How do I Get from Istanbul to Cappadocia?

This is a common question among those who travel on their own to Turkey. You have come to the right place.

Lost istanbul to cappadocia

Photo courtesy of Photos.com – Jupiterimages

Often the scope of visitors’ Turkey knowledge is Istanbul and maybe Antalya or Izmir (gotta love Turkey’s beaches). They start searching online, ask their FB friends, or arrive in Istanbul and inevitably hear about Cappadocia.

Within a few minutes they decide they need to visit and now the problem of transportation from Istanbul to Cappadocia.

You basically have three options:

1. FLY

At least 4 Airlines fly from Istanbul to Cappadocia.
The question you need to answer first is which airport are you closest to?
Atatürk International Airport is on the European side of Istanbul while the smaller Sabiha Gökçen is on the Asian side. They are a couple of hours apart with no easy way to transfer. This means that if you find a cheaper flight from one but need to get to the other, it will not be worth it.

You have 2 airport options in Cappadocia. Kayseri Airport is about an hour away and Cappadocia (Nevşehir) Airport is a little closer (45-50 minutes depending on your destination). The shuttle is around 30TL (can be free if you stay long enough in certain hotels) and you can book it through your hotel or directly before arriving.

If you do not reserve a shuttle and only taxis are available (and money is an issue – @150TL from airport to central Cappadocia), I recommend taking the taxi or bus (usually a bus is sitting at the arrival terminal) to the bus station (in Kayseri- no other options in Nevşehir) and then taking the 15TL bus to Avanos, Göreme, or Ürgüp (assuming it is not late at night as no buses will be making the trip).
Note that the below prices are for a round trip ticket from November 15-17, 2017 which is the offseason. I chose the cheapest possible ticket without regard for time. Prices will be higher in the summer and will vary depending on time of day and availability. Companies often have very low promotional prices that sell out quickly making it better to book early. Also, some people have noted that if they book their tickets from outside of Turkey they seem to be shown higher prices. I do not know if this is actually the case.
Note that all of these airlines allow 1 checked bag (15-20kg depending on the airline and flight) and a carry-on as well as a computer bag.

AIRLINES:

turkish airlines - istanbul to cappadocia
Turkish Airlines
Turkish Airlines (THY) only flies from Ataturk International Airport. Click the link to book a flight. The cheapest round trip flight to Kayseri I found in November 2017 was 190TL total including taxes. To Nevşehir the price was the same. This changes almost daily and depends on the time of day you fly. Be careful that you double check your flight is from and to the correct airport in Istanbul. The Atatürk Airport symbol is IST and the Sabiha Gökçen symbol is SAW.
The flights to Kayseri go throughout the day (prices vary depending on the time) where as the flights to Nevşehir are only 2-3 times per day.
Turkish Airlines generally provides excellent service and serves a light meal at no extra charge on the 75 minute flight. They are the only airlines that does this.
Anadolu Jet
Anadolu Jet only flies from Sabiha Gökçen to Kayseri. The cheapest roundtrip flight I could find in November 15-17, 2017 was 80TL. Anadolu Jet is owned by Turkish Airlines so they mix and match the flights. They are supposed to be the cheaper option but this is not always the case. They definitely are relatively no-frills.
Pegasus Airlines
Pegasus is flying from Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport (Asian side) to Kayseri 4-6 times per day. When I checked flights for November 15-17, 2017 the cheapest flight I could find was for around 87TL. This is a no-frills airline that charges you for everything extra. They will offer no food or drink on the plane without payment, but this is a short flight (75 minutes) so you should be fine.
Atlas Global
Atlas Global flies from Atatürk to Kayseri once a day. When I checked flights for November 15-17, 2017 the cheapest flight I could find was for around 126TL. This is a no-frills airline that charges you for everything extra. They will offer no food or drink on the plane without payment, but this is a short flight (75 minutes) so you should be fine.
(You can click on the name of each company above to go to their homepage and get the latest on times and prices.)

2. BUS

nevsehir bus company - istanbul to cappadocia
If money is an issue and time is not and you can sleep sitting on a bus, then Turkey’s buses are some of the best in the world. Expect to travel overnight for 10-12 hours arriving in Cappadocia right as the day begins. You will be dropped off in whichever Cappadocia town you desire and be able to walk to your hotel. Actually, the bus stops in Nevşehir and you switch to a shuttle which is free to any of the towns.
I found one online service for buying bus tickets- Ticketlineturkey.com – However, recognize that the price on this site are a bit inflated but not sinfully (compare 60TL versus 65TL). You can buy directly from the bus companies’ sites (see below), but sometimes international English speakers get a little frustrated with the process.
1. Nevşehir Seyahat
I have taken these buses a number of times going to Ankara and back and can vouch for their comfort. In my experience each seat has a TV screen with a number of channels (all the shows are in Turkish) showing Turkish sitcoms and popular movies, including dubbed American movies. When I checked in October 2017 a one way ticket price was 80TL and the buses left Istanbul at 8:30pm and 9:00pm with a listed duration of 12 hours. The return trip was 80TL and left at 8pm and 9pm.
2. Metro
Metro goes from Istanbul at 8am (duration 11.5 hours), 9:15pm (11.5 hours), and 10pm (10 hours) and the price was 85TL
3. Kamil Koc
Kamil Koc goes twice a day, takes around 12 hours and costs 80TL. It is a large company that operates all over Turkey like the others and does a good job in my experience.
Note: If you leave Cappadocia and go somewhere besides Istanbul, you will find all the information you need here.

(You can click on the name of each company above to go to their homepage and get the latest on times and prices.)
istanbul-to-cappadocia-map-thanks-google.png
Follow the yellow brick road from Istanbul to Cappadocia! Or take the green road from Ankara through Kirşehir which is maybe half an hour faster but easier to get lost.

3. RENT A CAR

The last option is to rent a car at the airport and make the drive yourself. Prices vary widely and you can choose to use a known company like Avis or Budget or go with a Turkish company with offices at the airport. Driving can be a good option for those with a sense of adventure, but it is at least 10 hours from the Istanbul airport to Cappadocia.
If you choose to rent a car once you get to Cappadocia for transportation, there are too many rental companies to mention them individually. Most of the local companies will rent you a sedan for around 100TL per day (not including gas). If you are a good negotiator, you may be able to get them down to 70-80TL/day. The big chains (Avis, Hertz,…) will probably be a good deal more than that. Much depends on the season and what they think they can get from you (I will probably get in trouble for saying that). They should have a printed price list available from which you should be able to negotiate downwards. Remember that everything in Turkey is based on relationship and act accordingly.
For a rental company in Cappadocia, click here, here, or here.

And with that you have a host of alternatives for getting from Istanbul to Cappadocia. Leave a comment below to let other readers know which option you chose and how it went. And don’t forget to check out our guidebook series…

Cover smallerNote: If you are wondering how to get from Istanbul to Cappadocia, this post will help but be sure to also check out our Cappadocia guidebooks.
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– At $0.99, $3.97, and $9.97 they are great values. Learn more here.

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Duke Dillard moved to Turkey with his wife and 6 children in 2007. He got an MBA at Bilkent University in Ankara, where they had their 7th child. After 4 years in Ankara the whole family moved to Cappadocia, and this blog was born. We love Cappadocia and Cappadocians and want to help visitors make the most of their time here. You can connect with Duke on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, and/or link circles on Google+. Click here to read more about Duke and his family.