Ankara's new and improved Esenboga International Airport is a major hub for domestic flights on Turkish Airlines (tel. 0312/590-4000 at the airport; www.esenbogaairport.com). Direct international flights arrive from Amsterdam, Brussels, Cologne, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Kiev, London, and Munich, as well as some other cities, with increased service in the summer.
The Esenboga International Airport is 32km (20 miles) from the city center. Havas (www.havas.com.tr) provides bus transportation from the airport daily to the Havas City Center Office in Ulus, with departures tied to the arrival times of domestic and international flights. The ride takes about 35 minutes and costs 10TL. The fares is 25% higher between midnight and 6am.
Half-hourly buses to the airport leave from the Havas office (located at 19 Mayis Stadium, Gate B, in Altindag) daily between 3:30am and 9:30pm, and then in coordination with flight departures from 9:30pm to 3:30am. (Havas buses also leave from the ASTI bus station, but Ulus is more convenient.) For information on Havas buses back to the airport, call the national Havas call center (tel. 444-0487). There's also a cooperative taxi arrangement at the airport that will get you and three other passengers to Ankara center for around 60TL. The service runs round the clock but reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance (tel. 0312/398-0897; www.esenbogataxi.com).
Virtually every city in the country, no matter how small, has at least one bus company with service to Ankara, offering almost as many fare options as buses. For example, Varan (tel. 444-8999) runs about 15 buses daily from Istanbul (travel time 5 1/2-7 hr.; average price 49TL), as does Metro (tel. 444-3455; www.metroturizm.com.tr), including two nonstop buses (5 and 5:20am) from Istanbul (5 1/2-7 hr.; around 30TL). From Konya (23TL), hop on an Özkaymak bus (tel. 0312/224-0055 in Ankara; tel. 0352/265-0161 in Konya). To get to town from Ankara's ASTI Otogar (tel. 0312/207-1000) hop a cab -- about 20TL, depending on your final destination. There is a handy metro station just outside the bus entrance, but whoever designed it didn't think of travelers with luggage; you must navigate an insurmountable number of steps to get to the platform.
The system of railways in Turkey is operated by Turkish State Railways (Türkiye Cuhuriyet Devlet Demiryollari, tel. 444-8233). There are currently six conventional (read: slow) trains serving the Istanbul/Ankara route, the Baskent Express, the Cumhuriyet Express, the Fatih Express, the Bogaziçi Express, the Anadolu Express and the Ankara Express ("Express" is expressed as "Ekspresi"). Of all these, the modern, air-conditioned, and dependable Ankara Ekspresi night train from Istanbul's Haydarpasa train station to Ankara is the most reliable for service and comfort. A bunk in one of the sleeper cars costs 85TL; two beds cost 60TL per person. Cabins sleep (tightly) up to three passengers, and they don't penalize you for taking up the whole cabin as a single traveler. (There's also a nominal "conductor fee" collected by the car attendant at the end of the journey; this is a legal and modest surcharge of about 2TL.) You'll need a reservation for a spot on this train, so don't leave your ticket purchase until the last minute. The train departs nightly at 10:30pm (travel time: 9 hr., 40 min.).
There are nine additional daily departures of very slow trains heading through Ankara to points east, with fares as low as 16TL, depending on which train you take (night trains with sleeping cars are also available). Tickets can be purchased at both Istanbul's Haydarpasa (tel. 0216/336-4470 for reservations or tel. 0216/336-0475 for information) and Sirkeci (tel. 0212/527-0050) train stations, as well as via a number of authorized ticket agents (mostly travel agencies) and post offices. The list of purchase points, as well as detailed information on routes, prices, and schedules, is now available on the TCDD's new and improved website (www.tcdd.gov.tr).
One of the major railway projects under way in Turkey is the laying of tracks for a fast train between Istanbul and Ankara. Upon completion, this new fast train will take just 4 to 5 hours. Stay tuned to www.tcdd.gov.tr for progress. For now, if you want a taste of the high-speed rail, you can take a regular train to Eskisehir (4 hrs), and change for the Yüksek Hizli Tren, departing Eskisehir at 7am, 9:05, 11:15, 1pm, 3:10, 6:10, 8, and 9:52, arriving in Ankara 90 minutes later. The fare for the fast train leg is 20TL one way and 32TL return economy class; 30TL/48TL Business Class each way.
Remember that all trains from Istanbul to Ankara leave from Haydarpasa Station on the Asian side. Ferries depart from Karaköy and Kadiköy for the 15-minute or so trip to the train station (be sure the ferry you board is heading to the Haydarpasa dock, not the main Kadiköy dock). You should book your tickets in advance from June to September either via the website (www.ido.com.tr) or by phone (tel. 0212/444-4436). The short crossing costs 1.50TL with a token, 85kr with the Akbil.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.