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Car Travel in Turkey

Last Updated on February 4, 2024

Turkey is a huge country, and whether you drive your own car or rent/hire a car in Turkey, traveling on a road trip with a car gives you the freedom to go where and when you want, and car rentals are always here to support you through your journey. 

Also, although you will need an international driving permit, renting rental cars in Turkey is very easy, with uncomplicated paperwork and great service offered by many car hire companies in the country. So, many tourists will choose to rent a rental car for better flexibility to visit tourist attractions at their own pace, using their own itinerary in Turkey.

Should You Travel by a Car in Turkey?

Using your car to travel to a new country is great. However, it also has its own disadvantages: fuel is expensive, especially according to US standards, and sometimes having to drive when you'd rather take public transport is inconvenient. 

Another big concern is whether you will be able to drive in Turkey or not. If you're an experienced, confident driver who can drive on the right-hand side of the road (as in continental Europe and North America) and are willing to adapt to a foreign country's driving habits, such as different speed limits, traffic lights, and road signs, then you'll probably enjoy the freedom of driving in Turkey.

Here are Tom's Turkish Road Warrior Driving Tips: Heed and believe!

For tips on increasing your safety while traveling by road, see ASIRT, the Association for Safe International Road Travel.

Why Should You Travel by Car in Turkey?

A car is useful mostly for touring a specific region. Regions such as the Black Sea and Anatolia are vast, and major tourist attractions are scattered from each other compared to those in the Mediterranean, Marmara, and Aegean regions. As a result, it is difficult to navigate in these regions without a car and a reliable rental car company. Moreover, renting a rental car is a great way to save time, especially if you are short on time. However, for long-distance travel, public transport is usually more comfortable and cheaper. 

In other words, don't plan to drive from Istanbul to Cappadocia; fly or ride the bus to get there, then rent a rental car from a hire car rental company in Cappadocia to tour the region. Do the same if you're going to Antalya or any of the other resorts.

Here are translations of Turkish highway signs and auto-driving words.

Driving a Car in Turkey

When driving a car, Turkey might seem like a challenging country to drive abroad. However, it is very simple, and it is a very easy country to navigate. Navigation applications, such as Google Maps and Yandex Maps, work in Turkey, and to keep the roads in order, strict traffic laws (for example, every car must have a first aid kit at hand) and penalties are in effect. However, we should mention that Turkish drivers tend to be aggressive drivers who take great pride in their driving skills and sometimes do not follow speed limits or traffic lights that much. It is always recommended to keep your attention on the road while driving in Turkey and pay extra attention to speed limits, road signs, and traffic lights on their behalf.

Most driver's licenses (as long as you have a valid driver's license) are normally accepted in Turkey for up to 6 months. If in doubt, you can search for international driving permits in your home country and get an International Driving Permit through your local auto club, or if you’re from the USA, get an AAA for $20 per year. Read our pages on safe driving, documents and equipment, and car rental. If you plan to drive in Turkey for more than 6 months consecutively, you will need to look into converting your license to a Turkish driving license or attending driving school to get a local driver’s license. 

If you are driving your own car to Turkey, then you'll need a Green Card Insurance document and customs clearance from the Turkish Touring and Automobile Association. If you are driving a rental car, be sure to check their policies and inquire about the procedure for toll roads.

Here's more information on temporarily importing your car or motorbike to Turkey.

Other Expenses for Car Travel in Turkey

While renting a rental car, you may need to pay extra to the rental company for rental car insurance, although we recommend getting full insurance coverage. Also, Turkey uses a high-speed toll system, so every time you pass toll gates, you must pay toll fees for highway and bridge tolls in Turkey, generally through a toll transponder, and you cannot pay by cash or credit card. Moreover, when you hire a rental car, you may expect to face extra fees for a driver and dropping off the rental car in another location, as well as the need for car parks and additional parking fees that can come up as a result of day-to-day travel.

Fuel is another expense that comes up. Fuel stations in Turkey generally supply unleaded gasoline/petrol (kurşunsuz benzin) in several octane grades, as well as diesel (mazot) and ultra-low-sulfur diesel (eurodizel). Some stations also sell LNG (liquified natural gas). 

Rental cars can be convenient, but remember that there can also be extra fees. You can read more about the cost of a rental car in Turkey here.

Keep in mind that our agencies can help you find the best car rental companies in Turkey and help you with all our concerns! Remember to fill out the form below for customer offers.

Renting a Car in Turkey

Renting a rental car in Turkey is hassle-free with reputable car rental companies and top-quality service. Also, Turkey is a great place for rental car travel, with well-developed roads connecting each corner of the country. 

Make sure you have your documents ready, pay extra attention to your surroundings, follow the traffic rules, and you will be prepared to drive in Turkey. 

—by Tom Brosnahan, updated by Can Turan

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