I have made this journey several times and it usually takes between two and four days, this guide is to give you a little help along the way, but I do recommend that you use an autoroute programme on your PC and obtain a map of Europe before travelling.
It’s also essential to book your Italy to Turkey ferry in advance as it can be tricky to do this at the port. I travelled with the Marmara Line ferry company which are very basic but do the job. It would be worth contacting an agent in either the UK or in Turkey for prices and availability, you can also check out the ferry companies on the internet because some have quicker services and almost all of them have a seasonal operation (May-Oct).
Make sure that you have enough euros for the journey as some cash machines charge a conversion fee, also it is hard to obtain euros on the ferry. I usually estimate between four and five hundred euros should be enough depending on overnight stops, food etc.
There are alternative routes which take you over land and don’t involve ferry travel but these take you through some treacherous roads and countries and you can be hit with much higher toll charges. I have done both routes and the one here is by far the easiest and the most enjoyable. This route is pretty straight forward and it is practically a straight run all the way so don’t worry if you think you may be lost, keep going until you pick up the signs (you are allowed to worry if you see signs for Moscow!). There are plenty of roadside stops so you can double check your route if unsure.
In the UK head for Dover for the ferry or eurotunnel, it’s best to book in advance which should give you a reduction on price. It may be possible to book an open return which is a lot cheaper but you may only travel on certain days. You can get a ferry crossing to either Calais or Dunkirk. Dunkirk is cheaper but Calais is a faster route.
Once in France head for the A16/A26, which ever route you take it will be signposted towards Paris. Keep on this route picking up signs for Reims then Dijon, Metz and Strasbourg. Don’t worry too much if the signposts don’t yet show these as long as you are on the A26 you will be ok. This road turns into the A4/A31 nearer to Strasbourg, stopping at several peages along the way, these are around five to ten euros each. After Strasbourg start looking for the signs for Frieburg and Basel. Along the way there are plenty of hotels/motels which are reasonably priced but try to ensure you have enough euros in cash as some hotels don’t accept credit cards.
I always filled up with petrol when about half full but mainly there are plenty of petrol stations on this route.
You should pick up signs for Bern and Zurich on the A35/E25 where you will have to pay a local tax for your car (around 30 euros). Keep on this route following signs for Luzern and Andermatt. The scenery in this part of Europe is especially good so keep a camera handy. Be aware though that the hotels can be expensive and some are poor quality, so if you are tired and want an overnight stop keep your eyes open for motorway type hotels which are a little cheaper and you don’t have to vary too much from your route. In time you will pick up signs for Milano/Parma/Roma. The A35/E35 turns into the A2/E35 which you keep on until you see signs for Bologna/Pescarra and Rimini which in turn turns into the A1/E35/E45 and then into the A14/E35/E45. Follow this motorway until you see signs for Ancona Nord/Sud (remember to fill up with petrol as the cost of fuel in Turkey is pretty high).
Off the motorway you will see signs for the ferry terminal (about a mile) follow these which will guide you right to the docks. On the docks look for a yellow/beige building, this is where the ferry companies operate from, give them your details etc and they will guide you through customs.
The destination of your ferry is Cesme where, after de-embarkation, you will have to go through customs. Remember to have all the documents for your car with you as the customs may refuse entry without them. Also try to obtain a green card from your insurers in the UK well in advance of departure as the customs will ask to see one. If you don’t have one they may charge you around thirty five pounds to get one. The customs should grant you a visa for your car that lasts six months (although the entry visa for yourself only lasts three months).
Once through customs (allow yourself a good two hours) you should head for Balcova/Karabaglar this takes you on the motorway 030/E87/D320/D550. Don’t worry there will be signs for Izmir soon so you know you are on the right track. Get on the D525 motorway and follow it for some time seeing signs for Izmir/Soke/Bodrum. Keep on the D525 and you will in time see signs for Altinkum/Didim. Head for Didim where after going through a couple of villages you will end up on the Ataturk Boulevard (the long road to the front). Have a nice stay…
Try to give yourself as much time as possible to get to the ferry in Ancona as it should take you a day and a half to get there (after stops), but sometimes if a tunnel is closed or blocked this could be longer.
Try to fill your car with petrol in France and Italy as it is much cheaper than in the UK and Turkey.
Remember to take enough euros with you for the journey.
When booking your ferry it is cheaper to book a Pullman type seat then to a Cabin upgrade when on the ferry.
Remember to take your car documents and passport.
Contact your insurance company to obtain a Green Card for Turkey.