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Riding the Doğu Express: Turkey’s Scenic Rail Adventure

Explore Turkey like never before on the Doğu Express, a journey filled with adventure, cultural insights, and breathtaking scenery.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
The Doğu Express takes you on an 800-mile adventure from Ankara to Kars, offering a unique overland route into the Caucasus.
Once a local secret, the train has gained international fame, thanks to travel vloggers and social media buzz.
The journey serves not just as a means of transport but as a cultural experience, attracting both tourists and locals.

Kicking off the Adventure in Ankara

Imagine this: You’re sitting in one of Ankara’s age-old bathhouses, with a masseur named Karim giving you a hearty laugh and an even heartier scrub. Why? Because you’re about to embark on Turkey’s longest train journey, the legendary Doğu Express, and you want to be as relaxed as possible.

Setting Off on a Journey Like No Other

The Doğu Express isn’t just a train; it’s an 800-mile-long adventure that starts in the Turkish capital, Ankara and ends in the city of Kars, near the border with Georgia. The route offers a unique peek into the less-explored eastern corners of Turkey and serves as an exciting passage into the Caucasus region. But this isn’t your everyday commute. This train journey has a story to tell. Years ago, this route was a best-kept secret, overshadowed by Istanbul’s glitz and far off from the tourist radar. That was until travel vloggers discovered it and broadcast its breathtaking landscapes to the world. Now, cabins sell out in seconds, and the train itself has become a destination, complete with its own ‘Touristic Doğu Express’ version that runs seasonally. As you step onto the bustling platform, you can feel the energy of excited travelers, waving “Doğu Ekspresi” signs for photo ops. You’ll meet students like Sena, who dreamt of this journey, and even see cabins decorated with fairy lights, courtesy of Instagram-inspired passengers.

Explore Turkey like never before on the Doğu Express, a journey filled with adventure, cultural insights, and breathtaking scenery.

Beyond the Scenery – The People You Meet

As the train chugs through moonlit fields and snow-covered landscapes, you’ll find the real soul of the journey lies in its dining carriage. It’s where tourists share baklava, medical students like Ender find time to study, and people like Metin, a VIP minivan driver who loves snow, come to socialize. But the Doğu Express is not just for leisure. For many, like Ender, it’s a budget-friendly and time-efficient way to travel. The train also attracts international tourists who come exclusively for the rail experience, lured by Instagram fame and YouTuber endorsements.

The Final Stop and Beyond

The train eventually reaches Kars, often running fashionably late but adding to the “part of the adventure” vibe. From there, you could visit the Ani ruins or even venture into neighboring Georgia, just a two-hour drive away. The border isn’t exactly five-star luxury, but it’s a crossing filled with adventures and stories. When you finally loop back to Ankara, you’ll notice the train is quieter on the return trip. Many tourists opt for a flight back, missing the return journey’s tranquil beauty. But for you, the winding trails, the snow-capped mountains, and the diverse tapestry of people you meet along the way make every mile worthwhile. So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable journey filled with scenic vistas, cultural insights, and many Instagrammable moments, then the Doğu Express is your ticket to an adventure like no other. And who knows? You might just find yourself back at Ankara’s bathhouse, planning yet another trip on this iconic route.

Marilyn Walters

Marilyn Walters is a seasoned news journalist with over two years of experience in the field. Known for her investigative reporting and insightful analysis, Marilyn has covered significant global events with an objective lens. Her relentless pursuit of truth and dedication to journalistic integrity have established her as a respected voice in today's dynamic news landscape.

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