Izmir Car Hire

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Izmir is only an hour’s flight from Istanbul – but this fascinating city overlooking the Aegean Sea on Turkey’s west coast is a different world in terms of history and culture.

When you’re prepping for your Izmir holiday, there are so many awesome ancient attractions, excellent excursions and amazing activities that you’re probably struggling to work out which to prioritise.

Enter our Izmir guide – it’s stuffed to the brim with brilliant insights on customs and conventions, top tips on the tastiest foods, advice on accommodation and knowledge on how to navigate your way around town like a local.

Whether you need to hire a car in Izmir, plan the perfect night out or source scuba diving gear, the knowledge you need is right here.

Insider Info On Izmir

  • Izmir is the third largest city in Turkey (with a population of 4.28 million) and the third most developed in socio-economic ranking, so it’s a modern, sophisticated metropolis that’s very much open for business.
  • It’s the second most attractive for investors in Turkey, with 2,235 international companies and 140 new investments annually. If you’re thinking of diversifying your portfolio, its worth serious consideration thanks to its large innovation and research scene, high quality of life and dynamic, future-facing young workforce.
  • It’s home to 5.3% of the Turkish population and attracts 1.8 million tourists annually, so you’ll be in good company when you arrive.
  • Izmir is ranked 1st in Turkey in the life standard index and 1st in the social capital index, so if you prefer to holiday where people enjoy a good quality of life, this destination should chime with your conscience.
  • It was formerly known as Smyrna and is one of the oldest cities in the Mediterranean, having been the site of a significant settlement for more than 5000 years.
  • In terms of industry, Izmir has several petrochemical and engineering works, it’s a major producer of woollen textiles, food, cotton and cement, and exports include carpets, silk, tobacco and figs.
  • Famous Izmir natives include chanteuse Rita Abatzi, basketball player Furkan Aldemir, boxer Anton Christoforidis, actress Meltem Cumbul and Greek epic poet Homer.
  • Izmir has a cycle sharing scheme called Bism, with docking stations places prominently along the sea front, and it’s also an excellent base for cycle tours of the picturesque Aegean coast.
  • Speed limits in Turkey are in km/h – they are 50 km/h in towns, 90 km/h in two lane highways and 12 km/h on motorways.
  • Road signs in Turkey follow the international standard.
  • Visitors to Turkey can drive with their own license if it has a photo and is issued from one of the countries listed in this UN Treaty.
  • When driving in Turkey, as well as your driving license, you must carry the following mandatory documents: passport, tourist visa, vehicle insurance and proof of vehicle registration.
  • Smoking in vehicles in Turkey is forbidden, even if you own the vehicle.
  • The currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira.

Guide to Izmir

Izmir is so chock-full of cultural, culinary and historical delights that you’ll have to return multiple times to see them all.

For locals and visitors alike, the best way to start an action-packed day here is with a strong kahve (coffee), which is cheap, strong and of such a thick consistency that your spoon will stand up in it!

After your caffeine fix, stroll along to the Roman Agora and soak up the aesthetic ambience of your first sublime ancient site. This attraction dates from the 4th Century BC and was levelled in an earthquake in 178 AD before being reconstructed in fine style by Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The Faustina Gate and Corinthian colonnade are highlights of this complex, but strolling through the vaulted chambers of the basilica basements really brings the history of this former major marketplace alive.

And you’ll be glad to know that haggling for goods and bagging bargains hasn’t been consigned to the history books in Izmir – head to bustling Kemeralti Market and you’ll find everything from charming tourist trinkets for friends and family to delicious ice cream, freshly squeezed juice and local chocolate that’s simply to die for.

But since Izmir has been a prominent port town since antiquity, its Kordon (seafront) is perhaps its beating heart.

Thanks to an excellent urban renewal programme and robust maintenance, this pleasant green space, which ranges south from Konak Pier to Konak Meydani and north from Cumhuriyet Meydani to Alsancak, is a cool, cosmopolitan sanctuary where you can mix and mingle with locals and absorb the friendly vibes of modern Izmir. If you’re a people-watcher, you’ll be in your element in any of the busy bars, restaurants and cafes that line the Kordon, while history and culture buffs will enjoy the Ataturk Museum and Arkas Art Centre.

Izmir is also a superb springboard for a visit to the ravishing ruins at Ephesus. This UNESCO World Heritage site was a major Greek City in the 6th Century BC and home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. But excavations have also revealed fascinating remnants of the period when the Roman Empire controlled this territory, such as the Library of Celsus and the Great Theatre. And finally, there’s also an ancient gymnasium, which proves that people have been trying valiantly to maximise their muscles and minimise their waistlines since the dawn of time!

Izmir car hire

With a wide range of reliable providers including big international brands like Alamo and local/European companies such as Pandora Car Hire, CARWIZ Rent A Car, Goldcar and Avec Rent A Car, you won’t struggle to find a great deal on car rental in Izmir.

If you’ve never rented a vehicle from any of these companies before, here’s a little background information to reassure you of their professional calibre:

  • Pandora Car Hire has emerged as one of the leading vehicle rental operations in Turkey since it was established in 2012 – it prides itself on providing exceptional customer service and contributing to the nation’s burgeoning tourism sector. Customer support is available 24/7 but all vehicles are maintained thoroughly in order to ensure all drivers have a smooth and stress-free experience.
  • CARWIZ Rent A Car specialises in fast and affordable car rentals and, as well as its Turkish operations, has a commercial footprint throughout eastern and south-eastern Europe, as well as Morocco and St Maarten in the Caribbean.
  • Founded in Spain more than 30 years ago, Goldcar is another excellent car rental option in Izmir. This long-established firm serves customers in 118 tourist destinations in Europe and has introduced several innovations over the years to enhance customer service, such as the Key n Go key dispenser. Its staff are dedicated to providing the best car hire price and delivering the highest level of choice, reliability and customer service.
  • Avec Rent A Car has a business heritage that stretches back to 1982 and its business model is focused on providing a wide choice of top car models and brands for reasonable prices. Furthermore, it prides itself on regularly refreshing its fleet so that its vehicles are as new and reliable as possible. In fact, you might even experience that delightful ‘new car smell’ when you sit down in an Avec vehicle, which is a rare pleasure indeed!

By conducting a swift search with Enjoy Car Hire, you can choose from the very best deals possible from all of the above providers and more, making an informed, objective decision based on price, reliability and vehicle suitability.

Motorists drive on the right side of the road in Turkey and you’ll choose the vehicle that best suits your requirements and size of group or family. The choice of car models is endless, but includes the likes of the Fiat Panda, Hyundai i20, Renault Symbol, Citroen C-Elysée, Renault Clio, Ford Fiesta, Fiat Egea, Fiat Doblo and Darcia Lodgy. As you can see, there are vehicles to suit solo travellers, couples and every size of family or travel group.

History of Ismir

Izmir is known as the Pearl of the Aegean and its rich history can be traced back over 3000 years.

Originally known as Smyrna, it earned a reputation as one of the most progressive, enlightened and outward-looking Anatolian cities, and archaeologists have found a considerable body of evidence suggesting strong links between Izmir and the Trojan civilisation. But the Hittites (who Homer referred to in the Iliad) were also a dominant group allied with the Trojans, and they built a major settlement around Mount Yamanlar in 1500 BC.

By 1000 BC, Izmir had evolved to a form which would still be recognisable to modern inhabitants – it was a very busy port with a population of around 1000 and its architectural centrepiece was the Temple of Athena, remnants of which can still be seen to this day.

An era of invasions, embattlement, destruction and reconstruction subsequently followed, with Alexander the Great capturing the city from Persian invaders in 340 BC and rebuilding much of its infrastructure before the Romans arrived in 133 BC, only for an earthquake in 178 AD to almost destroy it completely.

When the Ottomans took control of Smyrna in 1415, it started to transmogrify into the cosmopolitan, western-influenced city which would characterise everything from its culture to architecture from then onwards.

By the 17th Century, it was an affluent commercial port, boasted several foreign consulates and had a diverse, multicultural population.

And that’s not all – Izmir was invaded by the Greeks after WWI and recaptured by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1922, a crucial turning point in the Turkish Independence War which catalysed the creation of modern Turkey.

So all in all, it’s evident that this inspirational city has a great history.

Izmir Airport

You’ll probably be glad to know that Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB) is one of the best places to rent a car – so if you plan ahead, this means you can proceed to your accommodation with no delay and start enjoying your holiday straight away. And although this Izmir travel hub is modern rather than ancient, it still has a history all of its own. Here are a few enlightening facts on ADB:

  • Named after Adnan Menderes, the famous Turkish Prime Minister who was in office between 1950-1960, ADB is situated around 19km southwest of the centre of the city and first opened in 1987.
  • Popular destinations include Athens, Dublin, Istanbul, Baku, London Gatwick, Moscow, Jeddah and Frankfurt, and air carriers include Turkish Airlines, Aegean Airlines, Aer Lingus, easyJet, Jet2.com, Lufthansa and Qatar Airways.
  • ADB has expanded steadily in the intervening years, with a new international terminal opening in 2006 and a new domestic terminal being unveiled in 2014. It has two runways, but since one lacks a dedicated taxiway, only one is operational at the moment. The airport serves cargo as well as carrier aircraft, further enhancing its status as a contributor to the regional and national economy.
  • The airport processed a total of 12.4 million passengers in 2019, around three quarters of which were domestic, with the remainder international.
  • There’s free Wi-Fi available throughout the terminal building and porters are available at all times of the day to help with your luggage. Meanwhile, if a long inbound flight has left you feeling a little frazzled or you need some rest and recuperation before jetting off home, there are prime class lounges in the domestic and international terminals with air conditioning, children’s entertainment, well-stocked bars and buffet sections.
  • ADP is also an inclusive airport, with many adapted facilities and support services for passengers with disabilities, including disabled restrooms, reserved parking spots and braille printed location descriptions and logos. Extra assistance is also available for passengers who have young children or elderly relatives – the information desk is located in the centre of the terminal and staff are always happy to help.
  • You’ll find plenty of shops and restaurants where you can pick up gifts and keep hunger at bay, there are many bureaux de change to swap currency and the Portclinic on the International Terminal Departures floor offers 24/7 medical assistance to passengers as well as staff.

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FAQs about car hire in Izmir

Most frequently asked questions about hiring a car in Izmir

The cost of car rental in Izmir is dependant on your preferred model and make. But to provide you with a ballpark figure, based on a one day hire with pick up and drop-off from Izmir Airport, it would cost just £15.40 to hire a compact car like a Renault Clio or similar or £36.83 for a large SUV like a Nissan Qashquai.
Use a low-cost service like Enjoy and you can rent a car like a Peugeot 301 for only £15.17 per day.
Most car rental companies have low-cost deals, but providing an example will help you budget – at the moment it’s possible to rent a Fiat Panda or something similar from Pandora Car Hire for as little as £50.59 for one week.
The minimum age to rent a car in Turkey is usually 21, but this can vary depend on the category of car.
Yes – there’s a small surcharge incurred for drivers under 25 years of age.
Provided that their license is in order and all the relevant details are provided, many car rental companies in Izmir will allow you to add an additional driver on the rental agreement, usually for an additional fee.
The best car for buzzing around Izmir depends on the size and composition of your travel group and what you have planned. For example, a Hyundai i20 is a reasonably-sized economy vehicle that’s excellent for urban areas and enables easy parking, but a Ford Transit minivan has ample room for nine passengers and is robust enough for day trips to attractions a little further afield.
Collision damage protection and third party liability insurance is included in many rental agreements but before you pick up your vehicle, please check the detailed provisions of your particular agreement with your car rental provider. It may also be possible to arrange enhanced insurance protection with your car rental company if you think this provides you with more reassurance. If you or anyone else is involved in a serious accident, please take note of the emergency service number for ambulances – it’s 112.ge.
Turks drive on the right side of the road, so please remember this if you’re a driver from a country where you drive on the left, such as the UK.