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From Istanbul to Cappadocia

Last Updated on August 23, 2023

Cappadocia is one of Turkey's most popular tourist destinations, with almost 3 million tourists visiting in 2023. It is famous for its hot air balloons, underground cities, cave hotels, and breathtaking sights. So, many travelers wonder how to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul.  

You have many choices when traveling the 730 km (454 miles) from Istanbul to Cappadocia, in central Anatolia (map). It is worth to note while each method has its advantages, it is important to choose the technique fitting for your unique conditions. Generally, the most preferred method is to travel by plane.

By Plane

The fastest option from Istanbul to Cappadocia is to travel by plane. If purchased in advance, tickets are not expensive. 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.

You have two major airports near Cappadocia to travel by plane from Istanbul; Nevşehir-Kapadokya Airport(NEV) and Kayseri's Erkilet Airport (ASR). Shuttle vans operated by Argeus Tourism and Rock Valley Travel can take you from both airports directly to your Cappadocian hotel.

There are several daily nonstop flights from Istanbul's Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) to Nevşehir-Kapadokya Airport(NEV) and Kayseri's Erkilet Airport (ASR) on Turkish Airlines, AnadoluJet, and Pegasus Air.

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 New Airport's (IST) 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 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 also help with any other arrangements (private guides, hotels, rental cars, yacht cruises) you may need. 

Our Recommended Agency

Pupa Tourism

We recommend Pupa Tourism. This reputable agency is available to make any arrangements for you anywhere in Turkey and can provide quality guided tours, hotel reservations, car rentals, airport pick-up, and more. Pupa is one of the best-staffed agencies in the country, with personnel in Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Ephesus. 

Antalya, Turkey

Hot Air Ballooning Cappadocia

By Train

There are no direct trains between Istanbul and Cappadocia. However, high-speed trains connect Istanbul with Ankara and Konya via Eskişehir

From Konya, you can continue to Cappadocia by bus or a rental car for the 232 km (144 miles) journey, which will take approximately 4 hours. It is advisable only to choose this option if you fairly know Turkish or are an experienced traveler since it can get confusing for most.

By Bus

A night bus from Istanbul to Cappadocia is usually the cheapest way to go for approximately $30. However, it's a long ride of 10-12 hours, covering a distance of 730 km (454 miles). Still, Turkish buses are comparatively comfy with amenities such as air conditioners and reclining seats. 

So, if you can sleep on buses, this may be your favored way as it takes you directly between the two points. Moreover, several companies run nightly buses, including Metro Turizm and Nevşehir Seyahat.

The most efficient way to buy a ticket is to ask your hotel to help reserve your seat. When leaving 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

Due to the long drive of 800 km (500 miles; map), which takes 8 hours without stops, it only makes economic sense if several people share the car and the fuel expense. Leaving Istanbul is a traffic nightmare, but the otoyol (expressway) then goes through some fine mountain scenery. The countryside south of Ankara is more monotonous until you pass Aksaray and enter Cappadocia.

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. Plus, you can always check Google Maps and Yandex Maps, as they offer timely information and directions within Turkey. 

Visit Cappadocia Today!

Visiting Cappadocia is a great choice to enjoy the amazing scenery of Turkey. You can ride a hot air balloon, take long walks, stay at cave hotels and visit underground cities. 

Moreover, you have many options for traveling between Istanbul and Cappadocia. While each method has unique advantages, choosing the best option fitting for you is advised. 

Regardless of your choice, remember to enjoy the trip and your visit to Cappadocia. 

—by Tom Brosnahan, updated by Can Turan

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FAQs

What is the cheapest way to get from Istanbul to Cappadocia?

The cheapest way to travel between Istanbul and Cappadocia is to take a bus costing around $30-$35.

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