time.


Many car rental companies in Crete will give you vehicles that are not fully refueled. So you should note together with the car agent how the fuel level is. When returning the car, the display of the fuel tank should show the same value, otherwise fuel could be charged extra. However, you should not refuel much more than necessary because the car rental in Crete is not obliged to refund you too much fuel.


Normally, car hire in Crete is provided with unlimited mileage. However, there are still some car rental companies, which can calculate according to driven kilometers or offer a free kilometer package per day. The additional kilometers driven must then be paid afterwards and therefore the mileage of the speedometer should be noted in any case in the contract.
Also, you should not try to leave Crete with the rental car on a ferry (for example, to take a trip to Athens or another island) without having discussed this with the agent before.

The driver of the rental car

The drivers, who are entitled to direct the rental car, are the tenant and persons listed in the contract (usually a second person). If another person steers the car in a damage case, you are liable for all costs arising from the event that the person is not listed in the contract. Some car rentals charge an additional fee for additional drivers.

Car Scooter on Crete
Car Scooter on Crete – so you should not do it!

Road traffic regulations and penalties

The driver is fully responsible for any traffic violation in Crete. Penalties for improper parking or speeding can result in delicate penalties, while the police tickets soon arriving faster at the home address of the driver than he could return home. In particular, the police are taking special attention during the season for tourists in their rental cars.
In any case, you should not drive somewhere faster than 80 km/h (slower than c. 50 mph), which is already an effective principle to keep most speed limits. And you should park only where it is clearly allowed, even if you have to often pay for parking fees.
The driver and the occupants are also obliged to use their seat belts. If the driver is traveling with a child of four years or younger, child seats must be available. This should be obtained from the car rental.
Should you get a penalty, it is better in any case to inform the car rental.

Breakdown and damage

If you have a breakdown, call the car rental company to correct the problem or provide you with a replacement vehicle. Most car rentals will send you a road assistance agent or give advice on how to fix a problem on the phone.
Of course the immediate contact is also necessary in case of accidents, theft or other damages. In any event, the accident has to be noted by the police in order to ensure the protection of the insurance.
Otherwise, it is also true that beaches, field and gravel roads and like this actually should not be driven, even not with a four-wheel off-road vehicle ! The tenant can be held liable for any damage (take care of rockfall, axles and under-floor) on these routes.

Dog strapped in car
Dog strapped and with blanket on the passenger seat in the car.

Pets in the car

In general, it is allowed to carry pets in the car and also inside a hired car from rental in Crete. However, you should take appropriate precautions by covering the pads and so on, to ensure that the pet does not damage or make it dirty, i.e. ceilings should be laid out.

Also, pets must be strapped in the car (dog belts) or inside of a transport container. If not, this can be criticized in the case of traffic control by the police.
In any case, spotless your car from animal hair and so on with a vacuum cleaner before returning, otherwise an additional cleaning fee can be charged.

Return of rental car

The rental car should be returned on the agreed day of return during the opening hours (or at a fixed time) of the car rental agency correspondingly refueled.
Sometimes you can leave the car in the night at an agreed place (with the key under the foot mattress) – even at the hotel or airport. In any case, this should be clarified beforehand in order to avoid additional costs for one or two rental days or transfers – or in the event that something happens to the parked vehicle.
In normal use of the rental car there is neither an inside nor outside cleaning necessary before its return.

Cancellation Policy

You do not have to worry about cancellations if you have to give up your reserved car rental for some reason. However, if you inform the agency about this, you will help to organize their vehicle park better.
If you have agreed to a binding rental agreement and do not cancel it at an early stage (at least 3 days before), you must pay a cancellation fee. If you are too late or do not pick up the car at all from the agency, you will have to pay a cancellation fee from your credit card, which you have indicated when reserving your car.

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1 thought on “Car Hire”

  1. What nobody tells you is that you can’t go to a nice beach, or a non-touristy Minoan site, without violating your rental agreement. The roads in Crete can turn into dirt at any moment, and most parking areas are dirt. if you want to rent a house in the country, you will get there and discover that the driveway is full of rocks. So all this crap about “exploring Crete” actually means stay in resorts.

    Somebody could make money offering rental vehicles that can handle dirt roads, and offering supplemental insurance. I’d be in line.

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