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Train in Türkiye
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A brand-new sleeper train is launching in Türkiye this month

Setting off from Ankara, the route will take passengers on a spectacular jaunt through the country’s glorious scenery

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly

In Europe and around the world, train travel is experiencing a massive revitalisation. There are a tonne of new sleeper routes and high-speed services to get excited about, but it’s not only about getting from A to B: there’s also a pattern emerging of your journey – specifically by train – becoming part of your holiday, too. 

Italy announced a host of new tourist train routes last year, and now, it’s Türkiye’s turn. From April 19, the Mesopotamia Express will begin ferrying tourists around one of the country’s most culturally rich, historic regions. 

The 1,051km trip will begin in Ankara and meander through the striking desert landscape of Türkiye’s inner and southeastern Anatolian regions. The first stop will be three hours in Kayseri, the historic capital of Cappadocia, which is dotted with thirteenth-century Seljuk-era mosques and tombs.

The next is another three-hour stop in Malatya, which is home to the UNESCO-designated Arslantepe Mound, an open-air museum of temples and mural paintings from as far back as 3000 BC. Then you’ll spend four hours in Elazığ, a city famous for its wine and cuisine. The return journey departs from Diyarbakır on April 21. 

Sounds pretty marvellous, right? The ticket price for the outbound journey starts at €257 (£220, $280) and the return starts at €230 (£197, $250). 

Up to 180 passengers can board the train, which is made up of ten carriages – one for dining, and the other nine for sleeping. Each cabin is fitted with seats which turn into beds, plus a fridge, sink, wardrobe and heating, and they all sleep two passengers. 

‘It’s crucial for developing tourism in our city and region,’ said Mehmet Kaya, president of the Diyarbakır Chamber of Commerce and Industry, according to Daily Sabah. ‘We have made every effort to ensure people see and get to know the region. It will be a crucial tool for people to see and get to know the culture.’

Explore Türkiye with Time Out

Given this journey is over a couple of days, it could be a cracking part of a longer tour around Türkiye. We’ve got an excellent list of all the best places to visit across the country, as well as some great inspo for things to do in Istanbul

Did you see that tourists will now have to pay €25 to visit this iconic European attraction?

Plus: Here’s why the Czech Republic has changed its name to Czechia

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