Solved

Booking night trains in Eastern Europe


Goodevening to everyone,

I’ve decided to open a new thread after reading several other ones.

I’m going to have a little trip starting from Italy and going to Istanbul and return this Summer.

The problem is, finding reservation for nightrains from Budapest to Bucarest is impossible via Eurail website/app: sometimes they’re not available, sometimes they are but they are paper ones and it takes too long to be delivered.

A similar thing happens when I have to book seats for Bucarest-Istanbul night train: no seats available, or I have to make reservations but there isn’t any prompt to proceed to do so.

I’ve read that is almost always better to make reservations not using Eurail app.

My questions are:

  1. Why is the app not functioning? Are the seats likely sold out or is an internal issue?​​​​​​
  2. For a future journey: should I book seats MUCH more in advance?
  3. I can reserve tickets online using railways websites, I know, but are they more expensive than the ones I could (not in this case, obviously) reserve using the website/app?
  4. If I go to a railway station in, let’s say, Budapest, can I book seats there? Are there any discounts for passholders? Here I say Budapest but the question is the same for the other tickets aswell.

I would like to add that I’ve read the guide made by seawulf, finding it useful, but I couldn’t find answers to the questions above.

 

My trip details are:

12 Jul (night) from Budapest to Bucarest

14 Jul (night) from Bucarest to Istanbul

After that I will stay a few days in Istanbul, then going to Beograd or Sofia, haven’t decided yet. That’s why I’m asking: I would like to know how to book correctly without having to come here and ask to you everytime (I thank you in advance for that).

 

Thanks in advance for your replies!

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Best answer by MartinM 29 June 2022, 10:53

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13 replies

Userlevel 7
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Has been reported here more as once and answer is always same; can ONLY do at counter in ROmania-or TR. 1 car (cuccette) from BUCur-lve around noon!-sit in it all the rest of day-joins the ´main´ train from Sofia-and arr IST next morning early some suburban stop. This is only train into IST and thus has to use it also come back. Maybe think again if thats worth it to see this city for 1,5 day-time to stay in trains is much longer as that. A direct BUS Buc-IST does it also in much shorter time-but you have to pay.

@2: in this case thus not needed nor possible. Really depends on country/train-long advance is for @4

@3-no, app always adds at least 2€ fee and is always more expens as via railway

@4=varies. In THIS case not @ Bud-as said. IF there are sometimes quota for passholders-in fact only for FRench TGV/his-peed, this means they are very small and give you a lower price as extra to pay, not the other way around

 

Has been reported here more as once and answer is always same; can ONLY do at counter in ROmania-or TR. 1 car (cuccette) from BUCur-lve around noon!-sit in it all the rest of day-joins the ´main´ train from Sofia-and arr IST next morning early some suburban stop. This is only train into IST and thus has to use it also come back. Maybe think again if thats worth it to see this city for 1,5 day-time to stay in trains is much longer as that. A direct BUS Buc-IST does it also in much shorter time-but you have to pay.

@2: in this case thus not needed nor possible. Really depends on country/train-long advance is for @4

@3-no, app always adds at least 2€ fee and is always more expens as via railway

@4=varies. In THIS case not @ Bud-as said. IF there are sometimes quota for passholders-in fact only for FRench TGV/his-peed, this means they are very small and give you a lower price as extra to pay, not the other way around

 

Man, thanks for your reply.

So, if I understood correctly, tickets bought via app are more expensive than ones bought via railways websites? It seems strange, since for example, Budapest-Bucarest on the app is 15.40 EUR; same seats on the railways website is around 40 EUR.

Userlevel 6
Badge +4

 

Has been reported here more as once and answer is always same; can ONLY do at counter in ROmania-or TR. 1 car (cuccette) from BUCur-lve around noon!-sit in it all the rest of day-joins the ´main´ train from Sofia-and arr IST next morning early some suburban stop. This is only train into IST and thus has to use it also come back. Maybe think again if thats worth it to see this city for 1,5 day-time to stay in trains is much longer as that. A direct BUS Buc-IST does it also in much shorter time-but you have to pay.

@2: in this case thus not needed nor possible. Really depends on country/train-long advance is for @4

@3-no, app always adds at least 2€ fee and is always more expens as via railway

@4=varies. In THIS case not @ Bud-as said. IF there are sometimes quota for passholders-in fact only for FRench TGV/his-peed, this means they are very small and give you a lower price as extra to pay, not the other way around

 

Man, thanks for your reply.

So, if I understood correctly, tickets bought via app are more expensive than ones bought via railways websites? It seems strange, since for example, Budapest-Bucarest on the app is 15.40 EUR; same seats on the railways website is around 40 EUR.

You can’t buy this reservations online (or maybe you can Budapest-Bucuresti via ÖBB - didn’t check).

Budapest-Bucuresti usually no problem even on day of departure (as there are quite some trains each day). If you arrive in Budapest already earlier, then go direct on the first day to one of the international ticket offices and  get the reservation (seat 3 euro, but I’d recommend couchette or sleeper (not all trains have sleeper!))

Bucuresti-Istanbul will be to 99% no problem even on day of departure. Usually this train has a low occupancy.

You can’t buy this reservations online (or maybe you can Budapest-Bucuresti via ÖBB - didn’t check).

Budapest-Bucuresti usually no problem even on day of departure (as there are quite some trains each day). If you arrive in Budapest already earlier, then go direct on the first day to one of the international ticket offices and  get the reservation (seat 3 euro, but I’d recommend couchette or sleeper (not all trains have sleeper!))

Bucuresti-Istanbul will be to 99% no problem even on day of departure. Usually this train has a low occupancy.

 

Thanks for your reply, very useful! The situation has de-escalated from 100 to 0 ina few seconds, thanks to you.

Just one thing I can’t comprehend: why do you say I can’t reserve seats online? The romanian railways website let me do it, and so the hungarian one

Userlevel 6
Badge +4

 

Has been reported here more as once and answer is always same; can ONLY do at counter in ROmania-or TR. 1 car (cuccette) from BUCur-lve around noon!-sit in it all the rest of day-joins the ´main´ train from Sofia-and arr IST next morning early some suburban stop. This is only train into IST and thus has to use it also come back. Maybe think again if thats worth it to see this city for 1,5 day-time to stay in trains is much longer as that. A direct BUS Buc-IST does it also in much shorter time-but you have to pay.

@2: in this case thus not needed nor possible. Really depends on country/train-long advance is for @4

@3-no, app always adds at least 2€ fee and is always more expens as via railway

@4=varies. In THIS case not @ Bud-as said. IF there are sometimes quota for passholders-in fact only for FRench TGV/his-peed, this means they are very small and give you a lower price as extra to pay, not the other way around

 

Man, thanks for your reply.

So, if I understood correctly, tickets bought via app are more expensive than ones bought via railways websites? It seems strange, since for example, Budapest-Bucarest on the app is 15.40 EUR; same seats on the railways website is around 40 EUR.

You can’t buy this reservations online (or maybe you can Budapest-Bucuresti via ÖBB - didn’t check).

Budapest-Bucuresti usually no problem even on day of departure (as there are quite some trains each day). If you arrive in Budapest already earlier, then go direct on the first day to one of the international ticket offices and  get the reservation (seat 3 euro, but I’d recommend couchette or sleeper (not all trains have sleeper!))

Bucuresti-Istanbul will be to 99% no problem even on day of departure. Usually this train has a low occupancy.

 

Thanks for your reply, very useful! The situation has de-escalated from 100 to 0 ina few seconds, thanks to you.

Just one thing I can’t comprehend: why do you say I can’t reserve seats online? The romanian railways website let me do it, and so the hungarian one

Oh ok, didn’t know that. Then sorry for the wrong information. 40 euro sounds like the normal price for couchette + ticket (was like that when I used it in March).

 

Oh ok, didn’t know that. Then sorry for the wrong information. 40 euro sounds like the normal price for couchette + ticket (was like that when I used it in March).

 

Then why here on the Eurail app it says it’s 15.40 EUR? Am I missing something?

Userlevel 6
Badge +4

 

 

 

 

 

Has been reported here more as once and answer is always same; can ONLY do at counter in ROmania-or TR. 1 car (cuccette) from BUCur-lve around noon!-sit in it all the rest of day-joins the ´main´ train from Sofia-and arr IST next morning early some suburban stop. This is only train into IST and thus has to use it also come back. Maybe think again if thats worth it to see this city for 1,5 day-time to stay in trains is much longer as that. A direct BUS Buc-IST does it also in much shorter time-but you have to pay.

@2: in this case thus not needed nor possible. Really depends on country/train-long advance is for @4

@3-no, app always adds at least 2€ fee and is always more expens as via railway

@4=varies. In THIS case not @ Bud-as said. IF there are sometimes quota for passholders-in fact only for FRench TGV/his-peed, this means they are very small and give you a lower price as extra to pay, not the other way around

 

Man, thanks for your reply.

So, if I understood correctly, tickets bought via app are more expensive than ones bought via railways websites? It seems strange, since for example, Budapest-Bucarest on the app is 15.40 EUR; same seats on the railways website is around 40 EUR.

You can’t buy this reservations online (or maybe you can Budapest-Bucuresti via ÖBB - didn’t check).

Budapest-Bucuresti usually no problem even on day of departure (as there are quite some trains each day). If you arrive in Budapest already earlier, then go direct on the first day to one of the international ticket offices and  get the reservation (seat 3 euro, but I’d recommend couchette or sleeper (not all trains have sleeper!))

Bucuresti-Istanbul will be to 99% no problem even on day of departure. Usually this train has a low occupancy.

 

Thanks for your reply, very useful! The situation has de-escalated from 100 to 0 ina few seconds, thanks to you.

Just one thing I can’t comprehend: why do you say I can’t reserve seats online? The romanian railways website let me do it, and so the hungarian one

Oh ok, didn’t know that. Then sorry for the wrong information. 40 euro sounds like the normal price for couchette + ticket (was like that when I used it in March).

Then why here on the Eurail app it says it’s 15.40 EUR? Am I missing something?

15,4 Euro sounds like supplement for couchette. Normal seat would be as said 3 euro.

 

Oh ok, didn’t know that. Then sorry for the wrong information. 40 euro sounds like the normal price for couchette + ticket (was like that when I used it in March).

Then why here on the Eurail app it says it’s 15.40 EUR? Am I missing something?

15,4 Euro sounds like supplement for couchette. Normal seat would be as said 3 euro.

 

Wait, I’m not understanding at all.

15,40 on the Eurail app is the price of the couchette.

40 on the romanian website is the price for the same couchette.

So, reserving seats via railways websites is more expensive, am I right?

Userlevel 6
Badge +4

 

Oh ok, didn’t know that. Then sorry for the wrong information. 40 euro sounds like the normal price for couchette + ticket (was like that when I used it in March).

Then why here on the Eurail app it says it’s 15.40 EUR? Am I missing something?

15,4 Euro sounds like supplement for couchette. Normal seat would be as said 3 euro.

 

Wait, I’m not understanding at all.

15,40 on the Eurail app is the price of the couchette.

40 on the romanian website is the prince for the same couchette.

So, reserving seats via railways websites is more expensive, am I right?

No, 40 euro is the price with ticket… for people who don’t have Interrail.
15,4 euro is ONLY the reservation. You need an interrail pass or other ticket to travel with that reservation.

Maybe if you buy only the reservation at the station it could be 2 euro cheaper (because usually there is a 2 euro service fee for reservations on the eurail app).

No, 40 euro is the price with ticket… for people who don’t have Interrail.
15,4 euro is ONLY the reservation. You need an interrail pass or other ticket to travel with that reservation.

Maybe if you buy only the reservation at the station it could be 2 euro cheaper (because usually there is a 2 euro service fee for reservations on the eurail app).

 

Now that’s more clear.

On the website there’s no possibility of adding the interrail discount.

So if I reserve seats in a station, showing the Interrail pass, I will pay 15.40 (or 13.40), am I right?

Userlevel 6
Badge +4

No, 40 euro is the price with ticket… for people who don’t have Interrail.
15,4 euro is ONLY the reservation. You need an interrail pass or other ticket to travel with that reservation.

Maybe if you buy only the reservation at the station it could be 2 euro cheaper (because usually there is a 2 euro service fee for reservations on the eurail app).

 

Now that’s more clear.

On the website there’s no possibility of adding the interrail discount.

So if I reserve seats in a station, showing the Interrail pass, I will pay 15.40 (or 13.40), am I right?

For seats you will pay 3 euro. For couchette something around 15.4 or 3.4 euro… didn’t book couchette reservation with interrail on this train. Only used with standard ticket for 40 euro.

For seats you will pay 3 euro. For couchette something around 15.4 or 3.4 euro… didn’t book couchette reservation with interrail on this train. Only used with standard ticket for 40 euro.

 

Obb sells tickets for this route, letting you include Eurail discounts, although it has different times than ones on the app.

Hungarian railways also sells these tickets, although on the website discounts can’t be applied. The strange thing is that on that website is stated that there are lots of seats available, while on the Eurail app there are no seats bookable. 

I think the app is poorly made.

Thanks for all the advice, I will buy tickets online when discounts are applied and in person when this is not possibile.

Also, @mcadv I had a stroke trying to read your message. I do appreciate your help and your kindess, but your way of writing may generate more doubts than solutions in people. I’m telling you this because I see you write a lot on this forum, and all your messages have the same issue.

Userlevel 6
Badge +4

For seats you will pay 3 euro. For couchette something around 15.4 or 3.4 euro… didn’t book couchette reservation with interrail on this train. Only used with standard ticket for 40 euro.

 

Obb sells tickets for this route, letting you include Eurail discounts, although it has different times than ones on the app.

Hungarian railways also sells these tickets, although on the website discounts can’t be applied. The strange thing is that on that website is stated that there are lots of seats available, while on the Eurail app there are no seats bookable. 

I think the app is poorly made.

Thanks for all the advice, I will buy tickets online when discounts are applied and in person when this is not possibile.

Also, @mcadv I had a stroke trying to read your message. I do appreciate your help and your kindess, but your way of writing may generate more doubts that solutions in people. I’m telling you this because I see you write a lot on this forum, and all your messages have the same issue.

Yeah, the app is not suitable for Eastern Europe.
Better to buy it at the station. You will get a ticket as memory in that case ;-)

There are definitely a lot of seats available. I travel from time to time from Hungary to Romania and trains were never fully booked, sometimes there are a lot of people on the train (during summer) but still far from sold out. But of course exceptions might happen (Fridays, Sundays, ...)

About your comment about @mcadv I can only agree. He is also spreading regularly wrong information and doesn’t correct it… but seems it is fun for him ^^.

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