Motorcycle Travel Guide: Turkey

Turkey is a place like no other, it’s an explorer’s dream and there’s no better way to discover it than on a motorcycle. If you’re planning a motorcycle tour in Turkey, have a read of this guide first. Here’s what you need to know about riding there…

Sunsets and adventure bikes in Cappadocia

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Motorcycle Travel in Turkey

As you motorcycle across Istanbul’s mighty Bosphorus Bridge, you’re literally riding into Asia and leaving Europe behind. Prepare yourself for an intoxicating concoction of melding worlds, ever changing landscapes, incredible hospitality, mind-bending history and mouth-watering food. Travelling on a motorcycle in Turkey is like nowhere else, it’s an explorer’s dream and there’s no better way to discover it than on a motorcycle. Here’s what you need to know about riding in Turkey…

How to ride to Turkey?

Getting to Turkey is half the fun. Forget about the old South of France run and the Spanish summer blast… this time you’re heading East. You’re looking at around 1,800 miles to Istanbul with a maze of route choices. You can take the eastern route and dive into Slovakia before slicing your way over Romania’s epic Transfargarasan, or dip south through the big Bs; Budapest, Belgrade and Bulgaria. Either way, all the new scenery is just preparation for what’s to come.

For more info on routes and rides in Europe, take a look at our European guides. 

READ MORE: Europe Destination Guides

Adventure bike riding in Istanbuk

The best places to motorcycle tour in Turkey

Here’s a small selection of our favourite places to travel in Turkey. If you’re after a more in depth guide, check out our top 10 list and the Turkey destination page.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to do in Turkey
READ MORE: Turkey Destination Guides

Istanbul

You’ll need a few days in Istanbul’s melting pot, just to get used to the thick muddy coffee, deliciously sweet tea and insanely delicious food. Don’t forget to check out the Hagia Sophia, Sultan Ahmed Mosque and wonder through the bazaars in between all the eating and drinking. With more hairs on your chest from the coffee and a loosened belt buckle it’s time to start exploring the rolling backdrop that is Turkey.

The Turkish Coast

Head south west to the old battle grounds of Troy then wiggle your way to the coast. If you’ve got a ‘Dynamic’ setting on your bike – now’s the time. Chasing the Turkish coast is like flying along a ribbon of spiralling black tarmac winding its way round cliff edges… and you’re going to love it. You can’t get lost either, just keep the sparkling blue Aegean and turquoise Mediterranean Seas on your right shoulder. Stop off at roadside cafes for fresh orange juice and grilled fish as you take the road from Bodrum to Marmaris, Fethiye, Kas and then Antalya.

Adventure bike stuck in sand

Historical sites

Don’t get too carried away with the switchbacks though. This part of the route is peppered with incredible historical sights and wonders from the ancient world. There’s Ephesus, a 3000-year-old city first belonging to the Greeks, then Persians and Romans. It was once one of the most important cities in the world with around 40,000 residents and brimming with pilgrims, merchants and traders from all over Asia. You can stroll around the ancient libraries, walk the old streets and take a pew in the colossal coliseum.

Ephesus Guide

Natural wonders

You’ll also find the natural wonder of Pamukkale and its lava heated mineral pools, thousands of Roman ruins, tombs carved into Dalyan’s mountains, the eternal flames of Cirali and so much more.

Dalyan tombs

Cappadocia

But if there’s one place you must visit on your Turkey motorcycle tour, it’s Cappadocia. It’s one of Turkey’s brightest highlights and the surrounding area is a motorcycle traveller’s dream. There’s nothing like it anywhere else on earth, spiralling fairy-tale rocks shaped like miniature mountains fill entire valleys.

Cappadocia

Get closer and you’ll see that most of them were hollowed out by families who lived inside them thousands of years ago. Gargantuan underground cities, 200 feet below the surface, capable of holding 20,000 people with complex tunnel systems, ventilation shafts and schools. And if going underground isn’t your thing, then it’s also one of the best places in the world to take a hot air balloon ride. But more importantly, click into gear and chase the tracks through valleys, around the mountains, past the castles and spend as much time as you can exploring this fascinating, ancient wonder.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Cappadocia Guide

Adventure bike riding in Cappadocia Turkey guide

What are Turkish people like?

The Turkish people are among the kindest, friendliest and most warm hearted we have ever met in over 15 years of travelling through 80 countries. Of course, there are good and bad everywhere so keep an eye out in cities and tourist spots – advice for the world over. 

But away from all of that, expect genuine kindness and deep hearted hospitality. Offering tea is customary and should be expected and accepted as you make your way through the country. Sharing tea, often leads to invites of dinner with families to staying in the family home to continuous dinner parties. It’s inexplicable. Motorcycle travel in Turkey is so special because of the wonderful people you meet on the way.

Turkish friends in Iznik

Paperwork for motorcycle touring in Turkey

As a Brit, you will need a visa to enter Turkey. You can get the visa at a land border and it will cost about £25 and last 90 days. As of 2022, it appears the £25 visa has been scrapped. Check via the UK Gov website for more info. 

Other than the visa you need insurance, and it’s easy to get stung by it. Turkey requires a green card insurance. Many UK insurance providers don’t offer green card papers anymore, so you’ll need to stand firm and insist that they supply you one for Turkey. If they don’t, then you will need to obtain an additional green card insurance.

Just turning up at the border with insurance that says you’re covered for Turkey but isn’t obviously a green card won’t do. Try and get a green card from your insurance provider or buy it in advance from a Turkish company like Groupama before you go.

If all else fails, you can buy the insurance at the border. If that’s your only option then buy on the Bulgarian/ Turkish border as the Greek/ Turkish border will sting you for about £200.

Other than the visa and insurance, you will need your driver’s licence, International Drivers Permit (available from the Post Office for about £5) and your V5.

READ MORE: Motorcycle Travel Guide: Europe
READ MORE: The Motorcycle Travel Paperwork Guide
READ MORE: The UK Motorcycle Travel Insurance Guide

Is motorcycle touring in Turkey expensive?

Petrol is expensive in Turkey but not much else is. Accommodation can be extremely cheap and affordable. Make use of AirBnB, you can get some incredible deals on there for lovely apartments for next to nothing. The free Couchsurfing website also works full swing in Turkey so give that a go if you fancy it. Food and water are cheap and you can free camp anywhere.

READ MORE: How to Motorcycle Travel on the Cheap

Motorcycle riding in Dalyan

Is touring in Turkey safe?

The mass majority of Turkey is safe. The south east of Turkey near the Syrian and Iraq borders are currently considered unsafe by the FCO, which advises against all travel to those areas. Watch out for pickpockets in large cities and be careful of stray dogs in the rural areas, especially at night. Generally, riding a motorcycle at night in Turkey is best avoided due to poor lighting and road conditions (in some areas).

READ MORE: 10 Tips for Motorcycle Security While Travelling

Camping in Turkey

Camping in Turkey is easy and safe. There are official campsites, but these are harder to find as soon as you start riding East. It’s easy to wild camp, and if you can’t find a quiet spot, just pull up outside a restaurant for example and ask if you can camp in the garden. You’ll be surprised at how kind people are! 

READ MORE: Motorcycle Camping Resources
READ MORE: The Motorcycle Camping Gear Checklist
READ MORE: The 10 Best Motorcycle Camping Tents

Riding conditions for motorcycle travel in Turkey

Turkey has a brilliant road and infrastructure setup for motorcycle touring. You can easily have a fantastic road or off road motorcycle adventure dependent on where you want to travel.  

Navigating can be tricky due to a lack of signage in places, so if you are travelling solo, we’d recommend using a Sat Nav, Google Maps or Maps.Me on your phone to make the most of your time in Turkey.  

READ MORE: The 5 Best Motorcycle Sat Navs
READ MORE: The 10 Best Bluetooth Headsets
READ MORE: The 5 Best Motorcycle Phone Mounts

Adventure biking in Turkey's cold mountains

Riding gear for motorcycle touring in Turkey

Turkey can be exceptionally hot in the summer and there’s plenty of snow in the winter and it gets very cold up in the mountains.

We’d recommend a mixture of clothing and gear that can take you through both warm and cold temperatures. A good idea is to go for adventure or touring kit that is breathable with a removable thermal and waterproof lining. Or to leave the waterproof lining at home and take a throwover waterproof.

Footwear is also important too and needs to be comfortable because there’s a lot to see and walking is inevitable.

For loads more information on biking gear such as the best adventure helmets, jackets, boots, reviews and loads more, check out the travel gear guides section below.

READ MORE: Motorcycle Travel Gear Guides
READ MORE: Motorcycle Gear Reviews
READ MORE: How to Choose Your Adventure Riding Gear

Motorcycle touring in Turkey Kas

Motorcycle rentals and tours in Turkey

Turkey is an awesome country to go on a motorcycle tour. But it’s a good distance from Calais, and if you’re on a tight time schedule or only have a few weeks off work, you may not want to spend half of your trip getting there and riding home. A great alternative is to simply fly into Istanbul or Antalya and rent a motorcycle, or join a guided tour if you want to take the stress out of it.

We have a great recommended company for Turkey motorcycle rentals. You’ll find it in the Rental and Tour section below. 

READ MORE: Turkey Motorcycle Tour and Rental Companies

Read more on Motorcycle Travel in Turkey and Europe

Thanks for checking out this Motorcycle Travel Guide: Turkey. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on motorcycling in Europe that we recommend you read next. 

Liked that? Try these…

Are you planning a motorcycle trip to Turkey or Europe or do you have any questions? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below. 

17 thoughts on “Motorcycle Travel Guide: Turkey”

  1. Hello everyone
    I am a member of a motorcycle club in İSTANBUL, if anyone wants to travel here it will be our pleasure to help them.
    My WhatsApp is : 00905321354334

    Reply
    • Hi Payam, thanks for your comment. What’s the name of your motorcycle club? And that’s very good of you to offer help to those travelling in Turkey. Many thanks!
      Andy

      Reply
  2. Great post.
    I’m currently planing a a trip through Turkey on 2 wheels. Wondering – would you advice traveling on something like K1600GT while in Turkey, or would that be – way of a common path?

    Reply
    • Hi Rob, thanks for your comment.
      That’s brilliant to hear you’re planning a motorcycle trip in Turkey! You’re going to love it!

      You can certainly ride a K1600GT in Turkey without any problems. Turkey has a good road network and the coastal roads are great for a big bike.
      I would say that it’s important to be very confident on such a big bike as there may be times when there’s dense traffic for example in Istanbul, or narrow roads, tight turns, the occasional pot hole and poorer road surface, or if you want to take small boat ferries across rivers in say Dalyan then you need to be able to manoeuvre the big bike on and off etc.

      And of course, it depends where exactly you want to go. The further out of the way of main cities etc you travel, the worse the road conditions will be.
      But if you’re after a road based touring trip then this shouldn’t matter to you as you’ll probably want to stick to main roads anyway.

      Hope this helps,
      Cheers,
      Andy

      Reply
      • Hi Andy
        Shipping my bike to Turkey is too expensive ,can you suggest where to buy one a mid size Japanese adv motto? I do have a friend that lives in Turkey.
        Have you crossed into Iran onwards to Asia?
        Thankyou for your interesting inspiring story on Turkey.

        Regards Gord

        Reply
        • Hi Gord, thanks for your message.
          Where are you shipping from out of curiosity?
          I’m afraid I have not bought a motorcycle in Turkey before so can’t really help on where the best place to buy one is. However, we do have a section on this site called Recommended Motorcycle Rental and Tour Companies. If you go on there and click on Turkey you’ll find our recommended company for Turkey, they are a large business and may be able to help in selling you a motorcycle. Contact Burak and tell him Andy from Mad or Nomad sent you and I’m sure he’ll be able to help (his contact details are on the Turkey page).

          I haven’t crossed from Iran to Asia. Iran won’t allow UK citizens in without a guide so I didn’t go. So my routes into East and South East Asia have always been through the Stan countries, into Russia, Mongolia, Japan and then down.

          Thanks and feel free to message back anytime if you need anything else,
          Andy

          Reply
    • I would like to travel in Turkey by bike with my wife..I m from malaysia. I will take flight to Turkey and want to rent a touring adventure bike at turkey..could you pls advice me.tq

      Reply
  3. we have 4 to 6 riders going to turkey in october 2023. Can you recommend a 3 week route that will give us the flexibility to go off the main roads and explore the country areas

    Reply
    • Hi Dave, thanks for your question and good to hear you’re off to Turkey – what an epic country to ride in.
      Sure, but it all depends on where in Turkey you’re going! There’s so many routes and off-road trails are everywhere.
      To narrow it down for you, there are two websites that list great off-road specific routes.
      Here’s the Trans Euro Trail for Turkey – you’ll find trails from west to east along the northern coast towards Georgia.
      If you want to head south instead, then use this Wikiloc/Turkey link as it lists the locations of plenty of off road trails along the west and south coast.

      Using these two websites will help you easily plot an off-road specific route through Turkey wherever you’re headed.

      Hope this helps,
      Cheers,
      Andy

      Reply
  4. Hi, I am Raymond from Singapore. I intend to ship or fly my KTM 390 Adventure from Port Kelang to Turkey. I like to ride to the ancient sites and mountains in Turkey. I will spend about 30 days in Turkey before moving towards Greece. I like to stay in AirBnB or guesthouses or motels which are cheap and safe for motorcycle.

    Do you have any recommendation for me?

    Thanks. Best regards

    Reply
    • Hi Raymond, nice to hear from you and your trip sounds brilliant! I’m sure you’re going to have an amazing time riding around Turkey – it’s such an incredible country.
      Have you had a look at our Turkey Motorcycle Travel Guides page? On there you’ll find our Top 10 Things to do in Turkey Guide as well as standalone guides on Cappadocia. That may help with your planning.

      What recommendations are you after? Places to stay, routes, areas to visit?
      Let me know and I’ll do my best to help out,
      Cheers,
      Andy

      Reply
    • Hi Raymond,
      Ah okay, so providing specific recommendations for places to stay is tricky because I don’t save all the places I stay and I spend a lot of time camping.
      However, regardless of whatever your route is, AirBnB and Booking.com are very widely used in Turkey and you won’t have any trouble finding great accommodation with those two apps.
      I’d also recommend downloading iOverlander. You can read more about it here: Top 5 Free Travel Apps for Motorcycle Travellers
      The app is great for overlanders as it lists user recommended points of interest, borders, accommodation, sights, mechanics etc. You will find some great places on there.
      I hope this helps,
      Thanks,
      Andy

      Reply
    • No worries.
      Out of curiosity, after Turkey you go to Greece and then where? Where’s your final destination and where will you be shipping back to Singapore from?
      Cheers

      Reply

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