Thinking of adding magical Cappadocia to your Turkey itinerary? You came to the right place as this post gives detailed information on how to get from Istanbul to Cappadocia, the most fascinating place in the country.
Lying in the Central Anatolia region, Cappadocia’s breathtaking scenery with unusual wind-carved formations has taken over the world. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that Cappadocia has become one of the top destinations in Turkey. In 2019 more than 3.8 million visitors traveled to the region, a new record compared to previous years.
Most people visit the region for only two or three days, but there are so many things to do in Cappadocia that a short stay doesn’t give it justice. For a truly unforgettable experience, I would recommend expanding your days here as much as possible.
It should be noted that due to its popularity, Cappadocia is not an expensive place to travel to. There are both luxury and budget-friendly accommodation options, attractions, and restaurants. The only expensive experience you’ll have here is the balloon ride over Cappadocia.
That being said, let’s dive into how to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul easily and stress-free.
Istanbul to Cappadocia flights
The easiest and probably the cheapest way to get from Istanbul to Cappadocia is by air. Since Cappadocia is the region and not the name of the town, there are two airports – Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport and Kayseri Erkilet International Airport – you can catch Istanbul to Cappadocia flights to.
The central town of Cappadocia is Goreme; this should be either your base when visiting Cappadocia, or a place to navigate which airport to choose. Nevsehir is only 44km away, while Kayseri is around 80km.
Istanbul to Cappadocia flights depart from Istanbul’s both airports – Istanbul Airport (the new one) and Sabiha Gokcen Airport with several flights on a daily basis. Both expensive and budget airlines do operate Istanbul to Cappadocia flights, so you don’t have to break a bank. The most frequent ones are with Turkish Airlines and Pegasus.
The journey from Istanbul to Cappadocia takes around 1:20 hr to both airports. Choose the one that’s more convenient for you.
How to get from Istanbul to Istanbul Airport
Istanbul Airport is the new one located outside of the city. And unlike Istanbul Ataturk Airport, getting there is a bit complicated and time-consuming until it will have a direct metro station scheduled to open in August 2021.
The best way to get from Istanbul to Istanbul Airport (IST), is to take a Havaist shuttle service from various neighborhoods of Istanbul. The easiest would be to board the bus at Taksim, Kadikoy, Aksaray, Besiktas, and Sultanahmet. Although, check other areas on the website that could be close to where you are staying. It should be noted that the buses also depart from Istanbul Otogar (the main bus station).
The price for a single ticket cost depends on the area you board at and starts from 18 TL. The journey takes around 1:30-2hrs depending on the traffic, so make sure to plan accordingly.
How to get from Istanbul to Sabiha Gokcen Airport
Between the two airports, Sabiha Gokcen (SAW) is the closest to the city. The best way to get from Istanbul to Sabiha Gokcen Airport is to take a Havabus from Kadikoy and Taksim Square. The price of the ticket is 14 TL and 18 TL, respectively. The journey does take around 1:30 hr.
Alternatively, there are public buses from Kadikoy to the airport. This is the cheapest option, but it takes much longer than a Havabus.
You can also consider booking a private transfer from Istanbul to Sabiha Gokcen airport for a smoother journey.
How to get from Nevsher airport to Goreme
Getting from Nevsehir airport to Goreme is very convenient. Most of the hotels do offer airport transfers, so ask them for the price in advance. The price for the airport transfer ranges between 50-60 TL.
Airline companies offer shuttle services to get you from Nevsehir airport to Goreme or other towns of Cappadocia. Even if you haven’t traveled from Istanbul to Cappadocia by that company, you can still use the service if seats are available. The price for a single ticket starts from 54TL and the journey takes at least 40 minutes.
How to get from Kayseri airport to Goreme
The same process goes with Kayseri airport to Goreme transfers as does for Nevsehir. The similar shuttle vans of the airline companies offer the service with prices starting from 66 TL, while the journey takes around 1:10 hr. Unfortunately, these buses from Kayseri airport to Goreme operate on-demand with no set timetable.
Alternatively, you can catch a bus to Kayseri Central Bus Station and change to another bus to Goreme. These buses run seven times a day and take around an hour to get to Goreme.
Istanbul to Cappadocia bus
The distance between the two areas is around 800km; therefore taking Istanbul to Cappadocia bus is quite exhausting as it takes approximately 10 hours.
Metro Turizm runs night and day buses from Istanbul to Cappadocia. They depart in the mornings and late in the evenings from various parts of Istanbul. So check their website for the convenient bus stop, timetable, and to buy the tickets. However, I would suggest taking a night bus as you won’t waste almost a day just traveling.
The bus takes you directly to Goreme, which is an advantage of sorts. Their buses are modern and comfortable with wifi and onboard service of tea/coffee and soft drinks.
Istanbul Otogar is the main bus station in the city. There are other Turkish bus companies you can catch Istanbul to Cappadocia bus with. Apart from Metro Turizm, I like the Kamil Koc company with its service and comfortable chairs. Unlike Metro, Kamil Koc operates Istanbul to Nevsehir with both, night and day buses departing several times a day.
If you are looking for an organized tour from Istanbul to Cappadocia by bus, check this 2-day tour out. It includes accommodation in a 3-star hotel, meals except for dinner, entrance fees to the museums, and a guide.
Istanbul to Cappadocia train
Unfortunately, there is no Istanbul to Cappadocia train. Although, it would have been a great experience to watch gorgeous landscapes with the rail sound in the background.
However, if you still want to add a bit of adventure to your Cappadocia itinerary with taking a train from Istanbul to Cappadocia, the only way is to take a train from Istanbul to Ankara or Istanbul to Konya then catch a bus to Goreme from the bus stations.
High-speed trains connect Ankara and Konya with Istanbul taking around 4:30 hr and 5:30 hr, respectively.
Istanbul to Cappadocia by car
If you like exploring a country on your own path, then renting a vehicle and driving from Istanbul to Cappadocia by car is an ideal option for you. The distance between the two is around 800 km, so driving it in a day would be quite exhausting. Moreover, there are many interesting places to check out on your way from Istanbul to Cappadocia, so you’ll need to plan accordingly to make stops in-between.
Cappadocia tours from Istanbul
There are dozens if not thousands of travel companies offering organized Cappadocia tours from Istanbul. This is a great option for those, who want to avoid the hassle of organizing the tour themselves and spend several stress-free days in magical Cappadocia.
Most of those tours do include a guide, a few meals during the day, visiting the famous landmarks, and accommodation to a cave or ordinary hotels.
Here are a few options for you to look at:
Cappadocia one day tour – this private Cappadocia tour from Istanbul is ideal for those who are short on time and want to squeeze it in their Istanbul itinerary. The tour includes a round-trip plane ride from Istanbul to Cappadocia, a guide and a driver to show you around, and a lunch.
2-day Trip to Cappadocia by overnight bus – departs from Istanbul in an air-conditioned vehicle and includes one night in a cave hotel, guide, entrance to museums, and meals except for dinner.
Cappadocia 2-Day Tour with Hot Air Balloon from Istanbul – this is an ideal option if you are looking for Cappadocia tours from Istanbul that includes flights, hot air balloon flight, stay for a night in a boutique hotel, among the guide, entrance fees, and meals.
3-day Cappadocia tour by bus – the highlights of this tour among other landmarks of Cappadocia are a visit to the Devrent Valley, Derinkuyu and Kaymakli underground cities, and a hike to the Melendiz River.
And if you want to combine visiting Istanbul together with Cappadocia in an organized tour, check out this 4-day Istanbul and Cappadocia tour that includes a 2-day stay in Istanbul while visiting its most important landmarks before flying to Cappadocia. Their Cappadocia itinerary includes a visit to Derinkuyu Underground City and Ihlara Valley along with the iconic valley and other important landmarks of the region.
Where to stay in Cappadocia
Goreme is the central town of Cappadocia where most travelers tend to stay. With its location, most of the Cappadocia attractions are within a walking distance, closeby, or a short public transport ride. Some of the best Cappadocia hotels are located here.
Even though it’s a touristic place with prices a bit exaggerated, I would still recommend staying here, as you’ll be able to take a nice evening walk in its streets, visit one of the famous carpet shops to snag a beautiful picture, and enjoy nice food in its plenty of restaurants.
More importantly, one of the best sunset and sunrise spots are located here. Waking up at dawn in Cappadocia is an absolute must in order to watch hot air balloons fly over its magnificent landscape as the sun starts to rise. It’s absolutely breathtaking scenery to enjoy. And if you’ll be spending more than two days, trust my word, you’ll want to watch the sunrise every day!
Cave hotels in Cappadocia:
Prepare for the trip
To ease your travel planning, check out all the posts about Turkey travel. Additionally, here are some of the websites and services I use when preparing for my next adventure anywhere in the world.
– Book affordable flights on Kiwi.com, a platform that shows the best routes and flight deals to your destination. There’s a money-back guarantee if you miss the flight!
– Check iVisa to see if you need a tourist visa to visit Turkey, how to apply online if applicable, or where’s the nearest embassy or consulate
– Find budget-friendly deals on all sorts of accommodation types on Booking and Agoda, or find a cool apartment on Airbnb and get $34 off on your first stay (my invite expires in 30 days after you sign up!
– Buy the most flexible and budget-friendly travel insurance, SafetyWing, to cover all sorts of health problems on the road
– Book in advance some of the best city walks, cultural experiences, and day tours to maximize your stay and experience here
Get more inspiration