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When traveling to a new destination, arranging transportation is often one of the first logistical steps. Renting a car can provide freedom and flexibility to explore at your own pace. As you prepare for your upcoming trip to Istanbul, you likely want to understand the best options for securing a rental car. This guide will walk you through the process step-by-step, from booking in advance to picking up your vehicle at Istanbul Airport. With insider tips and recommendations, you’ll feel informed and confident to navigate renting a car during your time in Istanbul. Whether you prefer an economy sedan or SUV, need car seats or GPS, learning key details ahead of time will ensure your airport car rental experience goes smoothly.

Navigating Istanbul Airport

As a visitor to Istanbul, renting a car at the airport will require some navigation of the arrival terminals to find the car hire companies.


When you first arrive at Istanbul Airport, make your way to the arrival hall of your respective terminal. Both domestic and international arrivals will enter the main arrival halls which house service counters for all ground transportation, including car rentals. Proceed to the clearly marked signs for ‘rent-a-car’ or ‘car hire’ companies. There you will find the counters for major companies like Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, and Sixt.

Choosing a Company

Do some research on different companies ahead of your trip to compare rates and services. Also check if your credit card or travel membership offers discounts with a particular company. At the counter, the agent will need to see your driver’s license, passport, and often a credit card in the name of the main driver. Be prepared to pay mandatory insurance fees on top of the rental price.

Finding Your Rental Car

Once you have completed the paperwork at the counter, you will be directed to the rental car parking area. A shuttle bus will transport you to the lot where you will find rows of vehicles. Locate your car, check it over for any visible damage, then load your luggage and you are ready to go. But first, make sure you fully understand how to operate the vehicle before pulling out into Istanbul’s busy traffic. With some patience navigating the airport, you’ll be cruising the city in your own set of wheels in no time.

Renting a Car at Istanbul Airport

Reserving Your Vehicle in Advance

It is highly recommended that you reserve a rental car at Istanbul Airport in advance of your trip. This will help ensure that your preferred vehicle type will be available upon your arrival, and often securing a reservation ahead of time will allow you to take advantage of lower rates. Most major car rental companies operating at Istanbul Airport allow you to book on their website, through travel booking sites, or by calling their reservation center. Be prepared to provide details about your travel plans and the vehicle you need.

Arriving at the Rental Car Center

Upon arriving at Istanbul Airport, claim your luggage and proceed to the Rental Car Center located a short distance from the terminals. There you will find counters for all the major car rental companies where you will finalize your reservation, sign a rental agreement, and receive the keys to your vehicle. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the rental before signing the agreement.

Choosing Your Vehicle

Istanbul Airport features a wide range of vehicles for rent from economy cars to luxury sedans and SUVs. Select a vehicle that suits your needs, taking into account the number of passengers and amount of luggage you will have. Don’t forget that Istanbul’s roads can be quite congested, so a smaller vehicle may be easier to navigate. As in any destination, be aware of any restrictions on where rental cars are permitted to drive before choosing your vehicle.

With some advance planning, renting a car at Istanbul Airport for exploring the city or surrounding region can be an easy and affordable experience. By reserving in advance, arriving prepared at the Rental Car Center, and choosing an appropriate vehicle for your needs, you’ll be ready to embark on your Turkish adventure.

Driving in Istanbul and Turkey

While driving in Istanbul and greater Turkey can be challenging, especially for foreigners, following some key tips will help ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.

When renting a vehicle, be sure to consider the road conditions and your own driving experience. Istanbul’s roads can be quite congested, especially at peak times. If you are not used to driving in dense, urban traffic, you may find it stressful. In that case, you might opt for public transit or taxi services instead. If you do drive, give yourself plenty of extra time to navigate the roads.

Once on the road, be extremely cautious. Turkish drivers can drive aggressively, frequently not following standard traffic rules. Remain focused on defensive driving. Follow all posted speed limits and traffic signs to avoid incurring fines. Be especially careful changing lanes, as drivers may not signal before merging.

Some key differences to note compared to driving in Western countries:

  • Traffic lights are often ignored, even on major roads. Proceed carefully through intersections.
  • Passing on the right is common and permitted. Watch for vehicles passing you on either side.
  • Emergency vehicles do not always have right of way. Pull over when safe to do so, but do not expect other drivers to make way.
  • Honking is frequent and not always meant aggressively. However, excessive honking directed at you likely means you have made a driving error. Remain calm and continue driving safely.

Roundabouts require yielding to traffic already in the circle. But again, not all drivers follow this rule. Enter roundabouts extremely cautiously.

Driving in Istanbul and Turkey can be an exciting way to explore the country at your own pace. However, take time to learn the local road rules and conditions before getting behind the wheel. Exercise maximum caution, patience and defensive driving skills for a safe journey. If at any time you feel unsafe, do not hesitate to pull over and take a taxi or public transit instead. Your safety is the top priority.


Ultimately, renting a car at Istanbul Airport can be a rewarding experience if you prepare in advance. By booking online, researching companies, and understanding the various options, you’ll be ready to navigate the process smoothly when you arrive. With an efficient pickup and a comfortable vehicle, you’ll have everything you need to start your Turkish road trip or business travels. Keep this guide in mind, be flexible if needed, and enjoy the convenience and freedom of having your own set of wheels during your time in Istanbul. With the right rental car, you’ll be equipped to make the most of your visit to this fascinating region.