Hot air balloons fly over the Goreme road at sunrise in Cappadocia

How to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul: 5 travel options

Last updated on: August 2, 2023

Cappadocia is a must-visit destination for travelers who want to witness a world full of natural wonders and cultural heritage.

For most people, the journey to Cappadocia starts from Istanbul. If you are planning to visit Istanbul and wondering how to get from Istanbul to Cappadocia, here are all the options.

  • Option 1: Domestic flights
  • Option 2: Overnight bus
  • Option 3: High-speed train (with bus connection)
  • Option 4: Self-drive with rental car
  • Option 5: Package tours

Turkey is a large country in terms of land area. While Istanbul is one of the western cities of Turkey, Cappadocia is located in the central part of the country. The distance from Istanbul to Cappadocia is approximately 730 km (454 miles).

Option 1: Domestic flights

Turkish Airlines jetsTurkish Airlines jets

The fastest and easiest way to reach Cappadocia from Istanbul is by air.

Airports: There are two airports where you can fly from Istanbul. These are Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW).

Cappadocia is also served by two airports. These are Kayseri Airport (ASR) and Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV). While Kayseri Airport is 80 kilometers (50 miles) far from Cappadocia, Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport is just 40 kilometers (25 miles) away.

Airline companies: Turkish Airlines operates daily flights to Cappadocia airports from Istanbul’s two airports. AnadoluJet, a trademark of Turkish Airlines, flies only from Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) to both Cappadocia airports.

Pegasus Airlines, another major airline only flies from Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) to Kayseri Airport (ASR).

For those preferring to fly to the nearest airport to Cappadocia, Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV), Turkish Airlines is the only option.

Timing: The flight time from Istanbul to Cappadocia is approximately 1.5 hours. With the transfer times in both places and being at the airport before 1.5-2 hours, the journey will be around 5-6 hours.

Option 2: Overnight bus

Goreme Bus StationGoreme Bus Station

Traveling by bus is not only a budget-friendly option but also an opportunity to experience the scenic Turkish countryside during your trip from Istanbul to Cappadocia.

The overnight bus option also allows you to save on accommodation costs for one night. You can sleep through most of the way and arrive in Cappadocia early in the morning. This way, you will be ready to explore Cappadocia right away.

Bus companies: Several bus companies operate daily services between the two destinations. The main companies are Metro Turizm, Nevsehir Seyahat, and Kamil Koc.

Bus stations: The main station on the European side of Istanbul is Esenler Otogari. Your final destination will be Goreme Bus Station.

Seats: Most busses are equipped with comfortable seats and air conditioning to ensure a comfortable ride. The majority of buses follow a 2+1 seating arrangement, with single seats on one side, which is ideal for solo travelers.

Timing: It takes about 30-40 minutes to reach the bus station in Istanbul, and it is essential to be there 15-20 minutes before departure. The journey usually takes around 11 to 12 hours from the European Side and 10 hours from the Asian Side. Buses make several stops for bathroom breaks and lunch along the way.

Option 3: High-speed train (with bus connection)

A high-speed train at Ankara Train StationA high-speed train at Ankara Train Station

Unfortunately, a direct train is not available between Istanbul and Cappadocia. Instead, you can take a high-speed train from Istanbul to Konya or Ankara, the cities closest to Cappadocia, and then continue the journey by bus to reach Cappadocia.

Timing: The journey by high-speed train, which can be slower in some parts of the route, takes approximately 4.5-5 hours to Ankara or Konya. The train makes several stops during the trip. Adding an additional 3 hours on the bus brings the total travel time to 8-9 hours.

If you do not plan to stay in Ankara or Konya, taking the train is not recommended.

Option 4: Self-drive with rental car

Cappadocia trip with a rental carCappadocia trip with a rental car

This option is not budget-friendly, but it appeals to adventurous travelers who prefer the freedom of exploring at their own pace. Renting a car allows you to enjoy an exciting journey from Istanbul to Cappadocia.

The journey from Istanbul to Cappadocia by car takes approximately 8 to 10 hours, depending on the route and stops you make along the way.

Rental companies: Rental car companies can be found at Istanbul Airport. To rent a car, you will need a valid driver’s license, and it’s essential to plan carefully and be familiar with local driving regulations due to the considerable distance.

Option 5: Package tours

Love ValleyLove Valley

Package tours from Istanbul to Cappadocia are the perfect solutions. Especially for travelers seeking a hassle-free and all-inclusive experience.

These tours provide a seamless journey from your hotel in Istanbul to your accommodation in Cappadocia, taking care of all the logistics and arrangements along the way.

Here’s what you can expect from our package tours:

Transportation: The tour starts with a comfortable and air-conditioned minivan that picks you up from your hotel in Istanbul. The driver takes you to the airport and you check in with your passports at the airport.

Meeting: Upon arrival at the airport in Cappadocia, a driver will greet you and transfer you to your hotel or our office in Cappadocia, depending on your itinerary.

Guided tours: Throughout the journey, experienced and knowledgeable guides will accompany you, providing valuable insights into the history, culture, and natural wonders of Cappadocia. The guided tours will take you to iconic landmarks such as Goreme Open Air Museum, Uchisar Castle, Love Valley, Pasabag, Ihlara Valley, and Derinkuyu Underground City, ensuring you don’t miss any of the region’s highlights.

Accommodation: There are many options for accommodation in Cappadocia and we offer a few categories to choose from. Alternatively, you can book your own hotel and receive a discount.

Seamless travel: From the moment you depart from Istanbul until your return, everything is meticulously planned to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. The tour takes care of transportation, accommodations, entrance fees to attractions, and other logistical details, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of Cappadocia.