The plan

It started as a vague idea about two years ago: I like travelling by train rather than plane whenever possible; George (Gökçe) knew of a classic train journey from Istanbul to Tehran; I've been thinking about visiting Turkey for years...  So we started planning a trip.

The Istanbul-Tehran train is in three parts – Turkish train, boat across Lake Van, Iranian train – and takes almost three days. It costs about €40 one-way, which includes a bed.

Unfortunately, modernisation of the Turkish rail network got in the way! They have introduced a high-speed rail connection between Istanbul and Ankara, so the overnight train option is no longer available for that section. This kind of spoiled the whole idea of the epic three-day journey, so we revised our plan. The new idea is:
  • fly from Paris to Tehran (via Baku);
  • travel by train within Iran (Alborz Mountains, Alamut Valley, Esfahan, Shiraz, Persepolis);
  • take the train from Tabriz to Van in Turkey;
  • visit eastern Anatolia (Göbekli Tepe, Cappadocia) by car/bus;
  • fly to Istanbul.
At Istanbul we part company: George has to get back to Paris for work, but I have a bit more free time. I'm planning to visit the Balkans and Budapest before I go back. Details later...


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