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low season bucharest to sofia-istanbul

  • 18 December 2022
  • 6 replies
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Hi there!

I’m wondering if anyone had experience traveling to Istanbul in the low season? I booked the 19:10 night train from Budapest to Bucharest. So far so good. But it’s at Bucharest where the adventure really starts. I heard reports of lines being repaired and whatnot and the ticket office in Budapest just flat out said „go to Bucharest“ - so here we are. What are my options once I arrive in Bucharest? It seems that the train will miss the connecting train to Dimitrovgrad/Sofia by an hour according to the schedule, and I don’t see any other way by rail to get to Istanbul Halkali. 
 

so what does the community say? The low season seems to have other schedules and there is no direct train to Istanbul. Shall I take a detour to Sofia by train and arrive late in the evening and continue the next day there or should I stay overnight in Bucharest to get the connecting train the next day?

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Best answer by rvdborgt 18 December 2022, 01:27

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Userlevel 7
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Hi there!

I’m wondering if anyone had experience traveling to Istanbul in the low season? I booked the 19:10 night train from Budapest to Bucharest. So far so good. But it’s at Bucharest where the adventure really starts. I heard reports of lines being repaired and whatnot and the ticket office in Budapest just flat out said „go to Bucharest“ - so here we are. What are my options once I arrive in Bucharest? It seems that the train will miss the connecting train to Dimitrovgrad/Sofia by an hour according to the schedule, and I don’t see any other way by rail to get to Istanbul Halkali. 
 

so what does the community say? The low season seems to have other schedules and there is no direct train to Istanbul. Shall I take a detour to Sofia by train and arrive late in the evening and continue the next day there or should I stay overnight in Bucharest to get the connecting train the next day?

The best option would be to catch the 15.10 Nighttrain from Budapest to Bucharest arrival 08.06 with this train you had enough time for a connection to Sofia on the sameday (depature from Bucharest at 10.55) and then stay one Night there before catching the Sofia - Istanbul Nighttrain. 

Ofcourse you can still try to catch the Sofia - Istanbul train from Bucharest by several changes within Bulgaria (Gorna Orjahovica and Dimitrovograd)  but i prefer the option to stay in Sofia. 

Next to the station in Sofia you have a Supermarket as the Nighttrain have no dinning Carriage i recommend to get enough Supplies. 

Userlevel 7
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The timetable Bucharest/Sofia - Istanbul can be found here:

https://www.bdz.bg/en/a/sofia-istanbul-sofia

Bucharest - Sofia here:

https://www.bdz.bg/en/a/sofia-bucuresti-sofia

Bulgarian railways are way too late delivering their timetable data so it's not included anywhere yet.

Userlevel 7
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Ausserdem: the nighhtrain is Turkish-TCDD and only has liegewagen=couchette. You should RES in advance-do that in Sof at the INternat window-which is recently reported as being closed on SUN. Off-season there is usually no prob at all in finding space-can also pay car-conductor. In the mid of night you have to get out and walk to the immigration for passpt control.

There is a kind of shortcut coming Off Bp to Sof-via the 2nd Dunav bridge-Craiova-Vidin, but if that brings you much-check, as there is only 1 train/day (when it started it had a through train Bp-Sofia, but that did not last long).

Info about the trip and arr in IST-a bleak suburban halt: seat61.com.

Userlevel 7
Badge +15

Ausserdem: the nighhtrain is Turkish-TCDD and only has liegewagen=couchette. You should RES in advance-do that in Sof at the INternat window-which is recently reported as being closed on SUN. Off-season there is usually no prob at all in finding space-can also pay car-conductor. In the mid of night you have to get out and walk to the immigration for passpt control.

There is a kind of shortcut coming Off Bp to Sof-via the 2nd Dunav bridge-Craiova-Vidin, but if that brings you much-check, as there is only 1 train/day (when it started it had a through train Bp-Sofia, but that did not last long).

Info about the trip and arr in IST-a bleak suburban halt: seat61.com.

The Nighttrain Sofia - Istanbul offer Sleeper and Couchette :) The seasonal Carriage Bucharest - Sofia is couchette only correct. 
 

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I would go via Sofia so you join the train at it’s starting point. Engineering work affected timekeeping of this train earlier in the year. I was 3 hours late arriving Halkali! I don’t know where the supermarket is at Sofia station. I think you need to go into the town. The people in the bar rang for a pizza delivery for us! Pay for a sleeper if you can afford it. They are comfortable and roomy compared to most sleepers. The old town in Bucharest is worth a visit. Sorry don’t know about Sofia.

Userlevel 7
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I don’t know where the supermarket is at Sofia station. I think you need to go into the town.

It´s on the South Eastern Corner of the station buildung :) It´s a Supermarket of the Brand “Billa” 

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