Traveling around Turkey with a car: non-typical route

Traveling around Turkey with a car: non-typical route

When it comes to Turkey, most people imagine an all-inclusive vacation straight away: swimming pool and sea, entertainment and cocktails. But we assure you that we can change this perspective. Let’s rent a car and go on a completely different trip..

What you need to know before you go

While we are still in the middle of a pandemic, there are special rules for tourists. Please check the information about current rules before you enter the country. For example, until 15th of April 2021, it’s a requirement to have a negative PCR-examination certificate conducted 72 hours prior to travel. 

Also, if you are planning to visit mosques check the visiting times ( you can’t enter a mosque in praying hours) and also take clothes covering your legs and arms completely. For women you should have a shirt or a dress covering your lower half as well as a scarf or a hat to cover the head. If you visit a more touristic mosque like the Aya Sophia you can buy covering on the entrance, but if you want to visit a smaller mosque (of which there are many beautiful ones) somewhere on the road, it is better to prepare your outfit in advance


We are gonna start our journey here. Istanbul combines both European and Asian characteristics. Modern Western culture meets the authentic and conservative spirit of the East often side by side. You can start your day here by visiting the Blue Mosque — one of the main city symbols. Then you can visit the Aya Sophia — a mosque which originally was made as the main ortodox temple in Constantinople.

After visiting Holy sites you can go to the Grand Bazar. Here, you can find not only all posibles souvenirs but a nice lunch as well — many nice small coffee places and restaurants are located within the Bazar.

Alternatively you can take something to go and walk through SultanAhmet area to Gulhane park. In April you can see the tulips blooming here or go out to the seaside and take a look at the Bosphorus and observe both sides of the city.

From there you can take a tram and go to Karakoy. Change to the historical funicular there and to Sishane station. Take a walk through the main street of the city — Istiklal Caddesi, and then go down to Galata tower. A climb to the top gives you amazing views of the whole city. The tower has been newly renovated, and it’s totally worth it to get there.

If you still have some energy after this you can take a bus and go to Rumeli Hisari — an old fortress from Ottoman times. You can also take a tea-time break at Kempinski Ciragan Palace or head somewhere to dinner. If you are staying at SultanAhmet, you can go back there and enjoy a great turkish dinner at Kosk 1981. 

What else can you check on the second day? If you are into modern art visit Istanbul Modern Museum or Arter Gallery. Take a ferry to Kadikoy in the Asian side and get lost on the narrow streets of the beautiful Moda neighbourhood, filled with great places for Turkish breakfast, coffee breaks and vintage shopping. From Kadikoy take a bus to Uskudar to see the mysterious Maiden Tower — an old storage tower surrounded with all kinds of myths and legends. From there you can walk to Kuzguncuk — a colorful street fulfilled with beautiful shops and cafes.


From Istanbul we're heading to Ankara. The car trip will take about five hours, so you better have a bit of a rest before it. Ankara is one of the oldest cities in Asia Minor, so you should prepare yourself for some extra sightseeing. You definitely should visit Anitkabir — a memorial grave of the first leader of Turkish Republic Kemal Mustafa Ataturk. Kocatepe and Haci Bayram Mosques are also worth seeing.

Definitely visit the old pedestrian Hamamonu Restored Area, which is located in the center of Old Town. It’s a nice walking zone with renovated houses, cozy alleys where you can feel the smell of turkish coffee prepared on the sand. The Museum of Anatolian civilizations is also located here. There are many exponents showing the history of Turkish peoples. Once you get tired of the city, you can chill at the shore of Lake Eymir or in the woods nearby.


Our next step is Konya — which is located about a three hour drive from Ankara. Konya is quite a religious and conservative place, and our piece of advice on clothes might be really useful guidance there (though to be fair, it’s quite a cold place as well by Turkish standards, so you will be wearing enough layers to be considered conservatively covered). You might want to visit Ala al-Din Mocques, where some of the Sultans were laid to rest and the Mevlana Museum where many unique exhibits including the sarcophagus of the persian poet Rumi are located.


Final stop on our Turkey trip is Mersin, a seaside city with many hotels and beaches. It’s not the most popular place for tourists but has a really nice climate and lots of things to see. Even if you are not into beach style vacations, the city won’t disappoint you. There are ruins of the old city Soli, Kizkalesi castle and a big variety of mosques. You can find great Turkish national dishes here, which are not served in other regions and well worth a taste. 

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