Then see our helpful guide.

Do you fancy driving to Turkey rather than taking the plane? If so then here are a few tips and tricks to make the journey fun rather than a nightmare.

Get the Car Checked Out

The journey from UK to Turkey is anywhere between 1,500 miles to 2,500 miles depending on your start and end destination. Whilst you might drive those sorts of distances in a few month, one long journey could really test your car. So, get it serviced before you leave and make sure your tyres and brakes are up to the journey and all the travelling you’ll be doing when you’re in Turkey. Carry a few essential spares if you think they may be difficult to get hold of in Turkey such as a fan belt.

Equip The Car to Meet Driving Regulations

{mosimage}Headlight deflectors, first aid kit, warning triangles, hi-viz jackets, fire extinguisher, tool kits and spare lamps are required in most countries. It’s more than likely that you won’t have all of these so get shopping. Visit the AA website to find out the exact details for each country here.

Note the AA regulations are out of date for Turkey and a silver foil survival blanket is also now required to be carried. These cost are 5 YTL and are available from Turkish chemists.

Paperwork

{mosimage}You will need to bring your driving licence – both paper and ID card. You will also need to bring your registration document, also known as the V5 and your insurance/green card. All these documents should be carried with you when you drive as the authorities will require them if you are stopped or are involved in an accident or cross the border into Turkey.

Insurance

Check your car insurance to see if covers you for driving in Europe and Turkey. Most polices provide 3rd party cover for EU countries but if your car is valuable, consider taking out fully comprehensive European cover. Most policies don’t cover Turkey, as it’s not in the EU, so ask about the cover you can buy. You may find it’s easier and cheaper to buy 3rd party insurance when you reach Turkey. All Turkish land and port border entry points have an insurance company that will sell you 3rd party insurance for your duration of stay.

Breakdown insurance is also something to look into. Again, a UK breakdown policy probably won’t cover you in Europe so ask how much it will cost to upgrade. Alternatively, shop around for another policy. Europe Assist  via this website offer a policy for £59

Planning Your Route

Maybe you are a lucky owner of an in car GPS sat nav unit and can just jump in the car and let the black box do the hardwork. Maybe….but if you plan your route you can make the most of the journey and see all the great things on the way. In any case it’s a good idea to have a paper road atlas just in case your sat nav get’s pinched or breaks down.

We like the Philps Multi-scale European Road Atlas. It’s big, spiral bound and the details are very clear. Not only that but it also has a wealth of other information including driving regulations by each country and useful country information here.

There’s also a fabulous French website that can not only plan the best route for you through France but also from destinations in UK through to Italy. It will even calculate the toll charges and your fuel costs here.

The most popular routes to take involve driving to Italy and picking up a ferry to Greece or, in season, direct to Turkey.

Be realistic about how far you can drive in one day and don’t over do the driving. It’s easy to think you can average 90 mph on the French motorways but in reality you’ll probably average much less than that. Getting tired is not only dangerous but will spoil all the fun of the great journey. If anything underestimate how far you will travel.

Book your Ferries

{mosimage}You have a great range of providers to choose from to get over the English channel but prices can vary widely depnding on the route you take. The cheapest single crossings we have found are using Speedferries. They operate between Dover and Bolougne and the crossing takes 55 minutes. Crossings are currently £27 single for a car and up to 5 passengers. www.speedferries.co.uk. You may also want to have a look at the channel tunnel crossing with off peak prices starting at around £49 one-way. Whilst this is generally more expensive than the ferry it isn’t affected by weather conditions so it might be money spent wisely if you want to avoid a potential delay.

If you choose to take the route to Italy you then have a couple of choices. Take the ferry to Igoumenitsa or Patras, Greece or, if in season, take the ferry to Cesme near Izmir, Turkey.

There are a number of ferry companies that operate from Ancona, Italy to Igoumenitsa, Greece. http://www.superfast.ferries.org/  and http://www.minoan.gr are two such operators. The journey takes around 16 hours to the closest port of Igoumenitsa.

If you do drive across Greece you will also need to take a ferry across the Canakkale straight but you can just turn up and sail on that one as it runs every half an hour.

If you don’t fancy driving across Greece and Northern Turkey then take the ferry direct to Cesme with Maramara Lines http://www.marmaralines.com/eindex.htm. It only operates between the end of March and the End of October. The journey takes 2 days but gives you time to relax and enjoy a mini cruise. It’s makes sense to book this ferry in advance as it only runs once a week. If you just turn up and it’s full you’ll either have to wait a week until the next one or take a ferry to Greece.

Fuel

{mosimage}You can save some money by planning your fuel stops enroute. The AA lists the average fuel prices by country so with a bit of planning you can time your fill ups to save some money. For example French fuel is cheaper than the UK so fill up in France rather than the UK. Swiss fuel is cheaper than Italy so fill up before you cross the border. Greek fuel is the cheapest of all so fill up before you come into Turkey.

The AA European fuel price list can be found here.

Accommodation

If you want to rough it then you can sleep in the car but it’s much better to find accommodation each night after a long days drive. If you are confident that you can reach certain points in your journey then you can book ahead. Use the internet to find a suitable place before you go. But, if you plan to push on and ‘drop where you stop’ just turn up and check in at a place you like the look of.

Don’t forget that the ferry will include 1 or 2 nights accommodation depending on which route you take.

Tolls

{mosimage}If you want to make fast progress then the only way to travel is via the fast European motorway network. Depending on the countries you travel through a toll will be charged.

It really helps to have a passenger with you if you’re driving a right hand drive car as all toll booths are on the left in Europe. All toll booths in Europe take credit cards so take a couple with you just in case you have a problem with one of them. The credit card toll booths are generally quicker than the cash booths with fewer queues.

Use the website to calculate how much the tolls are likely to cost here.

If you choose to travel through Switzerland a carnet must be purchased at a cost of 40 Swiss Francs (£17) and this lasts for 1 calendar year.

When you get to Turkey there are two further tolls to pay if you choose those routes. The Izmir to Aydin motorway costs 2.5 YTL and the Dalaman Tunnel 2.5 YTL. If you arrive by car ferry in Turkey then a toll is also payable if you use the motorway from Cesme to Izmir.

Speeding

{mosimage}The roads in Northern Europe are fast but speed limits vary by country so watch out for the long arm of the law and carry enough cash or a credit card to pay any fines. Some countries can levy on the spot fines but others do not have any system to fine foreign drivers. Greece is one example of a country that cannot fine you if your car is from outside their country. Turkey however will fine on the spot (Turkish fines are listed here).

Finally

Check out the story from someone who made the journey in October 2006 here.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for this information, I am intending to plan through Dover to Paris, than Switzerland, than Italy, now in Italy there are 3 locations, Venice, Tuscany and Sicily, I need to choose either of this location to cross over directly to Istanbul via a ferry or go indirectly through Greece. Please advice which ferry and town near these locations is better. I am not too keen on Sicily as it i too far down?
    Many Thanks.

    • Khan. Thank you for your question. You’d be better picking up any ferry in the north to save time and tolls. The choice of routes ie really depended on how much driving you want to do. The Greece route is more driving but the roads are good now.
      When we did the trip we travelled from Ancona which is half a day’s drive from the Swiss border. Over night ferry to Greece and then drove to the Turkish border at Ipsala in a day.

  2. Hiya,
    I was planning to drive to turkey through mid-Europe rather than go to Italy and use ferry, This looks like quicker and cheaper. Best route I found through France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey. Any tips for that? Also is there any web site that I can find places to stop for rest on this route? Thank you

  3. anyone done the journey recently driving through the list of countries above as i’m planning on doing the trip in June

    Thank You

    John

    • Hi john have u done the journey yet… if so please update, I am doing it in august. ? Any tips from anyone would be great.. I want to rent a car in london but drop off in greece and then ferry it to turkey where my family willl fly to… Iwill return by plane. So far having a hard time finiding a one way rental car.. any suggestion please…

  4. I drove from UK to Turkey and back last year through France stopped over in Swiss border
    ,drove to Ancona next day, to pick up Greek ferry to igoumenitza and all the way to Ipsala Turkey.I think this is great route because having a chat with some people on the ferry who have done both route, I was recommended this one in terms of less driving and safety
    have a safe journey
    erkan

  5. Hi
    Would it be possible to know
    How many days it takes from uk to turkey by car as I’m planning to travel from turkey to Lebanon and what the best route from turkey to Lebanon
    Many thanks

  6. Hello
    We are hoping, to drive to fethiye ,turkey later this summer. Going from the uk via Belgium,Germany,Austria,down to Bulgaria into turkey then south and use one of the ferries to put us on the coast road .it seems others here are also using this route.any tips,ie places to stay overnight would be much appreciated .

  7. Hi i m planning to go to Antalya, Turkey from london … plz can anyone suggest me the fastest and safest route to reach there as this is my first time to travel by road ..
    Thanks

  8. Sooner route is the best so far… you will get to see amazing places on the way to Turkey and above all you will enter Austria 🇦🇹:) I am taking this route in late August 2017 and I have done it before.

    Watch out for people asking for fuel or help on the way and never ever stop to help someone at night if you have a family or if you are driving alone unless during the day where you can see people. You can definitely help people from UK as you can see their car regs or people from France or EU but not in Turkey 🙂

    Be careful with the pedal, if you do 90mph or 70 mph you will get there so enjoy the moment and do not speed!

    Be nice when stopped by police as hey just want to check and always open windows when approached by them. I was surprised if Turkish police as they were super nice and didn’t give me a ticket for not having a deflectors as my car is an old one. They were even joking with me:)

    Stopping to rest is important! Do not book it in advance as you will not know when you will be tired but you can go into small villages and take a rest in a hotel for less then £15 a night.

    And finally, I always start driving from 3:30 am and take a small break around 2pm and then find a hotel by 8 pm. Park the car where you can see it or at least in a safe parking area.

    Enjoy your trip 🙂

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