The allure of freedom!Setting out to tour Greece by car, one has the opportunity to visit outstanding landscapes, to choose by oneself places to stop and in general to have charge of the trip. Greek roads crisscross the whole country, reaching even the most picturesque mountain village. One can hire a vehicle, a simple passenger car, a 4x4, or even a van. Companies renting vehicles offer many options at attractive prices. Ferry boats transport vehicles too so one can enjoy island routes safely and comfortably.
A road trip is an excellent way for the traveller to experience the beauty of Greece. The national road network runs across the entire country, forking onto countless, unique routes. If one so wishes, he may take part in organized trips in a private car, as automobile clubs, showing their love of nature and driving, organize such tours.
As one moves away from the large cities, a huge range of trips is there for the choosing. A tour of the Peloponnese is a particular favourite. The delightful Peloponnesian cities, endless beaches, mountain destinations, picturesque villages, luxuriant nature with rivers and immense forests, the great archaeological sites and Byzantine churches, are an idea attracting many fans. Getting to know Thrace and mystic Rodopi, touring Macedonia of the great kings, unravelling the secrets of Epirus, visiting Thessaly of the Gods and Centaurs, travelling through Central Greece and Evvoia where cultural traditions are untouched by time; all these experiences will leave the traveller with unforgettable memories, as will a trip by car to any of the countless Greek islands.
During the past few decades the transportation network of the country was modernised and impressively upgraded and, as a result, Greece today has an integrated transportation structure allowing for fast and safe travelling all over the country. Moreover, new projects are continuously being programmed, so that the infrastructures of the transportation grid of the country become more and more reliable. The operation of the Rio-Andirrio Bridge (connecting the western Peloponnese with western Central Greece), the longest cable-stayed suspension bridge in Europe, and of the motorway “Egnatia Odos” in Northern Greece are of great importance for the improvement of road transportation in Greece.
The main road axes and motorways in Greece are listed below:
- A1 Motorway mostly known as Athens- Thessaloniki- Evzonoi (A.TH.E.) motorway is the 2nd longest motorway in Greece with a length of 550 km. It is the principal north–south road connection, connecting the country's capital Athens with the regions of Thessaly and Macedonia, as well as the country's second largest city, Thessaloniki. It starts from Neo Faliro in Attica and continues north to reach the Evzonoi border station, on the Greek border with North Macedonia.
- A2 Motorway, known as Egnatia Odos, is the Greek part of European route E90. It extends from the western port of Igoumenitsa to the eastern Greek–Turkish border at Kipoi, connecting the towns of Igoumenitsa – Ioannina – Metsovo – Grevena – Kozani – Veroia – Thessaloniki – Kavala – Xanthi – Komotini – Alexandroupolis.
- A5 Motorway also known as Ionia Odos connects Ioannina city to Patras. It follows the western coastline of mainland Greece down to the Corinthian Gulf. At Rio, near Patras, it crosses the Gulf via the Rio–Antirrio bridge and connects with the A8 Motorway at an interchange near Patras. The future, currently under construction, Patras - Pyrgos motorway will be part of the A5 Motorway.
- A6 Motorway, mostly known as Attiki Odos, connects the Athens - Lamia National Road with the Athens - Κorinthοs National Road, by-passing the centre of Athens. Being a closed motorway, it has controlled access points and consists of two sections, which are perpendicular to one another: The Elefsina - Stavros - Spata A/P motorway (ESSM), extending along approximately 52 km, and the Imittos Western Peripheral Motorway (IWPM), extending along approximately 13 km.
- A7 Motorway, known as Moreas, is the Peloponnese Axis that begins in Korinthos (near Isthmia Bridge), passes by Tripolis, Megalopolis, and ends at Kalamata. Recently, the new branch from Lefktro to Sparta (A71) drastically reduced the travel time from Athens to the southernmost parts of the Greek mainland.
- A8 Motorway, known as Olympia Odos, stretches from Attica to the Pelopponese. It runs over the north coastline of the Peloponnese. Starting from Elefsina, Olympia Odos ends up to Rio near Patras where it connects to A5.
- A9 Motorway, known as North Road Axis of Crete (VOAK) is still under construction, apart from the bypasses in Heraklion, Rethymno and Chania. It is Greece's only motorway that is not on its mainland, but on the island of Crete.