The Turkiye’s Eastern Express touring train, which departs from Ankara on two different routes and passes through magnificent landscapes en route to Kars, has just begun its winter season. The Eastern Express and Touristic Eastern Express routes are 814 miles long and run on one of Asia’s oldest railways. The approximately 25-hour train ride travels through the provinces of Krkkale, Kayseri (Cappadocia), Sivas, Erzincan, and Erzurum before arriving in Kars.
The Eastern Express train includes Pullman and couchette cars, as well as a dining car with seating for 56 passengers, and stops at 50 historic train stations. In 35 hours, the Touristic Eastern Express, which includes a sleeping car, stops at 29 stations. The Touristic Eastern Express stops for up to three hours at each station, giving you plenty of time to explore remote towns and cities.
The journey concludes in Kars, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with attractions such as Kars Castle, the Second Stone Bridge, and the Kars Museum. There are many cultural experiences to enjoy, such as the sparring of ashiks (traditional Turkish actors who recite improvised poems and songs) and ancient religious sites like the Ebu’l Menûçehr Mosque and the Tigran Honents Church.
Winter sports are also popular. The Sarikamis Ski Center in Kars has the world’s third-highest altitude ski track. ldr Lake, on the Kars-Ardahan border, offers a stroll on the frozen lake, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and mirrored carp ice fishing.
The Turkiye’s Eastern Express departs Ankara daily, while the Touristic Eastern Express departs Ankara on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and Kars on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.