Turkish high-speed train
 

Turkey's new YHT high-speed train, linking Ankara, Konya, Eskişehir and (since 2014) the outskirts of Istanbul...

An excellent way to get around Turkey!

Guidebooks tell you that Turkey has a good bus network and that 'buses are faster than trains', but do you really want to spend 12 hours in a bus?  When you can travel on an inexpensive air-conditioned train, with a bed in cosy private sleeper or comfy Pullman seat with room to move, through fantastic scenery unspoilt by roadside development?  Travellers who take the train rave about their experience.

Turkey's best trains are now modern & air-conditioned.  Savvy travellers will use a train for long distances (for example, Ankara to Konya, Izmir or Kars) then a short bus trip to reach places off the rail network, for example the South coast resorts or Cappadocia.

Much of the network was built by the Germans, and the joke goes that they were paid by the mile, hence the twisting nature of Turkish rail lines.  But the first section of a high-speed line from Istanbul to Ankara opened in 2009, and high-speed trains started linking Istanbul with Ankara in 3h40 in July 2014, with Istanbul-Konya trains added in December that year...

  How to buy tickets      What are Turkish trains like?       Useful country information.

Train routes, schedules & fares...

  Istanbul - Ankara

 

  Ankara - Istanbul

  Istanbul - Bursa - Ankara

 

  Ankara - Izmir

  Istanbul - Konya - Adana

 

  Ankara - Konya, Karaman, Alanya, Antalya

  Istanbul - Denizli (Pamukkale)

 

  Ankara - Adana

  Istanbul - Gorëme (Cappadocia)

 

  Ankara - Erzurum, Kars, Eastern Turkey

  Istanbul - Izmir

 

  Izmir - Selçuk (Ephesus, Kusadasi) - Denizli (Pamukkale)

  Istanbul - Edirne

 

  Izmir - Konya

  Istanbul - Erzurum, Kars, Eastern Turkey

 

  Izmir - Ankara

  Buses to Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye, Antalya

 

  Izmir - Istanbul

  Trains to Iskenderun & to Mersin & Tarsus

 

  Sivas-Samsun

International travel...

  Istanbul to/from Bucharest, Budapest, Vienna, Munich, Paris & London

  Istanbul to/from Sofia, Belgrade, Zagreb, Munich, Paris & London

  Turkey, to or from:  Greece  Cyprus   Syria   Iran   Georgia   Armenia   Azerbaijan   Iraq   Ukraine

Interactive map:  Click a route for train times & fares...

Istanbul & Ankara to Cappadocia What are Turkish mainline trains like? What are YHT trains ike? Ankara to Adana train service Istanbul-Bursa-Eskisehir-Ankara Sivas-Samsun regional train Trains service to & within Syria Ankara - Eastern Turkey train service Locals trains Adana-Iskenderun Local trains Adana-Tarsus-Mersin Bus & ferry to Cyprus Istanbul-Konya-Adana Ankara-Konya-Karaman YHT trains Bus connections to south coast resorts Bus services to south coast resorts Local trains Izmir-Ephesus-Pamukkale Ankara-Izmir train service Istanbul-Izmir Ferry+train service Istanbul-Eskisehir-Ankara YHT trains Istanbul to/from Sofia, Bucharest, Paris, London

MAJOR ENGINEERING WORK... 

Istanbul Haydarpasa station closed to mainline trains...

Major railway rebuilding work in connection with the new Bosporus Rail Tunnel project & Istanbul-Ankara high-speed line project means that Istanbul's historic Haydarpasa station is now closed, except for a few suburban trains.  Though it's still worth a visit!  The classic Istanbul - Eskisehir-Ankara line has also closed.

Istanbul-Ankara high-speed trains started in July 2014!  The new high-speed line is now complete as far as the outskirts of Istanbul, and trains started running from Istanbul to Ankara from 26 July 2014, see the timetable below.  The new trains in fact leave from a suburban station called Pendik, some 25km east of Istanbul.  Pendik to Ankara takes just 3h40, beating a 6-hour journey by bus. 

Istanbul-Konya high-speed trains started in December 2014.

In a year or two's time when work on the suburban lines is complete, high-speed trains will run to and from central Istanbul once more using the new Bosphorus rail tunnel serving a new station in central Istanbul on the European side of the Bosphorus.

Unaffected routes:  Trains are STILL RUNNING between Ankara & Izmir, Ankara & Eskisehir, Ankara & Kayseri/Kars/Erzurum/Eastern Turkey, Ankara & Adana, Ankara & Konya, also between Bandirma & Izmir in connection with the Istanbul-Bandirma ferry.

Ankara station part-closed for 18 mths from July 2016...

Ankara station will partially close for reconstruction for 18 months from 10 July 2016 until at least December 2017.  Trains to/from eastern Turkey will start/terminate at Irmak, 70km east of Ankara, with bus replacement between Irmak & Ankara.  High-speed YHT trains to/from Istanbul & Konya will continue to use Ankara station.  Izmir-Ankara trains will run Izmir-Eskisehir with YHT connection to/from Ankara.  More details at https://railturkey.org/2016/06/21/ankara-to-permit-only-high-speed-trains/


Useful country information

Train operator:  

TCDD (Türkiye Cumhuryeti Devlet Demiryollan), www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr

How to buy tickets online

To check any European train time: http://bahn.hafas.de

 

 

Time zone:

GMT+2 (GMT+3 last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).

Dialling code:

+90

Currency:

£1 = 4.2 Turkish Lira  $1 = 3.2 TL.  Currency converter

Tourist information:   

www.turizm.gov.tr      www.turkeytravelplanner.com      Best guidebooks

Hotels:

Find hotels in Turkey.  Hotel reviews: www.tripadvisor.com  

Backpacker hostels: www.hostelbookers.com

Visas:

UK & EU citizens need a Turkish tourist visa, which you can buy at any frontier. 

Alternatively, Turkey now has a new e-visa system, buy online at www.evisa.gov.tr.

Page last updated:

24 November 2016


How to buy tickets

How to buy tickets at the station...

  Tur-ISTA travel agency

Turista Travel in Istanbul can arrange your train tickets by email.

  Haydarpasa Station in Istanbul, for trains to Ankara, Konya Denizli & eastern Turkey.  Photo courtesy of Stuart Baker

Haydarpaşa station, seen from the deck of a Bosphorus ferry.  Note the fire-damaged roof!  Haydarpasa is now to be redeveloped as the terminal for high-speed trains to Ankara & Konya from late 2017.

   

It's easy to buy tickets at the station when you get to Turkey.  Most major stations have a computerised ticketing & reservation system, so can book any journey in Turkey.  It's not usually difficult to get seats or berths on the day of travel or a day or two before, although sleepers can sometimes get fully-booked.  Alternatively, you can buy tickets in advance either online or via a TCDD-authorised agency as shown below.  Stations accept Turkish lira cash, and may now accept credit cards.  Booking for Turkish domestic trains opens 30 days before departure for some trains, 15 days ahead for others.  The high-speed trains open 10 days before travel. 

Tip:  If you are over 60, ask for a senior ticket (yaşlı bilet) to get 20% off - or 50% if you are over 65.  If you are under 26 ask for a youth ticket (genç bilet) to get 20% off.

How to buy tickets online:  Click here...

You can easily buy tickets online.  The Turkish Railways (TCDD) website www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr has an online booking facility, available in English (mostly!), see the advice on how to use it below.

It will book most long distance trains within Turkey (but not international trains), including seats, couchettes & sleepers.  You print out your reservation details and pick up the tickets at the station in Turkey.  It's quirky, but works beautifully and happily accepts non-Turkish credit cards even though most Turkish bus booking websites don't.  Online reservations for Turkish trains open 30 days before departure for some trains, 15 days ahead for others, and 10 days ahead for YHT high-speed trains, you won't see any trains if you look too far ahead.

How to buy tickets using a local travel agency...

If buying tickets online proves difficult, you can buy Turkish train tickets in advance by emailing or calling one of these authorised travel agencies in Istanbul:

Turista Travel, Divan Yolu Caddesi No. 16/B, 34410 Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey. Telephone +90 (212) 527 7085 or 513 7119.  Fax +90 (212) 519 3792.  E-mail erdemir@tur-ista.com.  I can personally recommend their service.  They are near the Sultanahmet tram stop, a short way from the Blue Mosque.

Backpackers Travel, Yeni Akbiyik Caddesi No. 30, Sultanahmet, Istanbul, telephone +90 (212) 638 63 43, fax +90 212 638 39 22, website www.backpackerstravel.net.

Turista gets good reports and I've used them myself, I yet to receive any reports about Backpackers Travel, but they are a well-known agency.  If you book with one of these agencies, you may need to pick up your tickets at their offices in Istanbul.  They can't book International trains from Turkey in their capacity as official TCDD agents, but they may be willing to buy tickets for international trains on your behalf as a private transaction, for a booking fee.

Haydarpaşa station...

Trains for Asian destinations used to leave from the historic Haydarpaşa Station (pictured above right), a ferry ride across the Bosphorus from Sirkeci Station where the European trains arrive.  Haydarpaşa station was built in 1908, a gift from the German Kaiser to the Ottoman Sultan, and named after one of the Sultan's generals.  It was closed to long-distance trains in February 2012 when engineering work started to rebuild the rail approaches to Istanbul in connection with both the new high-speed line to Ankara and the new Bosphorus rail tunnel.  It only handles a few remaining suburban trains, indeed even they may now be stopped.  However, the latest welcome news is that TCDD want to redevelop the station as the terminal for the new high-speed trains to Ankara and Konya when these finally get extended into central Istanbul, probably by late 2017.  In the meantime, the station is still worth a visit, trains or no trains.  Map of Istanbul showing Haydarpaşa & Sirkeci stations.

How to check Turkish train information online...

You can check train times & fares at the Turkish Railways (TCDD) website, www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr.  Click English top right, then PASSENGER then Trains, then the type of train that interests you for a written summary of the main trains, prices and on-board accommodation:  High speed, mainline, regional, suburban or international.  There are no trains to Antalya, Marmaris, Bodrum, Alanya, nor to Gorëme in Cappadocia, so use a combination of train+bus to reach these places as shown here.

To check current train times, prices & availability using TCDD's online journey planner, go to www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr and click English top right.  Now click PASSENGER then Ticket Sales Points then Eybis, which is the name of their online sales system.  Now click English again, top right!  Before buying tickets, read the advice here...

What are Turkish trains like?

High-speed trains...

Welcome to Yuksek Hizli Tren (YHT), the new face of Turkish train travel...

A pleasure to ride on, and as good as anything in Western Europe, brand-new 250 km/h high-speed trains are now operating on the Istanbul to Ankara, Ankara-Konya & Eskisehir-Konya routes.  Known as YHT, Yüksek Hızlı Treni, they feature comfortable seats in Economy and Business classes.  YHT high-speed trains started running from Istanbul (in fact, from a suburban station called Pendik, 25km east of Istanbul) to Ankara on 26 July 2014.  Since May 2015, the type of YHT shown below has been joined by a second type built in Germany by Siemens, with similar facilities.

 

A YHT train at Ankara...

 

Economy (2nd) class seats on the YHT...

 

Business (1st) class seats on a YHT...

 

Cafe-bar, complete with bar stools...

Conventional trains...

Turkey's conventional trains are also a pleasant surprise.  Cheap, spacious, and mostly now composed of modern air-conditioned TVS2000 coaches like the ones shown below, which are as good as any regular train in western Europe.  TVS2000 trains run from Ankara to Izmir, Adana, Erzurum, Kars & Eastern Turkey, vastly superior to a cramped bus.  They have several types of accommodation to choose from:

TVS2000 Pullman seats cars...

Turkish Railways' air-conditioned TVS2000 cars are modern, clean & carpeted.  The reclining Pullman seats (below right) are more spacious & comfortable than any cramped bus seat, and the coaches ride on smooth air suspension.

A modern TVS2000 train at Istanbul Haydarpasa   Reclining Pullman seats on a modern Turkish train

TVS2000 restaurant cars...

Restaurant cars are available on a number of trains.  Although TCDD discontinued all its restaurant cars in January 2016, a new catering contract was let and the restaurant cars returned in mid-2016, though sadly with only cold food and drinks, no alcohol and no hot meals.  Feedback appreciated.

Inside a TVS2000 restaurant car   Trains in Turkey:  A TVS2000 restaurant car

TVS2000 sleeping-cars...

Most overnight trains in Turkey now use modern air-conditioned TVS2000 sleeping-cars.  Sleeper compartments have beds and a washbasin, soap and towels provided, and even a small fridge containing complimentary mineral water, soft drinks and snacks.  There's even a shower at the end of the corridor.  Compartments convert from a bedroom at night to a private sitting room with armchairs and small table for the daytime part of a journey.  Trains with TVS2000 sleeping-cars include the night trains from Ankara to Izmir, the Cukurova Express from Ankara to Adana, and the trains from Ankara to Erzurum, Kars, Diyarbakir & Tatvan.  Travelling in these sleepers is a great way to travel that saves on hotel bills, too.

  TVS2000 sleeper in night mode, Istanbul-Ankara, Istanbul-Denizli, & Izmir-Ankara night trains.  Courtesy of Shigeki Murao

A TVS2000 sleeping-car at the rear of the Ankara to Adana night train...

 

A cosy 2-berth sleeper...

TVS2000 Sleeping-car corridor, Istanbul-Ankara, Istanbul-Denizli, & Izmir-Ankara night trains   TVS2000 sleeping-car in day mode, Istanbul-Ankara, Istanbul-Denizli, & Izmir-Ankara night trains.  

Above left, the corridor...  Above centre and right, the same 2-bed sleeper in daytime mode with seats folded out and beds folded away...  Interior photos courtesy of Shigeki MuraoMore sleeper photos.

TVS2000 couchette cars...

Couchettes are basic padded bunks, with 4 bunks per compartment.  Couchettes convert to ordinary seating compartments for the daytime part of a journey.  On some trains, couchettes are provided without bedding, but on other trains there are 'covered couchettes' (örtülü kuşet), with sheet, blanket and pillow supplied.  Most overnight trains such as the Ankara-Izmir, Ankara-Adana, Arifiye/Eskisehir-Konya-Adana and Ankara-Eastern Turkey trains now have modern air-conditioned TVS2000 couchette cars like the one below.

The Istanbul to Tehran train   Couchette compartment aboard the Istanbul to Tehran train

TVS2000 air-conditioned 4-berth couchettes, shown in daytime position with the berths folded against the wall.

For more information, the train travel section of www.turkeytravelplanner.com is highly recommended.

Sponsored links...

 


Istanbul to Ankara

Istanbul - Ankara high-speed trains...

The first section of the Istanbul-Ankara high-speed line opened in March 2009, when air-conditioned 250 km/h high-speed YHT trains (= Yüksek Hızlı Treni in Turkish) started running between Eskişehir with Ankara, see the photos & video above.  The rest of the high-speed line is now finished as far as the outskirts of Istanbul and on 26 July 2014 high-speed YHT trains started running between Ankara and a suburban station called Pendik, 25km east of Istanbul, see location map here (the timetable was tweaked from 8 August).  In due course, trains will start running all the way to/from the European side of Istanbul via the new Bosphorus rail tunnel, taking just 3 hours.  Alternatively, you might consider taking a ferry from Istanbul to Bursa, then a bus/train combo to Ankara as shown in the section below.

 Istanbul ► Ankara

 Notes:

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

 Istanbul Pendik depart

-

-

06:30

08:55

-

11:35

13:45

-

17:30

-

19:20

 Izmit

-

-

07:20

09:45

-

12:25

|

-

18:20

-

20:10

 Eskişehir

06:30

08:40

09:13

11:31

13:25

14:12

16:21

18:20

20:13

21:10

21:56

 Ankara arrive

08:06

10:16

10:48

13:03

15:01

15:47

17:54

19:56

21:49

22:46

23:30

 Ankara ► Istanbul

Notes:

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

 Ankara depart

06:00

06:30

08:40

11:05

12:00

14:05

16:00

17:00

18:00

19:00

20:50

 Eskişehir

07:40

08:06

10:17

12:41

13:40

15:42

17:36

18:40

19:36

20:37

22:26

 Izmit

09:26

-

11:56

-

15:20

17:21

-

20:26

-

22:16

-

 Istanbul Pendik arrive: 

10:15

-

12:45

-

16:08

18:10

-

21:15

-

23:05

-

Pendik is a suburban station 25km east of central Istanbul being used as the temporary terminal for YHTs, see Pendik station location map

To reach Pendik from central Istanbul, take a ferry from Eminönü ferry terminal (near Sirkeci station) across the Bosphorus to Kadıköy, a 20 minute crossing with frequent departures. Then take metro line M4 from Kadiköy metro station to Pendik metro station, this runs every 5-10 minutes, journey time 38 minutes.  It's then a 22-minute 1.7km walk or 5 minute taxi ride from Pendik Metro station to Pendik TCDD station, see the station location map.  You should allow at least 2 hours in total to get from the European side of Istanbul to Pendik.  Ultimately, the high-speed trains will be extended to a refurbished Haydarpaşa station.  The Istanbul Metro website is www.metro.istanbul, click EN top right for English.

YHT = Yüksek Hızlı Tren = new 250 km/h high-speed train.  YHT trains have a brief ticket and X-ray baggage check on the platform, so arrive for boarding 15 minutes before departure.

Ankara station is in central Ankara, see location map, unlike the main bus terminal which is 2-3 miles outside the city or the airport 15-20 miles outside.

How to buy tickets   Istanbul to Ankara on the high-speed line is 533km or 331 miles.

 Fares

 

Economy class

Business class

 Istanbul to Ankara: 

TL 70

TL 98

 Istanbul to Eskişehir: 

TL 45

TL 63

 Ankara to Eskişehir: 

TL 25

TL 35

£1 = TL 4.2.  $1 = TL 2.7 approx.

All these fares are one-way per person.  Return tickets cost 20% less than two one-way fares. 

Children under 8 go free, children 8-11 travel for half the adult fare, children 12 & over pay the youth (genç) fare. 

Youths under 26 get 20% off (genç).  Seniors 60-64 get 20% off (yaş 60-64), over 65s get 50% off (yaş 65).

You can check train times & fares and book online at www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr, but see the advice belowHow to buy tickets.

Economy class seats on a Turkish YHT high-speed train   A high-speed YHT train at Ankara station

The new face of Turkish train travel:  Above left, Eskişehir station.  Above right, a YHT about to leave Eskişehir.  See more photos & video above.


Istanbul to Bursa to Ankara

Istanbul to Ankara via Bursa...

Until direct trains resume from Istanbul Haydarpasa perhaps in 2017, a pleasant way to travel between Istanbul and Ankara is to take the regular fast passenger ferry across the Sea of Marmara to Bursa, then the special bus from Bursa to Eskişehir which runs in connection with most 250 km/h high-speed train departures to Ankara.  This is not much slower than taking a direct bus from Istanbul to Ankara, given that the YHT trains arrive at Ankara station in the heart of Ankara, not a bus station 2 miles out of town.  This route is also scenic, taking you up the lush green slopes of Mount Uludag (the Olympus of Bithynia) and it avoids the traffic congestion that can badly delay buses on the main Istanbul-Ankara route.

Step 1: Istanbul to Bursa by fast ferry...

Fast passenger ferries sail from Istanbul's Kabataş ferry terminal just southeast of Taksim Square to Bursa's Mudanya ferry terminal, 29km north of Bursa city.  On a typical weekday, you'll find ferry departures like the ones shown below, but they vary by day of the week and time of year, so check sailing times for your date of travel at https://budo.burulas.com.tr.

Alternatively, there are a couple of daily fast ferries to Bursa from Istanbul's Yenikapi ferry terminal in the south of the city, and these also carry vehicles.  Departures from Istanbul are at 07:30 (daily except Sundays), 17:30 (daily) and 20:30 (Fri & Sun only).  Journey time 1 hour 30 minutes.  Departures from Bursa are at 07:30 (daily except Sundays), 18:00 (daily), 20:30 (Fri & Sun only).  See www.ido.com.tr to check ferry times and fares from Yenikapi to Bursa.

Economy class seats on a Turkish YHT high-speed train   On board the fast ferry from Istanbul to Bursa

These are IDO fast ferries at Bursa's IDO ferry terminal ferry terminal. Budo's ferries are similar.

Step 2:  Bursa to Ankara by bus & high-speed train combo...

A bus company called Kamil Koc runs buses from Bursa bus station (otogar) to Eskişehir railway station specifically to connect with YHT high-speed train departures to Ankara.  The bus arrives right outside the station entrance at Eskişehir 15 minutes before the train leaves.  Just make sure you board the bus to Eskişehir station (Gar TCDD), not a similar bus to Eskişehir Otogar.

IMPORTANT UPDATE:  From 10 July 2016 this route is affected by the closure of Ankara station for 18 months, for details see https://railturkey.org/2016/06/02/last-train-to-ankara-station-on-10th-of-july.

 Bursa Eskişehir (► Ankara)

 

Bus

Bus

Bus

Bus

Bus

Bus

Bus

Bus

Bus

Bus

 Bursa Otogar depart by bus

04:15

07:05

07:50

09:25

12:01

13:15

15:25

15:45

17:55

18:55

 Eskişehir station arrive by bus 

06:30

09:20

10:05

11:40

14:16

15:30

17:40

18:00

20:10

21:10

For trains Eskişehir -Ankara, see the Istanbul-Eskişehir -Ankara timetable above.  Only a few minutes is needed to connect between bus & train.

 (Ankara ►) Eskişehir Bursa

 

Bus

Bus

Bus

Bus

Bus

Bus

Bus

Bus

Bus

 Eskişehir station depart by bus

08:15

09:05

10:45

14:05

15:05

16:55

17:35

19:45

20:30

 Bursa Otogar arrive by bus

10:30

11:20

12:55

16:20

17:20

19:10

19:50

22:00

22:45

A high-speed YHT train at Ankara station   A high-speed YHT train at Ankara station

Bursa-Ankara bus-train combo!  A Kamil Koc bus takes you from Bursa Otogar to Eskişehir TCDD railway station to connect with the YHT to Ankara.    Above left, a YHT gets a wash at Ankara.  Above right, the Kamil Koc bus waiting outside Eskisehir station.


Istanbul to Konya & Adana

In 2009, YHT high-speed trains started running over the newly-opened Eskişehir-Konya high-speed line, and from December 2014 two daily direct YHT trains started running direct from Istanbul (which temporarily means Pendik station, some 25km east of Istanbul) to Konya.

Two daily trains then connect Konya with Adana over the curvaceous and very scenic classic line, see the trains marked Toros and Mavi in the timetable below.

 Istanbul ► Konya ► Adana

 

 Adana ► Konya ► Istanbul

 Every day:

Mavi

YHT

Toros

YHT

 Every day:

YHT

Toros

YHT

Mavi

 Istanbul Pendik depart:

-

07:30

-

18:15

 Adana depart:

-

07:45

-

*

 Eskişehir arrive:

-

10:13

-

20:58

 Karaman depart:

-

12:15

-

*

 Eskişehir depart:

-

10:13

 -

20:58

 Konya arrive:

-

 *

-

*

 Konya arrive:

-

11:56

-

22:41

 Konya depart:

07:00

-

17:45

-

 Konya depart:

*

-

  15:00*

-

 Eskişehir arrive:

08:44

 -

19:30

-

 Karaman arrive:

*

-

15:30

-

 Eskişehir depart:

08:44

-

19:30

-

 Adana arrive:

*

-

19:45

-

 Istanbul Pendik arrive:

11:21

-

22:05

-

YHT = Yüksek Hızlı Tren, new 250 km/h high-speed train.  YHT trains have a brief ticket and X-ray baggage check on the platform, so arrive for boarding 15 minutes before departure.  These trains use the new high-speed line.

Mavi = Içanadolou Mavi Tren:  TVS2000 pullman reclining seats.  Booking for this train opens 10 days before departure.  This train uses the classic line.  Important:  From Dec 2014 until further notice will not run, while Konya-Karaman track is upgraded.  This may end some time in 2016.

Toros = Toros Express, runs every day, TVS2000 pullman reclining seats cars & normal compartment cars.  Booking opens 30 days ahead.  This train uses the classic line.  Important:  From Dec 2014 until until further notice (mid-2016?) will only run Karaman-Adana while track is upgraded.

Pendik is a suburban station 25km east of central Istanbul being used as the temporary terminal for YHTs, see location map here.  To reach Pendik, take a ferry across the Bosphorus to Kadıköy then metro line M4 to the end of the line at Kartal.  Then take a taxi or city bus 251 the last 6km to Pendik station.  You should allow at least 2 hours to get from European side of Istanbul to Pendik.  Ultimately, the high-speed trains will be extended to a refurbished Haydarpaşa station.

Alternative route between Istanbul & Adana:  You can take a train from Istanbul to Ankara (see here for times & prices) then take the overnight Cukurova Mavi train from Ankara to Adana (or vice versa). 

* = IMPORTANT UPDATE:  From December 2014 until further notice, you should definitely use the alternative route between Istanbul & Adana via Ankara explained above, as the Konya-Karaman line is closed for track upgrade to allow its use by YHT high-speed trains.  The Içanadolou Mavi Tren isn't running, and the Toros Express is only running between Adana and Karaman.

How to buy tickets    Map of Istanbul showing location of Haydarpaşa station   Connections to Tarsus & Mersin   Connections to Iskenderun

 Fares by YHT

 

Economy class

Business class

 Istanbul-Eskişehir

TL 45

TL 63

 Eskişehir-Konya

TL 35

TL 45

£1 = TL 4.2.  $1 = TL 2.8 approx.

 Fares by classic train

 

Reclining

pullman seat

Couchette

in 4-berth

Sleeper -

sharing 2-bed room

Sleeper -

single-bed room

 Eskişehir-Adana

TL 44

  -

TL 84

TL 110

£1 = TL 4.2.  $1 = TL 2.7 approx.

All these fares are one-way per person.  Return tickets cost 20% less than two one-way fares. 

Children under 8 go free, children 8-11 travel for half the adult fare, children 12 & over pay the youth (genç) fare. 

Youths under 26 get 20% off (genç).  Seniors 60-64 get 20% off (yaş 60-64), over 65s get 50% off (yaş 65).

You can check train times & fares and book online at www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr, but see the advice belowHow to buy tickets.

Scenery from the train from Istanbul to Adana.

The snow-capped Taurus Mountains, seen from the Içanadolou Mavi Tren from Konya to Adana.  Photo courtesy of Conor Meleady.


Istanbul to Denizli for Pamukkale

The Pamukkale Express is back!  The smart way to reach Pamukkale...

The old overnight Pamukkale Express from Istanbul to Denizli was cancelled several years ago due to work on the new Istanbul-Ankara high-speed line.  But from January 2015, it's back!  In its current form you take a modern high-speed YHT train from Istanbul (currently Pendik, to the east of Istanbul itself) to Eskişehir and change onto the Pamukkale Express, a modern air-conditioned day train direct to Denizli, the town next to the Pamukkale springs.  It's the safe, comfortable, fun and time-effective way to travel, avoiding flights or nightmare long bus rides.  Note:  When they first restarted the Pamukkale Express in January 2015 it was as a sleeper train, but as from April 2015 it becomes a daytime train.  Take a good book and be prepared for great scenery!  Note that the Pamukkale Express is retimed again from July 2016, and an overnight stop is now necessary in Eskisehir in the westwards direction, as you can see from the timetable.  By all means take a later train from Eskisehir to Istanbul, see the complete timetable above.

 Istanbul ► Denizli (Pamukkale)

 

 Denizli (Pamukkale) ► Istanbul

 Every day:

YHT

 Every day:

Pam. Exp

 Istanbul Pendik depart:

11:35

 Denizli depart:

15:40

 Eskişehir arrive:

14:12

 Eskişehir arrive:

23:40

 Every day:

Pam. Exp

 Every day:

YHT

 Eskişehir depart:

15:40

 Eskişehir depart:

07:40

 Denizli arrive:

23:39

 Istanbul Pendik arrive:

10:15

YHT = Yüksek Hızlı Tren = new 250 km/h high-speed train.  YHT trains have a brief ticket and X-ray baggage check on the platform, so arrive for boarding 15 minutes before departure.

Pam. Exp = Pamukkale Express.  TVS2000 reclining pullman seats with refreshment trolley.

Pendik is a suburban station 25km east of central Istanbul being used as the temporary terminal for YHTs, see location map here.  To reach Pendik, take a ferry across the Bosphorus to Kadıköy then metro line M4 to the end of the line at Kartal.  Then take a taxi or city bus 251 the last 6km to Pendik station.  You should allow at least 2 hours to get from European side of Istanbul to Pendik.  Ultimately, the high-speed trains will be extended to a refurbished Haydarpaşa station.

How much does it cost?

All these fares are one-way per person.  Return tickets cost 20% less than two one-way fares. 

Children under 8 go free, children 8-11 travel for half the adult fare, children 12 & over pay the youth (genç) fare. 

Youths under 26 get 20% off (genç).  Seniors 60-64 get 20% off (yaş 60-64), over 65s get 50% off (yaş 65).

You can check train times & fares and book online at www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr, but see the advice belowHow to buy tickets.


Istanbul to Gorëme (Cappadocia)

Istanbul to the strange land of Cappadocia...

Cappadocia is an incredible land of strange rock formations and cave dwellings that should not be missed.  It's a nightmare 12+ hour bus journey all the way from Istanbul, but you can easily let the train take the strain for much of the way.


Istanbul to Izmir

Istanbul to Izmir overnight by YHT & sleeper train...

With the start of high-speed YHT trains between Istanbul and Eskisehir you can once again take an evening train from Istanbul (or rather, currently, Pendik some 25km east of central Istanbul) to Eskisehir and pick up the air-conditioned sleeper train to Izmir with private 1 & 2 berth sleepers.  It's a very affordable, time-effective and comfortable way to make this journey, if you don't mind the trek from central Istanbul to Pendik by ferry, metro & taxi, at least until they finish work on the high-speed line all the way into central Istanbul.

 Istanbul ► Izmir

 

 

 

 Izmir ► Istanbul

Every day:

YHT

Every day: 

Sleeper

 Istanbul Pendik depart

19:20

 Izmir Alsancak station depart

19:30

 Eskisehir arrive

21:56

 Eskisehir arrive

07:40

 Change trains...

Sleeper

 Change trains...

YHT

 Eskisehir depart

22:45

 Eskisehir depart

08:44

 Izmir Alsancak arrive

10:29

 Istanbul Pendik arrive

11:21

Pendik is a suburban station 25km east of central Istanbul being used as the temporary terminal for YHTs high-speed trains to Eskisehir & Ankara, see location map here.  To reach Pendik, take a ferry across the Bosphorus to Kadıköy then metro line M4 to the end of the line at Kartal.  Then take a taxi or city bus 251 the last 6km to Pendik station.  You should allow at least 2 hours to get from the European side of Istanbul to Pendik.  Ultimately, the high-speed trains will be extended to a refurbished Haydarpaşa station.

YHT = Yüksek Hızlı Tren = new 250 km/h high-speed train.  YHT trains have a brief ticket and X-ray baggage check on the platform, so arrive for boarding 15 minutes before departure.

Sleeper = Izmir Mavi TrenTVS2000 sleeping-cars (1 & 2-bed compartments) & TVS2000 reclining pullman seats.  Runs via Afyon.

 How much does it cost?

 

Economy

seat

Business

 seat

Pullman seat

Bed in 2-berth

sleeper

Single-bed

 sleeper

 Istanbul to Eskişehir by YHT

TL 45

TL 63

-

-

-

 Eskişehir to Izmir by sleeper train

-

-

TL 34

TL 88

TL 113

£1 = TL 4.2.  $1 = TL 2.7

All these fares are one-way per person.  Return tickets cost 20% less than two one-way fares. 

Children under 8 go free, children 8-11 travel for half the adult fare, children 12 & over pay the youth (genç) fare. 

Youths under 26 get 20% off (genç).  Seniors 60-64 get 20% off (yaş 60-64), over 65s get 50% off (yaş 65).

You can check train times & fares and book online at www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr, but see the advice below!

How to buy tickets:  If you buy online, you will need to buy Pendik to Eskisehir and Eskisehir to Alsancak as two separate tickets.  You should use Pendik under 'P' for Istanbul and Alsancak under 'A' for Izmir, Turkish Railways use the station names not the city names in their system.

Istanbul to Izmir by ferry & train across the Sea of Marmara...

An enjoyable way from Istanbul to Izmir is to sail across the Sea of Marmara to Bandirma by fast ferry, then take the air-conditioned 6 Eylül Express or 17 Eylül Express from Bandirma to Izmir.  Much nicer than 9 hours stuck in a bus!

IMPORTANT UPDATE 2016:  In 2016, all trains Bandirma-Balikesir-Izmir are currently temporarily suspended until further notice while the line is electrified.

 Istanbul ► Izmir  by ferry & train

 

 Izmir ► Istanbul  by train & ferry

 By SeaCat fast ferry...

Daily

Fridays

Daily

 By air-conditioned train...

Daily 

Daily

 Istanbul Yenikapi ferry depart:

07:00

12:30

18:30

 Izmir Alsancak station depart

08:20

14:15

 Bandirma arrive:

09:00

14:30

  20:30*

 Balikesir arr/dep:

12:36

17:43

 By air-conditioned train

 Bandirma arrive:

14:16

 20:05*

 Bandirma depart:

15:55

15:55

  07:00*

 By SeaCat fast ferry...

 Balikesir arr/dep:

18:25

18:25

08:49

 Bandirma depart:

18:30

  07:30**

 Izmir Alsancak station arrive

21:52

21:52

13:16

 Istanbul Yenikapi ferry terminal arrive:

20:30

  09:30**

Always check your ferry times at www.ido.com.tr as times vary on certain dates and you may find better (or different) ferry connections on some days or dates.  45 minutes is sufficient to connect between train & ferry at Bandirma.

You should check train times less than 30 days before departure at www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr as the Turkish Railways have a habit of changing the train service on this route from time to time, sometimes running only one train not two, and I am no longer going to keep up with every change here!

* An overnight stop is necessary at Bandirma.  There are several good mid-range hotels close to the station and port.

** The Bandirma to Istanbul ferry sails at 07:30 on Mondays-Fridays, 09:30 on Saturdays, 15:30 on Sundays, crossing time 2 hours.

About the journey:  The ferry is a fast SeaCat run by the IDO ferry company, see www.ido.com.tr to check ferry times & prices.  The ferry terminal in Istanbul is called Yenikapi, see map of Istanbul showing location of Yenikapi ferry terminal.  There's a 30 minute minimum check-in for the ferry.  At Bandirma, the ferry arrives a stone's throw from the railway station, you can easily walk off the ferry and round onto the train.  The morning train is the 6 Eylül Express, the afternoon train is the 17 Eylül Express, both trains have modern air-conditioned TVS2000 reclining pullman seats, usually with a refreshment trolley, though I recommend bringing your own picnic and perhaps a beer or two for the journey.  Since 2010 the train arrives/departs Izmir Alsancak station, not Izmir Basmane.

How much does it cost?  (1) Istanbul Yenikapi to Bandirma by fast ferry costs TL 39.  (2) Bandirma to Izmir by train in a pullman seat is TL 22.  Children under 8 go free, children 8-11 travel for half the adult fare, children 12 & over must pay the adult fare.

How to buy tickets:  Buy the ferry ticket in person at the ferry terminal or online up to 30 days in advance at www.ido.com.tr, remembering that Yenikapi is the starting point in Istanbul.  Buy the train ticket at the station when you get to Bandirma, or perhaps buy at Istanbul's Sirkeci station before you leave, or try booking online as shown here, a little quirky but works beautifully when you get the hang of it!

Traveller's report:  Ryan White reports. "I went Istanbul to Izmir & back with the ferry+train and it was great.  The train and ferry were both very comfortable and on time.  One way Izmir to Istanbul or visa versa was about 30 TL ($20 dollars).

For onward travel from Izmir to Selçuk (Ephesus) and Denizli (Pamukkale) see this section.

  The station bell at Izmir Alsancak

The air-conditioned train to Izmir, waiting to leave Bandirma, where the ferry from Istanbul arrives...  Photo above courtesy of Rob Hadley, photo above right courtesy of Malte Furhrmann.

 

The station bell at Izmir Alsancak, with the train to Bandirma in the background.

Istanbul to Izmir by direct ferry...

There used to be a cruise ferry from Istanbul to Izmir, run by Deniz Lines, but this no longer runs.


Istanbul to Edirne

Until a year or two ago, two trains a day linked Istanbul's Sirkeci station with the historic city of Edirne, once known as Adrianople.  One was the overnight international train en route to/from Sofia and Bucharest, the other a regional train between Istanbul and Edirne.  However, at present major engineering is affecting the line westwards from Istanbul.  The international sleeper train is replaced by a bus between Istanbul and the Bulgarian border at Kapikule, as shown on the London to Turkey page.

 Istanbul ► Edirne

  

 

 Edirne ► Istanbul

 Days of running:

-

 Days of running:

-

 Istanbul Sirkeci station depart

-

 Edirne depart

-

 Edirne arrive

-

 Istanbul Sirkeci station arrive

-


Ankara to Izmir 

Modern trains link Ankara with Izmir overnight, with comfortable sleepers, see the TVS2000 sleeper photos.

IMPORTANT :  From 10 July 2016 this route is affected by the part-closure of Ankara station for 18 months, for details see https://railturkey.org/2016/06/21/ankara-to-permit-only-high-speed-trains.  The train will run Izmir-Eskisehir with YHT high-speed train connection to/from Ankara, as shown below...

 Ankara ► Izmir

 

 

 

 Izmir ► Ankara

Every day:

YHT

Every day: 

Sleeper

 Ankara depart

19:00

 Izmir Alsancak station depart

19:30

 Eskisehir arrive

20:37

 Eskisehir arrive

07:40

 Change trains...

Sleeper

 Change trains...

YHT

 Eskisehir depart

22:45

 Eskisehir depart

08:40

 Izmir Alsancak arrive

10:29

 Ankara arrive

10:16

YHT = Yüksek Hızlı Tren = new 250 km/h high-speed train.  YHT trains have a brief ticket and X-ray baggage check on the platform, so arrive for boarding 15 minutes before departure.

Mavi = Izmir Mavi Tren.  TVS2000 sleeping-cars (1 & 2-bed compartments) & TVS2000 reclining pullman seats.  Runs via Afyon.

You can check times and fares at www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr.  Since 2010 the trains use Izmir's Alsancak station, they no longer use Basmane.

How to buy tickets

 Fares

Air-con reclining

pullman seat

Air-con couchette

in 4-berth

Air-con sleeper -

sharing 2-bed sleeper

Air-con sleeper -

single-bed sleeper

TL 38

TL 50

TL 91

TL 116

£1 = TL 4.2.  $1 = TL 2.7

All these fares are one-way per person.  Return tickets cost 20% less than two one-way fares. 

Children under 8 go free, children 8-11 travel for half the adult fare, children 12 & over pay the youth (genç) fare. 

Youths under 26 get 20% off (genç).  Seniors 60-64 get 20% off (yaş 60-64), over 65s get 50% off (yaş 65).

You can check train times & fares and book online at www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr, but see the advice belowHow to buy tickets.


Ankara to Konya, Karaman, Alanya, Antalya

A new high-speed line linking Ankara with Konya opened in August 2011.  250 km/h (156 mph) high-speed trains with economy and business class air-conditioned seating and a cafe-bar car now link these cities in just 1 hour 40 minutes, see the photos & video above.  Previously, you could only travel between these cities via a roundabout route that took over 10 hours.  The service may be further increased to an hourly service as traffic builds up, and there may be further cuts to journey time too.  The journey from Ankara to Konya is around 309 km (193 miles), including 212 km of new high-speed line.  The Turkish term for high-speed train is YHT or Yüksek Hızlı Tren.

Important update:  Since 2014 buses have been temporarily replacing trains between Konya & Karaman while the track is upgraded to take direct YHT high-speed trains.  It may end some time in 2016.

 Ankara ► Konya, Karaman, Alanya, Antalya

Daily:

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

 Ankara depart by YHT train

06:45

08:55

11:40

13:50

16:35

18:40

21:40

 Konya arrive by YHT train

08:40

10:50

13:32

15:45

18:30

20:35

23:35

 Karaman arrive by bus

(10:20)

(13:00)

(16:15)

(19:00)

(22:00)

-

-

 Alanya arrive by bus

(13:30)

|

|

(22:15)

-

-

-

 Antalya arrive by bus

(14:15)

(16:15)

(19:20)

-

-

-

-

 Antalya, Alanya, Karaman, Konya ► Ankara

Daily:

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

YHT

 Antalya depart by bus

-

-

-

-

(10:00)

(12:30)

(14:30)

 Alanya depart by bus

-

-

-

(07:30)

(10:00)

|

(16:00)

 Karaman depart by train

-

-

(07:50)

(10:30)

(13:00)

(16:10)

(19:00)

 Konya  depart by YHT train

06:30

09:15

11:30

14:10

16:20

19:00

21:15

 Ankara arrive by YHT train

08:22

11:07

13:17

16:02

18:09

20:52

23:07

The Karaman train connection:  To/from Karaman, you must change trains at Konya onto a bus, that's why the times shown above are in brackets.  The change takes just a few minutes, onto a bus laid on to connect with the high-speed service.

The Antalya & Alanya bus connection:  Turkish Railways have teamed up with the Özkaymak bus company to offer a seamless train+bus combo service from Ankara to Alanya & Antalya.  You take a YHT high-speed train between Ankara & Konya, a bus is waiting outside the station when you arrive at Konya to take you to Alanya or Antalya, as shown above.  Times at Alanya/Antakya are shown in brackets to indicate that this is a connection, not a direct train to or from Ankara!  The bus route is very scenic, over some green and untouched parts of the Taurus mountains.  Turkish Railways claim this YHT/bus combo saves 2 hours over a direct bus to or from Ankara, and it's a lot more comfortable.

The Adana connection:  See the section below.

 Fares

 

Business class

Economy class

 Ankara to Konya  

TL 35

TL 25

£1 = TL 4.2.  $1 = TL 2.7

All these fares are one-way per person.  Return tickets cost 20% less than two one-way fares. 

Children under 8 go free, children 8-11 travel for half the adult fare, children 12 & over pay the youth (genç) fare. 

Youths under 26 get 20% off (genç).  Seniors 60-64 get 20% off (yaş 60-64), over 65s get 50% off (yaş 65).

You can check train times & fares and book online at www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr, but see the advice belowHow to buy tickets.

 

New YHT high-speed trains:  Turkish Railways use the same type of train on the new Ankara-Konya route as the Ankara-Eskisehir line.  Above left, a YHT train at Ankara.  Above right, Business class seats.  See more photos & video above.


Ankara to Adana

There's no better way to travel between Ankara and Adana than by train.  Choose between a time-effective and very civilised overnight sleeper service, or a new daytime high-speed option with a change of train in Konya, which will show you the spectacular Taurus mountains.

IMPORTANT UPDATE:  From 10 July 2016 this route is affected by the part-closure of Ankara station for 18 months, for details see https://railturkey.org/2016/06/21/ankara-to-permit-only-high-speed-trains.

 Ankara ► Adana

 

 

 

 Adana ► Ankara

 Daily:

YHT/Toros

Cukurova

 Daily:

Toros/YHT

Cukurova

 Ankara depart:

-

-

 Adana   depart:

-

-

 Konya arrive

-

-

 Konya arrive

-

-

 Konya depart

-

-

 Konya depart

-

-

 Adana  arrive:

-

-

 Ankara  arrive

-

-

YHT/Toros = Temporarily cancelled due to engineering work.  By excellent YHT high-speed train between Ankara & Konya with business class and economy class seats, change trains at Konya, by Toros Express with pullman seats between Konya & Adana.  Superb scenery through the Taurus mountains.

Cukurova = Temporarily cancelled due to engineering work.  By Cukurova Mavi Tren direct between Ankara and Adana, with modern air-conditioned sleeping-car with 1 & 2-bed compartments, 4-berth couchettes and reclining pullman seats.  These are all ultra-modern, fully-air-conditioned, soundproofed and smooth-riding TVS2000 cars, see the TVS2000 sleeper photos, TVS2000 couchette photos & TVS2000 pullman seat photos

How to buy tickets.   Connection to Tarsus & Mersin   Connection to Iskenderun.

 Fares by sleeper train...

Air-con reclining

pullman seat

Air-con couchette

in 4-berth

Air-con sleeper -

sharing 2-bed sleeper

Air-con sleeper -

single-bed sleeper

TL 26

TL 39

TL 91

TL 132

£1 = TL 4.2.  $1 = TL 2.7

All these fares are one-way per person.  Return tickets cost 20% less than two one-way fares. 

Children under 8 go free, children 8-11 travel for half the adult fare, children 12 & over pay the youth (genç) fare. 

Youths under 26 get 20% off (genç).  Seniors 60-64 get 20% off (yaş 60-64), over 65s get 50% off (yaş 65).

You can check train times & fares and book online at www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr, but see the advice belowHow to buy tickets.

Fare by YHT/Toros:  Ankara to Konya costs TL 35 in Business class or TL 25 in Economy.  Konya to Adana costs TL 20.50.

 

The Cukurova Mavi Tren about to leave Ankara for Adana, with the sleeping-car (shown here) at the rear, couchette car next ahead...


Istanbul & Ankara - Eastern Turkey

It's a long way to eastern Turkey, but the trains have sleeping-cars and couchettes for a comfortable and wonderfully scenic journey, making the train far more comfortable, civilised and enjoyable than any cramped long-distance bus.  Most trains now use modern air-conditioned TVS2000 sleeping-cars and reclining seat cars.

IMPORTANT:  From 10 July 2016 until at least December 2017, this route is affected by the rebuilding and part-closure of Ankara station, see https://railturkey.org/2016/06/21/ankara-to-permit-only-high-speed-trains.  The revised times are shown below:  Trains to Eastern Turkey will start from Irmak, a town 70km east of Ankara, with a connecting bus laid from Ankara at the times shown below.

 Istanbul & Ankara ► Eastern Turkey

High-speed train:

YHT

YHT*

YHT*

 Istanbul Pendik

depart

10:45

19:20

19:20

 Ankara

arrive

14:42

23:13

23:13

Classic train:

Doğu Express

Güney Express

Van Gölü Express

Days of running:

Every day

Mon, Wed, Thur

Fri, Sat

Tuesdays &

Sundays

 Ankara (by bus)

depart

17:58  day 1

11:19  day 1

11:19  day 1

 Irmak (by train)

depart

19:28  day 1

12:49  day 1

12:49  day 1

 Kayseri

arr/dep

00:48  day 2

18:36  day 1

18:36  day 1

 Sivas

arr/dep

04:12  day 2

22:31  day 1

22:31  day 1

 Erzurum

arr/dep

13:57  day 2

|

|

 Kars

arrive

18:01  day 2

|

|

 Malatya

arr/dep

 

03:02  day 2

03:02  day 2

 Diyarbakir

arr/dep

 

09:04  day 2

|

 Kurtalan

arrive

 

12:01  day 2

|

 Elazig

arr/dep

 

 

06:20  day 2

 Tatvan

arrive

 

 

13:31  day 2

As you can see from the timetable, you take a YHT high-speed train from Istanbul to Ankara, then the classic trains from Ankara eastwards (part-replaced by a bus for the first 70km as per the update above, of course).

* = Travel from Istanbul to Ankara the previous day, see the Istanbul-Ankara section.

Pendik is a suburban station 25km east of central Istanbul being used as the temporary terminal for YHT trains, see Pendik station location map

To reach Pendik from central Istanbul, take a ferry from Eminönü ferry terminal (near Sirkeci station) across the Bosphorus to Kadıköy, a 20 minute crossing with frequent departures. Then take metro line M4 from Kadiköy metro station to Pendik metro station, this runs every 5-10 minutes, journey time 38 minutes.  It's then a 22-minute 1.7km walk or 5 minute taxi ride from Pendik Metro station to Pendik TCDD station, see the station location map.  You should allow at least 2 hours in total to get from the European side of Istanbul to Pendik.  Ultimately, the high-speed trains will be extended to a refurbished Haydarpaşa station.  The Istanbul Metro website is www.metro.istanbul, click EN top right for English.

YHT = Yüksek Hızlı Tren, new 250 km/h high-speed train.  YHT trains have a brief ticket and X-ray baggage check on the platform, so arrive for boarding 15 minutes before departure.  These trains use the new Istanbul-Ankara high-speed line.

4 Eylül Mavi Tren.  Not running until Dec 2017TVS2000 4-berth couchette cars, TVS2000 reclining pullman seats, & compartment seats.  No sleepers.

Doğu Express.  Runs daily, recommended train.  TVS2000 sleeping-car (1 & 2-bed rooms), TVS2000 couchettes (4-berth) & TVS2000 reclining pullman seats.   See the traveller's report below.  U-Tube video of a ride from Istanbul to Kars on the Doğu ExpressSays one traveller: "Overnight on brilliant Dogu Express to Erzurum. A trip highlight."

Güney Express.  Runs on certain days of the week as shown in the table above.  TVS2000 sleeping-car (1 & 2-bed rooms), TVS2000 reclining pullman seats, ordinary seats.  Take provisions and some beer or wine...

Van Gölü Express.  Runs on certain days of the week as shown in the table above.  TVS2000 sleeping-car (1 & 2-bed rooms), TVS2000 reclining pullman seats, ordinary seats.

Trans-Asia Express.  Currently not running.  Carries International passengers only.  Runs once a week only, on the day of the week shown in the table above.  Air-conditioned TVS2000 4-berth couchette cars Ankara-Tatvan-Tehran.  Reported to only carry international passengers.  See the London to Iran page.

 Eastern Turkey ► Ankara & Istanbul

Classic train:

Doğu Express

Güney Express

Van Gölü Express

Days of running:

Every day

Mon, Wed,

Fri, Sat, Sun

Tuesday, Thursday

 Tatvan

depart

08:00 day 1

 Elazig

arr/dep

15:06  day 1

 Kurtalan

depart

09:30  day 1

|

 Diyarbakir

arr/dep

12:24  day 1

|

 Malatya

arr/dep

 

17:53  day 1

17:53  day 1

 Kars

depart

08:10  day 1

|

|

 Erzurum

arr/dep

12:26  day 1

|

|

 Sivas

arr/dep

22:07  day 1

22:33  day 1

22:33  day 1

 Kayseri

arr/dep

01:26  day 2

02:22  day 2

02:22  day 2

 Irmak (by train)

arrive

06:38  day 2

08:01  day 2

08:01  day 2

 Ankara (by bus)

arrive

07:00  day 2

08:30  day 2

08:30  day 2

 High-speed train:

YHT

YHT

YHT

 Ankara

depart

11:45

14:55

14:55

 Istanbul Pendik

arrive

15:38

18:45

18:45

You can check times and fares at www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr.

How to buy tickets - booking for these Eastern Turkey trains opens 15 days before departure.

Istanbul to Ankara by YHT train costs TL 70 one-way in economy class or TL 98 in business class.

 Fares

 One-way per person

Reclining

pullman seat

Couchette

in 4-berth

Sleeping-car,

sharing 2-bed sleeper

Sleeping-car,

single-bed sleeper

 Ankara to Kars (Doğu Express)

TL 39

TL 52

TL 80

TL 95

 Ankara to Diyarbakir (Güney Express)

TL 29

TL 42

TL 69

TL 84

 Ankara to Tatvan (Van Gölü Express)

TL 33

TL 46

TL 73

TL 88

£1 = TL 4.2.  $1 = TL 2.7 approx.

All these fares are one-way per person, fares for other journeys will be broadly similar.  Return tickets cost 20% less than two one-way fares. 

Children under 8 go free, children 8-11 travel for half the adult fare, children 12 & over pay the youth (genç) fare. 

Youths under 26 get 20% off (genç).  Seniors 60-64 get 20% off (yaş 60-64), over 65s get 50% off (yaş 65).

You can check train times & fares and book online at www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr, but see the advice belowHow to buy tickets.

Taking the train to eastern Turkey:  Dogu express to Kars along the Euphrates river   Taking the train to eastern Turkey:  The Dogu Express alongside the Euphrates river

Great scenery on the train to Kars:  Two views from the Dogu Express, alongside the Euphrates river between Sivan & Erzurum.  Away from road development, you'll see great scenery from the comfort of your train.  It's the  inexpensive & relaxed alternative to airport stress or a nightmare journey in a cramped bus.   Photos courtesy of Conor Meleady.

Scenery from the train to Kars   More scenery from the Dogu Express to Kars

More scenery from the Dogu Express...  Photos courtesy of Maximilian Meyer.

An omelette in the dining-car on the Dogu Express   The Dogu Express at a station in Eastern Turkey

An omelette and tea in the dining car...  Efes beer is also sold.  Photos courtesy of Maximilian Meyer.

 

Civilised comfort on board the train:  A private 1 or 2 bed sleeper, in daytime mode with beds folded away.  Photo courtesy of Heather Williams.

 

Above:  The same compartment, looking towards the door to the corridor.  Photo courtesy of Heather Williams.

Traveller's report...

Traveller Matt Dwyer reports on a trip from Istanbul to Kars on the Dogu Express:  "We went directly to the Haydarpaşa train station to buy tickets. It was quite simple to tell the ticket guy the date, train, and "Yatakli Vagon" (sleeper) and he handed us our tickets.  We paid 53 TL one way, but that was with our teacher discount (I think any teacher or student can get that discount, he wasn't very strict about proof), but I expect a regular ticket would be about 70 TL (£19 or $30).  Our Yatakli Wagon was the last car on the train, behind the cafe car, had 10 cabins with two beds each. They were not full, but we did pick up several groups along the way, especially in Ankara. The porters were very helpful and nice, announcing meals, making beds, etc. Our cabin was not luxurious, but certainly comfortable with a working sink, soap and hand towels, lock on the door from the inside (all my female friends asked me about that!), clean linens, etc.  We felt no worries about leaving stuff in our cabin when we went to the cafe car.  Beer on the train is expensive, I suggest people bring some along!  The toilet at the end of the car was clean for the first day, then started to get pretty grubby.  The scenery is spectacular, especially the second day as you go along the Euphrates and the mountains and gorges are striking."  This was written before the Dogu Express was equipped with modern air-conditioned TVS2000 sleeping-cars.


Izmir to Konya

 Izmir ► Konya

 

 

 

 Konya ► Izmir

 Daily...

Konya Mavi

 Daily...

Konya Mavi

 Izmir Alsancak depart:

21:10

 Konya depart:

20:00

 Afyon arr/dep

05:00

 Afyon arr/dep

00:07

 Konya arrive:

08:58

 Izmir Alsancak  arrive

07:48

Konya Mavi = Konya Mavi Tren, with modern air-conditioned sleeping-car with 1 & 2-bed compartments, 4-berth couchettes & reclining pullman seats.  These are all modern, fully-air-conditioned, soundproofed and smooth-riding TVS2000 cars, see the TVS2000 sleeper photos, TVS2000 couchette photos, TVS2000 pullman seat photos.

How to buy tickets.

 Fares...

Air-con reclining

pullman seat

Air-con couchette

in 4-berth

Air-con sleeper -

sharing 2-bed sleeper

Air-con sleeper -

single-bed sleeper

TL 35

TL 47

TL 75

TL 100

£1 = TL 4.2.  $1 = TL 2.7

All these fares are one-way per person.  Return tickets cost 20% less than two one-way fares. 

Children under 8 go free, children 8-11 travel for half the adult fare, children 12 & over pay the youth (genç) fare. 

Youths under 26 get 20% off (genç).  Seniors 60-64 get 20% off (yaş 60-64), over 65s get 50% off (yaş 65).

You can check train times & fares and book online at www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr, but see the advice belowHow to buy tickets.


Izmir - Ephesus - Pamukkale

The station for Ephesus is Selçuk, 78km by train from Izmir.  The ruins at Ephesus are walking distance from the modern town of Selçuk.  Denizli is the station for the magnificent natural springs at Pamukkale.  The railway to Denizli was closed for some time for major rebuilding work, but reopened in June 2011.  For the Istanbul to Denizli Pamukkale Express overnight train, see above.

 Izmir  ► Selçuk (Ephesus) ► Denizli (Pamukkale)

 

Note:

Daily

Daily

Daily

Daily

Daily

Daily

Daily

Daily

 Izmir Basmane station

depart

07:45

09:00

11:25

13:30

15:40

16:30

18:15

19:10

 Selçuk for Ephesus

arr/dep

09:01

10:18

12:39

14:43

17:05

17:57

19:33

20:43

 Aydin

arr/dep

09:55

11:11

13:42

15:35

17:59

18:56

20:27

-

 Nazilli

arr/dep

10:43

11:58

14:31

16:31

18:49

19:45

21:14

-

 Denizli for Pamukkale

arrive

12:00

13:15

15:49

-

20:05

21:02

22:32

-

All trains have 1st & 2nd class seats, and are now operated by comfortable modern air-conditioned diesel trains.

Change in Aydin for buses to Bodrum, Marmaris, Datca. 

Selçuk is the closest station to the resort of Kusadasi, 21km away by local bus or taxi.

 Denizli (Pamukkale) ► Selçuk (Ephesus) ► Izmir

 

Note:

Daily

Daily

Daily

Daily

Daily

Daily

Daily

Daily

 Denizli for Pamukkale

depart

-

-

05:45

08:20

12:50

14:50

-

17:15

 Nazilli

arr/dep

-

05:40

07:04

09:45

14:09

16:11

17:35

18:47

 Aydin

arr/dep

-

06:26

07:55

10:32

14:57

16:57

18:30

19:40

 Selçuk for Ephesus

arr/dep

06:49

07:22

09:00

11:28

15:53

17:58

19:32

20:44

 Izmir Basmane station

arrive

08:20

08:39

10:22

12:39

17:08

19:09

20:53

22:03

Check current times at www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr, leave it in Turkish and use Google Chrome browser with inbuilt translation.  Look for 'Regional trains' at the top.  No pre-booking required, just turn up and buy a ticket.

How much does it cost?  Izmir to Selçuk costs around TL 6 (£1.50 or $2), Izmir to Denizli TL 21 (£6 or $9), Denizli to Selcuk TL 15 (£4 or $7).  Children under 8 go free, children 8-11 travel for half the adult fare, children 12 & over must pay the youth fare.  Seniors over 60 20% off, over 65 50% off.  Youths under 26 get 20% off.

To double-check current train times in case of any recent changes, go to the Turkish Railways website www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr.   The information you need is not shown in the English version of their site, so you must leave it in Turkish, ideally using Google's Chrome browser with automatic translation.  Select 'Bölgesel Trenler' (= regional trains) in the red bar at the top.  Click the '>>' arrows against the route you are interested in.  A timetable will appear.

To reach the ruins at Ephesus, alight at Selçuk, turn left outside the station and walk up the road running parallel with the train tracks.  The otogar (bus station) is about 500 metres on the left with dolmuses (minibuses) leaving every 20 minutes or so to take travellers up to the nearby ruins.

Izmir-Selcuk-Denizli train

Modern air-conditioned local trains now operate the Izmir-Selçuk-Denizli line.  Photo courtesy of Niklas Angermair

Inside the train from Izmir to Ephesus (Selcuk) & Pamukkale (Denizli)   Selcuk station, for Ephesus

he train's smart interior...  Photo courtesy of Nick ward

 

Selçuk station, for Ephesus...  Photo courtesy of Nick Ward

Scenery from the Izmir to Ephesus train

Landscape between Izmir & Selçuk (for Ephesus).  Photo courtesy of Stefan Smith.


Adana to Tarsus & Mersin

Adana ► Yenice, Tarsus, Mersin

Local trains leave Adana daily at 06:00, 06:20, 06:30, 06:46, 07:38, 08:05, 08:20, 09:01, 09:32, 10:03, 11:00, 11:15, 12:00, 12:20, 13:30, 14:20, 15:10, 16:00, 16:30, 17:10, 17:36, 18:13, 18:53, 19:10, 20:15, 21:15, 22:15, 23:15.

Journey time Adana to Mersin 45-66 minutes, Adana to Tarsus 28-39 minutes, Adana to Yenice 17-26 minutes.

Mersin, Tarsus, Yenice ► Adana

Local trains leave Mersin daily at 06:00, 06:37, 06:55, 07:30, 08:00, 08:20, 09:00, 09:30, 10:30, 11:00, 12:00, 12:30, 13:30, 14:20, 15:00, 15:15, 16:10, 16:30, 17:05, 17:20, 17:50, 18:10, 18:40, 19:10, 20:05, 20:50, 21:33, 22:34.

All these trains call at Tarsus & Yenice.  Journey time from Mersin to Adana 45 to 68 minutes.

The trains between Adana and Mersin are now believed to be modern air-conditioned diesel units like the one shown in the Izmir to Selçuk & Denizli section aboveFeedback would be appreciated...

To double-check current train times, go to the Turkish Railways website www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr.   The information you need is not shown in the English version of their site, so you must leave it in Turkish, ideally using Google's Chrome browser with automatic translation.  Select 'Bölgesel Trenler' (= regional trains) in the red bar at the top.  Click the '>>' arrows against the route you are interested in.  A timetable will appear.

Connections from Istanbul & Ankara...

For train connections from Ankara to Adana, see the Ankara-Adana section above.

For train connections from Istanbul to Adana, see the Istanbul-Adana section above.


Adana to Iskenderun

Adana ► Iskenderun

A local train leaves Adana daily at 19:00 arriving Iskenderun at 21:15.  The train consists of a diesel locomotive and several modern air-conditioned carriages, 2nd class only.

Iskenderun ► Adana

A local train leaves Iskenderun daily at 07:15 arriving Adana at 09:32.

Fares & how to buy tickets...

Adana to Iskenderun costs just TL 11.25 for the 138km.  Buy tickets at the station or even on board the train, no reservation necessary. 

To double-check current train times, go to the Turkish Railways website www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr.   The information you need is not shown in the English version of their site, so you must leave it in Turkish, ideally using Google's Chrome browser with automatic translation.  Select 'Bölgesel Trenler' (= regional trains) in the red bar at the top.  Click the '>>' arrows against the route you are interested in.  A timetable will appear.

Connections from Istanbul & Ankara...

For train connections between Adana & Ankara, see the Ankara-Adana section above.

For train connections between Adana & Istanbul, see the Istanbul-Adana section above.

Traveller's report...

Traveller Magnus Larsson reports:  "On the minute the train departed from Iskenderun at 07.15 and made its way slowly through the outskirts of town. The Mediterranean sea became visible through the windows at times during the journey. The train was pretty full of passengers but with 2+1 seats there were generous space for all of us. The air-conditioning kept temperature in the wagons at a pleasant level all the time, even though the sun was shining strong when we arrived Mersin on schedule at 10.40. I bought tickets from the ticket counter at Iskenderun station but it is also possible to buy tickets on board."

Train from Iskenderun to Adana   Inside the train from Iskenderun to Adana

The Iskenderun-Adana train...  Photo courtesy of Magnus Larsson


Sivas to Samsun

Sivas ► Samsun

The line is closed for several years for a complete rebuild as from September 2015. 

Samsun ► Sivas

The line is closed for several years for a complete rebuild as from September 2015. 

Connections from Ankara...

For connections from Ankara to Sivas, see the Ankara-Eastern Turkey section above.

Traveller's report...

Traveller Stefan Smith reports:  "We used this service as part of a relaxed way to travel from the delightful little town of Amasya, nestled in the depths of a gorge in the Black Sea mountains, back to Ankara. First, we took the 11:32 train from Amasya to Sivas, a leisurely journey through some very pretty unspoiled mountain scenery and lush valleys, arriving at Sivas bang on time at a few minutes past 17:00. We then spent a nice evening in Sivas (the centre of which is a 20-minute walk from the train station), visiting its remarkable Seljuk remains, and having glasses of apple tea in the beautiful courtyards of former madrasas. Then, around midnight, we boarded the Dogu Ekspresi, en route from Kars, to Ankara, arriving around 10:00 the next morning. Much more relaxing than the 7-hour Ankara-Amasya bus journey we had endured a couple of days earlier!"

Scenery from the train from Sivas to Amasya.  Photo courtesy of Stefan Smith.


Buses to Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye, Antalya

Istanbul ► Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye, Antalya...

There are direct buses from Istanbul to Antalya, Marmaris and the Mediterranean coast, but this is a nightmarishly long bus journey, especially if done overnight slumped in a cramped bus seat.  Here's how to travel in civilised style with a minimum of time spent in a cramped bus...

For Bodrum or Marmaris, first travel from Istanbul to Izmir by ferry & train as shown here.  It's a relaxing and enjoyable journey.  Then take a local train from Izmir to Aydin railway station as shown here.  Now take a bus from Aydin bus station to Bodrum or Marmaris.  Aydin to Bodrum takes 2 hours 40 minutes and costs around TL 30.  Aydin to Marmaris costs about TL28 and takes 2 hours 20 minutes.  There's a range of buses daily, try www.pamukkale.com.tr.

For Fethiye, first travel from Istanbul to Izmir as shown here.  Then take a train from Izmir to Denizli railway station as shown here.  Then take a bus from Denizli bus station to Fethiye.  There are several buses daily, the bus costs around TL25 and takes 3 hours 45 minutes.  Try www.pamukkale.com.tr but there are other bus companies.

For Antalya, travel by bus from Istanbul to Eskişehir, then the comfortable overnight Içanadolou Mavi Tren from Arifiye or Eskisehir to Konya as shown above with sleeping-cars, then a bus from Konya to Antalya.  Konya to Antalya takes about 5½ hours, fare around TL 45.  Try www.kontur.com.tr for bus times & fares.

Buy bus tickets at the bus station, as most Turkish bus websites will not accept non-Turkish credit cards.  There are so many buses and companies, it's usually fairly easy to get a seat on the next bus.

Ankara  ► Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye, Antalya...

For Bodrum or Marmaris, first travel from Ankara to Izmir by overnight sleeper train as shown here.  It's a civilised and enjoyable journey in your own cosy private sleeper.  Then take a local train from Izmir to Aydin railway station as shown here.  Now take a bus from Aydin bus station to Bodrum or Marmaris.  Aydin to Bodrum takes 2 hours 40 minutes and costs around TL 30.  Aydin to Marmaris costs about TL28 and takes 2 hours 20 minutes.  There's a range of buses daily, try www.pamukkale.com.tr.

For Fethiye or Antalya, travel by YHT high-speed train from Ankara central station to Konya as shown here, then take a bus from Konya bus station to Antalya or Fethiye.  Konya to Antalya takes about 5½ hours, fare around TL 45.  Try www.kontur.com.tr for bus times & fares.


 


Turkey - Greece

Istanbul to Thessaloniki & Athens by train...

There are no direct trains from Istanbul to Greece, but you can take the overnight train from Istanbul to Sofia, see the international trains from Istanbul page, then take the afternoon train from Sofia to Thessaloniki, see the international trains from Sofia page.  Just buy tickets for these at the station, they cannot be booked online.  Trains run regularly from Thessaloniki to Athens taking 5h or so, see www.trainose.gr.

Southern or western Turkey to Athens by ferry...

There are no direct ferries between mainland Greece & Turkey, but you can take a ferry between southern/western Turkey  & several Greek islands, then a domestic Greek ferry between those islands & Piraeus (the port of Athens).

Step 1, take a ferry from southern Turkey to either Kos, Lesvos, Samos or Rhodes:

  • Ferries between Marmaris & Rhodes sail several times a week.   See www.marmarisferry.com or rhodes.marmarisinfo.com for details, although you may find it easier to check and book at www.ferriesingreece.com.  Journey time 1 hour by catamaran, 2 hours by car ferry.

  • Ferries between Kusadasi & Samos sail once or twice daily (08:30 & 17:00) between early April & late October.  See www.meandertravel.com/ferrytosamos/ for details.  Journey time 1 hour 15 minutes minutes, fare around €30 (€50 open return).

  • Ferries between Ayvalik (a few hours north of Izmir by bus) & Lesvos (Mytilini) sail daily Monday-Saturday, crossing 1 hour 10 minutes, fare €30. 

  • A hydrofoil sails every day between Bodrum & Kos, fare €28, crossing 1 hour, Bodrum depart 09:30, Kos depart 15:30, see www.bodrumexpresslines.com.

  • You may or may not need to overnight on the island, depending on schedules, but always allow several hours for connections at least.

Step 2: Take a ferry from Kos, Lesvos, Samos or Rhodes to Piraeus.  Piraeus is the port of Athens, 25 minutes from central Athens by metro.  The port on Lesvos is called Mytilini.


Turkey to/from the rest of Europe

Istanbul Bucharest, Budapest, Vienna, Paris, London:  See the London to Turkey page

Istanbul Sofia, Belgrade, Zagreb, Munich, Paris, London:  See the London to Turkey page


Other international services...

Istanbul Aleppo (Syria), Damascus, Amman (Jordan), Petra, Cairo (Egypt)

Istanbul / Ankara Tehran (Iran):  See the Iran page.

Istanbul / Ankara Tbilisi (Georgia) See the Caucasus page.

Istanbul Yerevan (Armenia):  See the Caucasus page.

Istanbul Baku (Azerbaijan):  See the Caucasus page.

Istanbul & Gaziantep ► Mosul & Baghdad (Iraq)

Istanbul Odessa (Ukraine) by ferry...

Turkey Cyprus


Thomas Cook Timetables

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team have set up a private venture and published the first edition of a reborn European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online with worldwide shipping at either www.stanfords.co.uk or www.europeanrailtimetable.euMore information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

A Traveller's Railway Map of Europe covers the whole of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  On the back are detailed maps of Switzerland, Benelux & Germany, plus city plans showing stations in major cities.  Scenic & high-speed routes highlighted.  Buy it online for £14.50 + postage worldwide (UK addresses £2.80) at www.stanfords.co.uk/Continents/Europe-A-Travellers-Railway-Map_9789077899090.htm or (in the Netherlands) for €13 + €5.50 postage from www.treinreiswinkel.nl.


How to book Turkish train tickets online

The Turkish Railways website has a good online booking facility, revamped in 2014 and available in English.  The system will book most long distance domestic trains within Turkey, including seats, couchettes and sleepers.

 

1.  Go to https://ebilet.tcdd.gov.tr/view/eybis/tnmGenel/tcddWebContent.jsf 

Turkish Railways (TCDD) website

 

2.  On the next page, click Online Ticket Sales Reservation...

Turkish Railways (TCDD) online ticket sales

To buy tickets online in English...

To check train times in Turkish...


Recommended guidebooks

Lonely Planet Turkey - click to buy onlineLonely Planet Middle East - click to buy onlineTo get the most out of your trip, you'll need a good guidebook - I'd recommend the Lonely Planets guides as about the best out there. 

Buy Lonely Planet Turkey online

Buy Lonely Planet Middle East online

The Middle East guidebook is less detailed, but covers Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iran, Israel and other countries as well as Turkey.

 

 


Hotels & accommodation in Istanbul & Turkey

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Personal recommendations in Istanbul...

Without a doubt, the famous and historic Pera Palas Hotel, where Agatha Christie, Mustafa Kemal Attaturk and even King George V have stayed, is the most interesting place to stay, see the section below.  It wasn't that expensive, by grand hotel standards, although prices have risen after its recent complete refurbishment.  The nearby Grand Hotel de Londres offers similar affordable grandeur, www.londrahotel.net, just 35 euros for a basic single, 50 euros for a double, more for a renovated room.  It's apparently a favourite with archaeologists working in Turkey!  Alternatively, the Yasmak Sultan is a good choice.  For a good cheap hotel in the Sultanahmet travellers' area, try the Park Hotel.  If you are on a tight budget and want a backpacker hostel room or dorm bed at a rock-bottom price, see www.hostelbookers.com.

Other hotel sites worth a look...

Backpacker hostels...

If you're on a tight budget, don't forget the hostels.  For a dorm bed or an ultra-cheap private room in backpacker hostels in most European cities use www.hostelbookers.com.


Travel insurance

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

In the UK, try Columbus Direct or use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get a spare credit card, designed for travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!

 


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