How to Rent a Car in Turkey: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Rent a Car in Turkey: A Comprehensive Guide

Turkey Car Rental Guide

lexus_suv_driving_on_coastal_road
WRITTEN BY
Maricor Bunal
PUBLISHED ONSeptember 6, 2023
Enchanting Castle Amidst Autumn Foliage
Source: Photo by Yiğit Ali Atasoy on Unsplash

Planning a trip to Turkey and considering renting a car for the journey? You’re in the right place. This guide will provide all the information about renting a car in Turkey, from understanding the requirements to choosing the right rental company, and even tips for driving on Turkish roads.

Let this be one of your best travel resources in this idyllic country.

Key Takeaways

  • Turkey drives on the right side of the road.
  • Requirements for renting a car include being at least 21 years old, having a valid driver’s license, and having a credit card for payment and deposit transactions.
  • Public transportation is available, but car renting provides more freedom and flexibility.
  • Popular drive-able tourist spots include Istanbul, Cappadocia, and the Aegean Coast.
  • Road signs in Turkey are also in English and can be identified by their distinctive shapes and colors.

What side of the road do you drive in Turkey?

Open Highway Through Arid Landscape
Source: Photo by Victoria Rokita on Unsplash

In Turkey, vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road, similar to many countries worldwide, including the United States and most European nations.

This is an important detail to remember, especially for tourists from countries where driving is on the left side, such as the United Kingdom or Australia.

When driving in Turkey, the driver’s seat and controls are on the vehicle’s left side, and traffic signs and signals are designed for right-side driving.

If turning at an intersection, you should give way to traffic from your left. Also, the leftmost lane is typically reserved for overtaking slower vehicles on highways and other multi-lane roads.

If you’re not accustomed to driving on the right, adjusting may tatke a little time. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the vehicle and the road rules before taking a long journey. Safety should always be your top priority when driving in a foreign country.

For more information on which countries drive on the left or the right, you can refer to this article.

What are the requirements to drive in Turkey as a tourist?

IDA Driver Checking IDP Inside The Car

To drive in Turkey as a tourist, you need to meet several requirements:

  • Driving age: You must be at least 21 to rent a car in Turkey.
  • Driver’s License: A valid driver’s license is required. If your license is not in the Latin alphabet, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is necessary.
  • Credit Card: A credit card in your name is required for payment and deposit transactions. You may ask your credit card company if your credit cards will be supported in Turkey.

Where can I rent a car in Turkey?

When choosing a car rental company in Turkey, there are several factors to consider, including the availability of online reservations, English-language staff and assistance, specific requirements, the types of cars offered, and the company’s accessibility. Here’s a detailed look at five popular car rental companies in Turkey:

Enterprise Rent a Car: Enterprise is a well-known international company that offers a wide range of vehicles. They provide online reservations and English-language assistance and have locations at most major airports and cities in Turkey.

Rent Cars Turkey: Rent Cars Turkey is a local company specializing in car rentals in Turkey. They offer online reservations and English-language assistance. Their requirements are similar to those of international companies, and they offer a variety of car types.

Europcar: Europcar is another international company with a strong presence in Turkey. They offer online reservations, English-language assistance, and various vehicles. Europcar has locations in major cities and airports.

Hertz: Hertz is a global car rental company that offers online reservations and English-language assistance. They have a wide variety of vehicles to choose from and have locations in major cities and airports across Turkey.

Avis: Avis is an international car rental company in many Turkish cities and airports. They offer online reservations, English-language assistance, and a variety of vehicles.

Car Rental Comparison Table in Turkey
CompanyOnline ReservationsEnglish-Language AssistanceRequirementsCar TypesAccessibility
Enterprise Rent a CarYesYesStandardWide RangeMajor cities and airports
Rent Cars TurkeyYesYesStandardVarietyMajor cities and airports
EuropcarYesYesStandardWide RangeMajor cities and airports
HertzYesYesStandardWide RangeMajor cities and airports
AvisYesYesStandardWide RangeMajor cities and airports

Of course, there are other rental car companies in Turkey, but these are the top ones. If you have questions about having an additional driver or rental car insurance to avoid stressful driving, please ask your preferred rental car company.

Compare Rates and Availability

It’s recommended to compare rates and availability from different rental companies to get the best deal. You can do this online through various comparison websites.

This will allow you to choose the best deals and make those available, even weeks in advance. It is recommended to reserve your rental car online at least 4-6 weeks in advance for a more comfortable driving experience.

Selecting The Right Car

When selecting a car to rent in Turkey, one of the decisions you’ll need to make is choosing a manual or an automatic vehicle. Both types have their advantages and may be more suitable depending on your driving skills and the situations you expect to encounter.

Automatic Cars: Automatic cars are generally easier to drive, especially for those unfamiliar with manual transmission. They can be particularly convenient in heavy traffic, which is common in Turkish cities like Istanbul, as you won’t need to operate the clutch constantly.

Automatic cars can also be beneficial if you plan to drive in hilly areas, as they handle inclines and decline smoothly without requiring gear changes. However, automatic cars are typically more expensive to rent than manual cars.

Manual Cars: Manual cars, on the other hand, offer more control over the vehicle, which some drivers prefer. They are usually cheaper to rent, which can be a significant advantage for budget-conscious travelers.

However, manual driving requires more skill, especially in heavy traffic or steep hills. A manual car could be a good choice if you’re comfortable using a clutch and changing gears and want to save on rental costs.

Ultimately, the choice between manual and automatic depends on your preference, comfort level, and budget. Choosing a car you feel confident driving is important, as this will help ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.

Steps to Reserve a Car

1. Choose a rental company: Research and select a car rental company that suits your needs and preferences. Consider factors like the company’s reputation, the types of
cars they offer, their prices, and their customer service.

2. Select your pick-up and drop-off locations and dates: Determine where and when you’ll pick up and return the car. Most companies offer pick-up and drop-off at major airports and city locations. Be aware that picking up and dropping off at different locations may incur additional fees.

3. Choose your car: Select a car that suits your needs. Consider the size of the car, the type of transmission (manual or automatic), and fuel efficiency. You might need a larger car if traveling with a lot of luggage or a group. An automatic car might be more convenient if you’re planning to drive in cities with heavy traffic.

4. Provide the necessary information and documents: You’ll need to provide your personal information, including your name, contact details, and driver’s license information. Some companies may require additional documents, such as an International Driving Permit (IDP) or a credit card, for payment and deposit transactions.

5. Pay for the reservation: Once you’ve chosen your car and provided all the necessary
information, you’ll need to pay. This is typically done online using a credit card. Be sure to read and understand the rental agreement before making the payment.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to book your rental car in advance, especially during peak travel seasons or if you have specific requirements for your vehicle.

This will help ensure you get the car you want and save money, as last-minute rentals can be more expensive.

What are the requirements for a car rental?

In addition to the general requirements for driving in Turkey, car rental companies may have additional requirements. For example, some companies may require an international driver’s license or a return flight ticket.

An International Driver’s Permit is needed if your name is not in the Latin alphabet. For example, if you’re a Korean citizen or a Thai citizen, you need to get an IDP for you to drive to Turkey. You don’t need entry stamps or anything for this one.

Pick-up and Drop-off Location

Most car rental companies offer pick-up and drop-off services at airports, city centers, and sometimes even at hotels. Here’s what you can expect at some of Turkey’s major international airports:

Istanbul Airport (IST): As the main international gateway to Turkey, Istanbul Airport hosts numerous car rental companies. You can find their desks in the arrivals hall. Companies operating here include Enterprise, Hertz, Avis, Europcar, and local Turkish rental companies.

Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW): Located on the Asian side of Istanbul, this airport also has a variety of car rental companies available. Their desks are in the arrivals hall, making it easy to pick up your car upon arrival.

Ankara Esenboğa Airport (ESB): In Turkey’s capital, Ankara, you can find several car rental companies at Esenboğa Airport. Their desks are located in the arrivals hall.

Antalya Airport (AYT): If you’re flying into the popular tourist destination of Antalya, you’ll find car rental companies in the airport’s arrivals hall. This includes both international and local companies.

Dalaman Airport (DLM): In southwestern Turkey, Dalaman Airport serves many tourists heading to the Aegean coast. Car rental companies are available in the arrivals hall.

Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB): In Izmir, another popular tourist destination, you can find car rental companies in the arrivals hall of Adnan Menderes Airport.

Remember, picking up and dropping off your rental car at the same location is usually more convenient. However, if your travel plans require otherwise, most companies offer the option to drop off at a different location, though this may incur an additional fee. Always check with the rental company about their specific policies.

Tips for Getting the Best Deals on Car Rental in Turkey

Book in Advance

Car rental rates are often cheaper when you book in advance. This is especially true during peak travel seasons when demand is high. By booking ahead, you can secure a better rate and ensure the car you want is available. The ideal time for booking is at least 4-6 weeks before your flight to Turkey.

Compare Prices

Use online comparison tools like RentalCars.com to compare prices from car rental companies. This can help you find the best deal for your needs.

Choose the Right Car

SUV on Desert Road with Rock Formations
Source: Photo by Sven D on Unsplash

The type of car you choose can significantly impact the cost of your rental. Here are some factors to consider:

1. Size: If you’re traveling solo or as a couple and don’t have much luggage, a compact
or economy car can be a cost-effective choice.

These smaller cars are typically the cheapest to rent and more fuel-efficient, saving you money on gas. However, if you’re traveling with a family or a group or have a lot of luggage, you might need a larger car, an SUV, or even a minivan.

While these larger vehicles are more expensive to rent and use more fuel, the cost can be shared among more people.

2. Transmission: Manual cars are usually cheaper to rent than automatic cars. If you’re comfortable driving a manual transmission, this can be a good way to save money.

However, driving a manual car in heavy traffic or steep hills can be more challenging. If you’re not confident driving a manual car, or if comfort and convenience are your top priorities, it might be worth paying more for an automatic.

3. Fuel Efficiency: Cars with good fuel efficiency can save you money on gas, especially
if you’re planning to drive a lot. When choosing a car, check its fuel efficiency
rating. Compact and economy cars are usually the most fuel-efficient, but there are
also larger cars and even SUVs that offer good fuel efficiency.

4. Brand and Model: Luxury cars and premium models are more expensive to rent than
basic models. If you’re on a budget, stick to the standard or economy models. They
offer all the basic comfort you need at a lower price.

Check for Inclusions

The inclusions in your rental agreement can significantly impact the overall cost of renting a car in Turkey. Here are some common inclusions:

  • Insurance: Many Turkish car rental companies include insurance coverage in their rental rates. This usually includes Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection. However, this coverage often comes with a high deductible. Some companies offer additional insurance options for purchase at the rental desk, which can reduce or eliminate the deductible.
  • Unlimited Mileage: Some rental companies offer unlimited mileage, which means you can drive as much as you want without incurring extra charges. This can be a great benefit if you’re planning to drive a lot. However, some companies may have a mileage limit, and you’ll have to pay extra if you exceed it.
  • Taxes and Fees: The rental rate usually includes all mandatory taxes and fees. This can include Value Added Tax (VAT), airport surcharges, and local taxes. However, optional extras like GPS, child seats, additional drivers, and one-way fees are usually not included and will cost extra.
  • Roadside Assistance: Some companies include roadside assistance in their rental rates. This service can be very helpful in case of a breakdown or other car trouble.
  • Additional Driver: Some companies allow you to add a driver to the rental agreement at no extra cost. However, other companies may charge a fee for additional drivers.

Always read the rental agreement carefully to understand what’s included in the rate and what’s not. If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to ask the rental company for clarification.

Avoid Airport Pick-ups if Possible

While picking up a car at the airport is convenient, it can also be more expensive due to airport surcharges.

For example, if you’re flying into Istanbul Airport, you might find that car rental prices are higher there compared to locations in the city center. This is because rental companies often charge an airport surcharge to cover the cost of operating at the airport.

If possible, consider renting from a location in the city to avoid these extra charges. Many companies offer free shuttles from the airport to their nearby locations, so you can still avoid the hassle of public transportation or expensive taxis. However, the cost and time of getting to the city location should be considered when comparing prices.

Check Fuel Policies

Some rental companies provide a full fuel tank and expect you to return the car with a full tank. Others operate a ‘full to empty’ policy, where you pay for a full tank of fuel when you pick up the car and can return it empty on day trips. The latter can be more expensive, so always check the fuel policy.

Consider the Insurance

While opting for the cheapest insurance option can be tempting, consider its coverage. Basic insurance usually covers damage to the rental car and theft, but it often comes with a high deductible, which you must pay out of pocket before the insurance kicks in.

For example, if the deductible is $1,000 and you have an accident that causes $2,000 worth of damage to the car, you would have to pay the first $1,000 yourself.

Some rental companies offer additional insurance options that reduce or eliminate the deductible. These options include Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW), personal accident insurance, and coverage for personal belongings.

While these additional options increase the rental cost, they can provide peace of mind and save money if something goes wrong. It’s also worth checking whether your travel insurance or credit card company offers coverage for rental cars.

Check for Discounts

Some rental companies offer discounts for various reasons. For instance, you might get a discount if you’re a member of certain organizations, like AAA or AARP. Military personnel and veterans often qualify for discounts as well.

Some companies offer discounts for booking online, booking well in advance, or renting for a week or more. Others might have special promotions or last-minute deals.

Avoid Extra Fees

Be aware of potential extra fees, such as late return, additional driver, and young driver fees. Try to avoid these if possible to keep costs down.

Remember, the cheapest deal isn’t always the best. It’s important to consider what you’re getting for your money and what you need for a comfortable and stress-free trip.

How much is gas per liter in Turkey

As of 2024, the average gas price in Turkey is around 36.95 Turkish Lira per liter. Prices can vary depending on the region and the type of fuel (diesel, unleaded, etc.).

Two main fuel types are available at Turkish gas stations: unleaded petrol (benzin) and diesel. LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) is also available at some stations. Diesel is usually cheaper than unleaded petrol and is more fuel-efficient, making it a popular choice for many drivers.

What category of vehicle can I drive when I have an IDP?

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a document that validates your driver’s license internationally. It’s used in conjunction with your home country’s driver’s license and allows you to drive in foreign countries without further tests or applications.

The IDP categorizes vehicles into different classes, and the categories you’re permitted to drive will be listed on your IDP. These categories are generally based on the type of vehicle and its size. Here are some common categories:

  • Category A: Motorcycles and mopeds
  • Category B: Cars and other vehicles with a maximum weight of 3,500 kg and no more than 8 passenger seats. This category also includes motor tricycles and quadricycles.
  • Category C: Vehicles over 3,500 kg (with a trailer up to 750 kg).
  • Category D: Vehicles designed for transporting passengers and having more than 8 seats (excluding the driver’s seat).
  • Category E: Combination of the other categories with a trailer.

In Turkey, as long as you have an IDP and a valid driver’s license from your home country, you can drive the same categories of vehicles as you can in your home country. For example, if your driver’s license and IDP allow you to drive Category B vehicles, you can rent and drive a car in Turkey.

Remember, it’s important to check the specific requirements of the car rental company, as some may have additional restrictions or requirements, especially for larger vehicles or luxury cars.

How good are Turkey’s roads?

Turkey’s roads are generally in good condition, with a network of highways connecting major cities. However, roads in rural areas may be less maintained. Google Maps is a reliable resource for navigation.

What are the most common road traffic accidents in Turkey?

Turkey’s most common traffic accidents involve speeding and not keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Turkish drivers are known for their assertive driving style, so driving defensively is important.

How to identify road signs

Road signs in Turkey are in Turkish and English and follow international standards. For example, a red circle with a white rectangle means “no entry,” while a blue circle with a white arrow indicates the direction of permitted travel.

What are the road rules and traffic regulations in Turkey

When driving in Turkey, knowing the local road rules and traffic regulations is important. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

1. Drive on the Right: In Turkey, you drive on the right-hand side of the road, and the steering wheel is on the left-hand side of the vehicle.

2. Speed Limits: The general speed limits in Turkey are 50 km/h in urban areas, 90 km/h outside urban areas, and 120 km/h on motorways. However, always check for local signs, as speed limits can vary.

3. Seat Belts: Seat belts are mandatory for all passengers in the vehicle, both in the front
and back seats.

4. Alcohol Limit: The legal blood alcohol limit in Turkey is 0.05%. However, the limit is zero for new drivers with less than five years of experience. It’s always best to avoid drinking alcohol if you plan to drive.

5. Children in Cars: Children under 12 cannot travel in the front seat. Children must use an appropriate child restraint system until they are 150 cm tall.

6. Mobile Phones: Using a handheld mobile phone while driving in Turkey is illegal. If you need to use your phone, use a hands-free system.

7. Traffic Lights: Turkey uses the international traffic lights system (red for stop, green go, and yellow for caution). At some junctions, there’s a flashing green light before the yellow light, indicating the signal is about to change to red.

8. Roundabouts: At roundabouts, vehicles inside the roundabout have the right of way.

9. Tolls: Some motorways and bridges in Turkey require a toll payment. Most of these now use an automatic toll payment system called HGS (High-Speed Toll System). You’ll need an HGS sticker or transponder to use these roads.

10. Emergency Vehicles: Always give way to emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars. If you hear a siren or see flashing lights, move to the side of the road as soon as it’s safe.

Remember, these are general rules and regulations. Always pay attention to local signs and signals, and adjust your driving to the current road conditions. If you’re unsure about a rule, it’s best to err on caution.

How to manage road emergencies

In a road emergency, you can call 112 for general emergency services. Some car rental companies also offer roadside assistance. You can also go to gas stations or convenience stores for help.

What is the parking system of Turkey?

Free parking is scarce in Turkey, so you’ll likely have to pay for street parking or an hourly parking spot in a multi-story car park. Parking fees vary, but you should expect to spend an average of roughly 10 Turkish Lira per hour.

As a tourist, where can you drive in Turkey?

Turkey offers many beautiful destinations that are perfect for road trips. Some popular drive-able tourist spots include Istanbul, Cappadocia, the Aegean Coast, and the Black Sea region. Each of these places offers unique attractions and stunning landscapes.

Table: Road Safety By City
CityRoad SafetyAccessibilityTemperatureRequirements
IstanbulThe roads are generally in good condition, but traffic can be heavy, especially during rush hour. Drivers can be aggressive.Yes, but some historical areas are pedestrian-only.Mild winters and hot, humid summers.Valid driver's license, IDP if necessary, minimum age of 21, and at least one year of driving experience.
AnkaraThe roads are in good condition. Traffic can be heavy in the city center.Yes, but parking can be difficult in the city center.Cold, snowy winters and hot, dry summers.Valid driver's license, IDP if necessary, minimum age of 21, at least one year of driving experience.
IzmirThe roads are in good condition. Traffic is generally less congested than in Istanbul or Ankara.Yes, but some areas of the city can be crowded and difficult to navigate by car.Mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers.Valid driver's license, IDP if necessary, minimum age of 21, at least one year of driving experience.
AntalyaThe roads are in good condition. Traffic is generally manageable but can be busier during the tourist season.Yes, but some tourist sites may be located in pedestrian-only areas.Mild, rainy winters and hot, humid summers.Valid driver's license, IDP if necessary, minimum age of 21, and at least one year of driving experience.

Conclusion

Renting a car in Turkey can be a great way to explore the entire country at your own pace. With this guide, you’re now equipped with the knowledge to navigate the process and hit the road. Remember always to drive safely and enjoy your journey through the beautiful landscapes of Turkey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is required to rent a car in Turkey?

To rent a car in Turkey, you must be at least 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license, an international driving permit, and a credit card for payment and deposit transactions. Some rental companies may have additional requirements.

Can you rent a car in Turkey as a tourist?

Yes, tourists can rent a car in Turkey. However, if your driver’s license is not in the Latin alphabet, you may need an International Driving Permit (IDP).

Do you need an international driving permit to rent a car in Turkey?

If your driver’s license is in the Latin alphabet, you do not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to rent a car in Turkey. However, if your license is not in the Latin alphabet, an IDP is necessary.

Is it expensive to hire a car in Turkey?

The cost of hiring a car in Turkey can vary depending on several factors, including the type of car, the rental company, and the rental duration. It’s recommended that rates from different companies be compared to get the best deal.

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