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All aboard! Turkey resumes Touristic Eastern Express line

Nalynn Dolan Caine |
Touristic Eastern Express, one of Turkey’s oldest rail lines between capital Ankara and northeastern province Kars, starts one of the world's most amazing scenic train journeys as of December 15.

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The train has nine cars, including six sleeping cars, one dining car open to passengers 24/7, and two service cars.

The eastbound train runs 1,310 kilometers between the capital Ankara and Kars, passing by provinces like Kirikkale, Sivas, Erzincan and Erzurum, offering passengers an unforgettable 25-hour railway journey with stunning views all along the route.

The best time to travel with the Eastern Express is winter or late autumn, as the snow covered landscape makes everything seem more magical.

When the train arrives at its last stop, Kars, passengers will have the opportunity to see historic places such as the Kars Castle, the ancient city of Ani, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2016, and Caucasian Front War History Museum.

Visitors will also enjoy walking or sleighing over the frozen Lake Cildi, the second-largest lake in eastern Anatolia. The lake freezes every year as temperatures drop below zero and when its thickness reaches a certain level, it also attracts fishing enthusiasts.

A boat ride on the reservoir of Bağıştaş 1 Dam in İliç skiing at the Cebiltepe ski center in the Sarıkamis district of Kars, or the Yalnizcam ski center in Ardahan, are also offered.

Passengers can also explore the Dark Canyon, a deep steep-sided gorge 25 km long, 1,000 m deep and 10–15 m wide at the base featuring almost 90% rocky slope gradient. The canyon offers recreational activities such as rock climbing and boat rides.

All aboard! Touristic Eastern Express will depart from Ankara at 15.55 and from Kars at 22.20. The tickets can easily be bought online, from train stations or tourism agencies, the choice is yours.

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