On a warm sunny Thursday morning in mid-June, we departed Pamukkale with a touch of eagerness as we were heading to the coast. It did seem such a long time since we had ventured near the sea or wet our toes in the cool, soothing water.
In the meantime, we had approx 300kms of countryside to enjoy.
Part of those 300kms was divided highway where the speed limit is 110k/hr. Most of the route is regular two lane but wide road where the speed limit is 90k/hr. With conditions permitting, you can go up to 10% above the speed limit with impunity. Part 3 of the road trip we stayed on the main roads as we were keen to get down to the coast.
Driving along you will see signs that indicate NO passing, in Turkey, this is not compulsory. So frequently these words are uttered by me, “OMG they aren’t going to pass on a blind corner?” and the answer is always “Yes”, crazy people! (see below notes for more tips on driving in Turkey) Apart from the odd driver, it is perfectly okay to drive in Turkey. To be honest, it is tough to compare which country has the worst drivers, as the Squire has encountered appalling drivers everywhere! Unlike the over the top comments that circulate the internet, saying how Turkish drivers are the worst. Though I did wonder if their experiences were contained in the cities. The Squire avoids driving in densely populated areas. We don’t need the stress.
From the odd deviant driver, there were the feel-good moments, like picking up a third passenger on our trip.
It was all by itself in the middle of the road as the Squire had to swerve to miss it as he was heading to the edge of the road to take a break from driving. The decision was made to pick it up and put it somewhere else that might give it a better rate of survival. We found a spot not far down the road. Said our goodbyes we then headed off and not wanting to look back the driver concentrated on driving and the passenger on the mountain and countryside views.
Then there is the mandatory stop for a caffeine fix. So far we have been incredibly lucky with our choices of roadside cafes as all Turkish coffee has been outstanding quality, served to us with a smile. What is so wonderful is that they are proud to be able to do so and we were equally humbled to have the opportunity to experience a visit to their cafes. Not forgetting to munch on a little delectable treat, it would be rude not to do so.
What more can you ask from a cafe? Perhaps free WIFI, well actually it’s not a wise thing to do unless you have protection in the form of a Virtue Private Network or something similar.
As we got closer to the more predominant tourist areas the roads and surroundings improved, though as I stated the main roads over here are in good condition with no complaints from the driver.
Then we caught a glimpse.
“What a view!”
We had this view as we drove down the hill to Kalkan which was to be the start of our breathtaking drive around the winding coastal roads to Kas. Driving down the steep decline, we could see the establishment of more holiday homes heading upwards on the mountain side.
Brief notes on driving in Turkey
- Speaking Turkish – Life will be a lot easier if you learn a few Turkish words. Some of the basic concepts you need to know for on the road include:
Benzine…petrol [make sure that they know EXACTLY what one you need!]
Sehir merkazi….the centre of town
- Road signage is excellent in Turkey. There are large signs on highways and major roads to indicate the next town and the turn you have to make. Signs follow the international colours of blue for towns and brown for tourist attractions. There are also many signs on the smaller roads.
- Fuel – Both petrol and diesel are expensive. It became a bit of game for the Squire who would get excited when he saw a station offering low prices. Prices varied from 3.77TL to 4. 50TL a litre for diesel which is what most cars use! At one petrol station, we paid as much as 5.80TL.
- The toilets in the larger chain service stations are immaculate. Look for an Opet or Petrol Ofisi station.
The condition of the main roads is excellent, so all in all driving in the countryside of Turkey was a very positive experience for us.