Rent a Car for Travel in Istanbul

Renting a car can be an excellent way to explore bustling Istanbul and make convenient side trips to surrounding regions. Navigating Istanbul’s chaotic streets may seem daunting at first but this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about renting a car for travel in Istanbul.

Rent a Car for Travel in Istanbul

How to Rent a Car in Istanbul

Follow these key steps for a smooth rental experience:

Compare Rental Companies

Research rates and policies at major chains like Avis, Budget, Hertz and local companies like Europcar and ADA. Consider:

  • Rental costs
  • Vehicle options
  • Pickup/dropoff locations
  • Inclusion of insurance, taxes, fees

Reserve Your Rental Car

Once you’ve selected a company, reserve your car rental providing:

  • Pickup/dropoff dates
  • Pickup/dropoff location
  • Vehicle type
  • Any extra equipment
  • Driver details and payment

Book early for best availability and cheaper rates.

Know the Requirements

Common requirements for renting a car in Turkey are:

  • Valid driver’s license from your country
  • Minimum age, typically 21-25 years
  • Credit card for deposit
  • International Driving Permit recommended

Pick Up the Rental Car

Arrive on time at the branch with your documents, inspect the car, and drive away.

Driving in Istanbul

Here are some key tips for navigating Istanbul’s streets and roads:

Getting Used to Driving

Istanbul has dense traffic and aggressive drivers. Get comfortable first before long trips. Useful tips:

  • Follow speed limits and signs closely
  • Use navigation apps like Google Maps
  • Watch for motorcycles zipping between lanes


Finding street parking in central Istanbul is extremely difficult. Understand regulations:

  • Metered parking zones have maximum stays
  • Public car parks available at hourly/daily rates
  • Hotels may offer parking for a daily fee

Tolls and Gas Stations

No tolls for roads, but pay for bridges crossing the Bosphorus strait. Gas stations plentiful around the city.

Road Rules

Follow all Turkish driving laws:

  • Legal alcohol limit of 0.05%
  • Mandatory seatbelt use
  • No mobile phone use while driving
  • Yield to pedestrians at crossings

Where to Rent a Car in Istanbul

Major rental companies have convenient pickup/dropoff branches:

Istanbul Airport

Counters for all major companies located in the airport terminals. Open 24/7 for easy pickup.

Taksim Square Area

Numerous rental offices around this central square near hotels and attractions.

Train Stations

Europcar, Avis, Budget outlets at stations like Sirkeci and Haydarpasa.


Rental desks available at cruise ship passenger terminals and ferry docks.

Suburban Locations

Find rental car pickup at malls, hotels and transport hubs in the greater Istanbul region too.

Types of Rental Cars in Istanbul

Consider these popular rental car choices:


Small cars like Toyota Yaris, Fiat Panda, Chevrolet Spark. Good for Istanbul’s cramped streets.

Compact Sedans

Midsize options like Renault Fluence, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta. Comfortable for 2-4.

Standard Sedans

Full-size choices like Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3-Series, Ford Mondeo. More powerful for highways.


Volkswagen Caddy, Mercedes Vito have ample room for groups and cargo.

Luxury Vehicles

High-end Mercedes, BMW, Audi models available but costly. Extra services included.

FAQ About Renting a Car in Istanbul

1. Is an International Driving Permit required?

Having an IDP is recommended but a valid license from your country suffices legally.

2. What insurance options should I consider?

Third-party liability is legally required. Also consider collision damage waiver for full coverage.

3. Are rental cars equipped with GPS?

Many rentals have built-in GPS, especially with international companies. Confirm when booking.

4. What side of the road do Turks drive on?

Turkey drives on the right-hand side, same as continental Europe and North America.

5. Are child car seats available for rent?

Yes, reserve an infant/child seat in advance. Inventory is limited so request early. Verify rental costs.


Renting a car enables you to visit top attractions in Istanbul as well as historic sites and scenic areas nearby at your own pace. Booking the right rental car along with vigilant driving will ensure you have a convenient experience discovering all that this amazing city has to offer.


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