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True fact about Opet. Had no idea it was owned by a woman. I have gone back and praised the gas station staff for the clean toilets.


Greetings from Turkey!
Here another fact comes:
You can try the restourants or small shop which the truck drivers use. Believe me, you won't be upset about foods.

Heidi Witzka

I'm longing for road tripping Turkey. Everybody is warning me, especially Turks, hahaha, but I was sure it is nonsense. I drove a car in Istanbul and LOVED it :)
Thanks so much for all these tips!

thyme (sarah)

Wonderful article about many questions that have been floating in my mind. We wondered if we would regret not getting out of Istanbul and heading into the countryside. I've avoided using the train system in Europe because I usually have one foot dragging outside of the car waiting to spring out on a whim. My husband loved the pace we took in the city...lots of long people watching tea/beer breaks for us. It was just wonderful. I hope there is a countryside rental car drive in our future!


Hi Sarah - I guess this post would be more for repeat visitors (or serial visitors) to Turkey. I think for a first visit, especially one less than 2 wks, Istanbul is where you should be. I'm still getting to know the city after so many long stays. So I think your decision to spend your time only in the city was spot-on.
If you decide to road-trip Turkey I think the Aegean area is a nice, gentle intro. You would love it and I'm happy to help with an itinerary if you ever decide to do it!


I would love to road trip through Turkey. A friend of mine did it a few years back and absolutely loved it. She reckon it changed her life! I would love to experience it for myself.


Great article! I just came back from Spain (Galecia) where I rented a car and I found that it was so much more enjoyable because I was able to go to small beautiful towns. I'm planning on going to Turkey in a couple months and was thinking of doing the same so I'm so glad I found your article.

I also submitted this awesomeness to www.beta.outbounding.org to share the love :)


"a lake somewhere between Kusadasi and Bodrum"
that lake should be "Bafa".really nice article.thanks


Spencer -- as Nike says: Just do it!

Thank you Belinda! I hope you did end up driving in Turkey.

Thanks Manas, for the heads up.

Netty Curry

Thank you for your tips. I live in Turkey (Aegean) and you have inspired me to take trips further afield in my car than I have done in the last few years. There is so many places that I want to visit, experience the culture and 'see' the beautiful surroundings. Whilst public transport, which I have used on many occasions fits the bill in many cases, I wanted to go to out-of-the-way places too, now perhaps I will if I drive there !!


Hello Netty, That's wonderful to know that we've inspired you to investigate Turkey further in your own wheels. Thanks so much for your comment. Robyn

Ted R. King

Thanks for the info on driving in Turkey.
Our daughter is getting married there in August, and although she has plans for us which will take us from Istanbul to Denizli to Gokova, I have left five days open for us to do a little exploring by car.
We plan on renting a car in Marmaris, then driving out to Datca, and exploring that peninsula.
Do you have any advice?


You're welcome Ted, and thanks for reading. I actually found the Bozburun peninsula to be much more beautiful and unspoiled, with some lovely little villages and quiet bays along the coast ... and forested (you will welcome trees and shade in hot August)... than the Datca peninsula. I only visited Datca town for its Saturday market but spent two nights on the Bozburun. I wrote about both here, and there is some lodging and restaurant info for Bozburun and market info for Datca. I can't recommend the restaurant/inn where we stayed on the Bozburun peninsula highly enough. In 16 years of travel in Turkey I'd rate our dinner there one of the best.


Both peninsulas are conveniently located to the Dalaman airport, if that's where you're leaving from. We started our trip in Gokova and worked our way up to Izmir from Bozburun and Datca.

My biggest advice would be -- reserve wherever you go. August is high season not only for foreign but for Turkish tourists as well, so book ahead for rooms AND meals (dinners, at least) whenever possible. The area will be very very busy. We were there in April and it was quiet.

If you've not been to Istanbul, I've some tips here:


and recommendations for dining here:


Good luck and I hope you enjoy your time in Turkey.

Teena Swinburne

Hi I'm planning on travelling on my own next year in summer for 8 weeks in Turkey. Have never been before and as I come from Australia I have never driven on the right hand side of the road. Is it advisable to rent a car or travel by public transport? I will be there to celebrate turning sixty but I am not daunted by too many things. Would this be a safer way to travel for a female travelling alone?


Hi Teena, thanks for reading. For a woman traveling alone I would suggest a combination of public transport (planes, trains, buses) and rental cars to get out from where you're based. I don't think it's necessarily *dangerous* for a woman to drive alone in Turkey, but the distances are vast, depending on where you are you may be 3 hours with nothing but tiny villages. If something happened on the road I'd rather be with a fellow traveller. So, public transport from town to town or city to city, and then once you're there rent a car and drive around outside. This is easily done from Turkish rental agents in town. All but the tiniest towns will have at least one. Van is a perfect example ... base yourself in the city and but rent a car and go out beyond, around the lake, into the countryside, to visit old Armenian churches, villages etc -- places that would be difficult to get to unless you hired a taxi.
Another reason to get way out there -- quiet roads, if you're nervous about driving on the right. You can get used to it. We drive on the left here in Penang, on the right in Turkey and the US. I'm always a little confused the first few days and have to remind myself at every cross section which lane I should be turning into but you can get used to it. Not advisable with jetlag.
A note .... don't know when you're going but Ramadan is not a good time to travel beyond Istanbul/the well-trodden Aegean/Mediterranean coast. And in much of eastern Turkey's more beautiful/interesting areas summer is bloody hot and days are long (sunrise at 430am), which means getting out early to beat the heat doesn't do you any good bec nothing is open. My favourite months for travel in eastern Turkey are April/May/June and late August-Oct. Istanbul is great any time.
Happy travel planning.

leftcoaster -- I'll get back to you.



Thanks a lot for the wonderful tips. I'm planning a road trip in Turkey in the Agean area and I was wondering, do I need to rent a SUV or crossover car or just a regular Sedan car will fit the job.

Also how can I manage the ticket for the sights reservation as I can't find any info online.

I was planning on visiting a park in Mount Ida called Kazdagi Milli Parki. Is it worth it and can I head to nearby hotel and ask for a tour guide.


man and van

don't know when you're going but Ramadan is not a good time to travel beyond Istanbul/the well-trodden Aegean/Mediterranean coast. And in much of eastern Turkey's more beautiful/interesting areas summer is bloody hot and days are long (sunrise at 430am), which means getting out early to beat the heat doesn't do you any good bec nothing is open. My favourite months for travel in eastern Turkey are April/May/June and late August-Oct. Istanbul is great any time.
Happy travel planning


man and van - thanks for your comments. I'd most advise against traveling during Kurban Bayram when absolutely nothing is open, all day. Ramadan is doable and the atmosphere at night is quite festive in most places. You just need to stock food to feed yourself during the daytime.
I would definitely avoid the SE during the summer. Van, Kars and the Black Sea can be pleasant. It varies year to year, and the region has seen warmer summers in the last 5 years.
Winter can be great as well. We're enjoying snow in Kars (Ani is beautiful) and in Van on this trip. Roads are well plowed so getting about is not a problem.
Thanks for reading


Thank you for spending so much time and detail on driving in Turkey. I drove in a van with friends back in the 70's and now wanting to do again this year May 2015 but am alone, would love to have company but these tips have given me so much more confidence and I am a crazy road tripper and and done road trips all over the world by myself - why not Turkey. Thanks again it was fabulous to read and got me excited.
Thank so very much



My husband and I are considering doing a 3 day road trip from cappadocia to instanbul this august.

Do you have any recommendations about what the best route to take would be and what towns we should visit along the way.




Hi Suzanne -- I don't know the roads west of Cappadocia before you hit the Aegean. Google maps calls it a 6-hour drive with no traffic, which you're bound to hit as you approach Istanbul. If you wanted to sprint for the Aegean coast on your first day you could perhaps hit Aphrodisias, a beautiful and as-yet untouched site with an amazing Roman stadium before heading to Ayvalik and up the coast from there.
That's a lot of driving for 3 days though, and some time wasted in traffic getting into Istanbul.
I'd recommend you consider driving south to Adana and Antakya instead. Drop your car at Hatay (Antakya) airport and take a 1.5-hour flight to Istanbul instead of sitting in traffic on its outskirts. Antakya (formerly Antioch) has amazing food, is very open to outsiders and will show you a side of Turkey completely different to Cappadocia and Istanbul.
Sorry not to be able to be more help on your Istanbul route.
Happy travels.


Turkish people are always in a hurry and especially in Istanbul they became sick from the horrible traffic jam. Because of that they don't care about you and the rules. They're always trying to drive faster to go where they want.



My family is planning to drive from cappadocia to izmir (and make few stops along the way) in March. We are going to rent a car and pick up and drop off at airports as you suggested (thanks for the tips!). Should we make a reservation on line (through Argus Car Hire in advance) or could we find their office at the airport?

Many thanks,


Hi Sharon, argus is not a car rental company but a booking site. So you have to book through. Them in advance. There will be a fairly large drop fee to leave the car in Izmir but give it a try. Their rates are very competitive esp right now as tourism is down in Turkey. We have an Argus car right now for 11 days, insurance included at about $14 a day. Good luck.


Hi Robyn, thank you for your wonderful blog. May wife and I planned to make a roadtrip through eastern Turkey starting from Ankara(Ankara-Amasya-Trabzon-Dogubeyazit-Van-Diyarbakir-Gaziantep-Adana-Konya-Ankara). Unfortunately we will have to postpone to next year so I intent to start planning already. However, I will have to be up to date to safety issues as we will be approaching Syrian border but as I could read so far there are no problems on Turkish side. When the time comes I might contact you again about cheapest options for car rental as we were thinking of approx. 20 day trip. I guess our advantage for the start is that my wife speaks Turkish which she learned in higlschool in Bosnia. Thanks once again, all the best!

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