Videos of Nafplion's attractions

In this post I'd like to show you few of interesting videos about Nafplio which will show you how beautiful and stunning this city actually is...

Enjoy the watching!



[Peloponnese] - Nafplio - the first ca pital /travel guide/

Nafplio is located about one and a half hour’s drive from Athens, on the Peloponnese peninsula. The beautiful old city has a wealth of narrow alleyways and streets, steep stairs, taverns serving delicious Greek food, lively bars, clubs and cafés, a lovely seafront promenade, and enough sights to fill a week or two. But the best is perhaps just being in this wonderful city, watch the sun go down behind the mountains, colouring the bay red, or relax in the central square and look at the playful children, couples, friends and families enjoying food, wine or frappé - just like you.

Discover all the must-sees, walks, and other great adventures you can look forward to.
Classical music festival:
Every June, Nafplio arranges a week's festival of classical music, where musicians and orchestras from specific countries are invited.

The sites which you have to see!

Syntagma Square, the vivid heart of Nafplio -
Syntagma Square (Platia Syntagmatos) is Nafplio’s heart. Here the Nafpliots sit with a coffee in the morning, or the children play in the soft evenings, while parents and grandparents enjoy dinner, couples and friends meet over wine or beer… Syntagma means Constitution, and you will find squares by this name all over Greece. But Nafplio’s Syntagma is truly unique. The beautiful buildings, primarily in neoclassical style, create a beautiful frame around the square, and the polished marble floor reflects both sunlight and streetlights. Even in winter this is the place to be, the sheltered location between all the buildings - and strategically placed heat lamps - make the cold disappear

The Three Admirals Square, where the king lived
Platia Trion Navachon (The Three Admirals Square) gets its name from the three admirals who fought (and won) on the Greek side in the battle of Navarino in 1827: the British Codrington, the French DeRigny and the Russian Heyden. Sir Edward Codrington later became the assistant to Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. Many magnificent buildings in neoclassical style surround the square, including the town hall, originally Greece's first high school (from 1857), and next to it a building that originally was a pharmacy. In fact, the pharmacist, the Italian Bonifatsio Bonafin, embalmed the corpse of  Kapoditrias here, after he was murdered outside the Agios Spyridon church in 1831. The so-called "little palace" once stood on the square. It used to be the home of Kapodistrias, and also Otto, Greece's first king, when he resided in Nafplio. Unfortunately, the stately house burned to the ground in 1929. Today, a statue of King Otto is erected where the little palace used to be, while Kaposistrias’ statue can be found on the square opposite, at the other side of Sigrou Street. The other monument on the Three Admiral’s square is a marble funeral monument containing the bones of Dimitrios Ypsilandis, one of the leaders of the Greek revolution.
A walk on the Great Road 
"Megalos Dromos", Great Road, the Nafpliots still calls it, although it’s long ago named Vas. Konstantinos. This is the main artery through Nafplio, mainly car-free and full of life, ambience and culture. The walk we can begin at Syntagma Square. Megalos Dromos is the road that starts just to the left of the old mosque in the east of the square. This part of the Great Road offers us beautiful neo-classical buildings, lush bougainvilleas, small shops and nice cafes. You can buy clothes or jewellery, have a coffee or a light meal, and perhaps do a bit of people spotting. Soon the road leads us to The Three Admirals Square with its Town Hall, across Sygrou Street, past the Court House and Kapodistrias’ statue, and into the park, where we walk in the shade of pines and palm trees. Here is also a fenced playground for children, and Kolokotronis, which the park is named after, sitting on horseback. Out of the park, and we can continue until we reach a huge, complex intersection, Endekati. Here Megalos Dromos ends, and we are in the shopping area of the New Town and near the suburb Pronia. It was Greece's first president, Ioannis Kapodistrias, that had Megalos Dromos built on the pattern of great European cities. It originally ran from his palace on The Three Admirals Square to Syntagma.

Palamídi, the palace floating above the city

Palamidi is the fortress that dominates the city, in the sense that it almost floats on a steep hill (216 m) over Nafplio. Between 1711 and 1714 the Venetians built the castle (an amazingly short time), and this is in fact the final fortress of importance the Venetians built outside their own country. It’s also considered one of the most impressive. Yet, in 1715, one year after completion, the Turks defeated the castle.

Nafplio is one of the first cities in Greece that won independence. November 29th, 1822 a group of Greek rebels overpowered the Turks in Palamidi, and the next day the city could celebrate its freedom.
From 1840 and for nearly a hundred years, Palamidi was used as a prison, and in conjunction with this the stairs up to the castle was built. It is often said that there are 999 steps, but it's actually "only" 857. The walk is well worth the effort, the view of the city and the Argolic gulf just gets better and better. Start in the morning, when the shadow falls on the stairs, and bring water! If 857 steps are a little too overwhelming, you can drive up to the "back” of the castle via 25. Martiou Street.

Palamidi is very well preserved, and it's evocative and beautiful to walk on the worn stones, between the massive walls and buildings. Among other things you can try sitting in the freedom fighter Kolokotronis' jail cell, visit the Ag. Andreas Church and admire the eight bastions within the sturdy castle walls. The huge water tanks contribute to the city's water supply even today.

Entrance: 4 Euros (normal ticket, reduced 2e). Check opening hours on the sign at the bottom of the stairs before you begin climbing.

Bourtzi, fortress and the executioners home

The Venetians built the small fortress Bourtzi, located in the Argolic gulf and close to Nafplio, in 1471. Bourtzi was originally part of the city's defenses, and thick chains ran from the castle to the mainland to prevent enemy ships from docking. Between 1865 and 1935 Bourtzi were the executioner’s residence. The reason, of course, was that no one wanted to be neighbors with people in this profession. Later Bourtzi became a hotel / restaurant – what a contrast! Now it’s purely a tourist attraction, and has become the symbol of Nafplio. Small boats head out to the fortress, leaving from the port fairly regularly. The trip lasts only a couple of minutes, and the view towards the city is at its best just before sunset. Entrance: Free, boat trip 4 Euros

Acronafplía, from Nafplio’s youth
Nafplio's oldest castle, Acronafplía, rises at the top of the old town. Once the whole city existed within these walls. Parts of the castle was built already in the Bronze Age, and there are still remnants of these ancient walls in the western part of the castle. Acronafplia was later extended and amplified by respectively Romans, Franks, Venetians and Turks. The thick castle walls form a nice backdrop for the city, but sadly most of this castle has disappeared.

However, there are good reasons to visit Acronafplia. The view is beautiful, both to the northern parts of the city and towards the bay, and south to Arvanitia beach and the mountains of Arcadia. The eastern part of the castle is the best preserved section, so feel free to explore this section on foot, by walking off the road that runs through the castle and in between the old walls.

If you walk to the west end of the castle, past Nafplia Palace Hotel and continue until you reach a kind of roundabout, you will see a giant cactus forest to the left (south). Beautiful in the autumn with its bright yellow flowers, or with blushing fruit during winter. The fruits can be eaten, but you need thick gloves to pick and peel them.

Entrance: Free

Vouleftikon and other monumental buildings
Vouleftikon, or Parliament, is the big, gray stone building pictured above, off Syntagma Square to the south. The Turks built it in 1730 as a mosque, but later it housed the first Greek People's Assembly, which met here for the first time in 1825. Right behind Vouleftikon is Medrese, a building that used to be a Turkish religious school in connection with the mosque. The buildings was later used for, among other things, prison, but especially Vouleftikon is now carefully restored to its former glory. Vouleftikon is not usually open to the public, but once in a while you can catch a concert in the great hall, worth experiencing not only for the music! Behind Vouleftikon and Medrese, in Konstandinopouleos Street, we can find a beautiful Venetian boulding. This house has probably been the Venetian headquarters. When the Turks ruled after 1715, the shouse served as residence for the Aga Pasha, and it is also belived that the newly appointed Greek government resided here in 1924 and 1925. The Archaeological Museum at Syntagma is, as earlier mentioned, a Venetian arsenal from 1713. It’s one of the most impressive Venetian buildings existing in Nafplio, build in a kind of baroque style. The building has also been living quarters for soldiers, and was used by the Germans during World War II as their interrogation center. A very military career, in other words, reflecting in the building’s strict shape.

Narrow alleyways and steep stairs
Psaromachalas is the name of a small corner of the old town, just below Nafplia Palace Hotel, but outside Acronafplia Castle. This small area was the first place people settled when there no longer was room for everybody within the old city walls. Fishermen built the small houses here, and the name Psaromachalas means fishmonger. The narrow alleyways and modest houses still bear signs of the time they were made, and although several of them are now converted to guesthouses, this is also a traditional residential area.
But in my opininion you should also spend some time in the other residential areas in the old town, climb up and down the stairs, catch an unexpected glimpse of Bourtzi in the bay, pick a pink flower from one of the many bougainvilleas, and pop into a little corner shop. Many streets have sparse or no traffic, so it's a nice, quiet little walk - and you are never far from the nearest café. 

The greenest place in Nafplio

Nafplio city park is divided in two by Megalos Dromos (Vas. Konstantinou Street), with Kolokotronis Park on one side and Railway Park on the other, but this is one park, really: Nafplio’s fine, lush city park. The area where the park now rests was originally under water and outside the old city walls.

Take a volta, a short Greek walk
Sundays the Greeks venture out for a volta, in other words, they will go for walk. The walk is to be taken in a leisurely pace, often in more or less urban environments, and during the walk it is considered preferable to stop at a cafe for a little refreshment.
Here I will give you suggestions to three such voltas, close by and in the Old Town, and they can be implemented whether it is Sunday or not.

Around Akronafplia

Stroll on a nice path around the headland almost circling the hillside below Akronafplia, the castle located above the old town. You can start your walk down by the harbor (Akti Miaouli street), and walk along the waterfront promenade towards Bourtzi. There are many cafes along the way, and it is permitted to stop at one of them, even though the trip until now only lasted a few minutes. If not, simply follow the paved road along the sea, past the breakwater and then westwards. Soon the castle rises above you and the sea shimmers just below you.

If you’re in the mood, walk up the stair to the small church of Panagitsa and the secret school, or continue your walk around the headland. Soon you’ll see Arvanitia beach, and finally arrive at the large parking lot above the beach.

Would you like to swim, go down the stairs to the right. Do you want to continue down town, walk across the parking lot and down the hill, and you’ll soon see the rebuilt city gate of Nafplio, the «Pili of Xiras» on your left. But if you’ll rather walk even further, cross the parking lot above Arvanitia and choose the steep road to your left. Soon you’ll have the panoramic view of the Old Town in front of you. Go down through the gate to get back to the Old Town, or continue further up and go inside the walls of Akronafplia. After a while you reach Nafplia Palace Hotel, and you can have your well-deserved refreshments there. If you can afford it.

Walk through Karathona

Honestly, I recommend this trip the most from the all you could arrange. Not only because it's very interesting and you will see many fantastic, scenic and breathtaking views while walking but also you can connect the trip with bike trip (the road is good quality so many runners and cyclists use it) or swimming. Grab bikini with you and enjoy sunny weather with clear, blue sea! There's very quiet beach in a half way to Karathona (Karathona is quite famous and not that pleasant) and only local Greeks know this place.
You can start your walk from the parking lot above Arvanitia (public beach) and then go on the left straight.

City park

On the outskirts of the Old Town, not far from the main bus station, a green lung is stretching east to the suburbs of Pronia and the New Town. In the park you can say hello to the statue of the independence hero Kolokotronis and his horse, and visit the old train station complete with a locomotive, a pleasant café and a large playground. It’s a short walk, so why not continue on to Pronia and experience real Greek life. 

Nafplio Virtual Tour

Put on a headset, grab a map, and embark on a guided walk through the city. The voice in your rented earphones will lead you absolutely everywhere of interest, and provides many fascinating historical facts. Read more at www.nafplio-tour.gr

Mini train and the Hop on / hop off bus
If you are a more leisurely type, use the hop on / hop off bus that brings you from the harbor and on a wide trip around the town and up to Palamidi, listening to a (recorded) English speaking guide. Or, for a shorter trip, embark on the mini train that fairly regularly runs from the port, and and brings you to many of the famous sights of Nafplio.

FAQ Questions:

How can I get to Nafplio?

You can take a bus to Terminal A / Stathmos Kiffisos in Athens and from there another bus to Nafplio.
Bus number X93 runs from just outside El. Venizelos airport's arrival hall to Stathmos Kiffisos. Buy tickets at the airport before entering. The trip lasts somewhere between a half and one hour, depending on traffic. Price approx 5 Euros.
If you’re already in Athens, bus No. 051 from the intersection Zinonos and Menandrou Streets, south of Omonia, will bring you to Stathmos Kiffisos.
Taxi from the centre normally costs between 10 and 15 Euros, depending on where the taxi picks you up.
Stathmos Kiffisos is a major bus terminal. Find the sign that says Nafplio / Argolida, and buy your tickets there. The buses go hourly on the half hour from morning to evening (some exceptions). The journey takes two to two and a half hours, going via Corinth / Isthmos and Argos. Nafplio is the terminus. Price approx. 12 Euros.

Please note that the bus from Nafplio to Athens stops at Eleonas metro station (blue line) before it continues to Stathmos Kiffisos. From Eleonas the metro will take you to the centre, then continue to the airport. This will usually be a faster solution than to travel by bus. Just make sure you get on the right train, not all of them run all the way to the airport.

For more info about KTEL buses please read my post here.

The simplest - and cheapest - is to get the hotel you will stay in in Nafplio to pre-book a taxi for you, or contact greek-taxi.gr. A taxi trip costs approximately 150 euros, and lasts a bit over one and a half hour.

It is possible to take the "Proastiakos" train from the airport to Corinth, but the train from Corinth to Nafplio is suspended at the time of writing. Yet, it will be cheaper to take a train to Corinth and taxi from there, than to use a taxi all the way from the airport. Ask the hotel you are staying in in Nafplio to book a taxi for you.

If you rent a car at the airport, it's easy to find the way to Nafplio. From the airport you drive directly onto the motorway and follow the signs first to Elefsina, then Corinth, and finally the signs say Nafplio. The road is generally very good, except for a short distance between Corinth and Nafplio which is fairly narrow and winding. Calculate two hours if you keep the speed limit. And you do, don’t you!


There is a ferry (3.5 hours) and express ferry (2 hours) from Piraeus to both Ermioni and Porto Heli, via the Saronic islands. From Ermioni and Porto Heli you can catch the bus to Nafplio.

In the summers, Pegasus Cruises arranges boat trips from Tolo to the islands of Hydra and Spetses. It is ususally possible to travel only one way, but arrange in advance with them.

Where can I stay, and should I book in advance?
There's a huge selection of hotels and guesthouses in Nafplio, most of them in the Old Town. Except in the summer season, it will be no problem to find a room, unless it’s Easter or a Greek holiday, as October 28. or March 25. Please be aware that a Pension doesn’t necessarily mean a lower standard, only that it doesn’t have a staffed reception around the clock. If so, you also get a key to the front door. 

How’s the weather?
In July and August, you can expect relatively high temperatures, usually somewhere in the 30's, but it can be over 40. In May, June and September, temperatures are typically somewhere between 20 and 30 degrees, but they can be both higher and lower, and it may rain, but it rarely lasts long. In the other months the temperature is very variable, it can be over 20 degrees in December while April may have 10. Or vice versa. Long periods of bad weather are rare, many summers in Britain are wetter and colder than an average Nafplio winter.

Where can I eat?
Generally you’ll get good food in Nafplio. A large majority of the tourists who come here are Greek, and most restaurants reflect it: Greek quality food. Staïkopoulo is the street with the most taverns. It’s a pleasant and lively place to sit, but also the street that attracts the most foreign tourists, which may affect the quality: The menu must adapt to taste buds from many countries, and the tavern owners also know that you probably won’t be back. But by all means, there are good taverns in this street too.
At the harbour promenade along the Bouboulinas, fish is the usual fare, but you’ll find other food, too. Most other taverns are located in Yialos, the streets between Syntagma Square and the waterfront, and although they may not have as spectacular scenery as those we have mentioned above, many offer excellent food. 

When are the shops open?
It’s impossible to give exact times, but generally they’re open from nine or ten to two or half past two every day except Sunday. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday they open again from about six to about nine. But there are many exceptions; in the Old Town shops are usually open from morning until late evening, with no siesta and seven days a week, at least during summer. The Super Market in the Old Town is called Carrefour, also open all day, but closed Sunday. It’s located in the port end of Sigrou Street.

And what about post and bank?
The Post Office, located at the intersection Sigrou / Sidiras Merarchias, is open eight to two, Banks have the same opening hours, except that closing time Friday is half past one. Post and banks are closed Saturday and Sunday. There is an abundance of ATMs, but a lot of shops do not accept credit cards. NB: There are exceptions to these opening hours, so check when you are in town if necessary.

Do you have any more questions? Ask me in the comment! 

[Peloponnese] - Nafplio - the first capital /description/

Nafplio - The pure pearl of Argolidas

First of all you must remember that Argolis is the real Greece, and Nafplio is the most wonderful town you can visit. I am more than sure, when you decide to visit this town one day, it will steal your hear at the first sight! Nafplio is an answer for questions: What is the Greece of your dreams? Great beaches and lively bars? Beautiful scenery and picturesque towns? Archaeological treasures and a tasty meal in a local tavern? 

Old Nafplion is one of the most beautiful towns in Greece. The former capital of Greece may remind visitors of the Plaka but it's on the sea. With two mountains crowned by medieval fortresses overlooking the town and the small island fortress called the Bourtzi that once protected the harbor, Nafplion is full of restaurants, shops, cafes, beautiful old buildings,hotels of all catagories and a beach that you can walk to in ten minutes.

Platea Sintagmas

In Argolis you can have all this and more. Forget the overcrowded and touristy islands, only a couple of hours drive from Athens, adventure awaits you. Argolis, a prefecture on the Peloponnese peninsula, is the real Greece, and Nafplio is one of the most elegant and romantic cities in the country - a perfect base for a holiday in a Greece that is even better than what you may imagine. Nafplio was the first capital of Greece, and beauty, culture, history and tradition characterize this wonderful city. By the way, this is not just a summer vacation destination. Unless you want a pure sun & beach holiday, your visit to Nafplio and Argolis could be just perfect all year round.

The great view from the top is a must to see while visiting the town!!
The fortress commands an impressive view over the Argolic Gulf, the city of Náfplio and the surrounding country. There are 857 steps in the winding stair from the town to the fortress. However, to reach the top of the fortress there are over one thousand. Locals in the town of Nafplion will say there are 999 steps to the top of the castle.

Palamidi (Παλαμήδι) is a fortress to the east of the Acronauplia in the town of Nafplio in the Peloponnese region of southern Greece. Nestled on the crest of a 216-metre high hill, the fortress was built by the Venetians during their second occupation of the area (1686-1715).

Square of the Philhellenes

Nafplio (Ναύπλιο, Nafplio) is a seaport town in the Peloponnese in Greece that has expanded up the hillsides near the north end of the Argolic Gulf. The town was the capital of the First Hellenic Republic, from the start of the Greek Revolution in 1821 until 1834. Nafplio is now the capital of the regional unit of Argolis.

The Promenade with a Bourtzi caste view

The church of Saint Nicholas.

Argolis (also called Argolida), is the "thumb" of the Peloponnesian peninsula, filled with small villages by the sea and in the mountains, beautiful scenery, alluring beaches, and Minoan and ancient monuments around every corner. Among them are Epidavros, one of the best-preserved amphitheatres in existence, and the Mycenaean city that has given the era name, Mycenae or Mykines.

You can read more information about Nafplio here.


How to cross the road in Greek style?

To be honest Greece is very specific country not only because of people who live there...but also because of their style - e.g. crossing the street.

Classical rules say:
  • Find the safest place to cross then stop.
  • If available cross the road at a zebra crossing, traffic light crossings or at traffic islands or where there is a police officer or a traffic warden. Wait on the pavement until the traffic has completely stopped.
  • If not available, choose a place where you can see clearly along the roads in all directions, and where drivers can see you. Never cross on turns.
  • Wait until it's safe: Wait patiently and let the traffic pass.Cross when there is a safe gap and you are sure there is enough time. Don't cross if you are not sure.
  • When it's safe, walk directly across the road.
  • Keep looking & listening while crossing.
  • Never run! 
Greek rules are totally opposite! :D
If you want to cross the road within few seconds and don't want to wait hours then follow simply rules:
  • Find the best place for crossing, no matter if it's safe or not, the best for you and follow other Greeks - they always know how to cross the street without waiting!
  • Don't panic when car will start honking, they often greet each other in this style, and most of the time the honk it's not directed to you.
  • Watch out because motors are everywhere!
  • Always try to run, because it's a faster way of crossing the road on.. red light! So you won't be hit by vehicle.
  • Lights red/green are only put because of EU restrictions :P  People always cross the street no matter which light is shown!
  • There is no need to watch carefully, and wait untill the whole traffic completely stop - otherwise you'll stuck in one place for long minutes.
  • Sometimes it's impossible to see the whole road clearly along in all directions.
  • Don't expect that someone will help you (hard to find policeman e.g.) - you always count on yourself!
  • The driver is often busy with other things while driving (listening to music, smoking, talking on the phone) but I was really impressed that they always saw people crossed the street in weird places! I guess that kind of alertness is in their blood.


How to Read a Greek Bus Schedule

Even when the site is in English, the schedules may still show Greek names for the days. At the bus station itself, it almost definitely will. Here's my help: 

ΔΕΥΤΕΡΑ - Deftera - Monday
ΤΡΙΤΗ - Triti - Tuesday
ΤΕΤΑΡΤΗ - Tetarti - Wednesday
ΠΕΜΠΤΗ - Pempti - Thursday
ΠΑΡΑΣΚΕΥΗ - Paraskevi - Friday
ΣΑΒΒΑΤΟ - Sabato - Saturday
ΚΥΡΙΑΚΗ - Kyriaki - Sunday

The Greek days of the week are a classic case of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing. If you see "Triti" and look at the root as "tria" or "three", the temptation is to think, ah, the third day of the week, must mean my bus leaves Wednesday. Wrong! Greeks count Sunday, Kyriaki, as the first day of the week - so Triti is Tuesday.

Bus schedule in Sounio

What Day is it? Um, What Month Is It?

No, this has nothing to do with how much raki or ouzo or Mythos you put away last night. Remember that Greece puts the day first, then the month, opposite to what is standard in the United States (except, oddly, on the customs forms you fill out coming back into the United States). While it's unlikely you'll think "18" or "23" stands for a month instead of a day, unfortunately, the summer months make perfect 'sense' when reversed, so please be careful when booking that ferry ticket that you want August 7th when you select 07/08.


What do you mean the 15th is a Tuesday? I checked the Calendar!

Glancing at the calendar on the wall of the Greek bus or ferry office - or at your hotel? Please remember that Greek calendars start with Sunday unless they are designed to be bought by tourists for use back home, and even that isn't a sure thing.
Greek bus and other schedules use a 24-hour day. Here's help with that,too.


Reading 24-Hour Timetables & Schedules in Greece

Midnight/12:00am = 00:00
1 am = 01:00
2 am = 02:00
3 am = 03:00
4 am = 04:00
5 am = 05:00
6 am = 06:00
7 am = 07:00
8 am = 08:00
9 am = 09:00
10 am = 10:00
11 am = 11:00
Noon/12:00pm = 12:00
1 pm = 13:00
2 pm = 14:00
3 pm = 15:00
4 pm = 16:00
5 pm = 17:00
6 pm = 18:00
7 pm = 19:00
8 pm = 20:00
9 pm = 21:00
10 pm = 22:00
11 pm = 23:00


PM means AM and MM means PM

One last area for confusion, though the 24:00 time system makes this less frequent. In Greek, the abbreviation for "morning" is not AM for ante-meridian as it is in Latin, but PM for Pro Mesimbrias or πριν το μεσημέρι (prin to mesimeri) (before noon - think of the "pro" standing in for "prior to"). Afternoon and evening hours are MM for Meta Mesimbrias - if you like the candies, maybe you can think of M&Ms are chocolate and therefore MM means the "darker hours". In speech, however, hours are used normally - for example, someone will arrange to meet you at 7 in the evening, not 19:00 hours.


26 Simple Rules of Survival on the Greek Roads

Driving in Athens can be challenging at first but once you get out of the city you should be fine as long as you PAY ATTENTION. If you love to drive you will love driving in Greece. The roads are pretty good (better than in Poland, yuck!) and there is very little of the US Interstate-Autobahn kind of highway driving that makes driving boring. If you are not a good driver then you will probably be terrified at first but the practice of paying attention may make you a better driver.
Driving in Athens

Traffic jam in Athens


Driving in mainland Greece and on the Greek islands is a pleasure for those who know how to drive and especially those who know how to drive defensively. Driving in Athens is different. The most important thing to know is that following the rules is seen as a weakness of character by many Greek men who drive with the patience and consideration of a 13 year old drug addict in need of a fix. There are lots of people on the road who could not pass a road test if they had to, yet they are driving and some of them are driving fast. There are many scooters and motors in every street, so all you need to do is.. to watch your car mirror! :D

Follow 26 simple rules how to survive on the Greek roads and I bet, you will be fine with driving your own car in big city:

1) You must always keep in mind that you may be the only person on the road who actually took and passed a road test. Many of your fellow drivers rather than go through the inconvenience of taking the test or risk failing it simply bribed the people administering it. Just assume that nobody but you knows how to drive and you have to make up for their lack of ability by driving more defensively.

2) There are lanes but these can get blurred in certain places so keep your eyes on the car in front of you. There is especially a lack of lane discipline at night. The double lines in the middle of the road mean no-passing just like at home but don't be surprised to see someone else passing in fact they may be coming right towards you. Just take it to mean that you should not pass and that you should be extra alert for someone who is passing from the opposite direction because the rule does not apply to them. When driving on the National Road and in the countryside remember the advice: Keep to the right. Some Greek drivers do not like to be told what to do and they see the double white center line as a challenge to them to cross it and assert their individuality. 

3) If you decide to stop when the light turns orange be aware that the guy behind you may have already decided he is going to go through it and brace yourself. That does not mean that you should race through yellow lights to avoid being rear-ended. It means you should slow down and that you should definitely not decide at the last instant not to go through. Make your decision early. It is better to have the guy behind you swearing at you than on top of you :D

4) Motorbikes don't obey any lanes or rules and there is usually one or more somewhere nearby. Watch out for them especially on the islands where tourists who have never driven a motorbike in their lives are doing so now and are possibly drunk too. Motorcycles are responsible for the greatest number of accident victims in Greece.

5) Watch out for people opening their doors without looking while parked or double parked. Expect the unexpected.

6) In the mountains and rural areas, driving can be treacherous due to narrow roads, blind curves, and unprotected embankments sometimes on the edge of 1000 foot cliffs that fall to the sea, or even worse, the ground. Watch out for people parked in unbelievably stupid places like when you come around a mountain bend and someone is relievimg himself or taking a picture of his girlfriend while his car is parked halfway in the road.

7) Road signs are mostly in Greek and English but that does not mean you will always see them, especially in central Athens. Its good to have someone sitting next to you who will be watching signs while you will be focused on road and other driver's moves.

8) There are certain days and times when traffic is terrible, beyond belief. The days and times and directions vary but correspond to working and shopping hours so you may want to familiarize yourself with them. Keep in mind that demonstrations can have an undesirable effect on your plans to travel in and out of Athens. Most are in the Syntagma Square area but they often march somewhere. Strikes and demostrations are usually announced in the English language Kathimerini Daily. 

9) Leaving Athens by car on the Friday before a holiday weekend and returning after a holiday weekend is a nightmare, no matter where you are going. This is especially true of Easter and the beginning of August when many Athenians take their vacations. If you can stay in Athens and leave when everyone is returning then do that. 

10) If you have never driven in mountains before you may want to practice using your gears to downshift and reduce your speed instead of using your brakes and then not having any when you need to actually stop.

11) Always wear your seatbelt. If you have toddlers ask the rental agency for a car seat before you leave home and if they don't have one, bring one. Kids under 18 years old are not allowed to drive. Children under 10 must sit in the back seat. 

12) The Speed limit in Greece is 100-120 kmph on highways unless otherwise posted and 50 kmph in residential areas unless otherwise posted. Most road signs are pictures that are pretty self explanatory.

13) When asking directions expect to hear something like: Go about 3 kilometers, take a right at the traffic light and ask someone else. Directions, no matter how precise always include asking someone else, thus increasing the possibility of being given the wrong directions. Make sure you have a map. A compass is not a bad idea either.

14) If you are staying in Athens and renting a car for an overnight trip or longer ask the rental agency to pick you up at your hotel and when you return to meet you there.

15) If you plan to do daytrips by car while staying in Athens each night try to find a hotel with parking or ask the hotel where the closest parking garage is. It is almost impossible to find a parking spot in downtown Athens. A legal one anyway. If you park illegally the police will take your plates and it will cost 150 euros to get them back. Paying the money is the easy part.

16) Young Greeks with nice cars drive fast. They do have excellent reflexes which gets them out of trouble as fast as they get into it, probably having something to do with a diet rich in cafeine and nicotine. That means you will have some close calls, almost guaranteed, but if you are attentive and they are not fighting with their girlfriend or mother on the cell phone, chances are you won't have any major accidents. But they do happen. The peak time for accidents in Athens is from 5 to 9 pm as tired drivers return home from work. Many fatalities occur late at night when speed, alcohol and youth are factors. 

17) It is easier to rent a car as you need it on each island, then it is to rent a car and take it on and off the ferries to several islands. With the cost of ferry tickets now it is more economical too. Driving a car on a ferry can be a little intimidating at first because usually you have to back in and follow instructions in Greek that will enable you to squeeze your car into a space you never would have thought possible. Getting off is easier but often you have to wait for the car next to you to move so you can open the door and get in. By then you may have asphyxiated from carbon-monoxide, but if you haven't the rest is easy.

18) Gas stations are common but be aware that in many cases they don't accept credit cards. 

19) There is an Emergency Line for Visitors to Greece: Dial 112 for information in English, French and Greek regarding ambulance services, fire brigade, police and the coast guard (I guess in case you fall into the sea :D). For roadside assistance call ELPA at 10400 and chances are good there will be someone who speaks English. If you are renting a car be sure you have a 24-hour line or cell phone number for the rental comany so you can contact them in an emergency or hastle them if the car is a piece of junk.

20) To rent a car in Greece you only need a valid license from your home country. But according to Greek law you need a valid U.S. license as well as an International Driving Permit. The U.S. Department of State has authorized two organizations to issue international permits to those who hold valid U.S. driver's licenses: AAA and the American Automobile Touring Alliance. Vehicles may be rented without an international license, but the driver will be penalized for failure to have one and insurance coverage would not be provided in the event of an accident. Fines are high. EU citizens can use their national driving license. 

21) Fines are strict for breaking traffic laws in Greece. Running a red light or ignoring a stop sign is 700 euros. Not using a seatbelt in a car or wearing a helmet on a motorbike is a fine of 350 euros. Talking on a mobile phone without a hands-free kit is 100 euros. Driving under the influence depends on how you score on the breathalyser and can be from 200 to 1200 euros. Most of these fines also come with a loss of license for 10 days to 6 months.

22) The Greek police do use road-blocks to administer breathalyser tests.

23) The cheapest cars are generally the most dangerous. Greece has one of the highest rates of traffic fatalities in Europe and just because you are only here for a couple weeks does not mean you are exempt. On the small islands you can get by with a small car which is usually Catagory A since any collisions are more likely to be with another small car or a motorbike. But on the mainland or the larger islands send a little extra and get a bigger, safer car. Make sure it has seatbelts and they work. Ask about air-bags too.

24) In case I have discouraged you from driving and have decided to walk everywhere keep in mind that Greece also has one of the highest number of pedestrian deaths in the European Union. Because there is a shortage of parking spots many drivers park cars over curbs and sidewalks so pedestrians are forced to walk in streets. Drivers who run lights are a danger and collisions between pedestrians and motorbikes are common. So please take my little advice - and look while crossing the street carefully TWICE!

25) If you rent a car and it has a serious problem don't wait til you return it to report it. For example if you get a car and the air-conditioning does not work, call the agency and tell them you want a new car delivered right away. It is best to know if there are any problems before you drive off and checking the AC is pretty easy to do. Cold air comes out or it doesn't. In the summer when rental cars go out as fast as they come in a problem may not be reported by the previous renter and not caught by the rental agency. But that should not be your problem. It is however your responsibility to report the problem right away. Even if it is not serious and does not require a new car think about the person who will get it next. At the very least make a list of anything that does not seem right to keep minor problems from becoming serious ones and causing major problems for the next person who rents the car. 

26) If you happen to break the law and get a ticket (rare) police may not speak your language. Even if they do arguing with them is useless and not recommendable. If you do not agree, just take the ticket, go to the traffic police station and talk to the chief and if you are lucky he will speak English. You should also call the rental agency and ask them to help you because if you leave it is just as likely that the police will come after them too. Remember that no matter how outrageous the fine seems you can pay half price by paying it within 5 days.

Practical Info about Traveling by Bus in Greece

In this post I gathered some practical info about traveling by bus in whole Greece, I collected my thoughts below:

– KTEL buses are either green or blue and white, or orange and white in a variety of designs. Look at the design of yours when the bus takes a rest break to make sure you re-board the correct one or look at the destination sign in the front window, you can also ask bus driver (they all know English in min. basic level)

κτελ αττικης - KTEL Attikis (orange bus in route to Sounio)

– The majority of buses are modern, air conditioned and comfortable; sometimes it’s too cold, which is great in summer

ΚΤΕΛ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗΣ - central bus station in Thessaloniki

– Luggage will be taken by the bus driver or you will be instructed to place it in a large compartment underneath the bus when the door opens. Passengers can bring suitcases, bicycles, boxes, furniture (within reason). I’ve never seen KTEL impose weight limits.

– Overhead storage inside the bus is limited and not normally large enough for a carry-on suitcase. Most people use them for small backpacks, fanny packs, snacks/drinks, umbrellas, coats, helmets, hats, briefcase.

– Look for your seat number (thesi) on the actual seat you’ll be sitting in, usually marked above or behind the seat or on the aisle in pairs.

– Buses traveling a distance will make a food/smoke/rest stop midway, during which the bus is locked. (for e.g. Athens - Thessaloniki 6hrs route)

– Food at Greek-owned rest stops are typically overpriced and substandard in quality, and the bus driver gets a commission — bring your own snacks/food/drink or pray for a name-brand fast food chain (rare).

– Bus tickets to islands include a ferry ticket, unless you are disembarking before it crosses (i.e. Zakynthos, Kefallonia, Corfu/Kerkyra).

Bus ticket on route Nafplio - Archea Mikines

– An unlimited or multi-ride pass does not exist at this time for the entire KTEL network. However, some individual networks have weekly, monthly and three-month regional travel cards, such as KTEL Argolida

– Purchasing a round-trip or return ticket will save you approximately 20 percent

– Round-trip or return bus tickets are typically valid for 30, 60 or 90 days. Length of validity varies by KTEL location, so inquire with the ticketing agent if this is a concern. Also you need to exchange your return ticket (when you buy return ticket the price for return journey is 0 euro - it will be corrected straight away in the day when you will take return journey, same with entering exact hour of the bus arrival) when you decide to take return journey in exact ktel agency from which you've bought your ticket (e.g. KTEL Thessalonikis)

– Be aware that many cities have two or more bus terminals. If you tell someone where you want to go, they should direct you to the correct one.

– Summer schedules typically run from April-October and winter from November-March, although the transport ministry can announce differently at any time.

– Tickets can be purchased online with limited (not all) KTEL websites but only in Greek. Most people show up early to get a ticket/seat and do not reserve one, although it is free. Busy routes demand you be present and buy a ticket at least a half hour before departure if you are embarking at a terminal; others allow you to buy a ticket from the driver at no extra charge, as long as there is a seat on the bus (I’ve even seen drivers take standing passengers). In summer, I recommend showing up at least an hour in advance.

- KTEL buses run on holidays (New Year’s, Easter, Christmas) in some areas but with a curtailed schedule; others do not. There’s no way to know in advance which will run; most people call or visit the station to inquire the day before or day of departure. Sorry, that’s how Greece is.

There's also one thing confusing while traveling by bus in Greece - reading Greek schedules - that's why I posted few tips here.