Driving in Turkey
Tips for the Road
- Turkey follows the right-hand driving system.
- At junctions or crossroads, drivers should yield to traffic approaching from the right, unless traffic signs indicate otherwise.
- In Turkey, turning right on a red light is strictly prohibited. Drivers must wait for the green signal before proceeding.
- Dipped headlights should be used during times of reduced visibility in the daytime, as well as at dusk in urban areas, and full headlights must be used at night.
- It is illegal to use a mobile phone without a hands-free system while driving in Turkey.
Road Types and Speed Limits
- Speed Limit: Typically 120 km/h (75 mph), but may vary in certain areas or during adverse weather conditions.
- Characteristics: These roads are the highest standard in Turkey, connecting major cities and regions. Designed for fast, long-distance travel, they often feature modern facilities and service areas.
- Speed Limit: Generally around 90 km/h (56 mph) outside urban areas, but this can vary.
- Characteristics: State roads form a primary network connecting cities and larger towns across Turkey, serving as major routes for national travel.
- Speed Limit: Usually around 80-90 km/h (50-56 mph).
- Characteristics: Provincial roads link smaller towns and rural areas to the larger national road network.
- Speed Limit: Typically around 50 km/h (31 mph) within urban areas, with possible reductions to 30 km/h (19 mph) in residential or high pedestrian areas.
- Characteristics: Urban roads in Turkey facilitate local traffic within cities and towns, providing access to residential, commercial, and industrial zones.
- In Turkey, the toll system for highways and bridges has been upgraded to the High-Speed Toll System (Hızlı Geçiş Sistemi, HGS), aimed at improving traffic flow. Consequently, toll payments can't be made with cash or credit cards. Every vehicle, whether it's private or rented, must have an electronic toll-payment device. There are two systems: HGS, which uses a windshield sticker with a chip, and OGS, which requires an electronic device installed in the vehicle. Both systems automate toll payments by deducting fees from a linked account, offering quick and cashless passage through toll booths and dedicated lanes for faster travel. You can get HGS stickers and OGS devices at various places like post offices and banks, and they can also be managed online. This method of collecting tolls makes travel on Turkey's major highways more efficient, convenient, and time-saving for drivers.
- Otoyol O-1 (E80/E5): The O-1 motorway is a significant route in Istanbul, forming a part of the European route E80. It serves as a crucial link within Istanbul, connecting to the E5 highway.
- Otoyol O-3 (E80/E90): This motorway, part of the European routes E80 and E90, connects Istanbul to Edirne and the Kapıkule border crossing with Bulgaria. It's vital for international trade and travel.
- Otoyol O-4 (E80): Linking Ankara with Istanbul, the O-4 motorway is a key route as part of the European route E80, connecting Turkey's capital to its largest city and facilitating significant domestic and international travel.
- D-100 (E80/E90): Running from Edirne in the west to the Iranian border in the east, the D-100 is a major national road in Turkey and an integral part of the European routes E80 and E90. It is one of Turkey's most important east-west roads.
- D-400 (E90/E87): Turkey's longest road, the D-400 stretches from Edirne in the west to Şırnak in the east, passing through the southern part of the country and key cities like Mersin, Adana, and Gaziantep. It is part of the European routes E90 and E87.
Top City Destinations
Istanbul, a city of enchanting contrasts, where ancient wonders mingle with modern marvels. For a sensory overload of sights, sounds, and aromas, wander through the labyrinthine alleyways of the Grand Bazaar. Here, you can haggle over exotic spices, admire intricate carpets woven with vibrant colors, and browse through troves of jewelry. In Sultanahmet, visit the Hagia Sophia, a remarkable edifice with a history as both a church and a museum, and be wowed by its vast dome and detailed designs that shimmer in the sunlight. You can find solace in the Blue Mosque, with its blue tiles and tall towers, standing out as an oasis in the bustling city. Experience the captivating Bosphorus Strait, the boundary where Europe and Asia meet. A leisurely ferry ride along this waterway offers views of majestic palaces and ornate bridges. Conclude your day by indulging in traditional Turkish dishes at a local restaurant, savoring the rich flavors and spices unique to Istanbul.
Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city, is a center of culture, commerce, and history with a heritage dating back to the Bronze Age. Enjoy soaking up the sun on Izmir’s many beaches. Alternatively, take a boat trip to the uninhabited island of Karaada, famous for its stunning beaches and unique rock formations. Here, you can swim, sunbathe, and explore the island’s natural beauty. If it’s adventure you’re seeking, try parasailing over the city, windsurfing on the Aegean Sea, or kayaking along the coastline. Another must-visit is the Kadifekale Fortress, a 3,000-year-old hilltop stronghold offering stunning views of the city and the Aegean Sea. The climb to the top is challenging but rewards you with breathtaking panoramic views. Turkish coffee is a social ritual in Turkey, and watching a traditional coffee ceremony is a must-do for any visitor. The coffee is roasted, ground, and brewed in a special pot, and the grounds are left to form a pattern in the bottom of the cup. You can then interpret the pattern to see what the future holds.
Bodrum, a true Turkish delight, offers a rich variety of experiences. Explore the marketplaces to find an array of the famous Bodrum leather sandals and bags, along with other local souvenirs and handmade jewelry. For adventure, dive into the crystal-clear waters of Guvercinlik Bay for an unforgettable swim with dolphins, or explore the region on horseback, adding rustic charm to your journey. Yacht enthusiasts will find a haven in the elegant yacht marina, perfect for indulging in luxury. The Saturday market at Turgutreis is a must-visit for those seeking local experiences, offering an authentic glimpse into the lives of locals. Film buffs can enjoy an open-air film screening at Dibeklihan Culture Village, where art and cinema blend seamlessly. No visit to Bodrum is complete without exploring the historical Bodrum Castle, a sentinel overlooking the town, offering historical insights and stunning views. And of course, Turkish kebabs and coffee are always a must-try.
Dalaman the stunning gateway to the Turquoise Coast. Here you can discover the infamous Blue Lagoon, by taking a boat to the secluded paradise with shimmering turquoise waters against white sands and lush greenery, or explore the ancient Lycian city of Xanthos where you can wander through well-preserved ruins like the Temple of Apollo, a necropolis, and intricate rock tombs etched into the hillside. For nature lovers, the Lycian Way offers a serene hiking experience through the Taurus Mountains, showcasing breathtaking views and the region’s rich cultural heritage. Lastly, visit the Butterfly Valley, a vibrant sanctuary filled with butterflies, birds, and wildflowers, and unwind on the beach of Ölüdeniz, famous for its turquoise waters and soft, white sands. Each of these activities offers a unique way to experience the allure of Dalaman and the Turquoise Coast.
Vlora, a haven for sun and sea seekers, offers a delightful fusion of delicious cuisine and captivating history. Stroll along the Lungomare and bask in its alluring coastal atmosphere. For those fascinated by myths and history, the nearby Kanina Castle beckons, steeped in tales of the past, or go on an expedition to Sazan Island to learn about its fascinating military history. Explore the Independence Square, a center of activity and a significant historical site commemorating Albania’s independence.If the beach is your destination, you can experience a vibrant atmosphere at Vlorë Beach or, for a quieter seaside retreat, enjoy the tranquility and seclusion of Zvërnec Beach.
Saranda is a lively city on the Ionian Sea, perfect for those who enjoy beautiful beaches and dynamic nightlife. Start with a visit to the mesmerizing Blue Eye Spring, a natural wonder that’s both beautiful and mysterious. History buffs should check out the ancient ruins at Butrint, a journey back in time. The promenade and beach bars are buzzing with energy. Enjoy a drink, listen to music, and mingle with the friendly locals. And for a true taste of Saranda, try their local raki — a classic part of the night experience.