renting a car in Turkey

Ultimate Guide to Renting a Car & Driving in Turkey – Things to Know & Avoid

With very good roads, scenic drives, and epic viewpoints, renting a car in Turkey is the ultimate way to explore this gorgeous country. Pack some famous Turkish snacks, download Turkish songs, and go on one of many fascinating road trips. Turkey can offer so many of them!

We rented cars in Turkey many times and drove from Istanbul in various directions. Besides Istanbul, we also hired cars in Bodrum, Izmir, and Antalya. (For Antalya, I have a separate post about car hire and driving in the Antalya region. If you’ll be traveling there, take a look.)

In this post, I would love to answer all the important questions about car hire in Turkey. If you are wondering where to rent a car, what is the rental price, what documents do you need, what about the car insurance, as well as what are the traffic rules and driving conditions in Turkey, I have it all here. I also provide info on cheap car hire in Istanbul, companies to avoid renting from, how to find the best Turkey rental car across the country, and different airports.

Even if you are a pro at car rentals, there is still something to know about car rent in Turkey. After reading this guide, you’ll be super prepared and know what to expect.

But before I delve into the nitty-gritty, let’s go over why you should get a rental car in Turkey at all. 

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you).

1. Should I Rent a Car in Turkey?

renting a car in Turkey
Driving around the Bodrum Peninsula. If budget allows, I highly recommend you hire a car in Bodrum

Let’s start with the most important question as many people have it on their minds. Should you hire a car in Turkey? And let me ask you back: why shouldn’t you?

I understand a lot of travelers don’t know much about Turkey and somehow assume it is better to avoid renting a car and driving there. I’ve heard from many of my friends and readers that they prefer to hire a driver or go on a tour instead of hiring a car. But guys, can you tell me why? Are you concerned about something in particular?

Turkey is an amazing country for renting a car. It is very beautiful and there is a ton to discover. Roads are in excellent condition. Driving is enjoyable and easy. While going on a tour is definitely amazing, none of the tours will ever be able to bring you to faraway corners or let you take your time and slow down in one place. Plus being behind the wheel gives you a sense of freedom you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Public transportation is well-developed and you can get to almost any city and village by bus, train, plane, and dolmus taxi. However, many of Turkey’s most scenic spots lay between towns and villages and you simply won’t be able to get to them without your own mode of transportation. Aegean or Mediterranean coasts alone deserve a ride. With a car, you’ll have a chance to go to remote beaches, hidden canyons, and lesser-visited historic sites.

So yes, you definitely should plan to rent a vehicle and go on the road trip of your dreams!

Now, here is another question.

Should You Rent a Car in Istanbul?

And that’s a totally different story. For your first or second short trip to Istanbul, there is no need to rent a car. In fact, having a rental vehicle with you will cause a headache. The city is gigantic and the number of sightseeing spots and places to visit will keep you busy for weeks.

However, if you wish to expand your horizons by exploring the surroundings of the city then hiring a car is a great idea. And for that, considering how hectic the streets are and how stressful driving in Istanbul can be, I recommend renting a car right at the airport or nearby. 

Keep in mind, if you are renting a vehicle in IST airport and plan to drive to the Asian side, there are tolls on all three bridges (we paid $20 last time one way) and traffic is usually pretty intense. IST airport works great for those who plan to travel around the European side of Istanbul and go to Canakkale by ferry (with a car). Sabiha Gokcen works better if you plan to live on the Asian side and drive around or to other cities and towns. 

Thus, if you plan to be in Istanbul for only a few days – you do not need a car. It is better to concentrate on the city and spend more quality time there. For all other reasons, I encourage you to have it because there are tons of activities on the outskirts.   

Alright, so are you convinced and ready to pick up a rental car? Then jump down to the section where I talk about which rental car company I recommend for a trip to Turkey.

2. Is It Safe to Hire a Car in Turkey?

rent a car in Turkey

Is Turkey a good country for renting a car? Yes, absolutely.

And hiring a car in Turkey is absolutely safe. You shouldn’t worry about any fraud or scams from companies because there are none. Everything is legit and by a contract. Unless you are renting somewhere in the middle of nowhere where there are no official companies. 

The only note about safety I’d make is not really about the process of renting a car but rather about driving. It is not that easy to ride on mountainous roads, especially in winter. If there is even the slightest snowfall, some roads may be closed. So if you are planning to rent a car in winter to go to the mountains (for example to ski near Bursa), to avoid trouble, ask the dealer for a car with winter tires or take chains on the road.

Also, in many parts of Turkey, there are warning signs with animals on the roads. This is why be careful – there are migration routes to watch for. But if you are coming from Europe or the US, I am sure you are familiar with this. 

visiting Çakırlar village near Antalya
Yes, pigs running across the road are common in some parts of the country too. So you just have to watch out for animals when you see warning signs. By the way, this is a village road in the middle of nowhere in the Antalya region. The quality of roads in Turkey is very good and you shouldn’t worry about that!

Another fact to consider is that mountain slopes abound with serpentines. The surface of those is not very good and steep cliffs possess a risk since they don’t have any roadside barriers. Driving on serpentines requires accuracy and attention. Eastern Turkey region, for example, barely has any paved roads, and driving there is a challenge. In that part of the country, it is advisable to hire a driver who knows local roads, rent SUV or go on a tour. 

Overall, the procedure of Turkey car hire is absolutely the same as anywhere else in the world. So you shouldn’t worry about anything on this part. 

3. How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Car in Turkey?

Turkey is definitely not the cheapest country for renting cars but it is also not crazy expensive, especially comparing to Western Europe and the United States. 

The price is significantly higher during the high season, which is rather long – from May until mid-October. During that time the basic mini or economy car will cost around €15-20 per day. The bigger car will be more expensive. In the off-season, you can expect to pay around €10-12 per day for the economy class. At present time, while travel is still restricted, prices drop significantly. We have just rented a car in Antalya for €9 per day.

There are some companies on the market that offer car rentals for about €5-€6 per day but to be honest, I wouldn’t recommend renting anything from them. I explain why below but if shortly, there are always hidden fees and you pay more in the end anyway. It just looks pretty and cheap in the beginning but then in the end you end up overpaying and stressing out a lot. 

4. Best Car Rental Companies in Turkey

car rental in Turkey
driving in Bodrum

Since we stayed in Turkey for quite a long time, we rented many cars to get out of Istanbul for a few days and even weeks. We went on road trips for an extended period of time to the seaside, lesser-known villages, from Antalya to Pamukkale, and just drive around Istanbul. We rented a car at Istanbul airport, Izmir, Antalya, and Bodrum

Because we rented from many different companies, I would like to provide the information based on personal experience and give recommendations on what worked best for us.

There are definitely many companies for renting a car in Turkey. But among all those we rented from, I want to highlight only two companies. They proved to be reliable, transparent, and show genuine care for the client. Below I also mention companies to avoid and explain why. 

LocalRent (Former MyRentaCar) – Best Car Rental in Turkey Among Local Companies

What you need to know is that LocalRent is a small aggregator that is quickly growing and operates slightly differently than the majority of similar companies. It is the best company to hire cars in the Caucasus region, Balkans and pretty much anywhere else where they offer their service. These were two regions where they started to operate first but now they are expanding and offering their services in other countries too, including Turkey.

Through LocalRent we rented cars in Montenegro, Cyprus, Dubai Marina, and Georgia (country) and every time it was a very good experience. That’s why when we learned that these guys entered the market in Turkey, we decided to give them a try. And again, we are glad we did. 

What makes LocalRent the best car hire in Turkey is that they work only with smaller and local suppliers that they carefully select and check. You will not see here companies such as Alamo, Avis, Dollar, or any other big names. Usually, when renting through LocalRent, you’ll get a vehicle from a small office company, maximum nationwide, but not an international one.

LocalRent does a thorough selection of local companies that will be offering rental cars through them. Any supplier that gets bad reviews or doesn’t meet a level of standard gets removed from the list immediately. 

Another feature that makes this aggregator different from others on the market is that with them you receive a particular car that you book, not a car class (economy, compact, full-size, and so on). That means you choose a car that you like, based on your preferences and budget, and this is the car you will get. So you know ahead of time the make, model, year, and options. 

Turkey rental car
One of our cars. That’s the model and make we booked and that’s the same model and make we got in the end.

Next, what is extremely important to us is customer service. LocalRent has one of the best customer services out there. We rented through many aggregators around Europe and the US and never had such an attentive and quick to respond staff. Usually, car rental companies don’t pride themselves on good customer service. Here, it’s totally different.

You can reach them by phone (British number), email, or 3 chat options through Facebook messenger, Viber, and Telegram. These guys always reply quickly, provide thorough explanations, and always assist with any problem that may come up. 

Another thing, when booking through them, you always leave a much lower deposit (€100-€200) or no deposit at all. With any large well-known aggregator, you always leave a deposit (unless you buy full insurance) and it’s always pretty high. 

Since LocalRent works with local suppliers, you can rent a car not only in Istanbul airport, Antalya, Izmir, or Bodrum. But anywhere else in Turkey where you may think of. Literally. You can also find car rentals in Ankara, in Dalaman (airport and city), in Kusadasi, Alanya, Mardin, or Cappadocia. There are cars for hire in Bodrum or Marmaris, Fethiye, or any other place. Even in smaller cities in Eastern Turkey such as Van or Kas. See it for yourself below.

Also, besides mini, economy, compact, and full-size, LocalRent offers SUVs and luxury cars for rent. You can see all of them below when using a search bar.  


Discover Cars – Best Car Hire in Turkey Among International Companies

Discover Cars is another company that is great for finding rental cars anywhere in Turkey. You may have heard about them since they are pretty popular and work in many different countries. 

They have a different approach and work only with big international suppliers, so you won’t find any small local shops through them. But the selection of cars on offer is pretty large.

This is why Discover Cars is great for people who are used to renting cars from big name suppliers like Sixt, Avis, etc.

What we liked about them was the transparency (no hidden costs and clear contracts), good insurance options, very reasonable rates (compared to other aggregators), and also excellent customer support.

6. Where NOT to Hire a Car in Turkey

driving in Cappadocia

EDreams Aggregator – JUST AVOID IT!

EDreams is an aggregator that you can often see on the first lines when searching for a car in Turkey. I highly recommend you avoid making any bookings through them!

It seems that their entire concept is built on deceiving customers and using any excuse not to refund money, in case you need to cancel a car or if there is any problem with a supplier. Customer service is nonexistent and if any problem occurs, they’ll take your money and disappear.

We booked a car through eDreams two times. The first time we had to cancel because our dates changed. Even though we canceled with weeks in advance and within the terms of our contract, they didn’t want to refund our money. Why? Noone ever explained. They just ignored us for a long time. So we had to go through different tiers of support and spend two months on back and forth emailing, trying to return the money.

The second time, when we came to pick up our car rental at Istanbul airport (and booked it for one month) but the agent refused to release it due to the fact that we were in Turkey for more than 6 months (which we learned wasn’t even their business), eDreams did absolutely nothing to help us find another car and refund money for this one.

After four months of multiple emails and calls, eventually, we had to get our bank involved to receive a refund. And what do you think happened? EDreams issued an official letter lying that we didn’t show up, so that’s why they charged us.

Wow, that came as a surprise. This large (Irish) international company has been around for many years. So we thought booking through them would be simple and enjoyable. Instead, they provided below zero support, deceived us, and stole our money (literally).

I am not sure if that’s a new norm for some companies that try to survive in the world of the pandemic. But LocalRent, on the contrary, during the same corona time offered us to cover the expenses for toll roads when we were charged twice. EDreams took our money without providing any service and disappeared. And what’s interesting, I saw similar reviews from others online.

Green Motion – Cheap Car Hire in Turkey – AVOID IT BY ALL MEANS! 

Well, the Green Motion company also has been on the market for a while. And unfortunately, they have also proved to be not reliable and transparent. More than that, a lot of people claim this company is the biggest scam. If you check reviews for Green Motion (in all destinations where they have offices), you’ll see how bad (very bad) those reviews are. Make conclusions and learn from the mistakes of others not to fall into Green Motion’s trap. 

This company rents cars not only in Turkey but in many places around Europe. And in each of those places, they offer very cheap deals, hiding many extra fees and trying to get money out of the customer in the end of the rental. We had absolutely horrible experiences with this company not only in Turkey but in Montenegro and Spain. And every time while renting a cheap vehicle we paid much more in the end out of the deposit for something they made up. 

Besides the money thing, agents on duty are always rude, often they don’t speak English (or pretend they don’t) and don’t care about the customer by all means of this word. 

Another thing besides the fact that they try not to return a bigger part of the deposit is that they are also super picky about the requirements. It can happen that they will not rent you a car (once you are at the desk) because of some requirements which are not even in the contract. For example, if a credit card is not valid for more than 3 months from the date you rent. Or you have been in a country for too long (in their opinion, although you are staying legally). Or if you are too young or too old (which happened to my friend’s father). 

The quality of their cars can be very poor. Once we hired a car from them with a bad tire which we complained about but they assured was fine. It burst on us right after we left, and then they made us pay for it (much more than what it really cost). Another time, they charged us for scratches that were on the car but they didn’t want to mark on the contract assuring us there was no need.

Goldcar – Also STAY AWAY

This is also a budget car hire in Turkey. And pretty much the same as the previous supplier. Just a few things to add.

1. This company is very picky about a car’s condition when dropping it off. They try to look for the smallest scratches to charge you a lot for it.

2. Their car fleet consists of very old cars and very new cars. Not much in between. But if you book a rental with full coverage, then you’ll surely receive a very old car that will be falling apart. In case you reserve a car without insurance (for instance you have your own one), expect to have a brand new beautiful vehicle because the company expects you to make even the smallest damage. And if you don’t make any damage, they’ll make something up. 

Upon return, you’ll pay extra for it as Goldcar likes to find a dozen reasons why to take your deposit. 

7. How to Rent a Car in Turkey 

Renting a Car in Istanbul  

driving in Istanbul
Do you need to rent a car in Istanbul? Definitely – no. You need a car only if planning to go outside the city since there is a lot to explore even within one hour of Istanbul

In Istanbul, most often we rented our cars from the Sabiha Gokcen Airport since it was the closest to Kadikoy, an area where we lived. Also, it was the most convenient location to start traveling in Turkey.

If you’re not flying into this airport but need to get there from the city, it is very simple. There are two kinds of express buses that go from Taxim and Kadikoy. It is convenient and cheap. I have more details on how to get to Sabiha airport here.

Many international rental desks are located right at the terminal on the first floor. But if you are renting from a smaller supplier (for instance through LocalRent or directly like through CircularCarHire), then the pick-up is going to be a little bit different.

In some cases, a supplier may offer to pick you up while at other times it may be easier to grab a cab. Some of those companies that offer a pick-up service usually do not go inside the terminal. The terminal is huge, parking is expensive and they are not allowed to stop near the exit. So they choose to pick you up by their car outside only after you give them a call that you arrived.

For most travelers who come from other countries, it is not very convenient to make a call. Also, surprisingly, there is no WiFi at Istanbul airports, so you can’t connect and send a message. Or if there is WiFi, it requires you to have a local number to receive a text message with an activation pin.

So in this situation, it is better to follow the signs to the nearby information desk where you can ask them to call the car supplier’s number. Normally the rental company will tell you to go outside and wait by the column with some specific number.

In our experience, when we were on the way to car rental in Istanbul new airport (IST) coming from the city, it was much easier and faster to get a cab and pay €2 instead of waiting for a company to pick us up. On the way back, they dropped us off. 

8. Common Car Rental FAQs

car rental office in Istanbul
One of the companies we rented a car from near the Sabiha Gokcen airport

What Documents Do You Need For Car Hire in Turkey?

Mainly you just need a driver’s license and a credit card. 

A credit card must be in the driver’s name and only such card can be used to leave the deposit. This means if somebody else from your group is paying for the car rental, that person cannot cover the deposit. 

Also, keep in mind that a driver is required to hold the license for at least one year. But some companies require two years, so check the contract carefully!

Now, as an example, my California license has the issue date but that is the date when the particular card was issued. But not the date when I received my first DL. If you are in a similar situation and renewed your DL recently, there may be confusion (what happened in my case). So if you did receive a new DL recently, I strongly recommend carrying the old one with you to show that you actually drive longer than the current license says. Otherwise, you risk not getting a car.

That’s what happened to me. I received a renewed driver’s license in January and went to rent a car in February and the agent was refusing to release it to me saying that I was a new driver. So I needed to find my old license (thank God I didn’t shred it) to prove that my driving experience was longer. Once I showed an old DL, he was convinced. Thus make sure to double-check the date of your license.

Do I need an International Driver’s License to Rent a Car in Turkey?

No. Car hire companies will not ask you for one and Turkish traffic regulations do not require an international driver’s license. So do not waste your money on it.

Note for expats and digital nomads: If you are staying in Turkey for more than 6 months then some companies may check your last entry stamp and refuse to give a car (what happened to us and what I have described above). This is not based on any legit laws. There is no such information from the government. And there is even no such information in their contracts.

Some companies do it (usually large budget car hire suppliers) to get money from customers in a deceptive way. 

So, to avoid such situations, do not rent cars from cheap car rental companies. They are cheap for a reason.

Does it cost more to have more than one driver?

Yes, pretty much always unless it is included in the package. But that happens rarely. Price varies from €4 per day to €20. Or it can be one fixed price for the entire period. For one week, I have seen the price for an extra driver from €20 to €50.

9. Things to Pay Attention To When Renting a Car in Turkey

car hire in Turkey

Toll Roads

Always ask an agent how to use a toll system in Turkey.

Normally, rented cars come with an automated tracker to go through toll roads. However, some companies may charge extra fees for certain roads and bridges. In that case, it would be better to pay on your own instead of using a company’s tracker.

Usually, an agent should mention all of this at the time of a pick-up but if he/she doesn’t, it’s better to clarify not to overpay in the end.

Pick Up/Shuttle Service

If a company you rent a car is not located at the airport, they may not have a meet and greet service. In this case, you’ll need either to take a bus, cab or walk on your own.

If booking with LocalRent, some companies offer to deliver a car to your location for an extra fee (sometimes without). Don’t hesitate to inquire about it in advance.

Inspect Your Rental Thoroughly 

Even if an agent marks everything on a contract in front of you, I still advise making your own photos (optional videos) as a precaution.

It may happen that upon return, they may try to accuse you of making a scratch that you didn’t. 

Try to Return Your Car a Bit Earlier 

If you rent your car outside the airport during very early or late hours and if you have a flight that you need to get on, it is a good idea to come a bit earlier than your drop off time on the voucher says. The reason for that is that you may not find the staff present in the office.

In local small rental shops sometimes agents tend not to be on duty although they are supposed to. One time, when we had to drop off our car at 21:00 but came around 20:45, we found the office empty. After waiting for 20 minutes and having no one there, we had to ask a passerby to call the company. In total, after waiting for 30 minutes, the guy showed up.

It was a really strange situation but later we learned it’s pretty common anywhere in Turkey. If we had a flight, we could have easily missed it. I am not saying this is what’s going to happen for you but something to be aware of. 

Ask If the Car Needs to Be Washed or Not

If you are renting from a small company, clarify if you need to return the car clean. Large international companies never require that but small local shops do. Usually, they are mentioning this upon pick-up but if they don’t, better ask.

If you don’t return it clean, the fee can be between 10-15 euros. But washing it on your own costs from 2 to 4 euros. Car washes are present on many gas stations and you can clean the vehicle when getting gas before the drop-off.

10. Things to Consider About Driving in Turkey

driving in Turkey

I know, there are as many opinions as there are experts. Someone may disagree with me but I am still going to say it. Driving in Turkey is easy. It’s actually very similar to driving anywhere in Europe. As a matter of fact, it’s even easier than driving in Los Angeles

Of course, there are its own peculiarities and things to note and you have to get used to it during the first couple of days. In the beginning, you may feel a bit stressed. But in a few days, you’ll relax and go with the flow. Roads are excellent, road markings too, and there are clear exits and shortcuts around intersections. Also, there are now cameras everywhere you go and fines are big, so that helps with driving style.

Yet, here are a few things to note:

Traffic Rules & Fines

I would like to tell you briefly about the traffic rules since there are not many differences between the rules in Turkey and anywhere else in Europe.

In Turkey, you drive on the right-hand side of the road. Everyone should fasten their seat belts in the car, including the passengers in the back seat. Using a phone is not allowed.

Speed limits on Turkish roads depend on the type of vehicle. For standard vehicles, the speed is 50km/h in cities and towns, on two-lane roads outside of residential areas is 90km/h (for trucks 80km/h), on four-lane roads outside cities (free highways) – 110km/h (85km/h for trucks and RVs), on paid highways and motorways – 120km/h (95 km/h for RVs and trucks). 

It is allowed to exceed the speed by no more than 10% of the established limit. For a speed of more than 10%, there is a penalty. If you get a fine and pay it in a short period of time (up to 15 days), there is a good discount.

Driving Conditions

Not knowing the peculiarities of the local driving style in Turkey, you can get into an unpleasant situation even if you follow all the rules.

Driving in Turkey is easy. However, you need to remember that local drivers do not always follow the rules and are reckless not only on highways and motorways but especially in smaller cities and villages where traffic police are not common.

Therefore, I advise you to be attentive and careful on the road and watch not only your driving but also the driving of those around you. Also, pay attention to pedestrians. In cities, Turkish people somehow tend to walk often on the road and cross it in all the wrong places.

In small towns, like Bergama or Kusadasi for example, driving can get a little more chaotic.

Another thing to remember is that drivers don’t yield when they are supposed to. They can suddenly stop for whatever reason and/or don’t use turning signals. And this usually occurs in highly residential areas. So just drive within legal limits and watch what others do and you will have no problem.


When you come to a roundabout, you are supposed to yield, as everywhere in Europe. Normally there is also a sign that tells you to yield to the traffic that is already on the roundabout. Sometimes there are a few signs!

However, we noticed that a lot of times cars on the roundabout will stop to let you go first, against the traffic rules. And this is not just a nice gesture. We assumed it is a caution against the drivers who violate the roundabout rules and just drive straight onto it without yielding. Unfortunately, there are too many of those drivers. We’ve seen that happen so many times.

So watch out and don’t rush. Be the one who slows down on roundabouts even if you have a priority to go.


A side note to the above: there are many crossroads in Turkey that look like roundabouts but they are not! There might be small roundabouts in the middle that actually work as crossroads.

You’ll definitely see a sign reflecting that but it can be very confusing. Just follow appropriate traffic rules. 

Bergama town
Driving in the ancient city Bergama


Some old historical towns and cities have extremely narrow streets. Obviously, those were not designed for cars but they still show as driving roads on the maps. And if you have a small car, you can still drive but only if you feel comfortable with your driving skills and can feel well the dimensions of the car with respect to the surroundings.

It’s very common to drive in between two walls having only a couple of inches left on either side of your car or make 90 degrees turn on a tiny street. If you look at the map and see that the streets look more like shattered glass patterns, it means that those are tiny streets. Better try to choose the widest and most straight road.

Police Roadblocks

Very rarely but it is possible to encounter a police roadblock. There are might be many reasons for that but you shouldn’t worry about them. If police stop you, answer any questions they have, and be on your way.

Also, police in Turkey have a right to stop any vehicle for a check. It can happen on a highway or a small road even if you did everything right. This is normal. They may check your DL and car documentation, maybe do an alcohol test and ask you to open the trunk. Just don’t stress about it thinking about a thousand reasons why they could stop you. It’s all good and part of their job.

If somehow you got a fine for any violation, you should pay it. It is easy to do at the bank and through the ATM.

Traffic Police 

Traffic police and military are often patrolling Turkish roads. As with police roadblocks, here you also shouldn’t worry about military convoys on the roads. They are pretty common in Turkey.

There are also cameras almost everywhere that record traffic violations. The most interesting thing is that cameras on the road determine not only the speed but also the type of vehicle. In large cities, there are cameras on traffic lights.

Parking & Car Wash 

If you are in a small town or on the outskirts of a big city then you shouldn’t have any problem with parking. Anywhere on the Aegean or Mediterranean coast in small towns, there are ample parking spaces. In the big city though, parking is a luxury. 

Often you can find paid parking along the roads but instead of meters, there are usually parking guys that collect money. On weekends and at night, on many streets in big cities you can park for free but on weekdays it is not allowed. Also, what we found pretty common for big cities are private parking lots. They can be small or big but they come in handy when you need to leave a car for a night or the entire day if street parking is not available. Depending on the city and neighborhood, the price ranges between $5-$8 per 24 hours. 

Right there, on the same lots, guys can wash your car for an extra fee. The cost of this car wash is between $4-$6.  

11. A Few More Tips Before You Sign the Contract & Rent a Car

11.1. White is the cheapest color when buying/renting a car, this is why it is the most popular. Chances are high that your rented vehicle will be white (if it matters).

11.2. Returning the car later than the agreed period is subject to a fine. And by later I mean more than one hour, sometimes even less than that. If you know you will be late, better get in touch and let the agent know. In Turkey, companies are more strict with this rule. So if you know you need to extend your rental time, do it in advance.

11.3. Before leaving the rental office with the car, I recommend you take photos of the vehicle even if the agent is telling you “everything is ok!”

11.4. Always check that you have a spare wheel, key, jack, fire extinguisher, emergency triangle, and first aid kit.

11.5. Check all the lights and all illumination on the inside. 

11.6. Be sure to take the manager’s business card and add his number to your Whatsapp or Viber. They are always online and respond quickly.

11.7. If you plan to drive on toll roads, ask about the payment options. Some cars have HGS stickers that allow you to drive without stopping. For more information about tolls, see the general directorate of highways.

11.8. And the last thing… if you plan to have a second driver then be sure to add his/her name to the contract. When paying and making a deposit, the card should be under the main driver’s name, not the secondary one. 

Alright, this is it for now. I was trying to cover all the main questions about the car rental process in Turkey. If you have any other questions to ask, please do it in the comment section. And happy driving! 

Are You Planning a Trip to Turkey?

I have tons of resources on travel in Turkey and how to make the most out of your trip. Check out my ultimate Turkey Travel Guide for all the answers to the most burning questions, or read some of my most popular articles below. 

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Trip to Turkey 

15 Facts About Turkish Culture to Know Before Visiting 

29 Practical Tips For Istanbul to Make the Most of Your Trip

Is Istanbul Expensive? A guide to Prices in Istanbul

What Is It Like to Live in Turkey?

Need more inspiration for travel by car in Turkey? See the following posts:

Antalya to Fethiye Road Trip Itinerary – 17 Best Stops to Make

12 Best Day Trips Not to Miss From Antalya

Visiting Cakirlar – Traditional Turkish Village Near Antalya 

Bodrum or Marmaris – Which One is Best For You?

Renting a car in Turkey guide #turkeytravel #turkeytraveltips #istanbul #antalya #bodrum
Renting a car in Turkey guide

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  1. Rider Transferdirect says:

    Amazing! I know nothing about traveling all over the country, what a wonderful looking place to explore.

    1. An amazing Article you covered every thing literally.
      thanks allot.

    2. Tahseen Adeeb says:

      Most of the article that stated are valid. We recently came back from a 16 days trip. We did not rent a vehicle in Istanbul but did rent in other Cities. Roads are far better for my aching back. We booked with Avis, despite booking with them – there’s something most Westerners don’t know neither did we. Avis has a fuel policy on quality of gasoline that can be used as per vehicle user manual. If the vehicle or engine gets in trouble with poor quality gasoline the tenant is liable. This is what is happening to us. Our 9 seater van got into trouble in Denizli. We filled the gas tank at Petrol ofisi on our way to Pamakkule. We drove with no issues. But the next day morning as we headed out we started to get warning signs saying “water in diesel tank, repair needed”. Avis road assistance was awful other than saying a technician will contact you which they never did. For many cities we rented most renters are private companies who go under Avis. We finally went to Avis Denizli who helped us. But they made us to go to Service station. Lo behold it took more than 7 hours to get a replacement vehicle. This was on May 18, 2022 and as of today Avis Kayseri and customer support are giving us a run around, saying fuel test results are not complete. So beware of reputed Avis company as well.
      Also most car rental companies ask for a deposit which they take 7-8 days or more to refund.
      I have no trust with Avis as it’s horrible

      1. Great addition to the post, thank you for stopping by to share. However, a quick note.

        Most companies in Turkey say in their contracts that they take up to 30 days to return the deposit, although it happens much faster, depending on the bank. 7-8 days sounds right but that’s normal, nothing to worry about.

        1. Tahseen Adeeb says:

          Thanks Anya. We got deposits back from 2 rental locations. We complained to Avis International and they claim to refund us a days worth of rent. But the deposit when fuel caused the issues, unfortunately no refunds. What I am frustrated is with the policy and no process or paperwork to support that Fuel caused the damage. Neither has Avis stepped in to find the root cause. It’s only word of mouth.

          So buyer beware is caution.

  2. Catherine says:

    I serisously appreciate so much the people who take the time to write these kinds of articles. I am an avid traveller and everytime before I travel somewhere, I do a lot of research. I love when people write and post articles like these to offer helpful advice to those considering travelling to these places as well. Thank you so much! Great article!

    1. Thank you, Catherine, for your kind words! I truly enjoy writing here and sharing a few of my experiences with the world. Thank you for stopping by to read and leave a comment!

  3. if my wife paying for the car rental but she is not have a driving licence how? because i’m a main driver and i don’t have a credit card.

    1. Hi Chandra, it might be a problem, to be honest. Usually, the company requires to provide a credit card of a driver. But if it is impossible, you can make your wife the main driver and add yourself as a second driver. In this case, you’ll be able to drive using your wife’s card. If you decide to go with this option, keep in mind there is an extra expense for an additional driver.
      I also recommend you get in touch with myrentacar customer service and ask them the same question. They might be able to make arrangements for you on your behalf and help you out.

  4. Adel Alrashidi says:

    thank you for the information … but just to reconfim please that i can drive my rented car while lockdown timing and freely moving around istanbul and visit tourest attractions?

    1. Hi Adel, so sorry for the late reply, I hope this information is still relevant.
      Yes, you can drive your rented car during the lockdown anywhere you want! Lockdown in Turkey doesn’t affect tourists. In fact, now is the best time to visit Turkey and go on road trips! Tourist places are empty and you can enjoy them on your own. We are now traveling around Turkey too and it feels amazing! We went to Pamukkale just when curfew started and were the only visitors there and it felt incredible! We are now in Cappadocia, there are only a few tourists (balloons fly), accommodation prices are low as well and prices for tours dropped too. Now is seriously the best time to be in Turkey!

      P.S. On the days of lockdowns when we drive around, there are police blocks on some roads where they stop every vehicle to see the documents that allow traveling. Since we are tourists, we just show them our passports and that’s it. Some policemen check the first page of the passport, others check the entry date, and others don’t check anything and just wish us a good day. Nothing to worry about. You can move around Istanbul or any other city in Turkey as a tourist, no problem! Tourist attractions are empty without crowds of people and you can enjoy them to the fullest!

  5. Dear Anja! Thank You for your article! I saw You updated it in June 2021.
    We will plan to travel to Turkey next week, but there is no one car belove 45 $/day. Especially if you drop it off at a place other than where you picked it up, than it is a horrible amount. We need a car from Mardin. Do you have any idea why I get such high prices?
    Thank You!!

    1. Hi Kinga, yes this post is up to date and all information is relevant.

      The thing is that prices are really much higher now all over Turkey since it’s July and Turkey has just opened up fully and everyone is trying to make money on tourists. Plus Mardin is more expensive than other cities since it’s less popular among travelers.
      If you need to drop a car in a different location, I suggest you pick up a car in Mardin and drop it off in the next city you are going to (which will also have cheaper car rentals) and rent another car there and then drop it off in your final destination. Let’s say you are traveling from Mardin to Fethiye and go through Alanya or Antalya. In this case, I suggest you rent a car in Mardin and drop it off in Alanya or Antalya in a day or two when you reach it and then rent another car in one of those cities for the rest of your trip and drop it off in Fethiye (or your final destination).
      I know it is not very convenient but it will definitely help you save money since Mardin is a more expensive city where to rent a car.

      Also, if you want, you can send me an email with the details of your trip and I’ll check all deals for you and suggest a few options.

  6. We rented a car from trabzon. We had noticed later after signing the lease that the tires are worn off ( very smooth tires ). We asked them if they could replace us with another car. They said they don’t have any available. Now we are asking them to at least replace the tires. I was wondering if i could get a refund from them and go to another company to rent another car. Is that possible?

    1. Whatever you are describing is a legitimate reason to get a refund. If you rented through myrentacar, they will definitely help you in one way or another but I cannot say the same about other aggregators. Get in touch with the customer service asap and let them handle it for you.

  7. citycarrentals says:

    Thanks for sharing up–to-date on this subject! I find it is very informative and very well written one! Keep up on this quality

  8. Thank you for such a thourough article, I got all the info I was looking for and then some.

    1. My pleasure, Siham, and thank you for stopping by! 🙂

  9. novsights says:

    All of my questions on my mind were answered. Thank you so much!

  10. Sylvia Sasse says:

    I have a question about renting a car in Turkey. I have never rented a car in Turkey, and I have been living here for 7 1/2 years. Do the car rental companies allow you to drive the car out of the country, and return it back to its origin?

  11. Thank you Anya for providing thorough, accurate and very informative descriptions.
    While I have been living abroad for over 30 years, I visit my home country Turkiye at least once a year, and my experiences with renting a car and driving in Turkiye are exactly as you describe.

    1. Hi Mehmet, thank you for finding time to drop a comment and share your thoughts! I appreciate that! 🙂

  12. Hi Anya,

    Firstly, thank you for your brilliant posts. I’ve been reading almost all of your posts regarding Turkey and can’t thank you enough for how detailed, clear and useful there are! Thank you!

    I’ve question. I’m from India and planning to travel to Turkey for a couple of weeks from Christmas. Last time when my brother (a British passport holder) and I went to Italy
    and tried to hire a car, they wouldnt accept an Indian driving licence (mine) while of course accepted my brother’s UK driving licence and lent us a car.

    This time however, it’s my wife and I who are traveling to Turkey and was concerned about the sufficiency of Indian driving licences for renting a car in Turkey. Do you think you could help with any info on this?

    Many thanks!

    1. Hi Chandru,

      I had other readers from India rent a car in Turkey and so far they had no problem picking it from the supplier. But what I can recommend doing to double-check on that is to get in touch with Myrentacar company customer service (they are quick to respond) and ask them the same exact question. They will get in touch with rental companies and ask them directly for you.

      As far as I know, Turkey doesn’t discriminate on the origin of a driver’s license, it just has to meet the international standard (be written in Latin alphabet at least) but if you want to be completely sure, please contact Myrentacar right away. They should get back to you within a few hours.

      And one more thing, as I mentioned higher in this post, I wouldn’t even bother renting from cheap suppliers like Gold Car, Green Motion, etc. because they are deceiving customers everywhere and can really come up with a reason like this one about the license or similar even if they don’t have any right to do so. They’ll just make up a story and charge you for it anyway.

  13. Hello,
    I am planning a trip for next year. We will begin and end in Istanbul, but spend a couple of weeks driving around. Everything I have seen counsels against driving in Istanbul, so I don’t plan to have a car for the time we are there (we are staying in Sultanahmet), but am trying to decide between renting a car near the hotel and braving Istanbul once to get out and once to get back, or taking the ferry to Yalova and renting there. I know we could also rent from Bandirma or Bursa, but there seemed to be more felxibility with times going to Yalova. We would be initially going west out of Istanbul and down to Canakkale.
    Also, are there specific car makes/models to avoid standing out as a tourist? I usually drive an older VW Touareg. Most rentals are smaller than this. Does a small SUV in general stand out? I have seen VW Caravelles–are streets likely to be too small for a larger vehicle? It will most likely be two of us, but there is a possibility of two others joining for part of the trip. Appreciate any insight!

    1. Hi Ellen,
      Yes, you do not need a car in Istanbul, especially in the Sultanahmet area. I also don’t recommend you rent a car near your hotel since it will be a hassle parking it, getting out/in Istanbul and rent will cost much more than near the airport.

      Instead, I’d recommend you rent a car in Sabiha Gokcen International Airport from where you can drive to Yalova/Canakkale taking Osmangazi Bridge. It is very easy to get to Sabikha from Sultanahmet by ferry/bus. It is out East and is mostly out of congested Istanbul streets. Also, cars are the cheapest at that airport and drive to Bursa or Yalova isn’t very long. If you don’t want to take Osmangazi Bridge (which has a toll), there is a way to go around the bay through Izmit. That route is longer but more scenic.

      As for SUVs, you will see plenty of those on the road. Small cars would be easier to navigate on tiny streets in iconic old towns, but if you don’t plan to visit those (Canakkale has lots of wide areas) or park outside old cities, I wouldn’t worry about it. If you’re used to driving a Touareg on regular basis already, I wouldn’t stress much about the size. Just rent whatever you are more comfortable with. The only thing that I’d probably avoid would be a red color. By statistics, police in Turkey stop more red cars for some reason.

  14. Rachelle Mohr says:

    Is it possible to rent a car from Istanbul, drive to Cappadocia via the coastline and then return the car to Kayseri airport?. At that point we would fly back to Istanbul. Thanks for your input

    1. Yes, it is possible through Myrentacar company (they changed their name to Localrent), although there will be a charge for a drop-off in a different location. The amount depends on the distance between the cities where you pick it up and drop it off and all prices are available online when you check on their website.

      The only thing you want to pay attention to is the limit of mileage, if you plan to travel to Cappadocia via coast within a short period of time, then rent a car with unlimited mileage. Some companies set a limit when the car is taken in one city and dropped off in another one.

      1. Tahseen Adeeb says:

        Kayseri is the worst airport for car returns. It’s a small airport and there are No signs for car returns. Even police could not help me, parking attendant did not know where cars are retuned. If you don’t speak Turkish this airport is horrible for a tourist to return the car. Finally after a long hour of agitation I finally found where the underground returns are. A gentleman who spoke some English guided me. Inside the parking lot there’s a small entrance close to the exit to drive down. Despite airport being a tourist center not many spoke English.

  15. Great article, having just returned from Turkey and explored both the Bozburn & Datca peninsulas – we collected & returned our car to Dalaman airport – driving in Turkey is pure joy, the roads and views are awsome.

    As Anya states, please overcome your aprehensions (if you have them) embrace the adventure and rent a car – you will get so so much out of it.

    We will, without doubt, be renting again next time we go to Turkey – it’s a “no brainer” 🙂

    1. Hi Mike, thank you for your input! 🙂

      Once you hit the road, you quickly understand that driving is really easy and enjoyable. I am glad you guys loved it, the coast area is particularly scenic, so going by car is the best choice!

  16. Hi, we are planning a family holiday in Dec (17-29). We plan to fly into Istanbul, drive to Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Selcuk and then back to Istanbul. I got a deal on through Cizgi. Would you recommend driving? Is Cizgi a reliable car rental company. We thought of getting a Ford Tourney as we are 4 adults with 4 big bags and due to the long drives thought more space would be better. We travel from South Africa.

    I love your thorough articles and find it most valuable!

    Kind regards,

    1. Hi Tania,
      I definitely recommend driving in Turkey as it is an amazing experience but I can’t say anything about the company you mention. I hear about them for the first time. Whatever I use and recommend is in this post above.
      In my experience, the best company for renting a car in Turkey from a local is LocalRent that I also mention in almost all my posts. Localrent does a thorough selection and works only with checked and reliable companies while booking registers everyone who wants to rent cars through them, good or bad. I’ve rented too many cars in Turkey to know how disappointing it can be to rent a vehicle through a wrong supplier, so I prefer to stick to those companies I refer to and sometimes pay a bit more not to have any problems later.
      One tip that I could give you – do not go with the company that offers the cheapest rate. It is a trick a supplier sets to attract customers but they’ll always charge you more in the end, claiming they charge for a tax, tolls, made up damage, or anything else. I don’t know how good the deal on cizgi is but if you compare it to other deals and see the price is significantly lower, I’d be alert and avoid it at any cost.

  17. Tom James says:

    Amazing post must say. Thanks for providing accurate information. This is a perfect guide to renting a car and driving in Turkey. The Do’s and Don’t are also helpful.

  18. Lawyer from T says:

    Remarkable! Its really awesome piece of writing, I have got much clear idea concerning from this post.

  19. Coy Pickens says:

    Great tips, thank you for those, I am going to rent a car in Istanbul and go to the black sea coast!

  20. Hi Anya, thanks for the comprehensive guides you wrote.
    I’m planning a road trip in Turkey this coming February, starting from Izmir – Kusadasi – Pamukkale – Cappadocia. Do you think I would need a winter packs (snow tires and chains)?
    *I don’t plan to visit mountains along the route.

    1. Hi Juan,

      No, you do not need any snow tires or chains for the route you asked me about. Izmir and Kusadasi areas have temperatures above 0 in February and never get any snow. Pamukkale might get snow powder but that doesn’t really affect driving. You might see some snow in Cappadocia at this time of the year but roads there are good and clean. However, for Cappadocia you do need to have at least seasonal tires, so make sure to check that with the rental company (although they are good with following the rules).

      Enjoy your road trip! February is really a good month to rent a car and travel in Turkey!

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