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Turkey to Greece: Rental Car ?s

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Mar 25th, 2012, 11:32 AM
  #1
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Turkey to Greece: Rental Car ?s

Hello,
I will be on my first trip to Turkey and Greece for around 2.5 weeks this May. My boyfriend and I will be staying in Istanbul for the first 4 days and then we were hoping to rent a car to possibly take a day trip down the Turquoise coast and then head backwards along the coast of Greece. I am having a bit of trouble finding a company that will let me check rates or make reservations online for this sort of trip. Any suggestions on companies I can look into? We were hoping to fly out of Athens back to IST for our flight home, so the rental is basically a one way situation - is this a problem for the rental companies? Would it be better to take a ferry across to Greece possibly and then rent a car there to get to a few locations?
Thanks for any help you can give - I wish I had 2.5 MONTHS to be there!
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Mar 25th, 2012, 11:54 AM
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|There is no car company that will allow to take the car to Greece...
The distance from istanbul to Athens is about 1200 km....
Even if you should find a car rental allowing you to do this, they would have to send someone to Athens to pick up the car and bring it back to Istanbul....
You would have to pay for all the expenses such as ticket from IST to ATH, gas, overnight and meals of the driver on his way back to IST.......
Getting to Athens and renting a car there, is i think the best that you can do
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Mar 25th, 2012, 11:57 AM
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www.economycarrentals.com is based in Greece (I believe) and brokers rentals in Turkey. It might be the best company to give you advice on rentals.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 12:07 PM
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Thank you both so much for your quick responses! I will look into both of those plans. I have done so many extensive road trips across the US and I enjoy exploring between two main points of interest. It is a whole new experience when the country next door is just a few hundred miles away and you can't necessarily just take the car wherever you go
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Mar 25th, 2012, 12:18 PM
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Michael, this is not a Greek company..
As i said NO car company will allow someone to take a car from IST to ATH, and even if they hypothetically would, the cost would be astronomical ....
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Mar 25th, 2012, 12:25 PM
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Are you actually saying that once you reach your southernmost destination on Turquoise Coast you will then turn around and head back north, driving along the Aegean, the western border of Turkey, then head west into Greece to Thessaloniki and then south to Athens, then fly back to Istanbul for your flight home?
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Mar 25th, 2012, 12:56 PM
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BLL i understood that they would take the car to mainland Greece with a boat.... which theoretically speaking would be doable, but unfortunately not allowed by any car company.
( plus the fact that cars on boats are never covered by any insurance)
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Mar 25th, 2012, 02:20 PM
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Clausar, from what I read I have a different understanding of their proposed itinerary than you do based on the question: "Would it be better to take a ferry across to Greece possibly and then rent a car there to get to a few locations?"

That's why I'm asking for clarification from them.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 03:13 PM
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hm.... got your point BLL...
i would start with studying a map first....
and then i would have a look at www.travelmath.com to calculate the distances...... and then i would probably find out that what i had in mind cannot be done....
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Mar 25th, 2012, 07:43 PM
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Wow, I've got to say I'm surprised at the snarkiness in response to this question. I definitely have spent a lot of time studying the geography of the region in the hopes of taking a driving tour. Therefore, I can only assume that I am totally mistaken in my research that there appear to be roads connecting Turkey and Greece, via their shared border. I will note the changes on my maps!

@brotherleelove2004 - To clarify:
Yes you are correct! I was talking about *possibly* driving further south from Istanbul into Turkey (maybe to Ephesus?) for a day or two (or that could be accomplished via the options of train/bus I have already looked into) and then backtracking North and East thru Turkey, and Southwest along the coast of Greece - but really the goal was to leave directly from Istanbul in a car and drive down thru Thessaloniki, to Athens, and maybe even to Kalamata or possibly to Lefkada.
I am just being ambitious - hoping to see the places my family is from and possibly to see my extended family, whom I have never met. I know much of this trip will be edited down to the must-dos and not be so unattainable.
It's under 700 miles if we start from Istanbul to Athens via the routes I mapped - which is exactly the route you mentioned, BLL. This is not far to drive over the course of a week and a half, with time to stop along the way and see some more of beautiful Greece. Really, my question was just about bringing a rental car across the Turkish/Greek border in a one-way rental not about ferrying rental cars. I was just asking about ferrying us - 2 people - from Turkey's western coast to Greece, in the hopes we could somehow squeeze the coast of Turkey into this trip.
With all the differing state laws regarding insurance and driving in the US, national companies do still allow you to cross state lines in their rental cars. I guess I was just curious if two countries might have these policies in Europe. Doesn't hurt to ask, right?
Thanks, BLL, for your interest in my question!
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Mar 25th, 2012, 09:31 PM
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The first thing I would do would be to contact the international department of companies such as Autoeurope, Avis, Budget and Hertz to ask about crossing borders. You never know, they might have some sort of accomodation for this.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 09:55 PM
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i checked with our fav rental site, kemwel, and it shows 'no dropoff in greece online. however-- i would call them because they are so very helpful and real people (as in they really work with you.) they may have some ideas or creative solutions. kemwel uses agencies like hertz and autoeurope-- but they will beat any rate you find. aside from that, i have just always found them to be super helpful. they should be able to give you the full scoop. much luck.
kawh
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Mar 25th, 2012, 10:42 PM
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those are excellent suggestions - thank you brotherleelove2004 and kawh!
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Mar 26th, 2012, 01:06 AM
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You will find that it really is impossible to take a rental car across borders from Turkey into the EC, especially on a one way rental and vice versa, because of both customs and insurance regulations. As far as i know all the major car rental companies like Avis and Hertz have licencies in Turkey rather than owned operations, which makes it really, really impossible for them to provide any international assistance.

however, there is a practical solution:

there are frequent buses from istanbul to Kavala and Tessaloniki. The route within turkey is not that exciting except for the possible detour into Enez, just before the border. Then you can rent your car from Kavala or tessaloniki to drop it in Athens with no difficulty. In fact, there may even be some flights from Istanbul to tessaloniki, but i have not checked this.
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Mar 26th, 2012, 01:30 AM
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There's an even better alternative....
Hertz, Avis, National, they all have offices in Alexandroupolis, which is very close to the turkish border.

I checked Avis on line system.... and there was a surcharge of 500 Euro for picking up a car from Alexandroupolis and dropping it off at the Athens Airport. ( this is quite common in Greece, as the car will have to be returned to Alexandroupolis)
It's getting less ( 200 Euros) in case of Thessaloniki-Athens.
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Mar 26th, 2012, 01:35 AM
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Lotsofcats, I didn't see any snarkiness whatsoever in the replies to your question — just a genuine desire to help, but confusion over your intentions. I couldn't make out what you wanted to do either, as the Turquoise Coast of Turkey and Thessaloniki in Greece are in opposite directions from Istanbul, and that would mean either doubling back or taking a ferry. It's difficult to display emotions in a forum post, which is why I make liberal use of smilies. ;-)

There may possibly be rental car drop-off arrangements between different countries within the European Community (EC), I don't know, but Turkey is not an EC member. From my current take of what you wish to do, it seems best to explore what you want to see in Turkey, fly from Istanbul to Thessaloniki or Athens, then pick up another rental car to explore there.
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Mar 26th, 2012, 03:17 PM
  #17
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Amazing, and again - thanks everyone. I had gathered from reading the forum previously that people have really good info to share and you guys are quick.! That is all incredibly helpful and the info will be put to good use.
In an unexpected twist, I am going to London for 6 weeks for work and will probably be pushing my Turkey/Greece vacation back a few weeks... and maybe even getting to extend my stay in both countries. Looks like this spring and early summer will be nothing short of a major adventure. I couldn't be more thrilled
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May 14th, 2013, 03:12 AM
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Thanks for all these words of advice.

I am planning a trip by camper around Greece this summer with my family (11/12 yo boys). Originally I was planning to fly into Athens, but now looks like we and will be flying in/out of Istanbul, Turkey.

I initially wondered whether it would be practical to hire the vehicle in Istanbul and drive to the Greece border, but from these replies (and others) it seems it will be ill advised, if indeed possible, which was my gut feeling from visiting Istanbul years ago.

So, then I plan to head to Alexandroupolis to pick up a vehicle to start the trip proper there.

Do you recommend travelling by bus or train from IST to Alexandroupolis? Any links to timetables?

Can you recommend any car (camper) hire outfits in Alexandroupolis?

otherchelebi suggested "there are frequent buses from istanbul to Kavala and Tessaloniki." Would it therefore be better to bypass Alexandroupolis?

As I research online, are there any must see places in the area? We are looking to show the boys some history.

Maybe I should start a new thread, but the replies here are so practical and relevant, if a year old.
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May 14th, 2013, 03:29 AM
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yesmaybe, for one thing, there are major problems with trains leaving Istanbul. So that is not an option.

I do not know the historic places to visit en route to Tessaloniki, but there is one within Turkey not too far from the Greek border called "Enez" You can find some information on the level of excavation and the structures there on the web. What interested me most was a warehouse for mussels that was possibly 3000 or more years old not far from the antique Greek city.

The WW I battle sites at Dardannels have memorials, cemetaries and such but hardly any beached ship or weapon remains. They are also about 90 minutes or more from the main highway, towards the tip of the Gallipoli peninsula.

Good luck.
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May 14th, 2013, 07:19 PM
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otherchelebi, thanks. If no train (why?), and no cross-border car travel, how did you travel around, and reach Eniz, which seems off the main highway (bus route)?

Are the long distance buses comfortable? We are a family of four and don't want to rough it.

Dardannel and Gallipoli are Turkey, we won't be venturing further south in Turkey, this time.
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