The Balkan Flexipass available from Rail Europe (good for Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Serbia & Montenegro) is also valid in Turkey.
Train Tour Cards
Turkish State Railways (TCDD) offers Train Tour Cards(Tren Tur Kartları) good for 30 days’ unlimited travel on the entire Turkish inter-city rail network (though not valid within Turkish cities, or on international trains).
High-Speed Train Tour Card
The High-Speed Train Tour Card (YHT Seyahat Kartı) price varies depending on the departure and arrival cities you choose: Istanbul, Eskişehir and Ankara; Eskişehir and Konya; and Ankaraand Konya. For example, for a month of unlimited travel between Ankara, Eskişehir and Konya, the adult card costs TL420. The card is also valid on any other intercity train in Turkey, but does not include sleeping car or couchette car fees.
Express Train Tour Card
The Express Train Tour Card (Ekspres Tren Tur Kartı) is valid on all traditional (non-High-Speed) inter-city routes and trains. It costs TL210 for 30 days’ travel, but does not include sleeping car or couchette car fees.
Sleeping Car Train Tour Card
The Sleeping Car Train Tour Card (Yataklı Tren Tur Kartı)costs TL550 and is valid both for carriage on any train, and use of any sort of sleeping accommodation: sleeping car (yataklı vagon), couchette (kuşetli), or couchette with sheets, blankets and pillow (örtülü kuşet).
Note that you should reserve any sleeping caraccommodation in advance.
If you take more than 5 one-way (single) journeys, or 3 round-trip (return) train journeys, you will probably save money with a Train Tour Card. (See also Train Travel Costs.)
However, the trains don’t go everywhere in Turkey (map); except for the Istanbul-Ankara route, they’re often slower than the bus; and except for the high-speed trains, the equipment may be well-used, and in some cases even dilapidated—though serviceable.
Plan your itinerary, and see if a Train Tour Card suits you.
How to Buy a Train Tour Card
You may buy your Train Tour Card at a major train station in Turkey. So far as I know, they are not sold online, or at any other places.
Have your passport or official photo identity card ready to show when you buy and use your card. The card’s 30-day validity begins on the first day you use the card (which may or may not be the day you buy the card).
You can buy cards at 85 major stations, including these:
—by Tom Brosnahan
|Turkish Railways Route Map|