From Istanbul to Cappadocia

You have a choice of ways to travel the 730 km (454 miles) from Istanbul to Cappadocia, in central Anatolia (map).

By Plane

Fastest, and not expensive if you purchase your ticket in advance, are several daily nonstop flights from both Istanbul’s Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) to Nevşehir-Kapadokya Airport(NEV) and Kayseri’s Erkilet Airport (ASR) on Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Air.

Shuttle vans operated by Argeus Tourism and Rock Valley Travel can take you from both airports directly to your Cappadocian hotelMore…

The entire journey by air from your Istanbul hotel to your Cappadocian hotel can be done in 4 to 5 hours, if all goes well.

Hot-air balloon, Cappadocia, Turkey
Too bad you can’t just fly via
hot-air balloon
 to Cappadocia!

If you’re arriving from abroad and you plan to visit both Istanbul and Cappadocia, consider leaving your Istanbul visit until the end of your trip. Arrive at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport International Terminal on your international flight, walk to the Domestic Terminal, and catch a flight directly to Cappadocia (if the connection timing works.) You’ll save yourself a back-and-forth transfer from the airport and an unpacking and repacking at your Istanbul hotel.

Turkish domestic flights are often much more expensive if purchased outside of Turkey, so you should consider having a good Turkish travel agent make your internal flight reservations, or make them yourself on the airline’s website. Turkish travel agencies can help with any other arrangements (private guideshotelsrental carsyacht cruises) you may need as well. More…

By Train

High-speed trains connect Istanbul with Ankara and Konya via Eskişehir. From Konya you can continue to Cappadocia by bus or rental car (232 km/144 miles, 4 hours).

By Bus

night bus from Istanbul to Cappadocia is usually the cheapest way to go (about TL90), but it’s a long ride—730 km (454 miles, 10 to 12 hours). Still, if you can sleep on buses, this may be your favored way as it takes you directly between the two points. Several companies run nightly buses, including Metro Turizm and Nevşehir Seyahat.

Here’s how to buy bus tickets in Turkey.

The most efficient way is to ask your hotel to help you reserve your seat. Leaving from Istanbul, board your bus at the Harem Bus Terminal if possible. Your journey will be almost an hour shorter than if you board at the main bus terminal (Büyük Otogar) in Bayrampaşa/Esenler.

By Car

It’s a long drive (800 km/500 miles; map), 8 hours without stops, and it only makes economic sense if several people share the car and the fuel expense.

Use the E-80 otoyol (expressway) between Istanbul and Ankara to save time, then follow the E-90 highway south from Ankara to Aksaray, then go east along D300, the ancient Silk Road, to Nevşehir. This way you avoid the heavy long-distance truck traffic along the alternate route, E88/D765 via Kırıkkale and Kırşehir.

Leaving Istanbul is a traffic nightmare, but the otoyol then goes through some fine mountain scenery. The countryside south of Ankara is more monotonous until you pass Aksaray and enter Cappadocia.

 

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