Istanbul to Konya to Şanlıurfa by Rail
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Oct 10, 2012 10:51 PM Last Post By: sarikanarya
Sep 26, 2012 8:35 AM
My girlfriend and I are looking to travel from Istanbul to Konya and from there to Şanlıurfa in Late November.
We would prefer to do this by rail (preferably a sleeper) if possible but are not sure how to to go about doing this.
It looks like the rails heading east of Istanbul is shut down and there is no direct route from Konya to Şanlıurfa..
Any advice on how to get to these locations is very welcome! Thank you!
Sep 26, 2012 9:26 AM
1You are correct that all trains east from Istanbul are shut down for the forseeable future as high-speed lines and new stations are being built. In general, train travel in Turkey is both very limited with regards to destinations and is also considered the slowest way to travel.
For Istanbul - Konya - Urfa, I'd suggest that your only reasonable travel options using public transportation are bus and plane. Istanbul-Konya should be an inexpensive flight if you book in advance. Konya - Urfa could only be made via Istanbul if you fly. By bus, I believe that you would travel Konya - Adana (should be available as a long overnight with not much in the way of scenery to miss) and then a transfer (they are extremely frequent over some of the best highways in Turkey) Adana - Urfa.
Sep 26, 2012 9:45 AM
2You have heard correctly,for the next 2 years trains no longer commence from Istanbul Haydarpaşa station.Some only commence in Ankara but there are some which commence from Arifiye in Sakarya Province just to the east of Istanbul(maybe 90 minutes depending on the tiem of day you go).There are buses from Harem otogar on the Asian side of the city to Arifiye every 30 minutes.This service has been increased to facilitate those taking trains.
So you can do this partly by train and partly by bus.
From Arifiye you can take the Mavi Expres train departing Arifiye at 20.30 arriving Konya at 07.05 and you can use this same train to go from Konya to Adana and then take a bus from there to Şanlıurfa.There are plenty of regular services plying this route.
Here are the details-
http://www.seat61.com/Turkey2.htm#Istanbul to Konya
Edited by: sarikanarya
Sep 27, 2012 5:17 PM
Oct 10, 2012 12:46 PM
4thank you for your feedback, I think the night train out of Arifiye is a good option.. What is the best way to get to Arifiye from Istanbul?
Also are there any issues with visiting Sanliurfa and Gobeklitepe late November considering all of the Syria business and it being so close to the border?
Oct 10, 2012 1:08 PM
5If you reread my post at 2 you'll see I explained where to catch the bus to Arifiye.Sakarya VIB and Metro Turizm cover the route.
Weather wise there should be no problems at all visiting Göbeklitepe however,as you know, there is a slight issue right now with that naughty Esad's boys chucking mortars over the fence.For bang up to date on the spot info send a message to forum member Alisonnomad who lives very close to Şanlıurfa.You can trust implicitly whatever she tells you.
Oct 10, 2012 1:26 PM
Oct 10, 2012 3:31 PM
Oct 10, 2012 3:40 PM
8Not related to your last question but I was really surprised by Urfa. The place around the tomb of Abraham is magical. If you have some time left, another amazing place is Mardin. If you are interested in kilims, in Konya, close to the Mevlana Museum there is a shop called Caravan, which has a very good selection of kilims at a relative good price and a friendly stuff.
Oct 10, 2012 10:51 PM
9Depending on the time of day you travel allow 2½ hours,a bit longer if you are travelling late afternoon when the road will be busier.The bus will drop you off near to the train station,just tell the driver "tren istasyon"-you'll probably see that most folks on the bus will also get off there too.
You can take the ferry from Sirkeci over to Harem,the pier is next to the otogar at Harem.Once in the otogar just ask in any office for the Arifiye bus(prn.arifi-yay)and they'll point you at the correct bus office.Sakarya VIB have the most frequent buses.
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