Driving to Greece through the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is possible but often time-consuming owing to many border problems. The Athens–Thessaloniki section of the Ethnikos Odos (National Road), the best in Greece, is 500 km (310 miles); the drive takes 5 to 7 hours. The roads in general are well maintained and constantly being improved and widened throughout the region. A good four-lane highway that begins in Athens goes to the border with Turkey. Posted speed limits are up to 120 kph (75 mph). When there’s traffic, vehicles regularly use the shoulder as an extra lane, even though this is illegal. Driving in Thessaloniki is not recommended because of the congestion, frequent traffic jams, and scarcity of parking. Walking and taking a local bus or taxi are much easier on the nerves.
Having a car to get out of town and explore the smaller villages is helpful. Major car-rental agencies have offices at the Thessaloniki airport (some also have in-town locations). Aeolos is a good location option.
Aeolos. Agelaki 23, Kentro, Thessaloniki, Central Macedonia, 54621. 2312/201888; www.aeoloscarrentals.com.