How do you get Cappadocia from Istanbul?
In this article, I will talk about the different ways of getting to Cappadocia from Istanbul. All of them have some pros and cons. Therefore to make your travel comfortable or adventurous, you should definitely check it out.
- 1 Where is Cappadocia?
- 2 How far is Cappadocia from Istanbul?
- 3 Transportation options from Istanbul to Cappadocia
- 4 Getting around
Where is Cappadocia?
Cappadocia is located in the east-central part of Anatolia. It is a region that includes lots of cities in central Anatolia like Nevsehir, Kayseri, Aksaray, Nigde, Malatya, Kırsehir, and Sivas. However, the part that attracts tourists around the world is part of the Cappadocia that is located between Kayseri and Nevsehir. Hence, when I use the word “Cappadocia”, I will refer to this touristic area.
Location of Cappadocia on the map of Turkey
Locations of towns in the Cappadocia Area
The towns you can choose to stay in the Cappadocia Area are seen on the map above. These are Goreme, Uchisar, Urgup, Ortahisar, Avanos, and Cavusin. They are close to each other and you can prefer any of them. But still, if you would like to be in the center of everything Cavusin and Goreme are the most central locations.
How far is Cappadocia from Istanbul?
The distance between Cappadocia and Istanbul is 470 miles(756 km) by driving and getting to Cappadocia by car takes 8-9 hours depending on the speed.
Transportation options from Istanbul to Cappadocia
You have four options to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul. These are by plane, by bus, by car, and by train. Most travelers prefer the first two options.
Getting to Cappadocia by plane
The fastest and easiest way of getting to Cappadocia is by flying.
There are two airports close to Cappadocia. The first one is Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport(NAV) and the second one is Kayseri Erkilet Airport(ASR). However, both of the airports are not located in the main Cappadocia area and require an additional short trip on the land.
There are 9-10 direct flights from Istanbul to Kayseri Erkilet Airport and 1-2 direct flights from Istanbul to Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport.
Flights take around 80 minutes between airports of Istanbul and airports of Cappadocia.
Since there are more flights between Istanbul and Kayseri, it is cheaper to get a flight to Kayseri than Nevsehir. This is the reason why most travelers prefer a flight to Kayseri.
Istanbul has two airports. The New Istanbul Airport is located on the European side and the Sabiha Gokcen Airport is on the Asian side. There are three companies that fly to this area from these airports.
The first one is Turkish Airlines and it has 1-3 flights every day to Kayseri and 1-2 flights to Nevsehir from New Istanbul Airport on the European side of Istanbul.
The second one is the low-cost sub-company of Turkish Airlines, AnadoluJet. It has also 2-3 flights to Kayseri from Sabiha Gokcen Airport from Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the Asian side of Istanbul.
Another option is Pegasus Airlines that is a private low-cost company. And it has 3-4 flights to Kayseri every day from Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the Asian side of Istanbul.
To reach New Istanbul Airport and Sabiha Gokcen Airport, you can use shuttles that directly go to airports. To check the routes you can click here.
You can also use public transportation. Keep in mind that, as of 2020, no subway line goes to the New Istanbul Airport and Sabiha Gokcen Airport. Your only option is to use buses if you would like to prefer public transportation.
After you arrive at both of the airports near Cappadocia, you need to use land travel options to get to the towns that are located in the Cappadocia area. Many hotels in this region arrange shuttles at reasonable prices for their customers. Moreover, if you stay a long time, they may serve this service for free. So, if you stay in a hotel, the best option is to call your hotel to talk about transportation options.
Another option is taking a shuttle that are operated by private companies. There are lots shuttle services that you can find at both of the airports. These shuttles will take you to the towns(Urgup, Goreme or Avanos) in Cappadocia.
In both airports, you can rent a car and drive to Cappadocia. The trip takes around 50-60 minutes from both airports. The roads are in good condition and you can drive safely in daylight or at night. Renting a car also is a good choice for getting around in Cappadocia.
The final option is taking a cab. Since Cappadocia is not close to both airports, taking a cab is the most expensive choice compared to other options. Nonetheless, getting to the Cappadocia area by cab from Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport is cheaper than taking a cab in Kayseri Erkilet Airport since Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport is closer.
Getting to Cappadocia by bus
The bus system in Turkey is well developed and the buses are comfortable. Snacks and soft drinks are served during bus trips.
To get to Cappadocia, you need to come to the Nevsehir Bus Terminal, first. Every day lots of buses are operating between Istanbul and Nevsehir and it is not hard to find a bus ticket except for national and religious holidays. Kamil Koc, Nevsehir Seyahat, Oncu Seyahat, and Metro are the bus companies that you can get tickets to Cappadocia from Istanbul. The trip takes around 12 hours.
The main bus terminal of Istanbul (Istanbul International Bus Terminal) is located on the European side and is not close to the city center. Most of the bus companies have free shuttles that pick up passengers from their offices and take them to the small bus terminals. Especially Kamil Koc and Metro have offices in different major locations across the city and if you get the tickets from these offices, they will pick you up and take you to the bus. Just to be sure, ask for this service while you are getting the tickets.
In Nevsehir Bus Terminal lots of small bus companies available that will take you to the small towns, Urgup, Goreme, Avanos, etc. But still, generally, it is possible to ask your hotel for a shuttle with reasonable prices or even free sometimes.
Be careful of scams in Nevsehir Bus Terminal.
Getting to Cappadocia by car
As I mentioned before, driving from Istanbul to Cappadocia takes around 8-9 hours. Roads are in good condition and driving is completely safe at night also.
If you have time, I suggest you depart early from Istanbul and arrive in Ankara -the capital of Turkey-, which takes around 5 hours. Even if Ankara is not considered a tourist destination, there are a few things to do if you are passing by near Ankara.
You should visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Temple of Augustus, Roman Bath, Haci Bayram Mosque, Castle of Ankara, and Ataturk’s Mausoleum. Visiting all of these probably takes 1-2 days, so you may consider staying at a hotel for 1 or 2 nights in Ankara.
You can also pass near Lake Tuz(Salt Lake) and see interesting and beautiful landscapes between Ankara and Nevsehir.
Getting to Cappadocia by train
There is no direct railway option that goes to the Cappadocia area. The closest train station to the Cappadocia is in Kayseri. Currently, there is no train between Istanbul and Kayseri. To get Kayseri, you have to come to Ankara first. You can use High-Speed Trains from Istanbul to Ankara and then take a conventional train from Ankara to Kayseri. Nevertheless, this option is not very comfortable and generally not preferred.
The best way of getting around in Cappadocia is renting a car. If you would like to rent a car, I suggest you choose an SUV.
Taking a cab between attractions is another good option which is not very expensive. You can try to reduce the price before by talking with the driver.
Minibusses (Dolmus) are operating between towns. Most attractions are located either in towns or near the roads between them. So, you can also travel by these minibusses easily.
In Cappadocia, you will see lots of visitors with bikes and ATVs. You can also rent a bike or an ATV if the weather conditions are suitable.