Roads and Driving, Santorini Island
About 4,000 people a year, die, as a result of Quad, Motor Bikes and Cycles in Greece every single year. On Santorini alone, at least 20 tourist a season are killed on the roads.
In Greece it is law, that you must have a motor cycle licence to ride scooters or motor bikes, it is also the law in the UK, but................for some reason, I think it must be for money, tourist do not need a licence, so they can take off on these bikes, without any training, or even safety helmets.
I find this unbelievable, so be warned and please take care.3
EVERYWHERE in Santorini there are young (and not so young) people clogging up the roads on monkey bikes and quads. The speed of the traffic tends to be dictated by them, and if you hire a car, be prepared to wait or get used to overtaking them a lot.
To be honest, most of the reviews describing the roads of Santorini as dangerous are not entirely accurate. Given that you will be hard pressed to get over 40mph even on good days, the notion that Greek drivers are tearing round the island like lunatics is just not true. Sure, there are a handful of nutters there, but the best thing to do with them is simply let them pass. The moped riders do tend to overtake on the outside or inside, depending where there is more room, but any competent driver who can drive defensively, knows that that's what the mirrors are for! Keep your wits about you, don't be intimidated, and you will find Santorini a great place to drive. The UK is much worse in most respects.
Narrow roads? - look ahead and be prepared to stop if something big appears. It's not brain surgery, just common sense. Enjoy the island and stay safe.
Greek drivers are quite careful when driving, however because there are many tourists who come and rent a car or motor bikes and either because they don't know the roads well, or because they are used to driving on the opposite side of the road, they can easily cause an accident.
Use your horn at intersections and if you are walking, walk on the LEFT side of the road.
Some tourists rent a scooter even though they are ignorant of driving. Have in mind that Greeks drive on the right side!
I have just returned from Santorini. I must say I have never experienced in my life that kind of dangerous driving. Roads there are so narrow and it is very easy to have an accidents. Greek drivers do not care at all about driving. The seatbelts in the rented cars are not working, the child seats are usually very poor quality. We got the old car (which we have rented in England from National) with a very poor quality of carseat for our 2years old child. As I notized, children on Santorini do not use car seat, they just standing behind the driver or even more dangerous in the middle of the car. Buses are driving in the middle of the road so you need to really be careful to avoid being hit. So please be careful!
Santorini has VERY narrow roads because they used to be donkey paths inside traditional villages. Even after the 1956 earthquake, they just rebuilt houses in the same place. Cars, lorries, bicycles, motorcycles, quad bikes, motor scooters and YOU the pedestrian all try and occupy the same small place at the same time. Generally the locals are careful around motor scooters. Its complete IDIOT tourists who hire cars (why) or scooters when they have never driven one or usually drive on the other side of the road (its right in Greece!). Twice I had to skid to a halt as some one on a scooter shot out of a side road and even on the wrong side of the road. I ripped one of my shoes in one stop (pictured). Use you horn at intersections and if you are walking, walk on the LEFT side of the road so you can see these morons!
Let’s be careful out there!
They don't ask nor do they tell you when you rent a car or motor bike that you need a international drivers license. If you get caught or in a accident you will get a ticket and any insurance that you took will be concidered void. You can get the license from AAA or other drivering orgs..
As we caught our taxi from the airport, we noticed a sign that read, "I love life, I drive safe". Once we were on the road for a couple minutes we knew the reason for the sign. All roads are very narrow and wind throughout the cliffs of the island. My advice would be to just focus on the incredible views and not the roads or how crazy your cabbie is driving. Also be careful if you are walking on the side of the road as cars come around corners rather quickly.
There are hardly any pavements in Perissa - mopeds and four-wheelers are very popular amongst locals and tourists - and they are quite fast and seem to have very little road sense. So keep your eyes and ears open when walking along the main roads that you don't get knocked over!
JUst be carefel when you are renting scooters because the drivers pay little attention to scooters. The owner of the place told us that if you have never driven a scooter than this is not the place to start. There are also lots of accidents involveing people on scooters. My friend had her own" accident" up a windy and steep hill. She was fine though.
Stay away from the gas station on the way from fira to oia (there is onl one) - the guy has a manipulated meter and rips tourists off by pretending to have tanked much more than the actual liters.
My scooter's tank volume actually tripled all of a sudden & there was no time to call the police because we had to leave.
The roads on Santorini are very narrow and winding, and many of them cling to steep cliffsides. Lots of buses whisk people around the island, and they take up a lot of space. In addition, it can get quite windy on the island sometimes. This all adds up to a potential recipe for disaster if you try getting around on a scooter. We rented one on our first day and promptly returned it after realizing how dangerous it was. I'm very, very glad we just took buses and the occasional taxi to get around.
The road that leaeds from Oia to Fira, has been named the most trecherous road in the Cyclades. It is a beautiful stretch of road, but it twists and turns, and is extremely narrow, and no guard rail at most points. You really have to keep your eyes on the road, not the views. Just a tip.
The roads in Santorini are narrow and the greeks drives laid back at high speeds. For example the road from Fira to Oia is not only narrow, even so sinuous and perched from the mountain. Be careful.