Parking can be problematic in any large city in Greece. Like anywhere else in Europe, you can easily park your car free of charge on the outskirts of large cities and in small towns or villages. The closer to the city centre, the more likely it is that you’ll need to pay for parking.
The parking rules in Athens are slightly different from those used in other Greek cities.
Parking spaces are designated with “P” signs and divided into zones marked with colour marking on the asphalt:
Parking rates can vary significantly between the cities in Greece, so don’t be surprised. Parking prices range from €3.5 per hour in Thessaloniki to free of charge in Crete. On the island of Rhodes, you will find paid car parks (€1.5-3 per hour) only in the town of Rhodes and in the village of Lindos, and you can park for free anywhere else on the island.
Many parking facilities do not charge for parking at night and on holidays. Free parking periods will be displayed in the panel below the sign.
Unlike the rest of the country, “white” parking spaces are metered in Athens. You can park free of charge in a white zone:
There's a free parking lot near Katechaki (Κατεχάκη) metro station. Parking areas near Ethniki Amyna (Εθνική Άμυνα) and Doukissis Plakentias (Δουκίσσης Πλακεντίας) metro stations used to be free, but now they are metered.
You can park free of charge on the side of the streets and near residential buildings in the suburbs.
There are surface parking lots, underground parking garages, and incentive parking facilities (Park & Ride).
It can be a specially equipped car park or a parking space on the side of the road. All of them are metered. The parking time limit is 3 hours.
Parking facilities are marked on the ground as follows:
You can pay for parking only with a special ticket that can be bought at newsagents, shops, and cafes.
To pay for parking, insert the ticket into the nearest parking meter, enter your parking period, and press OK. The meter will give you a receipt. You have to place your receipt on the dashboard so that the police can see it well.
Parking rates vary from place to place in the capital city of Greece. Average prices:
There are many underground parking garages in Athens. They have multiple floors densely packed with vehicles. You can find multi-storey car parks near famous landmarks, large shopping centres, and markets, i.e. where they are most needed. There's a large and affordable parking garage near every seaport.
They do not use toll gates but have a parking attendant who knows on which floor there are vacant parking spots. All levels are numbered to avoid confusion. Drive to the necessary floor and park your vehicle.
How to pay for parking. At a multilevel parking garage, you pay for the time you use. Use the payment terminal that accepts paper money and gives the change, so you don’t need to look for coins. If something is not clear, ask the parking attendant.
Multi-storey parking rates are highly dependent on the location. The average fee is €25 per day.
Park and rides are generally located in the suburbs of metropolitan areas near metro stations, e.g. SYNGROU-FIX Station, NOMISMATOKOPIO Station, HALANDRI Station.
These are guarded parking lots where you can leave your car for the whole day without worrying about it.
Park and rides will cost you only €10-15 per day.
The Hellenic Police can only tuck a €40-80 penalty charge notice (PCN) under the windshield wiper of your car for illegal parking. But they are empowered to remove your license plates if your parking session has expired or your vehicle obstructs the traffic or causes other problems.
Tickets can be paid at any bank branch or post office from 7:00am till 2:00pm. In particular, at the office in Diliyani Street (Karaiskaki metro station) in Athens.
If you pay the fine within 10 days, you can get a 50% discount.
If you don’t pay the fine, the PCN will be sent to the rent-a-car company and withdrawn from your card or deducted from your deposit amount. Your car hire company will also charge you the “service” fee.
If you have already departed from Greece by that time, you can be blacklisted as an untrustworthy tourist and offender who tries to evade responsibility. You had better pay the fine to get a visa without problems next time.
If it happens with your hire car, you will find a PCN with the phone number. Use it to contact an officer who speaks English.
If you only violated the parking rules, it will cost you only 50% of the parking fine. Go to the police department with your PCN to get your license plates back. You will need to install them on the vehicle yourself.