How To Get From Istanbul To Cappadocia (& Back) In 2024

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Post author Nicky

Written by our local expert Nicky

Nicky, originally from the UK, is now a local in Turkey. She moved to Marmaris, Türkiye for love 12 years ago and is now your Turkey travel planner.

Here is your comprehensive guide on how to get from Istanbul to Cappadocia. Bus travel, plane, train, and car rides, we’ve got all the info you need to have you hot air ballooning in no time.

Plus, I have also detailed how to get from Cappadocia to Istanbul.

Turkey Travel Blog_How To Get From Istanbul To Cappadocia

Turkey is packed with tourist hotspots, but two of the most iconic have to be the historic city of Istanbul and the central natural beauty of the magical Cappadocia.

The problem is that Türkiye is quite a large country, so most people are put off traveling to various spots that seem far away from one another. The good news? Turkey’s public transportation network is extremely high quality, meaning you can explore as much as possible, provided you do your research.

A weekend trip from Istanbul to Cappadocia is entirely possible, but you might still wonder how to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul. There are several different routes you can take.

Of course, you need to take your time exploring Istanbul before you leave this iconic and downright beautiful city.

There are perhaps more historical landmarks here than many other cities can boast in the world, from the beautiful Blue Mosque to Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahce Palace, Grand Bazaar, Bosphorus Bridge, Basilica Cistern, and the modern world of Taksim, to much, much more, this is a city which is going to take a lot more than one visit to say you’ve done it.’

However, Istanbul is a bustling place, so perhaps you want peace and quiet at the end of your break or in the middle.

In that case, Cappadocia, Türkiye is the ideal spot!

Best Places To Stay In Cappadocia, Turkey
Hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia is located in the central portion of the city, and it has semi-arid land. You’ve undoubtedly seen pictures of Cappadocia in the past, with those iconic hot air balloon rides hovering over the “fairy chimneys,” the colossal rock formations formed over hundreds of years.

Cappadocia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so you can expect some serious drama and beauty. Cappadocia is located in Goreme National Park, but Monks Valley is also home to some of these iconic rock formations. You’ll also find cave hotels, houses dating back to the Bronze Age carved into the rocks, and many churches, as this part of Türkiye was a refuge to some of the earliest Christians.

Cappadocia is a must-visit whether you go on a hot air balloon ride or keep your feet on the ground. The surrounding area is packed with stunning nature, and you can take many walking trails, too, ideal both in summer and winter. Below, we’ll tell you how to get from Istanbul to Cappadocia.

Distance To Cappadocia From Istanbul

Despite all those fantastic reasons to visit and explore Cappadocia, it is not exactly close to Istanbul. The distance from Istanbul to Cappadocia is 456 miles or 734 km by road, which is significant.

However, you can cover the Istanbul to Cappadocia distance in several ways, from flying to bus rides and even by train. Check out how to go to Cappadocia from Istanbul and the Istanbul to Cappadocia travel time below.

Istanbul To Cappadocia Map – How To Get To Cappadocia From Istanbul

How to get from Istanbul To Cappadocia To Istanbul Map

Get From Istanbul To Cappadocia By Plane – Cappadocia Flights From Istanbul 

The fastest way to get from Istanbul to the Cappadocia region is to fly. Although it’s not the cheapest way to travel from Istanbul to Cappadocia (the bus wins in this category), it’s still incredibly budget-friendly! 

Istanbul has two main airports: Sabiha Gokcen and the new Istanbul International Airport. Both offer domestic flights from Istanbul to Cappadocia. One is on the Asian side, and one is on the European side, so choose your airport carefully.

You can fly from Istanbul to Nevsehir or Kayseri and connect to Cappadocia. These are the two closest airports.

Flying To Nevsehir

Crowded Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport baggage claim area in Turkey with people waiting for luggage, surrounded by car rental and transport advertisements.

If you choose to fly to Nevsehir, your flight will take around 1 hour and 20 minutes, and you can then jump in a taxi or hire a car and get to Goreme National Park (Cappadocia) in just under 45 minutes, depending upon traffic.

There are not as many flight options to Nevsehir as to Kayseri.

Note: be warmed that the bags take a really long time to come out – I mean take a look at how small that baggage area is!

  • Rental Car
    • Often as cheap as $20/day, this is an excellent option if you want to explore the region at your own pace
  • Hotel Transport
    • Many hotels will arrange airport transport for you, so definitely check.
    • Costs vary, but expect about 50 TL (8 EUR) for Nevsehir Airport.
  • Shared Transport/Taxi Services
    • Shared transport companies can be as cheap as 5/6 EUR per person, so check around online.
    • Taxis are a great option if you have a large family
  • Private Transfer


Private Transfers

SJ sitting in a van in Goreme, Cappadocia, holding up a newspaper with the name "sarah-jane begonja" printed on it, with windows showing a

It is much like a taxi, except you can book ahead and have a driver waiting for you at the airport terminal. Someone to carry your bags lead the way, and, best of all, you’ll know the fixed cost ahead of time, no matter the crazy traffic.


Flying To Kayseri

Both Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines (a low-cost Turkish airline) fly to Kayseri Airport, and the flight time is approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.

You might wonder why people would bother flying to Kayseri if Nevsehir is quicker, but flights to Kayseri are cheaper.

  • Shuttle & Bus
    • Take the shuttle from Kayseri Airport to the center of Kayseri: 15 minutes in duration; the shuttle runs every 3 hours
    • Then, take the bus to Goreme: 1 hour 20 minutes in duration; buses run every 4 hours
  • Car Rental
    • Often as cheap as $20/day, this is a great option if you want to explore the region at your own pace
  • Hotel Transport
    • Many hotels will arrange airport transport for you, so definitely check.
    • Costs vary, but expect about 60 TL (10 EUR) for Kayseri Airport 
  • Shared Transport/Taxi Services
    • Shared transport companies can be as cheap as 5/6 EUR per person, so check around online
    • Taxis are a great option if you have a large family
  • Private Transfer


Private Transfers

It is much like a taxi, except you can book ahead and have a driver waiting for you at the airport terminal. Someone to carry your bags, lead the best way out, and, best of all, you’ll know the fixed cost ahead of time, no matter the crazy traffic.


Airlines That Fly From Istanbul To Cappadocia Turkey

Passengers walking towards a parked AnadoluJet airplane, a subsidiary of Turkish Airlines, on a cloudy day at an airport tarmac in Turkey.

Turkish Airlines, Aztec Airways, and Pegasus Airways (low-cost airlines) fly to Cappadocia from Istanbul, and you’ll find a range of fares. You can check plane tickets online or head to the airport and book your ticket at the office on the day or a few days beforehand to ensure a seat.

Turkish Airlines is the only one that will fly out of Istanbul Airport on the European side of Istanbul. The other two operate out of Sabiha Gokcen.

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Way To Get From Istanbul To Cappadocia By Bus

View from the bus in Cappadocia
View from the bus in Cappadocia

Türkiye is a vast country, but it has high-quality, long-distance bus companies that connect major towns and cities – one reason why the cheapest way to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul is via bus. Kamil Koc, Pamukkale, and Metro are the main bus lines.

You will find offices for all major bus companies at the bus stations in Istanbul (Istanbul’s main bus terminal is Otogar) and ticket offices for the companies in and around the city.

Suppose you book your ticket from a ticket office within the city, e.g., Besiktas, Taksim, Kadikoy, or elsewhere. In that case, you will have a free service shuttle that will take you to the central bus station in Alibeykoy on the European side. From there, you will connect to your main bus and reach Cappadocia from Istanbul in around 9 hours and 15 minutes, although it’s sometimes longer, depending on your chosen service line.

Buying Bus Tickets To Visit Cappadocia Or Istanbul

There are buses every 4 hours. However, we recommend buying tickets at least one day in advance as they fill up quickly. You can buy the ticket online or in person at any bus station. If you don’t want to track down a bus station to buy a ticket, tour agencies in the historic center can help, too.

What To Expect On The Istanbul To Cappadocia Bus

These buses are very comfortable, and you book your seat ahead of time, meaning you can choose where you sit. There is onboard WiFi and toilets. You’ll stop several times along the journey, and there is a refreshment service on board, with tea, coffee, soft drinks, and biscuits. This option is a super-affordable and convenient way to cover the Istanbul-Cappadocia distance comfortably.

Night Bus Istanbul To Cappadocia

There are also overnight bus transport options for those who can sleep through the night. The night bus from Istanbul leaves at approximately 11:45 p.m. and arrives in Goreme at 8:30 a.m.

The bus journey is a great way to get there without wasting a travel day! Metro Turizm has nightly buses, and you can make your booking online.

This is a highly budget-friendly option, but remember it’s a long ride, between 10 to 12 hours.

Traveling From Istanbul To Cappadocia By Car

Albania Rent A Car Tips - Driving in Albania

Another option is to hire a car and drive. This is an excellent option for a road trip through Türkiye, as it’s a long journey. The road to Cappadocia from Istanbul takes you through the capital city of Ankara, so you may even like to stop for a few hours (or a few days!) and check out another city. To Cappadocia from Istanbul by car, you’ll undoubtedly see some rather beautiful sights along the way.

  • Ankara To Cappadocia: Approx 3 hours 15 minutes (331 km)
  • Istanbul To Cappadocia: Approx 7 hours 30 minutes (760 km)

The journey by car to Cappadocia took us 8 hours and 30 minutes, but this depends on traffic, which can become a little heavy getting out of Istanbul and around Ankara. There are many car hire offices in Istanbul, with big-name companies operating outside the main airports.

Turkey’s main highways are very modern and safe. However, anywhere you’re not used to driving, take care and read up on road rules ahead of time to give you prior information.

Cities To Visit Along The Way

Cities InTurkey - Bursa, Turkey

If traveling by car, you have the flexibility to add in a few stops along the way. Some great options on the Istanbul to Cappadocia route include:

  • Yalova – Yalova is a beautiful city located just outside of Istanbul. It is known for its hot springs, which are said to have therapeutic properties.
  • Bursa – 2 hours into your journey, you will come to the university town of Bursa. Bursa was the first major capital of the Ottoman Empire and is known for the landscape in and around the city, which is surprisingly green and lush, overlooked by the huge Uludag mountain range.
  • Iznik – Iznik is an ancient city known for its stunning ceramic tiles, which were used to decorate the walls and ceilings of the churches. It is also home to the Green Mosque – one of the most famous in the country.
  • Eskişehir – Eskişehir is known for its lively nightlife, many parks and gardens, and universities. There are also several fascinating museums in the city, including the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, which houses artifacts from throughout Turkey’s history.
  • Ankara – Türkiye’s capital city will show you a slightly different way of life, as it’s far more traditional in this part of the country compared to the westernized beach resorts on the south coast or the tourist feel of Istanbul

Best Way To Get From Istanbul To Cappadocia By Train

A hot air balloon floats in a pastel-hued sky during sunset, marked with the text "How To Spend 3 Days In Cappadocia".

A fourth option to get from Istanbul to Cappadocia is to go by train. Although this is possible, there currently is no direct Istanbul Cappadocia train, nor is there a Cappadocia Istanbul train. However, if you are set on taking the train in Turkey, here are your options:


These are feasible options to cover the distance between Istanbul and Cappadocia, but they are probably not worth the effort and hassle if we’re completely honest.

The three other ways to visit Cappadocia from Istanbul we described above are much more convenient and straightforward.

Cappadocia Tours From Istanbul With A Guided Tour

If all of the options for covering such a long distance feel a little overwhelming, you can also make your life easier by booking a tour to Cappadocia from Istanbul, which includes transport there and back. These tours often include accommodation, meals, and guided tours of the famous landmarks once there. 



Traveling Between Istanbul And Cappadocia FAQs

Hot air balloons floating over a scenic rocky landscape with unique rock formations and buildings in Cappadocia at sunrise.


How far is Cappadocia from Istanbul?

456 miles or 734 km by road. The drive from Istanbul to Cappadocia will be just under an 8-hour drive by car.

What are the ways I can get to Cappadocia from Istanbul?

Plane, car, train, bus, and guided tour – there are plenty of ways to travel between Cappadocia and Istanbul!

What is the quickest way to travel from Istanbul to Cappadocia?

Taking a direct flight between Istanbul and Cappadocia is the fastest, most convenient way to travel.

What airport should I depart from when flying from Istanbul To Cappadocia?

Both Istanbul Airport and Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) offer flights to Cappadocia. Istanbul Airport tends to be a little more convenient as it’s located on the European side of the city, which is the easiest to get to as it’s close to most tourist hotels.

What airport should I fly into in Cappadocia?

You can fly into Kayseri Erkilet International Airport (ASR) or Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV). Kayseri is the cheaper option but is further from Cappadocia. Nevşehir is more expensive but has a shorter, more scenic route to Goreme.

We’d recommend arranging a shuttle or private transport from the airport to Goreme ahead of time, no matter which one you fly into.

Should I take the night bus or the day bus from Istanbul to Cappadocia?

The night bus is the cheaper option, and since the drive is 10 hours, it’s also a good way to sleep through most of the trip.

Is there a direct train from Istanbul to Cappadocia?

No – currently, no direct train travels from Istanbul to Cappadocia. You can take a train from Istanbul to Ankara or take a train from Istanbul to Konya. You can take a bus From Ankara or Konya the rest of the way. It’s a good option if you want to add stops in Ankara or Konya to your itinerary anyway.

What is the easiest way to tour Cappadocia from Istanbul?

Taking a guided tour is the least stressful way to plan your Cappadocia excursion from Istanbul. Travel, accommodations, meals, and tours are all prepared for you, meaning you just have to show up!

Can you take a day trip from Istanbul to Cappadocia?

Yes, however, we’d recommend staying at least one night. If you are set on a day trip, you will need to fly between the cities. Take the earliest flight, rent a car once there, or join a tour  (the Red Tour would be our recommendation), then fly home on the last flight out.

Now that you know how to travel from Istanbul to Cappadocia, we hope that you enjoy your Cappadocia trip.

You can also consider going from Cappadocia to Greece and continuing your Balkans travel experience across the border. Details are coming soon on how. 


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