Rhodes, a temperate Greek island, attracts millions of tourists each year. The island’s breathtaking beaches, mountainous countryside, and medieval old town are timeless attractions. Exploring the island might mean renting a car for your stay. So, we are ready to give you some tips for driving in Rhodes.
We weren’t sure what to expect from Rhodes traffic on our first trip. We’ve already had some experience with driving on other Greek islands but the road quality and difficulty can change drastically from one place to another when it comes to Greece’s wonderful islands.
Luckily, we found an island that has a pleasant driving experience. While mountains and mountain roads can be expected it didn’t give us too much trouble. Overall, if you already have a couple of years worth of driving experience under your belt then you should be fine.
Do you need to rent a car in Rhodes?
As always, let’s tackle the question of renting a car first. Should you actually rent a car in Rhodes or you can get around just fine with public transport?
Public Transport in Rhodes
Public transport is available on the island and it’s actually pretty okay. The bigger cities are connected to each other and you can use the bus to get around the island to some capacity.
Of course, you will be less flexible than when you are renting a car and sometimes the bus is a bit unreliable. We did see 15 to 30 minutes of unannounced delays which can be annoying.
There is a great bus between Rhodes and the airport. It was cheap and it was pretty quick. We always try to save some money and use the bus instead of renting at the airport. If you are staying in Rhodes it’s perfect. You can explore Rhodes on your first day and only rent on your second one.
Taxi in Rhodes
Taxis are also available on the island but they are a bit on the expensive side. We recommend taxis for those who would like to skip the Rhodes driving experience. Although they are a good way to get around the island you will quickly rack up the cost if you use the local taxis too much.
Renting a car in Rhodes
So we’ll arrive at the question of renting a car in Rhodes. As we’ve mentioned there are other options, but still, having your own car is the best option for exploring Rhodes.
It allows for ultimate flexibility and it’s usually pretty affordable on the island. We were honestly surprised at the cost of renting.
When you have your own car you can explore in your own peace. There is no waiting for public transport or the stress of finding a taxi. Just kick back on the beach and relax while your car waits for you in the parking lot.
While you don’t necessarily need a rental car for your full stay we recommend renting a car for at least 3-4 days.
Driving in Rhodes
Now that we’ve concluded that you should rent a car for at least a couple of days, let’s see if driving in Rhodes is actually for you or not.
Basic Rules of Driving in Rhodes
When you are driving in Rhodes you should expect the same rules of the road as they are in mainland Greece.
Seat belts are mandatory and let’s be honest, even if they were not mandatory we would still recommend you wear them at all times anyway. Travel is all about fun and we want to see all our readers stay safe whenever they are abroad.
People in Rhodes drive on the right-hand side of the road. This is the same as most of Europe and North America. If you are coming from the UK or ANZ then you’ll need a few minutes to get accustomed to this kind of driving. Make sure you take your first few minutes in the car slow.
Speed limits are 50 km/h (31mph) inside towns and 80 km/h (50mph) outside of towns. You can usually see higher speed limits in mainland Greece but due to the small nature of the island, these speeds are enough.
Driver must be at least 18 years but you have to keep in mind that almost all rental companies require drivers to be at least 21 years old and with at least a year’s old driving license.
No drinking and driving on the island and no phone in hand while driving. Both of these are offenses that will warrant police action.
International Driving License is required for Non-EU visitors. People from the European Union can drive with their own licenses.
Road Quality in Rhodes
The road quality on Rhodes is similar to other Greek islands. It varies from good to pretty bad.
There is a stretch of Road 95 that’s 2×2 lanes and it’s one of the highest quality on the island. This road becomes 1×1 lanes at Kolympia but the quality stays high.
Apart from this main road, there are other high-quality roads that connect the bigger towns and tourist attractions of the island. These roads also traverse some of the mountainscapes. They are good quality.
Smaller roads on the other hand are okayish to bad quality. Especially the ones that go through some of the mountain passes. Some of these roads have no lane markings as they barely fit two cars and some of them have no railing towards steep drops. Whenever driving on these roads you should exercise extra caution.
Apart from these small roads, there are no surprises in Rhodes. The overall road quality is pretty good.
It takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes to drive from one side of the island to the other. The total distance is around 90 kilometers (55 miles).
Currently, there are no toll roads on Rhodes Island.
Traffic can both be relaxed and intense at the same time. Generally speaking, the speed limits make everything a bit slower than your usual driving.
Most of the locals drive at a relaxed pace but with speeds greater than what is actually allowed. Some of the locals drive like maniacs but the good thing is that these people will pass you quickly and be on their way.
Traffic inside Rhodes Town is the heaviest. There are mopeds and motorbikes everywhere so you must keep looking into your mirrors if you don’t want to hit anyone.
On the big 2×2 road it’s also more hectic than in mainland Europe. Unexpected lane changes, overtaking in the right lane, and zig-zagging between traffic are all common occurrences here.
Also, note that there are tons of rental cars on the road. This means many people with varying experiences in driving abroad.
If you keep your calm, be aware of your surroundings at all times, and practice defensive driving then you should be fine.
Let us stress one more time that motorbikes and mopeds are abundant on the island. Riders can appear unexpectedly on both sides of your car so try to keep your mirrors in check.
Tips on car rentals in Rhodes
There are tons of businesses when it comes to renting a car in Rhodes. The local businesses range from cheap to moderately expensive.
Cheap rentals can go as low as 20 EUR per day. This is a superb price but this price does not warrant a superb car. If you go this low you can expect an old car that works. Nothing fancy but it will get you across the island.
Newer cars are around 50-80 EUR a day or even higher during the main tourism season. Most cars are manual so keep this in mind.
Automatic transmission is available for rent but it’s only a small portion of the car fleet. Make sure that you rent a car in advance if you want an auto.
AC is in all cars but you must check if it blows cold air before you take the car. It gets hot during the Greek summer and you don’t want to take a car without a properly working AC.
Once you take the car we recommend that you take photographs at the rental car lot. Take photos of each side so any already existing scratches and damage can be confirmed. The car rental company will do this anyway but we’ve found it useful to do it as well.
Driving in Rhodes, Greece – FAQ
Driving in Rhodes is easy to moderately difficult.
Yes, we recommend renting a car, if not for the whole duration of your trip, then at least for a couple of days.
No, there are no highways in Rhodes. There is a single stretch of a 2×2 lane road but that’s the biggest road available.
People on Rhodes drive on the right-hand side of the road and overtake on the left. The driver sits in the front left seat of the car.
It takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes.
There are no toll roads on the island.