Hiring a car in Turkey is a great way to go off the beaten track to really see this beautiful country. Using a car to tour region by region, you can go where you want, when you want, getting to the most out-of the-way places which are difficult to reach on public transport.
There is an excellent choice of car hire companies across Turkey all the big international firms are present in the main cities/towns/airports, whilst small local rental companies can be competitive on price. The larger hire companies are very flexible and allow you (with a fee) the freedom to drop off your car at another branch as well as making arrangements for your car to be available at arrival eg. airport, harbour, hotel.
There are many, many great routes across Turkey, once you have the keys to your car. For those looking for gorgeous scenery and pure escapism, a driving route along the south-western Turkish coast and southern mountain regions would allow you to discover the Turquoise Coast, a spectacular coastline fringing the Anatolian mountain plateau (elevation 1016 meters). Providing pristine beaches, hidden bays and inviting sea temperatures, this coast is perfectly framed by a fantastic mountain backdrop. Must-see places include Antalya, Termessos, an ancient remote city with great mountain panoramas and the Sagalassos fountains. Driving east along the ancient Silk Road would then take you through the biblical Cappadocia area, including the fantastical lunarscape of the Dervent Valley.
For those more interested in Turkey's fabled archaeological past, there is an almost unlimited choice of sites to visit. A great place to start would be Ephesus, south of Istanbul, on the Aegean Coast, where you can see many biblical and mythological sites, including the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Driving south from here to Didyma is the Temple of Apollo, whilst a drive east, takes you up the Meander River valley to Aphrodisias, the ancient city of Aphrodite, where the ruins are considered amongst the most important archaeological sites in the Aegean.
When renting a car in Turkey you will find most driving licences are acceptable. Once on the road, your passport and the insurance documents of the hire car, will also be needed in case of an accident en-route. Driving in Turkey is on the right hand side and road signage is in line with the International Protocol. The speed limit for towns/cities is 50 km/hour and 90 km/hour outside of these. Be aware that some highway and bridge tolls only take pre-paid toll cards, not credit cards. Once you have accessed the main highways, petrol stations are easy to find and some have 24 hour opening.
The driving culture in Turkey is considered chaotic by some non-nationals and you will need to be a confident driver to adapt to Turkish ways. On highway routes some drivers will ignore the lane markings altogether and drift across lane, whilst very fast drivers can appear from no-where, flashing you out of their way. In the cities Turkish drivers use their horn for all manner of reasons, often aggressively. Traffic lights are seen as optional and, if quiet, drivers will go through on red! Roundabouts are a further challenge as they have traffic lights on which require different lane changes to UK/US ones.
However, if you do master the ways of the road in Turkey you will be well placed for your return to the Mediterranean. Rent a car in Cyprus and you'll find a very similar holiday experience to Turkey a Mediterranean climate, gorgeous scenery, world class ancient Roman sites and horn-happy drivers taking little notice of traffic lights or the rights of way of other road users!