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Ankara, in central Anatolia, is Turkey’s capital city. It’s a city with an ancient past and vibrant present, where Roman and Ottoman architecture mingles with a contemporary, cosmopolitan lifestyle. Ankara is rich in theatre, opera and culture, plus it’s buzzing with student life and sidewalk cafes. It’s also a great location for reaching destinations like Polatli,Kirikkale,Eskisehir and Konya.
If you’re travelling to Ankara via Esenboga International Airport, then it’s an 18-mile journey by rental car. En route you can visit Karakoy Ataturk Ormanı National Forest, which includes a forest farm where you can sample beer, dairy and ice cream, and a zoo with monkeys, big cats and an aquarium.
There are various hire car providers to suit your budget and preferences, including GRS, Budget and Avis. Many offer extras like free cancellation, unlimited mileage and shuttle services to your rental car.
Ankara is a thriving cultural hub of opera, ballet, theatre and music. One of the architectural highlights of the city is Anitkabir, a huge hilltop mausoleum that is the resting place of the first president of Turkey. Remains of Roman and Ottoman architecture can be found throughout the city, including the 20 BC Temple of Augustus and Rome. The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations gives an overview of the region’s past and is housed within the medieval Ankara Castle.
If you want to escape the city for a day, Eymir Lake is a 15-mile drive by hire car from Ankara. It’s a small, peaceful, unspoilt lake that’s off the beaten tourist trail. You can rent a bike and cycle around its shores or simply enjoy a picnic by the waterside.
Istanbul is a 280-mile drive from Ankara. It’s an ancient city on the boundaries of East and West, ancient and modern, with a culture that mixes European, Asian and Middle Eastern influences. The city’s highlights include the labyrinthine market of the Grand Bazaar, the 5th century Ottoman Topkapı Palace, and the Bosphorus Bridge, where you can walk across the boundary of Europe and Asia. The Turkish Riviera, or Turquoise Coast, encompasses both the Mediterranean and Aegean coastline. It’s known for its sunny climate, warm waters and beautiful beaches, plus nearby mountains and ancient ruins. Antalya is a popular resort city on the Turquoise Coast and is a 300-mile drive from Ankara.
roundabouts don’t have right of way and must give way to approaching vehicles. Police stops are common on motorways and your rental car may be routinely inspected. Make sure you familiarise yourself with Turkey’s driving laws before visiting.