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Getting to eastern Turkey once meant grueling bus rides that sometimes took more than a day. The arrival of budget air travel has changed this dramatically, and several domestic airlines now crisscross Turkey. Many of the major cities in the region, including Trabzon, Van, Mardin, and Gaziantep, have airports.
Most flights come from Istanbul or Ankara, but if you want to travel throughout the region and avoid backtracking, Sun Express Airlines has flights from several eastern cities to İzmir or Antalya.
You’ll probably find that a rental car is the easiest way to take in the sights of eastern Turkey, allowing you to reach some of the more remote spots and explore at your leisure. Cars are readily available in most larger towns. You can also travel between major cities by bus, taking tours to sites like Sumela and Ani, but transport is usually by minibus rather than the larger, more comfortable buses found in western Turkey.