Istanbul To Ankara Train Guide – Includes A Pros & Cons List

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

Here is your guide on the Istanbul to Ankara train. We’ve covered what you need to know, including costs and a pros & cons list to help you decide if the Ankara to Istanbul train suits you.

Turkey Travel Blog_Taking The Train From Istanbul To Ankara

Istanbul is a fantastic city, and it gives you an overview of the culture and history of Turkey. However, it might be that you want to take your exploration further and travel to other parts of the country. Great choice!

Most people think that Istanbul is the capital of Turkey, but that’s not true; it’s actually Ankara.

The capital city, Ankara, is a beautiful place to visit. You’ll learn more about the country’s culture and history while trying delicious local Turkish cuisine, checking out fantastic natural sights, and enjoying modern-day fun, such as shopping and entertainment.

So, what are your transportation options if you’re in Istanbul and want to get to Ankara? There are four – drive, go by bus, go by plane, or take the train.

Of course, the problem with driving or going by bus is that you’re likely to be stuck in traffic at some point, especially when you’re trying to get out of Istanbul and as you near Ankara. It could take a good hour or more for you to even leave Istanbul! The driving time is under 5 hours, so it’s a sizeable journey.

Therefore, the most sensible options are to take a domestic flight or go by train. Let’s explore the train option a little.

About The Train From Istanbul To Ankara

Fast train between Istanbul and Ankara
Fast train between Istanbul and Ankara

The train from Istanbul to Ankara is direct and covers 532km. The journey takes 4-5 hours, depending on the service you choose; however, one sleeper train takes almost 8 hours and leaves late at night. There are around 15 services between the two cities every day.

The service is operated by TCDD, which is responsible for the train network in Turkey, and there are two different types of trains – YHT (Yüksek Hızlı Treni) and Ankara Express. The Ankara Express is a sleeper train, and the rest are high-speed trains.

Most trains leave Istanbul Söğütlüçeşme in the city center or Pendik, which is just on the outskirts, and arrive at Ankara Gar, in the center of the city. Along the way, most trains stop at Sincan, Polatlı, Eskişehir, Bozüyük, Arifiye, İzmit, and Gebze.

It’s vital that you arrive at the station around 20-30 minutes before departure as you will go through luggage and ticket check before you board the train.

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Istanbul To Ankara Train Ticket Options

Istanbul Metro Train Travel

Your ticket price depends on which ‘class’ you choose, either standard or business. A standard ticket is around 250TL one way (at the time of publishing).

You can purchase your tickets on the TCDD website or pay in person at the train station. However, these trains book up quite quickly, so it’s best to do it as far in advance as possible. Flexible tickets are available, allowing you to change your date up to three times, so if you’re not too sure when you’re traveling and want to secure your ticket, this is a good choice.

Trains from Istanbul leave at the following times:

  • 6.10
  • 7.19
  • 8.40
  • 9.49
  • 10.55
  • 11.55
  • 12.55
  • 13.55
  • 15.25
  • 16.25
  • 17.45
  • 19.10
  • 23.13 – Sleeper train, which takes almost 8 hours before arrival in Ankara

How To Get To The Train Stations

Söğütlüçeşme is on the Asian side of Istanbul, so if you’re already on the Asian side, you take a taxi or the bus to the train station, and this should be relatively easy.

However, if you’re on the European side, you’ll need to take the Marmaray Metro service or a taxi to cross over the Bosphorus. You could also take a ferry and then get a cab to Söğütlüçeşme.

If your train leaves from Pendik, you’ll need to take either the Metro and Marmaray or a taxi, which will take around half an hour by road, depending on traffic. Bear in mind that Pendik is also on the Asian side.

The Metro is the easiest way. You should take a Metro to Yenikapi, which can be reached on any Metro line. From there, change to the Marmaray service, which goes straight to Pendik station.

Once you arrive in Ankara Gar, the station is right in the heart of the city.

Ankara To Istanbul Train Vs. Plane Pros & Cons

Turkish Airlines Plane - Istanbul Airport

You might be wondering whether taking a train is worthwhile and whether you should take a domestic flight. It’s a personal choice. For sure, a plane is faster, but getting to the airport in Istanbul and going through check-in and security also takes time.

Let’s check out the pros and cons.


  • Time saved: a direct flight between Istanbul and Ankara takes around 1 hour and 5 minutes. You can fly from either Istanbul Airport on the European side or Sabiha Gokcen on the Asian side
  • Book ahead to get a deal: both Pegasus and Turkish Airlines operate services at reasonable prices. 
    Flight prices vary, so you may be able to find a flight cheaper than a train if you book early enough


  • Airport chaos: getting to and from the airport can be difficult and time-consuming
  • No scenery on the plane: you’ll miss the amazing scenery that you’ll see on the train
  • Last-minute costs: flight prices can rise dramatically, so a train may be cheaper
  • Pesky security: you’ll need to go through check-in and airport security, which can be time-consuming

How much is the Istanbul to Ankara train?

The cost of the Istanbul to Ankara train ticket can vary depending on the class of service and type of train. It is recommended to check with the train operator for the most up-to-date pricing.

How long does it take on the train from Ankara to Istanbul?

The duration of the train journey from Ankara to Istanbul can vary depending on the type of train and the specific route taken. Generally, it takes around 4 to 6 hours.

What is the distance from Istanbul to Ankara?

The approximate distance between Istanbul and Ankara is around 450 kilometers (280 miles).

How to get from Istanbul to Ankara the cheapest?

Traveling by bus is usually the cheapest option to get from Istanbul to Ankara. There are several bus companies offering affordable fares for this route.

Is it worth seeing Istanbul and Ankara?

Both Istanbul and Ankara have unique cultural and historical attractions. Istanbul is famous for its historical sites and vibrant atmosphere, while Ankara is known for its modernity and governmental institutions. It is worth visiting both cities to experience their distinct characteristics.

How long does it take to drive from Istanbul to Ankara?

The driving time from Istanbul to Ankara can vary depending on traffic conditions and the route taken. Typically, it takes around 4 to 5 hours to drive between the two cities.

Best way to travel from Istanbul to Ankara with kids?

Traveling by high-speed train or bus can be a comfortable and convenient option for families with kids. It allows for a quicker journey and provides onboard facilities.

How many bullet train stops are there from Istanbul to Ankara?

The number of stops on the Istanbul to Ankara bullet train route can vary depending on the specific train service. High-speed trains usually have limited stops, making the journey faster.

How to get from Ankara to Istanbul the quickest?

The quickest way to travel from Ankara to Istanbul is by taking a high-speed train or a domestic flight. Both options offer faster travel times compared to buses or regular trains.

Is the Istanbul to Ankara train clean and safe?

Yes, trains in Turkey are generally clean and safe. The Turkish State Railways (TCDD) operates the high-speed train service between Istanbul and Ankara, ensuring passenger comfort and safety.

What is better, Istanbul or Ankara?

Whether Istanbul or Ankara is better depends on individual preferences and interests. Istanbul offers a rich historical and cultural experience, while Ankara is the country’s capital and known for its modernity and government institutions. Read our guide here to help you decide on Istanbul or Ankara

In the end, whichever transportation option you choose is up to you. Both will get you to Ankara (and back again) comfortably and reasonably priced.

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