renting a car in Turkey

Renting a Car in Turkey – Quick Guide With Practical Tips to Make It Simple

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. There are many of them in various directions that are worth adding to your Turkey itinerary!

Yet before you go, you need to prepare and answer a few questions, including the one where to rent a car in Turkey, documents not to forget, what to know about rental car insurance, and how to avoid scams (because yes, they are common among car rentals).

I cover that all in this post below, including tips for driving in Turkey, traffic rules, rental costs, how to rent a car in Turkey, and other practical information for a smooth process of Turkey car hire. 

Mark and I rented cars in this country too many times when we lived there and we still do when we return to Turkey every year. Besides Istanbul, we also hired cars in Bodrum, Izmir, Antalya, Ankara, Cappadocia, and Dalyan and drove in different directions, including some awesome weekend getaways by car from Istanbul.

I reflect on all these destinations (and beyond) below and share my best tips accumulated over the years. So after reading this guide, you’ll be super prepared and know what to expect.

And if you need a more in-depth look into car renting around different Turkish cities, don’t miss my other guides about car hire in Istanbul, renting a car in Antalya, and car hire in Cappadocia.

Wondering What’s the Best Company to Rent a Car in Turkey?

There is no single company (aggregator) that covers Turkey car hire equally throughout the entire country. The best company to rent a car in Turkey will depend on the region (and your final goal for Turkey car hire).

I personally book through (and recommend) two different companies, depending on the city where I need a car.

The first one has rentals from big companies and another one that works with the best local suppliers. More on what each of them offers and how to choose one for your needs is below. 


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).

Renting a Car in Turkey – Key Takeaways

Ismir car rental
In our Izmir car rental when we drove around western and central Turkey on the way to the Beydaglari Mountains

1.) Hiring a car in Turkey is essential if you want to save money on tours and see this country in a way that none of the companies will be able to show you. It is also a great choice for a long trip, as the car will allow you to see the scenery between cities, especially along the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas and in northeastern Turkey.

2.) Renting a car in Turkey is safe as long as you rent from a reputable company (more on them below) and purchase adequate insurance coverage. 

3.) You need to be at least 21 years old to be able to rent a car. However, some companies require you to pay a Young Driver Fee on top of the vehicle rent if you are younger than 23.

4.) There are two best companies to rent a car in Turkey that proved to be the best. The first one is Discover Cars and the second one LocalRent. They target different needs but both have large car fleets, excellent service, and extensive Turkey car rental insurance. Which one will work best for you depends on a few factors. More on them below.

5.) Renting a car in Turkey is easy and quick. You just need to have a passport, driver’s license (in the Latin alphabet), CC, digital copy of your voucher and have the desire to explore on your own.

6.) Do not be afraid to hire a big car. Parking (both free and paid) is available everywhere and it is never a problem to find a parking spot (besides Istanbul). While old cities have very tiny narrow streets, all large cities have ample parking garages and free street parking with enough room for big cars.

7.) Do not wait for too long to book a vehicle. If you find a car you like, try to book it immediately, especially if booking for a high season in summer or Velvet Season in fall. The best deals are gone pretty quickly and during the high season, there are not enough cars for a lower budget.

8.) Turkey driving style is not much different from driving style in other countries in the region (like driving in Cyprus, driving in Ukraine, or driving in Georgia for example). But Turkish drivers are known for not using turn signals, beating the red light, and passing where it is not allowed to pass. This is why just apply extra caution on the road when driving in Turkey.

9.) If you plan to drive in Turkey with a UK, US, or EU license for no more than 6 months, none of the car rental companies in Turkey will ask you for an international driver’s permit (and there is no such law that requires you to have it). If you plan to rent a car in Turkey with an Indian license, then you do need to have IDP as showing it upon pickup is mandatory (and other countries where your home license is not in the Latin alphabet).

10.) One-way car rentals in Turkey are quite popular (and much cheaper than anywhere else in Europe). This is why you shouldn’t miss a chance to hire a car at one destination and drop it off at another one if there is such a need.

When we travel abroad, especially with the car, we prefer to stay connected with reliable simcards. I recommend you do the same.

Pre-Order Your Simcard for Turkey

Common Turkey Car Rental FAQs & Concerns

Should I Rent a Car in Turkey?

Driving in a rental car in Turkey
rental car Cappadocia

Let’s start with the most frequently asked question as many people have it on their minds. Should you hire a car in Turkey? Which always makes me want to ask you back: why shouldn’t you?

Probably because of the image created in the media, there is an assumption among many people that it is better to avoid renting a car in Turkey. I’ve heard from many of my readers that they prefer to hire a driver or go on a tour instead of hiring a car because they are not comfortable driving in Turkey on their own for no apparent reason. 

But let me tell you this.

Turkey is an amazing country for renting a car and going on road trips. It is very beautiful and there is a ton to discover. Roads are in excellent condition. Driving is enjoyable and easy. Parking is ample and often free.

While going on a tour is definitely entertaining, 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 in Turkey 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. Just like for example the stretch of the road from Fethiye to Pamukkale or Fethiye to Antalya

Aegean or Mediterranean coasts alone deserve a good ride. With a car, you’ll have a chance to go to remote beaches, hidden canyons, lesser-visited historic sites, and some romantic spots.

So yes, you should rent a car in Turkey if you are looking to have flexibility and freedom on your trip and actually save money.

Where to Rent a Car in Turkey

There are many rental offices of international companies across Turkey and many aggregators where to rent a car. Hiring a vehicle can be confusing with that number of booking websites, especially if you are visiting the country for the first time and don’t know where to start.

Since we lived in Turkey for quite a long time and rented many cars in different Turkish cities either for a few days or even for a few months, we found two companies that work best for Turkey car rent. 

And they are Discover Cars and LocalRent. Both proved to be reliable, transparent and show genuine care for the client. They also have excellent perks and customer care support. However, they work for different needs.

LocalRent – Best Car Rental for Hotel Delivery, One Way Rentals & Cheap Car Hire

Turkey rental car
One of the cars we rented in Istanbul through LocalRent

LocalRent is the number one company to choose if you are looking to find cheap car rentals or a good selection of SUVs, need a car to be delivered to your accommodation, and when looking for flexible one-way car hire (for example to pick up a car in Istanbul and drop it off in another city and vice versa) as their rates for this service are the lowest.

What makes LocalRent unique is that they work only with local suppliers that they carefully select and check. Any supplier that gets bad reviews or doesn’t meet a level of standard gets removed from the list immediately.  

This is why when booking through them, you can be sure that you’ll have a high level of quality service and always a good car.

And if something goes wrong, their customer service is just excellent, always helpful, and on top of everything.

Another feature that makes this company different from others is that they offer delivery of a rental car (or pick up) to your doorstep (for an extra fee). That means that it is possible to rent a car not only at the airport but pretty much anywhere around Turkey, including smaller quiet beach towns. In big cities, car rentals are available in different neighborhoods, not just at the airport. See for yourself. 

CHEAP CAR RENTALS IN TURKEY WITH ‘LOCALRENT’

Discover Cars – Top Turkey Car Hire for Airport Rentals & Best Insurance Packages

Discover Cars is another aggregator that is excellent for finding rental cars anywhere in Turkey. They work with all kinds of companies (including local and international suppliers) but mainly those that are located in and around the airport. They do not have the option to deliver a car to you but offer a ‘meet and greet’ service at the airport.

Discover Cars is great in the sense that it compares prices among all companies that join their network and offers different deals based on your needs, from lowest to highest price. So you have access to a huge car fleet which is very convenient when booking at the last minute.

What we particularly like about them is the transparency (no hidden costs and clear contracts), always very reasonable rates (even in the high season), and very good insurance packages for good prices.

What I recommend you do is compare prices between LocalRent and DiscoverCars in that city where you need a vehicle, and see which one of them has better deals based on your needs. Both of them are the best car rental companies in Turkey with the biggest choice of cars.

COMPARE PRICES & FIND A TURKEY RENTAL CAR WITH DISCOVER CARS

How Much Does Car Rental in Turkey Cost?

Turkey is definitely not the cheapest country for renting cars. But it is also not crazily expensive, especially compared to some countries in Europe like when renting a car in Norway or Germany, for example.

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 $20-$25 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.

I recommend you book a car rental you like right away to avoid the increase in price later.

You may also find companies on the market that offer car rentals for about $5-$6 per day but to be honest, renting anything from them is not a good idea. They always have hidden fees and make you pay more in the end. It just looks pretty cheap in the beginning but then in the end you end up overpaying. 

Turkey car rent

Where NOT to Hire a Car in Turkey

EDreams Aggregator – Just Avoid It

EDreams is an aggregator that you can often see on the first lines when searching for Turkey rental car. I highly recommend you avoid making any bookings through them as they always have hidden fees, non-existent customer service, and misleading advertising.

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 very poor 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 weeks in advance and within the terms of our contract, they didn’t want to refund our money. Why? No one 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 for no reason, 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.

This large 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 took our money not providing any service in exchange for that.

I am not sure if that’s a new norm for some companies but with EDreams there are numerous complaints online for various reasons. They are just unreliable and you want to stay away from this aggregator, at least when renting a car in Turkey. 

car rental in Turkey
driving in Bodrum

Green Motion – Cheap Car Hire in Turkey But a Bad One 

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. 

When it comes to car rental in Turkey, this company’s every location receives criticism and negative reviews for issuing cars in poor conditions, hiding many extra fees, and trying to charge more money at the end of the rental.

We had absolutely horrible experiences with Green Motion not only in Turkey but when renting a car 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 also 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 Turkish car rental 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.

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 tends to find a dozen reasons why to take your deposit. 

Is It Safe to Rent a Car in Turkey?

rent a car in Turkey

This brings me to another question I frequently get and that is if hiring a car in Turkey is safe.

Yes, it is absolutely safe to rent a car in Turkey (anywhere in the country from west to east) but if you take precautions and stay away from scam companies (like gold car and green motion) and unknown rental companies like small individual rental car offices often located near hotels or in touristy areas. Also, avoid renting from individuals or unlicensed operators.

When renting a car in Turkey even from a big international company, upon pickup make sure to inspect the vehicle thoroughly and take photos (videos) to take note of any damages or issues.

When driving around the country, always lock the car and keep valuables out of sight, especially in crowded areas and when leaving it for the night. Additionally, make sure to purchase full insurance coverage to protect yourself from any accidents or damages that may occur during your rental period.

And especially considering how affordable car rental insurance from Discover Cars is, purchasing it won’t cost that much extra. 

Overall, Turkey is a very good country and is safe, thus renting a car in Turkey is also safe. 

The only note 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 for 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.

Practical Things to Know About Turkey Car Rental

What Documents to Have For Car Hire in Turkey?

Mainly you just need a driver’s license, passport, 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 driver’s 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 (luckily I still had 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.

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

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. You can rent a car in Turkey and drive it for up to 6 months without any IDP. Just using your European, American, Canadian, UK, or Australian driver’s license is enough.

I have driven in Turkey car rental with my license for over a year, was stopped by police on my 5th and 6th month of stay in the country for regular checkups and they never asked me for an international permit. Because there is no such law in Turkey requiring it.

However, if you come from India or UAE where your license is written in another language than English or Turkish, you do need to have IDP upon car pick up and with you when driving.

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 you a car because they say you are supposed to change your license to the Turkish one after 6 months.

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. But something to be aware of.

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 $5 per day to $25. 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.

renting a car in Turkey
Driving around the Bodrum Peninsula. If budget allows, I highly recommend you hire a car in Bodrum as there is so much to see in the region!

Hiring a Car in Turkey With Insurance – Do You Need It or Not?

Whether to purchase car rental Turkey insurance or not is a personal decision that depends on your own experience and confidence. 

If you ask me if we purchase insurance when renting a car in Turkey, I’ll answer yes. In the past, we used insurance from a credit card company (located in the US). But after that time when we lost our entire deposit because this CC company didn’t want to reimburse the money, we stopped relying on it. And now every time we are in Turkey (or any other country), we always buy car rental insurance.

The question is which type of insurance is better to purchase.

What you need to know is that every car you rent in Turkey comes with Third Party Liability (TPL) and Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) which means that in case of an accident or any damages to the car, you pay the amount up to your deposit. Depending on the company this deposit can be somewhere between $900-$1500, depending on the vehicle class.

But if you want to protect this deposit, you have an option to buy full coverage insurance which means your deposit will be protected. This coverage is not insurance for your vehicle but for your excess only. And it is a good option to have peace of mind without spending much.

The cheapest insurance and a number of different protection plans are offered by DiscoverCars. You can purchase insurance from them for as little as $7 per day which is the best value for the money. In addition, they usually offer nice bonuses like Roadside assistance and cover extra fees for Lost keys or lockouts.

Check Prices & See Turkey Car Rental Insurance Packages Here

Should You Rent a Car in Istanbul?

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 in Istanbul airport or nearby.

Do not hire it from rental offices located in hotels or in the neighborhood where you stay (like Sultanahmet, Karakoy, or Balat for example). Getting out of those will take so much time and energy.

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

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 (that cost between $1-$3 one way) and traffic is usually pretty intense.

Renting a car in Istanbul 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 stay on the Asian side and go on day trips to the Black Sea coast or explore a bit of the Anatolia region by car.

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.   

For more answers about car rental in Istanbul, I offer you to read my rent a car Istanbul guide.

Things to Pay Attention To When Booking a Rental Car 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 from is not located directly at the airport, they may not have a meet-and-greet service (which they also do not mention upfront). In this case, you’ll need either to take a bus, their shuttle, or a cab.

Find out about this in advance, so you know exactly where to go. Because if there is no wifi in the airport (which happens quite often), you may spend a lot of time figuring out your way.

Inspect Your Rental Thoroughly 

Even if 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. 

car hire in Turkey

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.

Some rental car agencies in Turkey may have limited service during certain hours, especially during late-night or early-morning hours. So you may need to wait a bit.

Ask If the Car Needs to Be Washed or Not

If you are renting from a small company (for example in Marmaris or Fethiye, or any other small city), clarify if you need to return the car clean. Large international companies at the airport never require that but small local shops often 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 $25-$30. But washing it on your own costs $1-$2. Car washes are present on many gas stations and you can clean the vehicle when getting gas before the drop-off.

A Few More Tips Before You Sign the Contract & Hire a Car in Turkey

Here are a few more things to remember when looking at rental cars in Turkey:

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

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.

3.) Before leaving the rental office with the car, do not forget to take photos of the vehicle even if the agent is telling you “everything is ok!”

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

5.) Check all the lights and all illumination on the inside. 

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.

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 but they are more expensive than when you pay on your own. For more information about tolls, see the general directorate of highways.

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 process of car rent in Turkey. If you have any other questions, please drop them in the comment section, so others could also see my response. 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 of your trip. Check out my Turkey Travel Guide page for more inspiration and practical posts to help you plan a trip. If starting a journey in Istanbul, here is my Istanbul travel planning page. And below are some of my most popular articles:

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

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

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46 Comments

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

    1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Hi
    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?

  9. 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.
    Cheers!

  10. 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.

  11. 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!
    Ellen

    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.

  12. 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. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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 Booking.com 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,
    Tania

    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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. Hi Anya,
    Thank you so much for this thorough and detailed article on car hire in Turkey. My question is:
    Can I rent a van in Istanbul city center and drop off at Kusadasi city center?

    1. Hi Lidee,

      Sure, you can rent a van in Istanbul city center and drop it off in Kusadaci, however, such delivery requirements are very limited among big aggregators. Your best option is to book through Local Rent. If you check their website, you will see they have an option during the booking process of delivery to the desired address. The same is for the drop-off in Kusadasi.

      However, also keep in mind that the company will charge you extra dollars for delivery and one-way rental, which is the cost of convenience. For the van, expect to pay around $200 for that (plus the amount for the rental itself) but I recommend you play with the dates to find a better price. Also, if you feel you need help, get in touch with the company directly (they have an easy contact form on the website) and ask them to help you arrange a vehicle.

      I hope that helps!

  18. Hello Anya, glad to find your nice website and lots of great info, thank you! I’m planning a road trip (3+ weeks) through Turkey with my parents. When renting from Istanbul (SEW airport), I am leaning towards rental with unlimited mileage. Is that what you would suggest? (I plan to drive all the way down to Antalya through the middle of the country one way, then coastal route back to SEW). Thanks for your advice.

    1. Hi Roger,

      That sounds like a great plan. And I think you are right to take the unlimited mileage option to take away the stress of going over the limit. And the good thing is unlimited mileage usually doesn’t even cost extra. I checked DiscoverCars and most of the deals there come without a limit on kilometers.

      If you have any other questions about your trip, let me know!

  19. Thanks Anya, very detailed and helpful. Bdw do you know whether Nissa is a reliable rental company? It gets mixed reviews, and it is cheaper than the rest.

    1. Hey Pas, my take on car hire in Turkey – never rent anything from companies that get bad reviews, if mixed reviews than it still can be fine, but if only bad reviews – stay away from it. I rented dozens of times cars from different rentals and had quite a few bad experiences, especially those ones that were offering very cheap cars (being in the same location) when average price on the market was higher.

      It doesn’t mean you will get a bad experience as many other people, but chances are very high. None of the companies will work at a loss, so if there is a very low price on an ongoing basis (compared to everyone else), there is something else behind it and other charges are coming, but in a different form.

      Also, one thing to remember – in Turkey, it is very easy to close a company and then reopen it with the different name on the following day. Nissa could be Trissa last year but if it was getting very bad reviews, they could just close it and reopen under a new name and ‘fresh start’. I am not saying this is what this company did, but just something to keep in mind when renting a car in Turkey.

      I’d say this – if you are on a very tight budget and Nissa offers what you can afford, take it, but get insurance to protect yourself, in this case, they won’t have any claims.

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