Take the train: Why using Türkiye’s railways is the best way to see the country’s incredible scenery

Take the train: Why using Türkiye’s railways is the best way to see the country’s incredible scenery

Türkiye is a vast country – it covers more than 783 km² of land – and from its stunning Aegean Sea coastline in the west to the beautiful Black Sea shores in the north, its landscapes are replete with spectacular topography, remote rural towns and bustling cities. Boasting 40 national parks, 21 UNESCO Heritage Sites and historic ruins that date back millennia, there’s plenty to explore in Türkiye.

One of the best ways to take it all in is by train. The country has a comprehensive rail system, able to carry travellers from Türkiye’s remotest regions to its urban hubs and beyond. Plus, some of these journeys are as scenic as they come. Get started on your journey of discovery with these five striking routes.

Трубочисты Петербурга

1 Touristic Dogu Express train

The Dogu Express is one of the most famous train routes in Türkiye, travelling between the country’s capital, Ankara, and Kars, an ancient city in Northeast Anatolia. Don’t confuse the Touristic Dogu Express with the regular Dogu Express. The latter stops at 52 stations and features only regular seats while the Touristic Dogu Express was created specifically for visitors and runs three times a week. It stops at 25 destinations, offers 2-3 hour excursions at points along the way (Ilic and Erzurum eastbound and Erzincan, Divrigi, and Sivas westbound) and offers sleeper cabins.

Total journey time is roughly 32 hours compared to 26 on the regular Dogu Express. Whichever you choose, the route is equally rewarding. Across the 1,310-kilometre stretch of track, travellers can enjoy some of Türkiye’s most beautiful landscapes. Excursions allow travellers to enjoy the likes of the UNESCO-listed ancient city of Ani, sleigh tours on the frozen Lake Cildir (in the winter) and taste Cağ Kebabs at Erzurum.

2 Van Lake Express

This twice-weekly train has become a popular option for rail fans in Türkiye. Travelling between Ankara and Tatvan in roughly 25 hours, the supremely scenic route of the Van Lake Express traverses Eastern Türkiye’s beautiful landscapes. These include the lakes of Keban Baraji, the banks of the Euphrates River and the vast Lake Van, on which the shores of Tatvan sit. Stops along the way offer multiple opportunities to see some of the country’s best bits.

Kayseri allows access to the world-famous Cappadocia, with its “fairy chimneys”, hot air balloon festival and underground cities. The ancient towns of Malatya and Elazığ are also stops en route, while Mount Erciyes in Kayseri and the final destination of Tatvan are famed for their ski seasons. The train itself is comprehensive and offers a range of seating, from regular seats to couchettes and bed cabins, as well as a dining cart.

3 Karaelmas Tourism Express

Views across the iconic red roofs of Safranbolu, Türkiye.Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA)

Set to re-open in April 2024, this short, but very sweet, roughly three-hour train journey in the northwest of Türkiye runs from the province of Karabük up to the Black Sea coast. As starting locations go, Karabük is a good one. Situated on a key east-west trading route, the province encompasses the UNESCO-listed city of Safranbolu, famous for its influential Ottoman architecture.

Once on the train, travellers will be able to bask in a particularly lush part of the country, riding past such delights as the Yenice Forest and Şeker Canyon. Keen historians should hop off at Filyos for a tour of the ancient city, which dates back to the 7th century BCE and is believed to be the birthplace of Philetaerus, who founded the Attalid dynasty of Pergamon.

4 Taurus Express

Whirling dervishes of the Mevlevi order perform during a Sheb-i Arus ceremony in İstanbul, Türkiye.Emrah Gurel/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

This rail journey is one for the history books. The Taurus Express began in 1930 as a high-end, overnight sleeper train running betweeniand Baghdad – it even features in the opening chapter of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. Today, it operates a much shorter route, running only between Adana and Konya, and without sleeping carriages.

It’s still a distinctly beautiful journey and well worth a ride. The roughly six-hour passage cuts right along the edge of the Anatolian Plateau, traversing the imposing Taurus Mountains via tunnels carved into the limestone rock, navigating the beautiful topography of the steppe and gliding over dramatic bridges and past auburn forests. Its starting point, Konya, is a city which dates back to 3,000 BCE, which was the final home of Rumi (of the Whirling Dervishes).

5 Pamukkale Ekspresi Train

Ancient City of Hierapolis, Denizli.Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA)

Crossing north to south down the east of Türkiye, this picturesque route takes passengers through the Aegean’s lush and fertile landscapes between Eskisehir and Denizli. The eight-hour journey (slightly longer if you link up from the high-speed train from İstanbul to Eskişehir) traverses some of Türkiye’s more remote landscapes, stopping at the towns of Kütahya (take a look around the Kütahya Museum to see examples of the region’s once-famed earthen) and Afyonkarahisar.

Once at Denizli, it’s worth the (relatively) short transfer to the ancient city of Hierapolis, which is 17.5 km away. These ancient ruins are famous for their hot springs, which visitors can still use today (look out for Cleopatra’s Pool; one of the most popular). The region was so attractive that many ancient Romans used to retire there to die. A large necropolis filled with tombs, along with remnants of the millennia-year-old city, can be toured today.  


Нажмите, чтобы оценить статью!
[Итого: 0 Среднее значение: 0]

Показать больше

Добавить комментарий

Ваш адрес email не будет опубликован. Обязательные поля помечены *

Add your own review


Кнопка «Наверх»