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The train from Bandirma to Izmir.

The train from Bandirma to Izmir.

You can fly from Istanbul to Izmir in an hour and twenty minutes and it can cost you less than 50 euros if you search for good deals. But when you fly a lot, like I do, then it can be really nice to travel a bit more old fashioned at times and using ferry and train to get from Istanbul to Izmir is a lot nicer for me than taking the plane. Here is a bit of information about how to travel from Istanbul to Izmir, using ferry and train as means of transport.

Take the ferry from Istanbul to Bandirma.

The ferry from Istanbul to Bandirma.

The ferry from Istanbul to Bandirma.

If you plan to take the the journey then you should start early in the morning from the Istanbul harbor called Yenikapi. It’s quite easy to get to by tram if you are in Istanbul. The ferry leaves at 7am in the morning, so you might wanna spend the night in a hotel near the Yenikapi harbor. There are several hotels in the area, which is called Fatih. The area is not the nicest part of Istanbul though, so be prepared for a somewhat scruffy neighborhood if you decide to stay there. I spend the night there in a small cheap hotel called “Paris 2” which was quite ok considering I only paid 40 Turkish Lira for a room there. The ferry that you need to take is the one to the town Bandirma, across the Marmara sea. The ferry leaves early in the morning at 7am and arrives to Bandirma a little past 9am. The ferry to Bandirma is very modern and has several cafes where you can buy food and drink. You have nice views over the Marmara sea during the journey, but I have to admit that I had a little nap on the ferry cause I was getting up so early.

Istanbul.

Istanbul.

 

Take a break in Bandirma.

At the harbour in Bandirma.

At the harbour in Bandirma.

Once you get in to Bandirma, you have a few hours before the train leaves. I got in at 09:20 and my train was not until 15:55, but that was totally fine as Bandirma is a town that deserves a visit, even if it’s not a top tourist town. It sits nicely by the Marmara sea and has a charming little harbour and a nice square with a few cafes and restaurants. I found myself a nice steakhouse where I had a nice lunch before hopping on the train and spend a few leisurely hours strolling around Bandirma.

 

Then take the train from Bandirma to Izmir.

Inside the train between Bandirma and Izmir

Inside the train between Bandirma and Izmir.

Looking out of the train window.

Looking out of the train window.

At 15.55 I took the train heading to Izmir. The train was nice and modern and had a had a nice comfortable seat in a single row. The journey goes mostly through greenish farmland, but also passes some bigger towns like Balikesir and Manisa. From what I could see, there were no other foreigners on the train, so you will not be taking a tourist train if you take this journey, but will be traveling with locals, which just makes the journey more interesting in my opinion.

Arriving to Izmir.

Izmir is a wonderful city.

Izmir is a wonderful city.

The train from Bandirma terminates at Alcanpak station in Izmir. Be ware that there is more than one train station in Izmir. Alcanpak station is very centrally located though, just a block from the seafront and I found a lovely little pansiyon there called Deniz Pansiyon, which I can highly recommend. Their website is http://www.denizpansiyon.com/ and I paid 70 Turkish Lira for a very clean room with bathroom, air con and free wifi in the room.

 

How to do it and what will a journey from Istanbul to Izmir cost.

The ferry journey from Istanbul to Bandirma cost 25 turkish lira at the moment (april 2015) and the train ticket from Bandirma to Izmir 23 turkish lira, so it’s not an expensive journey. If you do it like me then you leave Istanbul at 07:00 in the morning and arrive to Izmir at around 22:00 in the evening, so it’s not a fast trip, but it’s a trip where you actually feel that you travel, opposed to sitting one hour and twenty minutes in a plane.

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8 Comments

  1. Claus, fantastic and very helpful write-up of your trip by ferry and train. Travelling extensively by train in Turkey is still on my list.

    • Train travel is very good in Turkey Holger and in recent years, the trains have been upgraded a lot and are now as nice as in western Europe in most places. But prices are still very cheap. I paid the equiliance of 8,5 euro for a 6 hour train journey here.

  2. Turkey looks a cool destination to travel by train!

  3. Thank you very much for all your informations.
    I am planing to go to take this boat like you to Bandirma from Yenikapi, did you book in advance ?? is it necessary , or can we get the ticket in the same day. I am planing to take the one at 12h30 …

    Thank for your answer

    Sincerely
    Samamtha

    • Hi’ Samantha.
      No need to book in advance.
      The boat runs several times a day and has a lot of space onboard, so as long as you are not bringing a car then there is no need to book in advance. You can buy the tickets at the ticket booth at Yenikapi.
      Have a nice trip.

  4. Hi Claus,

    I cant quite figure out if train between Bandirma and Ismir is an overnight train or a regular train. Your trip suggests a day trip (how many hours?), but other websites I’ve read suggest you have to stay the night in Bandirma and catch the train or bus to Ismir in the morning. It would be great if you can clarify?

    Thanks,
    Renee

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