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Driving in Western Turkey

I am trying to figure out the best way to get around Turkey - probably the usual places in Western Turkey like Ephesus, coast around Antalya, Konya, Cappadocia.

I have read they have an excellent bus system, and poor train system. I am not crazy about buses (travel sickness etc.).

Any comments on driving rental cars in Western Turkey? (except for Istanbul - not crazy enough to drive there). How are the roads/drivers? Easy or hard to get around? Dangerous?

I have driven in several countries including the countrysides (not big cities) of England, Italy, and Spain with no major problems, except a bit higher heart rate at times!


Posted by
8293 posts

Three of us , after a few days in Istanbul, picked up a rental car and drove to all the places you mention. Can't remember the exact year, but maybe 8 years ago. We were told good maps are hard to find in Turkey so we bought the best road map we could find before we left. We had a hotel reservation in Istanbul (Empress Zoé) but on the road we just winged it and always found a decent place to sleep. We didn't find it difficult though some of those drivers of dangerously over-loaded trucks can be a bit scarey.

In Selcuk we stayed at a hotel which turned out to be a training school for people entering the tourist trade. It was a great find and of course, Selcuk is close to Ephesus. Another hotel we found was owned & run by a man & wife who had lived for many years in Germany, so here was this very Bavarian-looking hotel in the Turkish countryside ! The hotel was actually closed for the season but they opened up for us and gave us soft boiled eggs and bread for breakfast on their private terrace. So kind.

Do not hesitate to plan a road trip there, especially considering you already have experience driving in Europe.

Posted by
46 posts

I'll echo the above comments. We rented a car last summer and drove from Troy to Antalya and many, many places in between. It was easy and we had very little problem getting around. Yes, Turkey has a good bus system but if you want to visit more than two archeological sites in one day, it is better to rent a car. I would recommend avoiding big cities, driving in Antalya was difficult but not impossible. It was probably more stressful in part because most of the time we had the roads to ourselves or with very little traffic. If you've driven in Italy, you'll be fine. Just watch out for the big trucks, they'll go where they want, it is your job to avoid them.

I'd recommend renting from a Turkish company, their rates are considerably lower than international companies. We rented a car through but you could go directly to Decar. They are very professional with a good fleet of rental cars.

One side note, if you do get into any sort of fender bender, call the police to file an accident report and be prepared to take a breathalyzer test. Every driver involved in an accident is required to take one no matter what.

Posted by
13 posts

Thanks Norma and Katherine for the great tips and information. That does make me feel better about renting a car. You can really get to some out-of-the-way villages and places when you have a car, and cover more ground also.

I will look into the rental car agency that Katharine suggested.

We had a fender-bender in Slovenia, and I have never been treated so nicely by police!

Cheers, and sorry for my slow response - did not realize I had some responses.