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Trip suggestions - Switzerland to Turkey

  • 17 January 2024
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  • Rail rookie
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Hi, I am look for some advice or info for a trip from Zurich to Istanbul.

Will be staying in Istanbul (and hopefully doing some recommended trips) and then going back to Switzerland. Seems like there is not many itineraries or route suggestions- would love some options of going through Romania and Bulgaria and then maybe back a different way through some more Balkan countries. 

Thank you!

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Best answer by thibcabe 17 January 2024, 12:23

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The easy route is via Romania and Bulgaria :

There is only one daily train entering Turkey : most carriages come from Sofia but during summer a couchette carriage is attached from Bucharest. Since this train is not available online for passholders, it might make sense to book a regular advance ticket through CFR (Romanian railways).

Otherwise expect to be flexible and wait a day or two in Bucharest before there’s availability or board regular seating carriages as far as Dimitrovgrad and then buy a couchette/sleeper from the attendant (cash only, AFAIK).

More info on seat reservations in general :

https://www.seat61.com/interrail-and-eurail-reservations.htm

There are (almost) no international trains and very few domestic trains in the Balkans. You’ll rely on buses : they’re not included but tickets are rather cheap. Timetables are rarely available online. Adventure!

All in all it might not make sense to get an Interrail/Eurail pass for this trip.

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