Turkey by Train
Discover Turkey by train - a patchwork of cultures combined with a tradition of hospitality. With your Eurail pass you can explore the diversity of Istanbul, experience one of the many action-packed outdoor adventures in Cappadocia or relax on the pristine beaches of Antalya. Turkey is a box of goodies for any travel enthusiast.
Train types in Turkey
The Eurail Global Pass and the Eurail Select Pass are valid on all trains operated by TCDD (Turkish Republic State Railways).
Visit the national railway company TCDD for info on types of trains and connections between Turkey and Europe.
The Istanbul – Ankara rail line is the most popular connection. There are several daily trains on this line. Since July 2014, the two cities are connected by a high-speed train, allowing you to make the journey in less than 4 hours.
Other major cities or tourist spots that can be reached by rail from Istanbul directly are Edirne, Eskisehir, Denizli (near Pamukkale), Konya, Adana, Kayseri, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Erzurum, Kars, and Tatvan on the shore of Lake Van.
How to get there
Due to the building of a new high-speed line there are no trains between Istanbul and the Bulgarian border. There's a replacement bus connecting Kapikule (bordering station) with Istanbul. Eurail passes are valid for this journey.
From Istanbul there is an international connection to Iran (Trans-Asya Ekspresi).
Reservations are not compulsory on national trains in Turkey. For long-distance trains reservations are possible. You can make free reservations locally at Turkish train stations up to 15 days in advance.
Bikes are allowed, but check locally if a special ticket is required.
Süper Ekspresler (intercity trains)
Mavi Trenler and Ekspresler (interregional trains)
Bölgesel Ekspresler (interregional express trains), Ray Otobüsü ve Mototrenler and Normal Yolcu Trenleri (regional trains)
Banliyö Treni (commuter trains)
rail pass options for Turkey
Spend your whole vacation exploring Turkey by rail.
Standard prices from € 51
Be free to visit Turkey along with the other 32 Eurail countries.
Standard prices from € 185
Benefits in Turkey
Cross Turkey's biggest lake
With a Eurail pass valid in Turkey, you can take a ferry crossing for €2 on the following route (no reservation necessary):
Tatvan – Van (Tuesdays and Fridays only)
More about Turkey
Population: 75.6 million
Currency: Turkish Lira (TRY)
Dialing code: +90
Places to visit in Turkey
Ephesus should be your first stop if you’re in search of ancient Roman remains – along with Pompeii it’s the best-preserved ancient settlement in the Mediterranean. Although just one column of the Temple of Artemis remains (this Seventh Wonder was destroyed in 401 BC) there are plenty of great excavated splendours to see, including the Library of Celsus and the Odeon amphitheatre. For more recent historical beauty head to mythical Amasya, with its enchanting Ottoman houses and impressive offering of mosques.
Far-out land formations
Buried in the heart of this huge country is Turkey’s splendid treasure: Cappadocia. An amalgamation of weird and intricate landforms – deep canyons, fairy chimney rock formations, as well as the highest peak Uçhisar and the ancient ruins of Mount Golgoli. Göreme – a small town and one of the only remaining Cappadocian settlements is a good base from which to explore this fascinating place. Pamukkale – a terrace of hot spring in the Denizli Province – is another absolute must-see . Take a dip in the mineral-rich 35°C waters, while marvelling at nature’s unique work.
Istanbul: Magnificent monumental city
Visit Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul and you’ll be blown away by sense-sparking monuments in every direction. Sultan Ahmet’s Ottoman Blue Mosque is one of Istanbul’s most epic structures. The interior of this six minaret mosque is emblazoned with over 20,000 exquisite blue tiles. Another must is to test your haggling mastery at Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar – one of the oldest and largest of its type. It houses over 4,000 shops, offering jewellery, pottery, spice and carpet – you’re guaranteed to find whatever weird and wonderful souvenirs you could imagine.
Sports for every taste
For adrenaline-fueled fun hit Kaş – a pretty little fishing town, where you’re invited to try out mountain biking and paragliding. And for marine-lovers indulge in Turkey’s most breathtaking scuba-diving within sapphire waters. During snowy climes hit one of Turkey’s top ski resorts. Uludaǧ – just 1.5 hours from Istanbul is popular with locals and tourists alike. The resort has beginner slopes to giant slaloms, plus great facilities and a very lively night scene. In summer, this national park offers good hiking and camping opportunities.
Tempting Turkish riviera
Alanya on the Turkish Riviera is a beach resort city that has it all: a Mediterranean climate, historical attractions, natural sights and frisky nightlife. During the day visit Alanya’s magnificent castle dating back to 1226, followed by some beach action at the pristine Ulaş beach. By night Alanya is one of the most happening places in Turkey. The area around the harbour is where the most spirited bars and clubs can be found. Be warned, you may find it hard to leave this all-encompassing Mediterranean jewel.
Go the last mile
Found yourself at the end of the line, but not at your destination? When public transportation ends, it's time to take matters into your own hands: rent a car for the last miles!
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