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Driving To Turkey From The UK

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Have many driven to Turkey from the UK? I am going to make the trip as my Mrs. wants certain things brought over when we make the move in October. Any tips would be most welcome, safest way, what to avoid etc., what not to bring.

Just peoples' experiences would help.

Many thanks in anticipation of your replies. :)

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true words the only thing I could compare this trip with is giving birth lol once things have started you have to get on with it, no way out how ever much you want it and how ever bad the pain is

Just received an email from the Geoff, he left on saturday to drive to Turkey. Here's the story so far. Saturday Well all packed, organized and plan to leave Cornwall 9:00 but probably

As you guys are anticipating the next installment, find below received email from "The Geofferage". Seems its been quite stormy over there as well as here in the UK, down in the southwest where I

Hi Tony

We did the same just last week. Here's a brief rundown.

We left our home in Kent in our pickup truck with Truckman top and towing a 12' x 6'6" x 6' box trailer then headed for the Channel Tunnel & then on to Colmar in France for an overnight stop. From there we drove through Switzerland & on to Ancona in Italy for the 2nd night stop. The morning of the 3rd day was spent doing very little whilst waiting for the 1.30pm ferry to Igoumenitsa in Greece (overnight & arriving at 5.30am).

We then drove across Greece and stopped again at Alexandroupoli, just before the border with Turkey (we did this because we did not know how long we would be stuck at the border [totally justified in the end] and not being able to find a hotel close to the border on the Turkish side. After getting through the border we headed for the Canakkale ro/ro ferry (30 minutes) across the Bosphorus (rough roads but it cuts out about 500 miles of driving).

Then on to Altinoluk for the final overnight stop (Lambada Hotel-WOULD NOT RECOMMEND IT!)

Final day drove to our home in Uzumlu, Fethiye, a total of 1925 miles. All on EU roads until you reach Turkey and although we had the cost of the ferry from Ancona it was outweighed by the cost of the vignettes (tolls) in many of the countries & the exorbitant car insurance we had to pay in Serbia when we drove over last year (without the trailer) as the green card does not cover you there.

Last year we took the France, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey route and that was about 500 miles more + many of the roads are a bit iffy, especially Bulgaria where it is a matter of dodge the pothole! The trouble we had this year was that at the Turkish border they decided they wanted our truck & trailer unloaded so they could see what to charge us import tax on.

We had the option to unload it ourselves or pay some of their workers to do it, we elected the latter. Thankfully because it was bitter cold & snowing they were not too enthusiastic & were happy after they found our large American style fridge/freezer, smaller drinks fridge, small generator & computer in the trailer so didn't search & find all the electrical items in the truck which is really what they look for.

They then calculated the second hand cost (we had nothing new) & charged tax on them at 18%.

Unfortunately they did not take any care when reloading & our 3 piece suite + some other bits were damaged.

I wasn't there to supervise as I spent most of our time at the border running around with paperwork.

Just as you think they have everything they decide they want copies of something else. There is a shop in the Duty Free mall that does photocopies & I visited there 4 times. Once you have paid the taxes you are sent back to the customs office for them to check everything again before sending you back to the entry kiosk (5 visits to there) but if you get to the customs office as I did just after 12 noon you find they are all at lunch until 1pm.

Total time at the border 3.5 hours!

Also at the border you can insure your car as your UK insurers won't, 139TL for 6 month's cover is what we paid there.

Hope this is of help to you.


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Hi Tony

Yes, we used Tom Tom BUT forgot that Greece is actually in Eastern Europe & the basic Tom Tom map covers only Western Europe so we couldn't use it there. However we always go to Tom Tom Home & print out the route as well before we leave, just in case.

I'm sure you are aware that you can buy a download online & install onto your device.

You will have to do the same for Turkey. Put them on a memory card & when you get to those countries switch off the device, put in the card & restart (that's the way mine works anyway).

Have a good journey.


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  • 3 weeks later...


I have been down and back to Bodrum twice now in July/August.

First time I went via Anconna Italy and through Greece 2009.

Second time through Austria, Hungary Serbia Bulgaria then into Turkey 2010.

It was a lot more expensive for tolls and ferries going through Italy.

Going through Serbia I had to change my car insurance company to Halifax, which does supply green cards for Serbia and so you will not have to pay at the border.

Serbia was much less of a problem than I had expected, only difficulty was going through Belgrade without street maps.

Roads in Bulgaria were fine except for the last 150 miles before the Turkish border when they were single carriageway and covered with water, but this was more due to torrential rain which followed us from Belgium all the way to Çannakale.

I did speak to another British person who said he had removed the cross from the Serbian box on the green card in order to get through, but obviously I could not recommend doing this.

The other alternative is to go through Romania and Bulgaria.

What ever way you choose have a safe and enjoyable journey.

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  • 1 month later...

Hiya Tony

We made this trip twice, in May 2008 and this year in February. In 2008 we (3 adults, 2 children, long wheel base high roof minibus with seats stripped out for belongings) went via the chunnel (06.30am Thursday morn.) to Calais down through France with one overnight stop, through to Italy and an overnight stop in Parma, on to Ancona for the ferry (11.30pm Saturday) arrived in Cesme, Turkey Tuesday morning, then down to Didim.

We stuck to the motorways all the way, using a sat nav with a mapped route as back up. Tolls were expensive, Italy the worst. Paid extra for worldwide insurance with Norwich Union but still had to buy Turkish insurance (after an argument) in Cesme, cost 61 Euro, as worldwide insurance is not valid in Turkey ????

Took two dogs with us with all the paperwork but never got searched. Took the bus back in the August same route except ferry from Cesme to Brindisi in Italy and only one overnight stop in France.

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Hiya David,

Thanks very much for the info, I will not be taking a lot but there are items that my wife would be mortified if she had to leave behind (plus all the nagging I would have) the only electrical item I am bringing over is our TV, if I have to pay a tax on it it still would be a cheaper option than to buy one the same in Turkey.

I have heard some horror stories about using the ferries/ports to come into Turkey, I was thinking of catching the ferry in Ancona to Iguemenitsa in Greece and then on to the motorway all the way to the Turkish border then drive through Turkey down to Kusadasi... Guzelcamli we will be driving a Mercedes Vito, we are not going to rush just plod on over, we are hoping to start of at the end of August-September, we will be coming from Neath South Wales, where will you be setting off from?

Perhaps we could meet at the Chunnel and follow you over?

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Hi Tony

Thanks for the reply. We took 2 TV's with us, one 32"in a false floor under the dogs cage and a 40" wrapped in a sleeping bag inside a vacuum bag and then placed in the middle of all the other bedding etc. all in vacuum bags.

But as I said we were not searched.

Beware!! tried the same thing coming back with the 32", took too much air out and the screen collapsed and shattered.

Migros, the supermarket in Didim were selling 40" LG with high spec for 700 lira and 32" for less than 500 lira, check up the prices are coming down.

As it happens we are in North Wales, and if all goes to plan we want to be back in Didim for the 5 Sept. so plan to leave end of August, journey takes 5 days comfortable, though did it in 4 days in Feb.

Can give you my email address later to keep in touch if you like.


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  • 2 months later...

Hi Tony,

Sounds like an adventure. We did a similar trip last year and back through the snow in February, Our Green Card covered us for Serbia and Turkey (though it ran out after 90 days and we bought slightly more expensive green card cover in Turkey to get through the check-points).

It pays to check thoroughly your UK insurance cover and get max cover before going on a trip like this through 10 countries. It also covered Serbia and the UK. The vignettes were pretty cheap, I can't remember the prices but certainly less than 20 Euros.

Roads were pretty good overall but our TOMTOM (never buy one of these...get a Garmin) let us down on main roads in Bulgaria and Turkey...fab in cities.

Anyway route and stuff below:

My wife and I drove to Fethiye from London in July 2010. Our route was Dover-Dunkirk via Norfolk Line then National routes E40, E35, E41, E45, E56, E60, E75, through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and into Turkey Route 80/87 at Edirne. Edirne to Edrimit ferry to Canakkale and then the coastal route via Izmir and Mugla to Fethiye. Virtually a straight line on a map of Europe.

The ferry across the Dardanelles was 24TL for the car including passengers. Service on board is simple but good for the half hour crossing.

Day 1 We drove very early morning for the Dover ferry at 6:00 am then didn't stop until Passau (625 miles run from East London) on the German Austrian border arriving around 9pm for the pre-booked hotel.

The roads are fast, mostly clear we managed this at a steady average speed of about 65 MPH (to give you an idea this was a long day but the quality of the roads made it fairly comfortable).

Day 2,  Passau to Budapest, 320 miles. Overnight stop. On the return journey we spent an extra two days in Budapest which was well worth it.

Day 3, Budapest to Sophia, about 500 miles.

Day 4, Sofia to Çanakkale, 360 miles. Overnight stop (very few decent hotels around here for non-smokers, no such notion of a non-smoking room, though they tell you they have them, they don't). Edirne is also worth a longer visit if you have time as of course is the Gallipoli peninsula and Troy.

Day 5,  Çanakkale to Fethiye, 390 miles. Saw us arrive at about 6.30 pm.

There are no borders in Europe till you get to Hungary/Serbia and then Bulgaria/Turkey. You need

  1. Green card insurance for the trip (max 90 days)
  2. Road tax for Austria and Hungary that you buy at the border crossings though we failed to spot where to buy for Austria (strangely not required for Turkey and you get a six month visa in your passport for the car.)
  3. Best to book hotels en route before you go....keeps you on track and on time and gives some assurance that you will have somewhere to sleep. Hotels we stayed in averaged 70 Euros for a double room including breakfast.

We booked because we had a car full of valuables and required secure parking but the only place we had trouble with that was Edremit which seemed to be a pretty sleazy kind of place as we passed through....

The whole drive for us was about 2200 miles at an ave speed of 50MPH (44hrs driving time) which I thought was pretty good 56Lt of diesel in my 1999 Mercedes (fill up outside Turkey before you enter to save a small fortune.)

We drove back in February. We needed to get new insurance in Turkey in order to exit. The UK company won't insure longer than 90 days outside the UK. While long winded and bureaucratic Turkish green card and traffic insurance wasn't too expensive and made the exit easy.

The roads in Bulgaria vary from fantastic (Some double up as aircraft runways) to downright dangerous so be careful not to leave the main roads. We used a new Tom Tom purchased with Europe and Turkey maps but with the exception of finding all the hotels with supreme accuracy, the maps and the Routes it contained were less than useless, often sending us way of course into the nothingness of Europe. Complete rubbish, even on motorways and Autobahns it would indicate to turn off where there was no junction and for no apparent reason ....buy a Garmin.

Overall, this is an easy drive and no expensive ferries or tolls (yes there are NO TOLLs on this route) including cross channel ferry, 4* hotels (except Turkey) gas and food you should spend less than 1000 Euros. If its four traveling in the car you are traveling for the same price as an air ticket, in more comfort, seeing the countryside on a four day holiday.

OK same price to return but don't forget it includes accommodation for eight nights!

We spent 6 months in Turkey so it was fab having our car here and returning we did stop for several nights at various places (for another post).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Which way are you going?

I am going to

  • Dover to Calais
  • Calais to Basle
  • Basle to Brindisi
  • Brindisi To Igoumenitsa Ferry
  • Igoumenitsa To Turkish boarder at ipsala
  • Ipsala To Kesan
  • Kesan to Gelibglo Ferry
  • Gelibglo to Lapski
  • Lapski to GuzelcamliI

I didn't fancy going overland etc so this I hope is a good way to go, just make sure you have all the right documents like your green card and I am taking RAC roadside cover, lots of foodstuffs as I don't have to spend a fortune on buying it and lots of water and my plastic. 

I wish you a good trip.

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I'm going overland through Germany Austria and I must admit I am very worried about it. I'm only worried because I'm a woman on my own with kids and it is a long drive.

I have tried to get a friend to do the drive with me but had no luck. I am now trying to work out the cost. I'm doing the same, taking plenty of food and a small gas burner so i can cook what we need.

I'm looking at about six days. If i do it sooner it's a bonus. All my friends say I'm mad attempting it but i have so much to take over I haven't got an option.

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I think I can do it in 5 days if we drove longer we could do it sooner but I can't be bothered to rush too much, I have booked the Dover ferry to Calais but I will just wing it with the ferry from Italy as I don't know how long it will take me to get to Brindisi, perhaps you could ask if anybody is going over the same time and then you can link up with them.

I am sure I read in one of the forums that somebody else was going out the same time as you....or was it me? anyway worth a try. With the cost of fuel and ferries there is not much difference I think to going either route.

We leave south Wales on the 30th so not long now. :D

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I have a relative who lives in Rimini, so we're going to get there, and spend a night or 2 maybe!

I'm going to contact her soon and ask her to find out the times of the ferries and prices, so if I get the info before the 30th I'll post it for you.

My main tip is to take coffee making equipment!! We drank LOTS!

And be prepared to be really tired!

Good luck.

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Thanks for that, I would very much appreciate the ferry info, I received this:




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Apparently you can get a ferry from Ancona which saves the drive to Brindisi, but is a 15 hour ferry trip.

A friend of ours went from Brindisi in May, 2 people and a car, and it cost 80 Euros one way, they bought the ticket at the port.

Any info on-line is coming up quite expensive, so we're still going to just turn up at the port too.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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