Turkish railway is well-developed, and trains are a common way of transportation in Turkey. Turkish trains are reputable with their relatively low prices and well-designed amenities compared to other countries. Turkish Republic State Railways (TCDD, DDY) trains can be useful during your Turkey trip, providing reliable and comfortable service.
There are Two General Types of Trains in Turkey:
The high-speed train, called YHT, is a modern and fast transportation method. YHT is on par with bullet trains in Europe, reaching 250 km to 300 km per hour. These trains connect major cities within Turkey with ease.
Express trains are slower than high-speed trains and connect many major cities within Turkey's train network. These trains take longer and generally have sleeper compartments. Please read this safety notice about sleeping car travel.
Common amenities on Turkish trains
Turkish trains are designed for comfort and reliability. Turkey's trains have air conditioning, curtains, adjustable seats, and free Wi-Fi. Also, some trains have sleeping cars and a cafeteria for snacks and dinner.
Cities You Can Travel with Trains in Turkey
You can travel between all of the major cities in Turkey. This includes Istanbul, Adana, Ankara, Eskişehir etc. You can have an overview of a more detailed map of Turkish train routes. You can also go to each city's page for information on trains serving that city. (Here's a map of Turkey's major cities.)
Here are the cities traditionally served by trains in Turkey.
Note there is no train service to Bodrum, Antalya, Alanya, or indeed to any point along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts south of İzmir and west of Mersin. Nor is there any service to the eastern Black Sea coast. This is because of the mountains surrounding these regions.
How Fast Are Trains in Turkey?
Turkish trains can be categorized into two. High-speed trains (YHT) and express trains. While high-speed trains can reach up to 250-300 km per hour, express trains are slower, offering a scenic view for its passengers.
As a result, bus travel is faster than the train on most routes and twice as fast on some routes.
How to Buy Train Tickets in Turkey?
Another highly asked question is how to purchase train tickets in Turkey. You can use the Turkish State Railways website, which is now more useful than in the past, but still needs to be improved. The website also offers English as an option.
Or, you can choose the easier option of buying train tickets from a ticket agent or a Trenmatik ticket machine at many train stations. You can also go to an authorized Turkish post office (PTT). However, this may mean waiting in long lines and being unable to find a ticket.
Here's a more detailed guide on reserving and buying train tickets in advance.
money on train travel costs. But you cannot break your journey and re-use the same ticket.
How Much are Train Tickets in Turkey?
Turkish trains are very affordable compared to some countries around the world, with tickets from around $5-20. There is also a 50% discount for individuals over 65 and 15% for those aged between 13-26.
Click here to learn more about Train Ticket Prices in Turkey.
How to Confirm Your Train is Operating
They're working on the railroad all over Turkey, upgrading many bridges, tunnels, and track sections, so there are frequent schedule changes and even temporary service suspensions on some lines. These disruptions are not necessarily noted in the train information online.
So, you must ensure that the train you want to take will be running on the exact day you want to take it. The best way to do this is by reserving your train ticket prior to coming to Turkey. Depending on the train line, you can reserve tickets up to 15 or 30 days before.
Trains Between Turkey & Europe
It is possible to take international trains but there are limited cities that connect with Turkish train stations. There's only one train daily between Turkey and Europe, the Istanbul - Sofia Express to Sofia, Bulgaria, and Bucharest, Romania, and from thereby connection to other European destinations.
For information on train travel from London and Europe to Turkey, see the Turkey page of Mark Smith's excellent railophile website, The Man in Seat 61. You may also enjoy TrainsOfTurkey.com, a Turkish train enthusiasts' site.
Trains vs. Other Types of Transportation in Turkey
Railways in Turkey are well-developed and designed for utmost comfort. While planes and buses can be faster choices, long-distance trains definitely offer a comfortable and scenic journey for those who want to enjoy the country's view.
While trains may be slower, they have many amenities, such as air conditioners, free Wi-Fi, and ample space that surpass both buses and airplanes in some cases.
Trains in Turkey offer a reliable and safe experience for people worldwide. Turkey has modern trains reaching high speeds and express trains filled with nostalgia. Regardless of your choice of transportation, Turkey has much to offer everyone.
Sit back and enjoy the journey.