Hire from Istanbul Atatürk Airport
Avis (www.avis.com.tr), Budget (www.budget.com.tr), Europcar (www.europcar.com.tr), and Hertz (www.hertz.com.tr) all have desks in the international arrivals area, as does local car-rental agency Decar (+90 212 465 45 55).
Hire from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport
Budget (www.budget.com.tr), Decar (+90 216 588 05 40), and Hertz (www.hertz.com.tr) have offices in the international terminal.
The major car-rental firms all have offices around Taksim Square, the non-airport location that will probably be most convenient for visitors. Many also have offices on Bağdat Caddesi, the Asian side’s busy shopping strip.
Avis (www.avis.com.tr) has offices near Taksim (Abdülhakhamit Caddesi, İnal Apt. No. 72/A, Elmadağ; +90 212 297 96 10) and in Asia (Bağdat Caddesi, Hisar Apt. No. 162/C, Selamiçeşme; +90 216 355 36 65).
Budget (www.budget.com.tr) has offices near Taksim (Abdulhakhamit Caddesi, İnal Apt. No. 72A, Elmadağ; +90 212 297 43 93) and in Asia (Bağdat Caddesi No. 444, Suadiye; +90 216 380 56 55).
Europcar (www.europcar.com.tr) has an office near Taksim (Topcu Caddesi No. 1, Elmadağ; +90 212 254 77 10).
Hertz (www.hertz.com.tr) has offices near Taksim (Yedikuyular Caddesi No. 4/1, Elmadağ; +90 212 225 64 04) and in Asia (Bağdat Caddesi No. 146, Feneryolu; +90 216 337 09 88).
What you need to know about car hire
Istanbul is crowded with traffic (and bad drivers), fuel is expensive, and parking is scarce; unless you’re planning extensive travel outside the city or to its farthest-flung suburbs, renting a car is likely more hassle than it’s worth.
If you do decide to drive, be aware that Turkey is a relatively expensive place to rent a car and that most vehicles are manual transmission.
You have to be 21 years old to rent a car and have had your driver’s licence for a year. An international driver’s permit is not necessary, but can be helpful. I recommend getting the additional collision damage waiver as fender-benders are not uncommon.