Cappadocia is the place in Turkey where dreamy photographs of wind-swept rock formations that cover the land are taken, where hot air balloons fill the sky at dusk, and where apple tea and hot yogurt soup are a necessity given the cooler temperatures.
I am currently in Cappadocia, preparing for a three-day tour to all the areas of the region, but I had a decision to make on how to get here. See, Cappadocia is not very close to Istanbul. In fact, it is a 575 kilometre drive between the two, which would equal a 10+-hour bus ride. The main methods of getting here at the moment are to either take a bus or to take a flight (the train line is down around Istanbul heading east while under construction).
Flying to Cappadocia
Sure, the flight was an easier option perhaps, but it doesn’t exactly go the entire way to the ever so popular town of Göreme (in the region of Cappadocia). Instead, one has to fly a few hours to Kayseri before getting on a transfer bus for another 70 kilometres to Göreme – and to me that sounded like a lot of hassle (getting to the airport again, checking bags, flying, collecting bags, finding/waiting for a bus transfer).
Taking the bus to Cappadocia
Flying would have cut my travel time down by half, but I’m not sure it would have been the same experience I had while on the bus. I don’t have a lot of time in Turkey, and the idea of just jumping over the scenic sections of the country just felt like another way of not getting a view of as much of it as I possibly could.
So, I went to the International bus terminal at Otogar in Istanbul to book my 10-hour bus ride to Cappadocia. Through Metro bus company, there are two options, a day trip starting at 8 a.m. or a night trip starting at 10 p.m. I opted for the day trip to 1) give me time before having to start my Cappadocia tour the following day, and 2) give me an opportunity to watch out the window at the changing landscape while being immersed in a bit of a cultural experience at the same time.
The ticket itself cost just 60 Turkish Lire, and our bus attendant provided us with a snack cake and several cups of tea and coffee during the ride. There wasn’t a toilet on the bus, but several stops allowed us to get off to use the restroom and grab a quick snack. Another perk were the TVs on the back of all the seats to keep travelers occupied – although it would have been better if that TV was in English.
Best of all was the fact that very few tourists were on this bus, and I found myself surrounded by locals doing very local things – always a pleasure when you’re in the middle of otherwise tourist driven experiences.
The main bus you hop on in Istanbul will take you as far as Nevşehir, which is where a smaller service bus is ready and waiting to take you the following 30 minutes to Göreme (as part of your initial ticket purchase).
All in all, the bus ride to Cappadocia was pleasurable, even given the airplane-like seats that made you wish at times you were standing instead.
The sun is rising, and Cappadocia is calling. Have you ever been?
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