About Turkey (TR)
Turkey (TR) is a deceptively charming combination of Asian, European, and Middle Eastern influences, and a product of its geographic position between the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea. Once a major hub of the Silk Road, Turkey is a sort of crossroads between “worlds” — head northwest to Greece and the rest of Europe, south to Syria and the Middle East, or set off for Asia via Iran. But Turkey is a prime destination for leisure travel in its own right, with thousands of kilometers of coastline, hundreds of idyllic islands in the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea, the historic cities of Istanbul and Ankara, home to ancient Greek and Roman ruins. And its regional cultural differences make Turkey seem like half a dozen different countries under the same flag.
Getting around Turkey is most convenient, efficient, and affordable for visitors who rent a car. Its highway system is extremely similar to European countries and most rules of the road will be familiar to drivers from all Western nations. The primary challenges are congestion in major cities and covering long distances between destinations. Otherwise, driving in Turkey has a definitively European influence. Service stations are plentiful, and fuel prices are reasonable. Compared to a number of regional destinations — Morocco, for example — Turkish roads and driving habits are within the range of safe and lawful. It should be noted that driving in rural areas after dark is not recommended.
Choosing your car
Cheap car rentals in Turkey are supplied by the major brand names in the car hire industry. Choose your car from Sixt, Hertz, Avis, National, Enterprise, Thrifty, and more. Vehicles on offer include compact, economy, and minicars, standard and intermediate 4-door sedans, 7-12 seater minivans, SUVs, estate wagons, and specialty vehicles such as cargo vans and pick-up trucks.
Tips and advice
Most Turkish cities are circled by ring roads that bypass the city center. To access the central district of any city, look for signs that read “Centrum”.
Police checkpoints are common throughout the country, but particularly in the southeast and around Ankara.
Turkish road signs are very similar to those found in Europe. Green signs indicate routes to motorways (high-speed toll roads). Blue signs indicate toll-free highways. White signs indicate rural roads. And brown signs indicate a place of interest.
The motorways are generally much faster than their free counterparts. Toll collection is electronic-only. Your car hire provider will probably offer you an option to avail of a transponder, or you can go it alone and buy a pre-paid card from a fuel station, or at entrances to the motorways.
One wrinkle of the motorway toll system is a fluctuating payment system based on both distance traveled and the type of vehicle. SUVs and minivans pay a higher rate.
Traffic lights in Turkey are positioned in front of the intersection, so if you pull all the way up to the line, you won’t be able to see them clearly, and hence, your reaction time may be a bit slower. Turkish drivers are infamous for use of their car horns, but if you stay off the line, you’ll cut down on the number of impatient honks from drivers behind you, who can clearly see the light turned green 0.3 seconds earlier.