Do You Need to Rent a Car in Rethymnon?

While you don't need to rent a car to see Rethymnon itself, a car rental can be useful for seeing nearby attractions and more of Crete.

Do you need a car in Rethymnon to go sightseeing?

Is A Car Rental Necessary To See Rethymnon?

If you are staying in the town of Rethymnon on the Greek island of Crete, you'll be happy to hear that you don't need a car to explore the town itself.

All of Rethymnon's main attractions are within easy walking distance of one another. In fact, walking in the old town of Rethymnon and exploring on foot is by far the best way to enjoy the alleyways and side streets!

When I last visited Rethymnon with Vanessa, we had our car with us but didn't use it once to drive into Rethymno itself.

That's because when it comes to getting around Rethymnon, a car is more of a hinderance than an asset if you are staying in the old town. Roads can be narrow, and parking can be hard to find.

abandoned building in rethymnon

On balance, when working out the pros and cons if you need a car to see Rethymno itself, there's more downside than upside.

That said, while in general you don't need to rent a car in Rethymnon, there are some exceptions.

For Rethymno car hire I recommend: Discover Cars

Why a rental car might be useful in Rethymnon

There are a few circumstances where a car rental might be useful in Rethymnon. The main one being if you are not staying in the old town itself, but further out in the beach resort area of Rethymnon.

The Rethymnon beach resort stretches to the east of the town, where the lovely beach area starts. This area has a mix of accommodation and hotel types, ranging from family run studios to 5 star luxury resorts.

The further you go east from Rethymnon, the more useful a car will be. If staying 5kms or more from the center of old town Rethymnon, walking is no longer an option to get into the town, and a rental car might be nice to have.

In addition, many of the hotels along the 10kms stretch of Rethymnon beach have parking which solves one of the major drawbacks to having a car in Rethymnon.

To rent a car in Rethymno, I recommend: Discover Cars

Other reasons to rent a car in Rethymnon

You don't need to have a car to go sightseeing in Rethymnon town itself. A rental car would be a great idea for seeing more of the attractions nearby to Rethymnon and further afield in Crete though.

entering arkadi monastery near rethymnon, crete

Arkadi Monastery and Ancient Eleutherna are good to combine as a day trip from Rethymnon that having a hire car would be ideal for. Going further, you could make trips to other locations like Chania Town, Heraklion to see Knossos, Matala beach, and even Elafonissi beach.

A rental car would give you a lot more flexibility for exploring more of Crete when staying in Rethymnon.

Where to rent a car in Rethymnon, Crete

Rethymno is the third largest town in Crete and there are plenty of rental car companies to choose from. You can find both local and international car hire brands here. Just use Google Maps to find them.

In my opinion, the best thing to do though, is to use Discover Cars and book a car rental in Rethymno before you go. They offer all car types from small local businesses to the internationally recognized car rental companies.

How to decide if you need to rent a car in Rethymnon

A lot depends on what sort of person you are, and what you want to get out of your time in Rethymnon and Crete. Here's my tops tips and things to keep in mind when deciding if you need a Rethymno car rental or not:

  1. Your accommodation location: If your hotel or lodging is situated far from Rethymno city center or other attractions you want to see, a rental car can significantly make life easier and save valuable vacation time. Just make sure the hotel has some sort of parking.
  2. Your itinerary: Consider the places you want to visit. If these sites are scattered or located in remote regions, having a car can provide greater accessibility and flexibility. If you're planning a road trip in Crete, Rethymnon is as good a place as any for car hire.
  3. Length of stay: If your visit to Rethymnon is brief, public transportation or taxis might suffice. However, for a longer visit, renting a car could prove cost-effective in the long run.
  4. Budget: Evaluate the total cost of car rental against commuting costs. Factor in fuel, parking, and insurance costs for a comprehensive comparison. I recommend Discover Cars for rental cars in Rethymnon.
  5. Comfort and convenience: Public transport may not always be comfortable or operate at convenient times. A rental car assures comfort and you're free to do you own thing, like follow a sign to an archaeological site you had never heard of before, or stop off in a mountain village for lunch.
  6. Size of your traveling party: For large groups or families, car rentals can often be more economical and convenient than public transportation.
  7. Local transportation infrastructure: Some areas might have infrequent public transportation or none at all. In addition, buses can be packed during July and August which are the busiest months for tourism in Rethymnon. In such cases, a rental car becomes a necessity.
  8. Your comfort with driving abroad: Assess your comfort level with driving in a foreign country. Consider factors such as traffic rules, road conditions, and driving on the opposite side of the road to your home country if applicable. You should be aware that Crete is notorious for having the worst drivers in Greece!

Also read: Renting a car in Greece

Final thoughts on car rentals in Rethymno

To sum up, whether or not you need a car in Rethymnon depends on the purpose of your visit. If you are only interested in exploring the town, then there is no need to rent a car. However, if you plan on exploring more of Crete, then renting a car is necessary. It offers convenience, saves time, and allows you to see more of the island.

Frequently Asked Questions

Readers looking to pick up a car in Rethymno often ask questions similar to:

Where can I rent a car in Rethymno, Crete?

You can rent a car from various rental companies located within the town. The best idea is to organize it before you trip by using Discover Cars.

What are the typical costs for car rental in Rethymnon, Crete?

Prices can vary depending on the car type you rent, the time of year, and the length of your rental. On average, you might expect to pay between €15-€50 per day to rent a car in Rethymnon.

Is an international driving permit required to rent a car in Crete?

There was a recent law change so that EU, UK, US, Canadian, and Australian visitors no longer need an international car license. I've heard anecdotally, that US travelers are still being asked for international licenses on some Greek islands.

Can I take my rental car on a ferry to other Greek islands?

Most car rental companies do no allow their vehicles to be taken on ferries in Greece, especially from Crete. If you plan to do some Greek island hopping, you would be better off renting a different car on each island.

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Dave Briggs - Author of Greek Travel Guides To Milos, Andros, Tinos, and SchinoussaDave Briggs
Dave is a travel writer from the UK who's been living in and writing about Greece since 2015. As well as writing this travel guide on whether or not you need to rent a car in Rethymnon, he's also written hundreds of travel blog posts about Crete and other destinations in Greece. Follow Dave on social media for more Greece travel ideas:

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