Turkey hitch-hiker essentials

Hitch-hiking in style - On the road, Turkey

Turkey hitch-hiker essentials

Types of roads

Turkey‘s road network is over 64,865 km long, 31,395 km of which are state roads, 31,390 km are provincial roads and 2080 km are motorways.

1) Turkey motorway sign. Turkey hitch-hiker essentialsOtoyol (motorways, O-roads) – motorways with a speed limit of 120 km/h. All are toll roads with costs based on the distance travelled. Hitch-hiking on them is illegal but by no means impossible.

2) Turkey national road sign - Devlet yolları, Turkey hitch-hiker essentialsDevlet yolları (national roads, D-roads) two lane main roads with a speed limit of 90 km/h out of town and 50 km/h in built up areas. They span the length and breadth of the country and hitch-hiking is legal and easy.

3) Provincial roads make up the rest of the system. If it’s not a motorway or a national road then it is a provinical road. The speed limit is 90 km/h out of town and 50 km/h in built up areas and hitch-hiking is legal.

Map of Motorways and Main Roads

road map of Turkey, Turkey hitch-hiker essentials

source: ezilon.com

Speed limit on Turkish roads

Turkey Speed Limit Sign, Turkey hitch-hiker essentials

Absolutely essential hitch-hiker’s phrasebook

– hello – Merhaba. (mehr hah bah)
thank you – Teşekkür (ederim) (teh shek uer eh der eem)
goodbye – Hoşçakal. (Hosh cha kal)
– hich-hiking – O
tostopa (o-to-STOP)
I don’t have money –  Param yok. (Pah rham yok) (useful in any language)
we don’t have money – Biz para yok (Beez pahrah yok)
money – Para (pahrah)
– I’m going to… – …Gidiyorum (…gee-dee-yoh-room)
– We are going to… – …Gidiyoruz (…gee-dee-yoh-rooz)
– My name is… – Adım… (Ad uhm..)
– I am from… – …Lıyım / …Liyim
– Nice to meet you! – Memnun oldum (mem noon oll doom)
– I don’t understand – Sizi anlamıyorum (si-zi ann-la-ma-yor-um)
– now – şimdi (shim di)
– today – Bugün (BOO-gurn)
– yesterday – Dün (durn)
– tomorrow – Yarın (YAHR-uhn)
friend – Arkadaş (arkadash)
→ Very useful when they ask you where you’re staying. The concept of Couchsurfing is often too difficult to explain, so just say you’re staying with a friend. You can also use this word to express the relationship between you and your fellow travellers.
– Turn left – Sola dönün
– Turn right – Sağa dönün
– Straight ahead – Doğru (doh-ROO)
– here – Burada (BOO-rah-dah)
– over there – Orada (OH-rah-dah)
tea – çay (chaay)
You should know this word, you will be often invited for some. Besides, you don’t need the work for coffee, as ‘Turkish coffee’ is a myth, no one drinks coffee in this country.
bus station –  Otobüs istasyonu  (otobuers eestasyonu)
→ You should know this word and listen out for it to avoid situations when your driver, in their best intentions, takes you off the road and drives you to a station.
train station – Gar (GAHR)
– Help me – İmdat! (Im Daht!)
– Look out! – Dikkat! (Dick kaht!)
– street – Cadde (JAHD-deh)
– road – Sokak (soh-KAHK)

Main Border Crossings

Hitch-hiking in style - On the road, Turkey, Turkey hitch-hiker essentials

Turkey – Georgia

There are two border crossings between Turkey and Georgia

→ Sarp / Sarpi – is the main land border crossing between Turkey and Georgia, located about 12 km south of Batumi, Georgia and about 20 km northeast of Hopa, Turkey. It’s possible to cross on foot, however it’s rather difficult due to the total chaos and lack of information, signs, organization. For more information about this border crossing read our story. There is no public transport going from the border crossing to Hopa (Turkey), however it’s possible to get a local bus going the other way to Batumi (Georgia).

→ Vale / Posof-Türkgözü – is located further inland on the European highway E691.

Turkey – Iran

There are three border crossings between Turkey and Iran

→ Bazargan / Gürbulak – is the northern most crossing and is located on the 32 highway.

→ Razi / Kapıköy – is located to the east of Lake Van and in the middle of the other two crossings. It is located on the D-300 national road.

→ Serow / Esendere – is the southern-most border crossing and is located on the 16 highway.

Turkey – Bulgaria

There are three border crossings between Turkey and Bulgaria

→ Kapıkule / Kapitan Andreevo – is located on the European route E80 and according to Wikipedia it’s one of the busiest border crossings in the world, and the busiest in Europe. We have only tried to cross it in a coach and I seem to remember it took bloody ages.

→ Lesovo / Hamzabeyli – can be found a little further to the east then the main border crossing at Kapıkule on the 7 highway / D-535 national road

→ Malko Tarnovo / Dereköy – is the most easterly crossing into the Vitanovo National Park on the Bulgarian side. It is located on the E87 / 9 highway.

Turkey – Greece

There are two border crossings between Turkey and Greece

 Ipsala / Kipoi – located on the European route E84. It’s forbidden to cross on foot due to the large no-man’s land filled with Greek and Turkish soldiers. If you are hitchhiking you should get a lift before the border as on the border itself it’s very difficult as people are mistrustful and don’t want to get into trouble. It’s much better if you get your lift in Ipsala, which is the last Turkish town on the way. For more information about this border crossing read our story.

→ Kastanies / Pazarkule – occupying an area near the tripartite border between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece it is the northern-most crossing and is located on the O-3 highway very close to the city of Edirne

Turkey – Iraq

→ Zakho / Habur – is the only border crossing open at the time of writing and forms a connection with Kurdish Iraq. It is located on the E90 / 2 highway.

Turkey – Syria

→ There are a total of ten border crossings between Turkey and Syria, however due to the current political situation in Syria not all are open, with some permanently closed and others open only during Muslim holidays. The busiest crossing is the Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing / Cilvegözü and is the route taken by all cross border buses. More information can be found here.

All border crossing with Armenia are closed.


If you could share your personal experience about any other border crossing in Turkey, let us know!

written by: Ania

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