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İzmir & Ephesus to Cappadocia

Last Updated on May 4, 2024

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Getting from Izmir & Ephesus to Cappadocia

Ephesus is one of the prominent tourist destinations of the Aegean region, where you can find St John Basilica, remains of the renowned Artemision (the famous Roman Temple of Artemis), the Ephesus archeological site, and even relax on the beaches. Cappadocia is another favored tourist area which is located in the Central Anatolia region, famous for its fairy chimneys, valleys, ancient underground cities, and hot air balloons.

Both locations are famous among visitors, so many travelers want to take advantage of their time in Turkey and go between the Ephesus region south of Izmir and Cappadocia in Central Anatolia (map) in one trip. Fortunately, there are numerous methods to go from Izmir to Cappadocia, including buses, trains, and airplanes.

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Keep in mind that if you want to use a land route (which you must if it is not the summer period when you visit), the distance between the two destinations is 720 km (447 miles), a drive of nearly 10 hours, so most people going by car or bus divide their journey with an overnight stay in Pamukkale, a lunch stop in Eğirdir, or an overnight in Konya, or all three. 

1. Traveling to Cappadocia from Ephesus and Izmir By Bus

First of all, while it is possible to travel directly from Ephesus to Nevşehir (Cappadocia), there is only one bus route (generally an overnight bus) a day. For greater flexibility, Izmir can be used as the transit location to travel from Ephesus to Cappadocia or vice versa by bus. Let’s take a look at the two options on hand.

Traveling to Cappadocia from Ephesus

Traveling to Cappadocia from Ephesus is very straightforward. The journey takes 13 hours, and there is one daily overnight bus route to Cappadocia. After arriving at the Selçuk Bus Terminal, you can directly purchase a bus ticket and enjoy the night trip.

Traveling to Cappadocia from Izmir

Traveling to Cappadocia from Izmir is the second choice we have. Izmir is the Aegean region’s transport hub, so there are many bus routes all over Turkey. This means you have greater options when choosing your schedule to travel to Cappadocia with direct buses leaving the city hourly. 

The trip takes 12 hours, so taking advantage of overnight buses is a better choice. If a 12-hour trip is too long for you, you can always choose to spend a night in Konya or Pamukkale. There are direct buses for two or all three segments of your journey (from Izmir to Pamukkale, from Pamukkale to Konya, and from Konya to Nevşehir). 

Here's how to buy bus tickets in Turkey.

We recommend Isparta Turizm, Kamil Koç, and Metro Turizm as reputable firms for this trip. There are also frequent minibusses to Selçuk, Ephesus, and Kuşadası, as well as regional trains to Selçuk at the Izmir Bus Terminal.

2. Traveling to Cappadocia from Ephesus By Car

The distance between Cappadocia and Izmir is 720 km (447 miles), a drive of nearly 10 hours, and there are several spots to see along the way. So, traveling with a rental car is a popular option for visiting other locations.

Most travelers choose to drive via the Meander River Valley, from Selçuk (Ephesus) via Aydın to Denizli and Pamukkale so that they can detour to ancient Aphrodisias along the way, then spend the night at Pamukkale. This makes a good first day of travel (190 km, 118 miles, about 3 hours, not counting the detour to Aphrodisias).

On the second day, it's 306 km (190 miles, 5 to 6 hours) from Pamukkale to Konya through Turkey's lake country. Stop at Eğirdir for lunch, enjoy the scenery, and stay the night in Konya to see its great Seljuk Turkish buildings (especially the Mevlana [Rumi] Museum). 

The next day, continue east along the ancient Silk Road via Sultanhanı to finally reach Nevşehir, Cappadocia (221 km, 137 miles, 3 hours) 

For more details, see our 5-Day Ephesus—Cappadocia Driving Itinerary.

3. Traveling to Cappadocia from Izmir By Plane

Traveling by flight is the fastest way to travel to Cappadocia. However, unlike traveling by bus, this time, you must use Izmir Airport (Adnan Menderes Airport) as the transit location if you want to travel from Ephesus to Cappadocia

Luckily, Turkish Airlines has daily direct flights from Istanbul, Antalya, and Izmir to Nevsehir Airport (the closest airport to Cappadocia) in the summer. Anadolujet also offers nonstop service between Izmir's Adnan Menderes Airport and Nevşehir-Kapadokya Airport in the summer. 

Alternatively, Sun Express and Pegasus Airlines have İzmir-Kayseri and Kayseri-İzmir flights several days each week from April through October. Remember that you will have to travel from Kayseri to a more convenient place in the Cappadocia region by local bus.

However, while it is easy to travel to Cappadocia by plane, it is hard to do so in the winter because of the lack of direct domestic flights to the region, except from Istanbul. So, planning your Cappadocia visit around these flights is essential because if you don't fly directly, you must fly via Istanbul, which takes more time and expense. 

See our 5-Day Fly-Drive Itinerary for more information.

4. Traveling to Cappadocia from Izmir By Train

If you're not in a great hurry, one of the favorite ways visitors travel to Cappadocia is by Turkish State Railway Trains. There are two alternate options when using railways to reach Cappadocia from Izmir.

Traveling by Konya Mavi Tren

The best way to travel by railroad would be first getting on the Konya Mavi Tren, a nightly sleeper train from İzmir to Konya. Then, using a bus or rental car from Konya along the ancient Silk Road to Cappadocia.

The reason behind this plan is that you board the train in the evening, dine aboard if you wish, bed down in your private sleeping compartment, have breakfast on the train the next morning, and arrive in Konya before 08:00 a.m. After, you get a quick taxi ride (10 minutes) that takes you from the Konya Train Station to the Otogar (bus terminal), though you really should spend most of the day seeing the sights in Konya, then take a bus eastward to Nevşehir in the late afternoon. 

Traveling by Izmir Mavi Tren

Another train-&-bus combo, with longer train and bus rides, is the İzmir Mavi Tren (a sleeper train from Izmir to Ankara), then a taxi from the Ankara Gar to Ankara's AŞTİ main bus terminal, where you buy a ticket for a bus from Ankara to Cappadocia, a 4-hour ride to Nevşehir

Travel From İzmir & Ephesus to Cappadocia

Both Cappadocia and Ephesus are famous tourist destinations located in Turkey. As a result, most visitors want to combine their holiday in Turkey to visit both places. 

Luckily, there are many methods to use when traveling from Ephesus to Cappadocia, from buses to trains and planes. Regardless of your choice, remember to enjoy your time in Turkey!

—by Tom Brosnahan, updated by Can Turan

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