973 - TCDD passenger train - JeffPassenger

The new touristic train routes of Turkey


Vangolu Express

One other tourism train is another popular overnight train: Vangolu Express.

Currently, it’s running twice a week in each direction between Ankara and Tatvan, small town at Van Lake. Sleepers are sold out very quickly on this route.

There are many attractions on route of this train.

Vangolu Express route

Here’s the scorecard of Vangolu Express:

Departure point is good

Dogu Express is departing from Ankara. Ankara is in the popular touristic destinations of Turkey. But it has very strong transport connections with many regions in Turkey. Accommodation and shopping in city is very good.

Vangolu Express. Photo: Jeff Hawken

Arrival point should be strengthened

Vangolu Express arrives at Tatvan. This town may fail to meet the demand. However, on the other side of Van Lake, there’s Van city. Attractions around Tatvan are Ahlat and Akhdamar Island/Church.

Akhdamar Church. Photo: Mishukdero

Best attraction: Nemrut

A stop on way for Nemrut will make train unique. If timetable is arranged well, it may be possible to watch sunrise at Nemrut.

A stop at Elazig is a good opportunity to see Harput Castle.

Timetable should change

Currently train departs at noon and arrives at Malatya at midnight. For Nemrut visit, departure from Ankara should be later. In case a longer excursion including Erzincan, train may last two nights and Ahlat/Akhdamar excursion may start in new day.

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9 replies »

  1. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT ALL OVERNIGHT SLEEPERS LEAVE FROM HYDARPASA STATION.
    ISTANBUL TO IZMIR
    ISTANBUL TO KONYA AND ANTALYA IF POSSIBLE
    ISTANBUL TO ADANA SLEEPER VIA ANKARA
    i have travelled on the Adana to Ankara overnight – Ankara to Kars – istanbul to Denizli and all were fantastic. This was a couple of years ago. The route in to Istanbul – Hydarpasa through the mountains
    early morning in summer was spectacular, with water gushing down the streams and men on tall ladders picking cherries in the orchards. Very special and has me hooked on all sleeper train trips.

    • Haydarpaşa station site is lost to Kalkhedon historic site during restoration works. Closest possibilities are Harem, Kadıköy and Söğütlüçeşme.

  2. Yes Petra is absolutely correct. Essential that trains depart from the magnificent, historic, Hydarpasa station. Also information available in English as well as Turkish would be incredibly helpful to many travellers.

  3. I shall go by Dogu express for tourist from Ankara to Kars. What about food. Do we get food free or do we have to buy.

  4. I realise that diesel power must be provided to provide electricity to power the dining cars etc but it would be wonderful if a steam locomotive could be added at some stage between Ankara and Kars.

  5. How about some connection to northern turkey. Would love to travel to Trabzon, Rize and Artvin to stay in highlands. Seems to that there is not much options to reach them rather than bus and minibuses.

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