Any experienced traveler knows that overnight trains are a wonderful way to get from point A to B – while sleeping! My first international overnight train experience occurred during my Turkey Highlights Tour with Intrepid. Midway through our tour we took the “Mavi Tren,” which runs nightly from Izmir to Konya.
Izmir to Konya is a necessary route to take from the southwest to mid-country (aka from Ephesus to Cappadocia). Flying is an option, though inconvenient with the layovers. Ground transportation, whether driving or taking a bus or train, is the alternative. It’s a long alternative, as the drive can take up to 9 hours, which would be an entire travel day! The Mavi tren is the perfect alternative!
In Turkey, you can spend an entire day exploring the ancient city of Ephesus. After, take a 1 hour trip via taxi to the Izmir train station and board the train. Sleep while the train is moving, and wake up in Konya. Spend the day exploring the beautiful city and board a bus heading towards Cappadocia for your next destination! To learn more about my experience before, after and onboard the Mavi Tren from Izmir to Konya, keep on reading below!
The Mavi Tren Starting Point: Izmir
Izmir is a large city on the Agean coast, which gives you access to some beautiful seaside towns, such as Kusadasi. It provides access to a number of amazing ancient ruin sites, starting in Selcuk, moving over to Ephesus, Hierapolis and it’s natural springs! There is an upcoming blog post on this. If you want a quick overview, check out this post outlining what I saw and did during my Turkey Highlights Tour with Intrepid.
Boarding the Mavi Tren: Izmir to Konya
Head over to Basmane Gari Railway Station before the scheduled departure at 19:55. It’s best to arrive at least 30 minutes early. You need to go through metal detectors and hand off your luggage to the conductors. They bring your bags to your sleeper cabin, unless you’ve opted to travel coach. Your sleeper cabin awaits upon boarding.
The Onboard Experience from Izmir to Konya
Your sleeper cabin contains two comfortable seats and a small area to hold your luggage. There is a sink and refrigerator. A large window will give you a nice view of the passing landscape. There are curtains you can close while sleeping. Many of the train stations you pass through have bright lights that shine through the window at night. Shared bathrooms are at either end of each train cabin and one shower stall at the front end.
There is a dining car on Mavi Tren, should you want dinner or breakfast. The timing didn’t line up for me, as I ate before I boarded and after I disembarked. There are a few treats available for you in mini fridge and you are, of course, welcome to bring your own food.
Ninety minutes into your journey, a crew member will come around and set your cabin up for nighttime. There are single sleepers, which contain one bed. Most cabins convert the chairs into a lower bunk and a top bunk dropped from above (see photos above). There are sheets and pillows provided, and a thin, but warm comforter. I found the beds to be comfortable and I didn’t wake up at all through the night!
I woke up about two hours before arriving in Konya, a gorgeous sunrise greeting me. I opened up my cabin and could see the other side of the train, which boasted views of a large mountain range. It was around this time, the crew came around to ensure everyone was awake. The crew collected our bags and they were waiting for the passengers on the platform for arrival at 8:28!
The End Point: Konya
You’ve ended our journey in Konya and what? Well, you’ve likely embarked on this journey to end up in Cappadocia. There are things to do in Konya before you move on! For starters, you can visit the Melvana Museum and Mosque to learn about the Whirling Dervishes and the history of their practices. There are some other attractions, such as the Alaaddin Tepesi Parki, Konya Archeological Museum, and the Konya Tropical Butterfly Garden. Check them out, or head over to the Konya Bus Station for your next destination!
I loved my trip to Turkey. It ignited my desire to explore more of the Middle East! I can’t decide on my next destination, there are many choices! Feel free to comment your ideas below. But either way, you should check out my other Turkey blog posts here!