Most beautiful train routes travelling while lying


Although sleeper trains become less and less popular as daily life speeds up with planes and high speed trains, they are still the first choice of travellers who are looking for comfort and adventure.

Sleeper train services are now rare in Turkey, especially after departures from Istanbul stopped. On the other hand, all new international services recently started has sleeping options.

Here are the most beautiful trains that you can get in from Turkey and travel while sleeping:

# 9 – Ankara – Kurtalan Train (Güney Kurtalan Express)

There are sleepers (2 beds) and couchettes (4 seats/beds) in Ankara-Kurtalan train and also restaurant car.

Kurtalan is not a touristic town and has very limited accommodation and transport options.

Kurtalan Express (Ankara-Kurtalan)
# 8 – Ankara – Tatvan Train (Van Golu Express)

Van Golü Express has also sleepers, couchettes and restaurant car.

Tatvan is close to Akhdamar island and church which is an important touristic destination in this region. However the town has very limited accommodation and transport options.

Train departs only 2 times a week, in each direction.

Vangolu Express (Ankara-Tatvan)
# 7 – İzmir – Eskisehir Train (İzmir Mavi)

Izmir Mavi used to run between Izmir and Ankara, but now operates until Eskisehir due to engineering works at Ankara.

There are only sleeper cars, but no couchettes in this train. If you traveling foursome, you need to get two compartments.

There’s no chance of watching view from train, since it runs during night.

Both train stations are at the heart of cities. Both cities have wide variety of accommodation and a lot of places to see.

Izmir Mavi (Ankara-Izmir)
# 6 – Edirne – Villach Train (Optima Express)

Optima Express mainly targets the Turkish people living in Germany, who’d like to come to Turkey by car.

This train has the longest route among all between Edirne, Turkey and Villach, Austria.

The departing station in Turkey is Edirne, a city close to Bulgarian border. The station is a little out of city center.

Villach is an important junction in central Europe. Station is at city center.

There’re compartments with 4 and 6 seats/beds and restaurant car with limited menu.

Optima Express (Villach-Edirne)
# 5 – Istanbul – Belgrade Train

There are only couchette cars in this train with 4 seats/beds.

There’s no restaurant car, you need to be prepared for this in advance.

This train is running only during summer.

The travel lasts almost one day, which makes it possible to see beautiful nature of Balkan region while travelling.

Istanbul train station (Halkali) is far away from city center, but there’s a connected bus service. Train station as at center in Belgrade.

Istanbul-Belgrade Train
# 4 – Istanbul – Bucharest Train

Another train running during summer is Bucharest train. This train has several options, 2-bed sleeper, 3-bed sleeper, 4-bed couchette.

There’s no restaurant car, you need to be prepared for this in advance.

The travel lasts almost one day, which makes it possible to see beautiful nature of Balkan region while travelling.

Istanbul train station (Halkali) is far away from city center, but there’s a connected bus service. Train station as at center in Bucharest.

Istanbul-Bucharest Train
# 3 – Izmir – Konya Train (Konya Mavi)

This train is running between two touristic cities of Turkey, Izmir and Konya. There are sleeper and couchette options in this train and also restaurant car.

Izmir train station as at center of city, and it’s walking distance at Konya. There are also good hotels around Konya train station.

Route is short, thus travel lasts mainly during night.

# 2 – Istanbul – Sofia Express

After bus connected service ends last year, this train may again be popular among train travelers. There are sleeper and couchette options in this train.

There’s no restaurant car, you need to be prepared for this in advance.

Istanbul train station (Halkali) is far away from city center, but there’s a connected bus service. Train station as at center in Sofia.

Istanbul-Sofia Express
# 1 – Ankara – Kars Train (Dogu Express)

Dogu Express is the most popular train for train travelers.

The travel lasts about one day, going through deep valleys, high mountains and wide platos. Good chance for photographers.

Both Ankara and especially Kars have good accomodation options and places to see. Ani ruins and Sarikamis ski center are close to Kars.

Kars train station is very close to city center.

Dogu Express (Ankara-Kars)

How we rate them?

Trains are evaluated in different areas about train and departure/arrival cities. These criterias are: How regular train departs, if it runs during daytime which makes it possible to see surrounding, which types of wagons it offers (2-bed, 3-bed, 4-bed, restaurant car), attractiveness of departure and arrival cities (places to see, accommodation, alternative transportation modes),  ease of use of train stations (if they are close to city center or not).

Cover Photo: Onur Uysal ©

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