Kayseri is an old large city with a strong economy. It carries lots of monuments from the days of Seljuks and Ottomans, and is also the home town of the most accomplished architect Mimar Sinan. Population has been steadily increasing and nowadays is around 950,000 in the urban center.
Kayseri was also on the Silk Route and Karatay and Sultanhanı posts on this route reside in Bünyan town's borders. Bünyan is also famous for its carpets which makes Kayseri a popular purchase-stop for tourists visiting Cappadocia.
Turkish Airlines, Onur Airlines, and Pegasus Airlines have daily flights from Istanbul to Kayseri. Sunexpress airlines has daily flights from Izmir and from Antalya to Kayseri. Beside the domestic flights there are also direct international flights to Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Vienna by Pegasus, Onur and Oger. The name of the airport is Kayseri Erkilet and has the IATA code ASR. Taxi to the bus terminal takes 20 minutes, 27 TL. It takes 120 TL to Cappadocia. When you are in the airport, you may find more destinations and price listings in the good board outside the airport.
Direct trains run daily from Ankara to Kayseri, taking 7 hours. There are couchettes and a sleeping car; some trains have a buffet. Depending on the day of the week, these trains continue east:
- via Sivas, Malatya and Elazig to Tatvan (the Vangölü Express), with dolmus connections to Van;
- via Sivas and Malatya to Diyarbakir and Kurtalan (the Guney Kurtalan Express);
- via Sivas and Erzurum to Kars (the Dogu Express).
A daily train also runs south to Adana (the Erciyes Express).
For details see Turkish railways website at tcdd.gov.tr. Note that Ankara railway station is partially closed for rebuilding until early 2018, with bus replacements to Irmak 60 km east of the city, and altered timings.
It is very easy to get to Kayseri from other major towns. Among other Kent Seyahat is a Kayseri based bus company, and many other cities that have a route through Kayseri also offer quality service.
The new Kayseri bus station is located six kilometres north-west of the city center. A local bus to the centre leaves from a stop across the road directly to the south of the station. Tickets can be purchased from the booth immediately beside the bus stop, for 3TL.
Bus 404 arrives at the stop mentioned above and goes close to the center but then turns right. If you need to go to Novotel or Ibis which are a bit outside of town then take bus 517. However that bus leaves from a stop on erem yildirim blv not from the stop mentioned above. Be sure to take the one from opposite the street and not the one that goes down the blv. On the way back there is a bus stop directly in front of Ibis (just a signpost) for 517 but no ticket counter so get your ticket on advance.
In general all busses saying terminal at the signs will go to the bus terminal. There is a tourist info stand in the center and some hotel staffs will know if you ask them. (FYI, Aug 2019: It seems like you can't pay with cash on buses - luckily the driver just let me get on for free)
The station has an internet cafe (.5 TL for 30 minutes), left-luggage storage, restaurants, hairdresser, etc.
There are many buses, plus a tram system. Some notes are in the "Getting In" section, but more details are needed about how to buy trips.
Hunat Hatun Camii is the most famous mosque in the city that dates back to Seljuks. Seljuks have also left a number of schools (medrese), tombs (kumbet), and hospitals in the city.
Mount Erciyes is the 5th highest mountain (3916 m) in Turkey and a popular domestic skiing location. Nowadays, foreign tourists have also started to visit the location. Erciyes Ski Center is 25 km. from the city center.
Handwoven carpets are the major touristic merchandise in Kayseri, but they can be quite expensive as some of them are silk.
Kayseri is famous all throughout Turkey for it's Pastirma. This is seasoned beef which has been air dried.
Kayseri Mantısı is the most famous dish Kayseri is known for. It's made from minced meat, wrapped in tiny bits of dough and boiled. It's served with a special sauce and yogurt. It's pretty difficult to find a restaurant to eat it as locals always eat this at home and they are prepared much better. However, Kaşıkla has now established a well deserved name in the city also for locals and if you can't get a local to invite you home, is definitely worth trying.
Pastırma is Kayseri's another well-known product. It's dried, salted beef covered with çemen, prepared by a special process. Pastırma is served both as a spicy starter or used in dishes (e.g. in pastırmalı kuru fasulye) or böreks. Kayseri is the major source of production in Turkey. If cannot afford the restaurants, try buying 100 grams from a large supermarket or from old shops in the old shopping district behind the castle (Kale).
İskender is a kebap variant, named after its inventor (Turkish variant of "Alexander"). Its meat is prepared similar to that of döner, but is served in dish, and with a butter sauce on the top. Although others come quite close, a local restaurant called İskender is the best place to eat this, and is located on the opposite side of Hunat Hatun Camii.
Gilaburu juice is a tradational drink from middle anatolia. Gilaburu (viburnum opulus) is a tiny, red fruit. It has lots of benefits to human body. You can drink Gilaburu juice in Elmacıoğlu İskender (one of the biggest restaurant in the city).
- Hotel Capari, Donanma Caddesi 12, ☎ 222 5278. Good budget choice in the very center. You can easiely walk to all the sights. Staff knows enough english and is helpfull. Breakfast is included from 65 Tl. edit
- Hotel Bent, . a centrally located 3-star hotel with clean rooms with wi-fi, TV, minibar, etc. A double room is 160 TL, Single room 33 euro by night. edit
- Atalay Hotel, Gevher Nesibe Mah., Donanma Cadessi, No. 12, Kocasinan Merkez, ☎ (0352) 222 5278. A comfortable, clean and modern hotel. Staff are friendly & helpful. Breakfast buffet is included in room rate and is of a good standard. A taxi from the airport to this location is 23 lira. Triple Room for €47. edit
Hilton Kayseri is so far the only 5-star and international hotel in Kayseri.
From Kayseri you can travel to Göreme. Most of the time you'll have to change the bus in Ürgüp, but some companies ocasionally have a direct service to Göreme. (i.e. Süha Tourizm March 2016)
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