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eurotraveller Dec 12th, 2004 08:07 AM

Driving in Turkey?
My boyfriend and I will be traveling around Turkey in May/June and I want to rent a car but he is afraid of driving in Turkey. I have been trying to assure him that driving will be a piece of cake as long as we avoid driving in the big cities.

I would like to arrive in Istanbul, stay a couple of days, fly to Kayseri and rent a car. From there I would like to drive south to the coast and travel along the coast to Ephesus where we would drop off the car.

We have a friend who advises us not to drive in Turkey and last night while at a Lebanese restaurant a man told us not to drive. We have both driven in many places in Europe so we are accustomed to driving in foreign countries.

I enjoy the freedom and flexibility that renting a car allows. Why are we getting advice not to drive? I would appreciate hearing about your experience if you have driven there.


hopscotch Dec 12th, 2004 09:07 AM

I drove in Turkey from Greece to Istanbul and then to Bulgaria. Different area but no problem. As you say, piece of cake. Did anybody say why you shouldn't drive in Turkey? Have they done it? The only problem I anticipated was the availability of unleaded gas for the car we drove there from Germany. I filled several jerry cans of gas and carried them in the trunk but that proved to be unnecessary.

eurotraveller Dec 12th, 2004 08:26 PM

The guy last night spent 6 months in Turkey and said the drivers are crazy and drive dangerously. My friend has visited Turkey many times and says the same thing. I have rented cars and driven in Germany, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Croatia and Mexico and although I had some interesting experiences I was never afraid.

You had no problem? I am glad to hear that!

Patrick Dec 13th, 2004 06:26 AM

"The guy last night spent 6 months in Turkey and said the drivers are crazy and drive dangerously."

Maybe the guy last night was confused. Maybe he was really thinking about driving in Florida -- or in Ohio? Or maybe he was confused about Los Angeles freeway driving, or the drivers in Italy or Germany. My point is that anyone can make that statement about anywhere.

We've driven just about everywhere and Turkey was hands down one of the most pleasant countries to drive it. From my other posts you probably already know that we did about what you're doing. Although we didn't drive in Istanbul, we rented a car in Keyseri and drove south then up the coast to Kusadasi. The roads are in wonderful condition, well marked, nice guard rails on the mountains, and seemingly devoid of major traffic. Once in a while in the country you may see a donkey cart heading down the road -- but they are easy to avoid, and I assure you the donkey won't charge at your car.

Your friends are way off base here. I can't think of a single reason not to drive in Turkey (other than Istanbul). I may have also mentioned already that when we were stopped at a roadblock and the police discovered we were Americans they even wanted us to come inside their station and join them for apple tea. (I've always felt guilty about refusing them since we were anxious to get going--one should never refuse an invitation for tea).

Maria_H Dec 14th, 2004 12:44 AM

Go for it! As you say, if you avoid big cities, the roads are fine and often very quiet. Yes, you will come across unusual vehicles, overloaded trucks, donkey carts, etc, but nothing that will cause you a major problem. On one trip my partner got fed up with me insisting he stopped the car whilst I helped wild tortoises across the road! Hiring a car will give you a chance to explore fantastic scenery and out of the way ruins that you wouldn't otherwise get chance to see. My partner did the driving but I never felt unsafe on Turkish roads - which is more than I can say for parts of Italy, but that's another story...

AP6380 Dec 14th, 2004 03:51 AM

I plan on driving for 2 weeks in June in Turkey. I can't imagine that it will be anything compared to the driving I did in Italy for 3 weeks this past August. Let's just say it was- thrilling??? I actually did enjoy it quite a bit.

flanneruk Dec 14th, 2004 03:54 AM

It's possible that both the posters on this site and Eurotraveller's unhelpful acquaintances are right.

My experience of driving the touristy bits of Turkey is just like the earlier replies. But we deal with lorry drivers in our business, and we hear similar stories to those Eurotraveller is hearing.

The reason is that relatively few Turks live in, or drive along the roads in, the touristy bits. Real life - for most Turks and for foreign lorry drivers - is about the drive from Istanbul through Asia Minor to Ankara. Which, we hear, is vile, and full of other lorry drivers who've been driving too long, are late for a deadline, are pissed off with just about everything, and end up doing really stupid things on roads that really weren't designed for the torrent of goods pouring out of Turkey to the EU.

And all those lorry drivers are gobsmacked when we tell them of quiet coastal drives in Lycia with well-mannered fellow drivers on near-empty roads.

nnincedogan Dec 14th, 2004 04:57 AM

While you srive ib Turkey
You should avoid to drive in night as much as truck driversare on road otherwise it is o.k.
Re flying to Kayseri You do need any longer to fly to Kayseri there are private firms airlinesflying to Nevsehir airport into maincenter of Cappodocia.

MikeBuckley Dec 14th, 2004 06:04 AM

<i>I filled several jerry cans of gas and carried them in the trunk </i>

That's very dangerous. If you get hit from behind, the gas could fuel an inferno.

Simonnz Dec 14th, 2004 08:24 AM

Hi, I'm a kiwi guy who has spent over 4 months in travelling Turkey, including driving both cars and motorbikes. I have driven the route you are looking at.
I feel its perfectly ok to drive there including the cities (just more agressive versions of London (ok alot more), and like London a real nightmare to find your way). Roads are fairly good, traffic away from cities is light.
Dont drive at night (old men on donkeys, cows, sheep etc in the middle of roads). DONT speed. The local police will like to stop you. They need the cash (I was told they are the lowest paid police force in the world). It happened to me. Just give the first guy some cash, I paid 20,000,000 turkish lira (about $13 US). So maybe clear out your wallet and leave only what you can/want to give. Show you have no more otherwise they/he will ask for more. And try to hide it from the other officers as they will ask the same amount for them. This for me was a nice happy experience with all parties smiling away. No aggression, infact it was the best police experience I ever had. I mean this really.
The locals will be passing you everywhere including large tour coachs (even when driving fast), and if you dont pull over they will pass on the inside on the grass. If you are a confident driver who can rip around the streets. A good country to drive around and well worth the effort. Oh yes they are crazy and drive dangerous, but I reckon alot less so than the English.

hopscotch Dec 14th, 2004 09:16 AM

I agree, MikeBuckley. Besides, we had the smell of gas in the car when the windows were up. I was relieved to finish the last can and air out the car. I would not do this again.

USNR Dec 14th, 2004 01:27 PM

Many parts of rural Turkey do not have fencing; so avoid driving at night because livestock wanders onto roads. Very similar to rural Mexico. In traveling throughout Turkey, we never had any problems by simply driving defensively. Speeders are few but can be dangerous. You will enjoy the large combination gas stations and cafeterias that line the roads. These are the modern version of the ancient caravanserais. Spotless clean, good food, they even wash your car while you wait. No kidding.

Katiemay Mar 12th, 2005 01:46 PM

We spent 3 weeks in Turkey about 7
years ago. We landed in Istanbul and
took an overnight train to Ankara and
picked up a car there.
Sometimes the driving was a little
tedious for my husband. They were
doing alot of work on the roads.
We loved the country and would like
to go back someday.
The people liked Americans, then. I
hope they still do. They really
like it when you try to say something
in their language.
We flew into Istanbul about 9:00 at
night and driving along the water and
seeing the skyline with all the
mosques lit up was a fabulous sight. I
couldnt believe we were really there.
We would like to go back someday and
yes, we would drive again. We were 67
yrs at the time. Have a great trip.

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