When it comes to holiday destinations, Greece is definitely one of the most popular in the world attracting literally thousands if not millions of visitors each year. What makes this country so special is the fact that its islands are known for having some of the best and most gorgeous beaches in the world. Furthermore, the country’s residents are known for their hospitality and care-free attitude. Finally, some of the most unique sites and places in the world, like the Parthenon and the island of Santorini respectively, can be found there.
When it comes to planning a trip to Greece, one must take into consideration several factors. It’s not as easy as it sounds, even if we are talking about visitors from other European countries. So, let’s see some tips that you should definitely keep in mind when planning trips to Greece.
Choose the dates carefully!
If you don’t like crowded places, then you should definitely avoid Greece during the months of July and August and especially between August 10 to August 20. This is because those months are the busiest months when it comes to tourism in Greece and hundreds of thousands of people come and go every day. Also, the aforementioned period is the time when most Greeks go on their summer vacation. Beaches tend to get really crowded and it can get difficult to find boat and plane tickets. So plan wisely. If you would like to “have the place all to yourself”, then you should visit during early June or early September.
Things can get very hectic at the ports
Unless you fly directly to a Greek island – not all of them have international airports, in fact some are so small that have no airports at all – you will have to arrive there by boat and that can be a bit difficult during the high season. Make sure to book your tickets online and have them printed before you get to the port. Also, make sure to leave for the port at least a couple of hours before your ship’s departure, especially if it leaves from the port of Piraeus!
There are many hotels to choose from
In Greece tourism accounts for about 80% of the country’s GDP which means that there are plenty of hotel rooms and AirBnBs to go around. Don’t book a room on the first hotel that will pop up when you search for hotels in your destination of choice. Chances are that you will find cheaper and better hotels, just take your time and do your research! You should also know that in islands such as Rhodes, Santorini and Mykonos you will find some of the most luxurious hotels in Greece and Europe in general as well as luxurious villas. If you want to have a luxury vacation, you should definitely choose one of those islands.
Don’t forget about the mainland
While everyone thinks about the famous Greek islands when they hear the word “Greece”, but the mainland should definitely not be overlooked. Some of the country’s most famous cultural and archaeological sites such as the Parthenon in Athens, can be found on the mainland. Furthermore, some of the country’s most beautiful beaches can be found in the region of Chalkidiki which is very close to the country’s second biggest city, Thessaloniki. Finally, the famous villages in the Zagori region near the city of Ioannina is also famous for its mountainous landscape and traditional architecture and good food. Don’t just focus on the islands or you might miss out some of the country’s best offerings.
Rent a car
Finally, it should be noted that on some islands public transport is minimal or even non-existent. If you would like to get around and see everything they have to offer, we strongly suggest that you rent a car. All you need is an EU or an international driver’s license!
Paros is a rather small island but it has a lot to offer to the people that choose to spend their vacation there. This is where some of the most iconic and picturesque villages and towns in Greece can be found and where some of the country’s cleanest and most breathtakingly beautiful beaches are located. It goes without saying that in order to truly enjoy Paros and experience everything that the island has to offer then one needs to be able to move as freely as possible around the island, which is why a car rental is pretty much “mandatory”.
When one is renting cars, there are some things that they should be aware of, some pitfalls that they should avoid at any cost in order to not find themselves experiencing and unpleasant surprises, the kind of surprises that can ruin a trip or a vacation. So, let’s see what you should be careful of when you rent a car in Paros.
Always get the deal in writing
If you happen to book online either via a form or after e-mail exchanges with the business, you should definitely keep a copy of the exchanges and the agreed upon daily rates and what they include. Some businesses might try to renege on their deals by claiming that the client basically made them up, so this is a way to make sure that things will not come down your word against theirs. It’s not a common practice mind you, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Always inspect the car
Once you are presented with the car that will be rented to you, walk around it and try to look for any scrapes, scratches and bumps. Should you come across any, you should immediately bring them to the attention of one of the agency’s representatives so that they will know that it wasn’t you that caused them. Better yet, take some photos and keep them around, just in case.
Beware of “insurance” charges
It is now common for Paros car rental agencies to charge a client’s credit or debit card with an “insurance charge”. That money is essentially “kept aside” as insurance and the charge is refunded once the car is returned safely. Although this practice is not shady or illegal, a lot of companies just assume that their clients know about and expect it to happen, so they don’t bother informing them about it.
Despite the fact that Paros is rather tiny, most people choose to rent a car when they are visiting this beautiful island in the Aegean Sea. This is happening for a very simple reason: the island may be small, but is beauty is immense and one needs to explore every nook and cranny in order to take in all of the beauty and enjoy the most unique beaches that Paros has to offer, which of course are also the reason why it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece and the Mediterranean sea in general.
When it comes to renting cars on Paros and Greece in general, one can distinguish two rather large categories of rental agencies: the branches of major corporations and smaller, local agencies. It goes without saying that the local companies are owned and staffed by people living on Paros. In fact, they probably were born and raised there. Many people, especially when they come from foreign countries, prefer to rent cars from the well-known international agencies. We believe however that local businesses are a much better choice for a wide variety of reasons. Let’s find out why we think that.
They offer better rates
Famous car rental brands rely on their name and reputation when they set their rates, which is why they tend to be quite expensive, especially when compared to those of local agencies. The reason why local businesses tend to offer better rates compared to famous brands and agencies, is the fact those companies are owned by locals that need to make a year’s worth of revenue in just a few months, because of that the businesses are in fierce competition, which results in low rates. As toy may know, the fiercer the competition in a certain market, the better the prices – or in this case rates – for the customers.
They are more flexible
When it comes to large, multinational companies, their rates are set from their local or corporate offices which may be in towns miles and miles away from the place where the branch in question is located. Those rates are pretty much set in stone, meaning that they are not negotiable. The same doesn’t apply to local agencies. Those agencies are owned and run by local businessmen who are free to make decisions on the spot. This means that you can haggle and negotiate with the owner or the representative in order to get better rates or to improve the terms of the contract. Trust us, most local businesses will do anything in their power to not lose customers.
They can offer valuable information
Like said earlier, most of the people that own or work on local businesses are usually born and raised in the place where their business is located. This means that they pretty much know that place like the back of their hand and they are always available to offer tips on where to go and what to do on Paros and how to get to even the most remote places. The same can’t be said about the people working in the branches of multinational agencies. They usually come from other cities, such as Athens or Thessaloniki and some may even be from other countries and therefore, they definitely not know the place as well as the locals.
The locals deserve our support
Finally, when you rent a car from a local company, you help a local businessman support his family. The Greek have been through a lot all those years and they need all the help they can get. It’s better to help a local family get by than to help a millionaire exec buy a new Ferrari!