Best way to make reservations for the trains needed to go from Vienna to Istanbul and back?

  • 13 May 2022
  • 2 replies

As part of the trip my husband and I are planning, we want to take the train from Vienna to Istanbul (and back).

I’ve done a lot of searching for the routes, and while I’m not yet sure of what our stopovers on this pair of long train trips will be, I do know that the trip is likely to involve trains between Vienna and Budapest that require reservations as well as trains between Budapest and Craiova and/or a train from Craiova to Vienna that also require reservations.

The site indicates reservations will be mailed to my US address by registered mail.  How long roughly does this take?  2 weeks? or 2 months?  I ask because we will be flying to Europe on June 20, and I’d hate to buy reservations only to have them not get delivered in time.

As a second question, I also have noticed that the information about international train between Sofia, Bulgaria and Istanbul, Turkey don’t seem to be available from and the “more information” seems to indicate that you need to buy these reservations at a “major train station” in Europe.  Does that mean I have to wait until I get to Sofia to book this leg of the journey? And if so, what are the chances that we wind up not getting seats?




Best answer by mcadv 14 May 2022, 05:25

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Forget all that about sending home-far too difficult. There is no real need to worry about it all monthes ahead.

Now the bad news: I read in other post you have 1st cl passes for 10/15 days: IF this is the main trip you intend-then its a bad choice, less so if you intend to trip other areas before. LOcal tickets would have been far cheaper and many trains simply do not have 1st. Or what they call 1st is way below usual expectations for that (but so is often their 2nd)

You can do the whole trip in 2 very long overnites, with stop in Bucuresti. There are just 1 through train Wien-Buc and-only in main summertime- from there to Ist (in fact a bleak dreary suburban stop where they drop you off at 5.30). A night in Buc is ten also needed. OR more choice for 1st leg with extra change B-pest.

Seems its better to make up your mind first about what places you really want to see in between and tehn come back. The route to take has to go indeed via Hungary-Romania-Bulgaria.

also has good info for these overland trips-more aimed at people buying tickets on the go.

Thank you for your reply.  It is helpful.

We are planning extensive travel elsewhere in Europe.  If we run short of pass days for the whole trip, it’s good to know that we can just pay for some or all of the Eastern European train tickets out of pocket to save the Eurail pass for the much more expensive travel elsewhere.