Turkey is a modern country with a developed public transportation system so if you are visiting for a short period of time and planning to stay in the city or in the resort, driving isn’t always necessary. If, however , you want to do some exploring on your own and plan to see rural Turkey, then driving is the best option as it will give you the freedom to explore on your own.
Driving in Turkey is not too different than driving in (some) other European countries. Still, there are some important things to consider. The minimum age requirement to rent a car in Turkey is 21 (but it does depend on the car rental company) with at least 1 year of valid national or international driving license. The foreign drivers don’t need a translation of their national driving license. Full vehicle insurance is part of the rental price.
Prices and Cars
Before looking up prices, you need to figure out what car you want to hire. If you plan to venture on less-maintained roads, the best choice is a 4×4 SUV. Otherwise, you can rent a compact, economical car.
Prices vary a lot depending on the car rental company, location and time of the year. You can choose between international car rental companies and local ones. Compact cars start at €30 per day , but during the high season (June to September), the rates start at €45 per day. Weekly rates are cheaper than daily rates, so make your plans wisely.
You can rent a car online but pay at the arrival. This won’t affect the price. However, if you choose to rent when you arrive, directly at the airport, prices are higher. So, your best bet is to use the public transportation to get to the city center and then rent a car.
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Some of the car rental companies in Turkey include:
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Driving in Turkey
The main highways (such as the road between Ankara and Istanbul) are excellent, although you won’t see more than two lanes. The main roads are usually larger than the rural roads, but overtaking can be challenging and sometimes, dangerous. Driving on less-maintained roads means you’ll have to consider renting a 4×4 vehicle, but you are rewarded with spectacular views.
Within the town and city limits, the driving speed is 50 km/h. On all roads outside the city (and on main carriageways) the speed limit is 90 km/h, while on the highways the speed limit is 120 km/h. Driving out of the speed limit is normal and is not unusual to see locals driving as fast as they can. Road signs are in standard English. However, signposting for the road isn’t usually very good so take care and use a map.
Driving is on the right, but don’t be surprised to see other wanting to overtake you…on the right. Drivers tend to pull off suddenly, without indicating their intention. It happens in towns and cities, but it can (and will) happen on the main roads, as well. Changing lanes without warning is another problem. Taxis and mini buses are notorious for this practice.
On rural roads, expect to find slow moving vehicles without lights at night. And expect to see animals walking casually on the road or , of course, crossing it.
Driving defensively is the best option while in Turkey.