Reservations for Romania-Bulgaria-Turkey

I’m the carer of a disabled passenger (Global 1 month pass), travelling to Istanbul from UK in August. I’ve managed to reserve seats/beds as far as Sighisoara (Romania), but beyond that I get any of 3 messages:

  1. quickly shows an reservation option but it disappears when I try to add to cart
  2. Tells me Seat reservation required, but doesn’t show price/or says beneath that prices are unavailable 
  3. Tells me in red “seat reservations unavailable”.

It suggests I try other ways to book, which I have (country websites), but can’t seem to book tickets for European trains whilst not in a European country (I’m in Scotland) 😢

It’s a bit harder to negotiate travelling, when looking out for someone vulnerable’s health and well-being, so I’m keen to resolve the overnight journeys before going. 
Can anyone help/suggest ways to do it?

Thanks 🙏 🤞


Best answer by rvdborgt 23 June 2022, 02:22

View original

10 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

We now know that Bucuresti nord - Veiliko Tarnovo should be bookable through DB (via the train number search, train number is 461). Possibly also Veiliko Tarnovo - Halkali.

Serbia currently does not have any international trains, except for the one to Bar, Sofia-Dimitrovgrad (the line further to Niš is closed for engineering works) and to Kelebia in Hungary (but north of Kelebia is closed for engineering works).

By the way, please don't plan with the rail planner app, since it's often out of date and unreliable. And some railways, such as Serbian railways, don't share their timetables with the rest of the world so you'll only find them on their own website. Use national planners or, for international planning, use the DB website or DB Navigator app.

Wow, this is wonderful, thank you so much @rvdborgt !

You’ve given me about 4 or 5 different options here. Looks like I can book Sighisoara to Bucuresti about 1 month in advance on the domestic site, and it’s only £16 for the couchette, which is cheaper than some of the supplements I’ve paid already!

And perhaps I can get the return journey from Turkey once I’m in a European country (fingers crossed there’s still available 🤞).

I have a question on routes/how to get to/via Balkan countries on the way back - should I start a new question/thread?


Tapadh leibh (thank you in Scots Gaelic) 🙏 

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

I hadn't even looked into prices yet… mind you, £16 is for a complete normal ticket (advance fare I imagine) without the need to have a pass.

You could try to book the return reservation from Halkali already in Romania or Bulgaria but I'm not sure if that will be possible.

As to returning via the Balkans, you're going to be disappointed I'm afraid. There are currently no international trains to/from Greece and North Macedonia. Serbia only has very limited international trains, partly because of engineering works, partly because of COVID. You could take a bus to Greece however (Thessaloniki maybe or something a bit more east), train to Athens, further to Patras and then a ferry to Italy.

Ah, really helpful!!

And, I did all my planning/reservations to date on the rail planner app, so hopefully we’re still good as far as Sighisoara 🤞 

I will re-enter the journey plans on DB - awesome, thanks for that! And for the info about not being able to get to Niš by train - no more time getting spent trying to work that one out from now on!!🙏

All the best ❤️

One of the options is:

“Others ways to book this seat reservation

  • Book in person at a main station in Europe”

If I can find someone willing, would it be allowable for someone who *is* in Europe to reserve our beds/seats, with our (disabled passenger and assistant), Global pass ticket numbers?

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Please specify for the trains you'd like to book: route, date, departure time.

Reservations for the train from Bucharest to Istanbul can only be booked at a station in Romania.

Extra question: will you be passing through Austria or Germany on the way to Romania?

Thanks for your prompt response @rvdborgt 

I’m trying to book:

(1) 23.8.22 

Sighisoara - Bucuresti Baneasa 
22.56 - 05.05 (+1 day)

(2) 26.8.22

Bucuresti nord - Veiliko Tarnovo                      10.45 - 17.44

(3) 27.8.22

Veiliko Tarnovo - Halkali

17.45 - 05.34 (+1 day)


We have 1st Class Global Passes, and would like either 1st double/twin or 2 beds in a 2, 3 or 4 berth room, for the overnight trains (1) and (3).

And 1st class seat for day travel (2)


Thanks for any help/suggestions you can offer 🙏


in response to your question re Austria - Yes, we are booked from Vienna to Sighisoara on 22.8.

I called ÖBB helpline, and they said they couldn’t help me…

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

in response to your question re Austria - Yes, we are booked from Vienna to Sighisoara on 22.8.

I called ÖBB helpline, and they said they couldn’t help me…

OK, that's already one thing you've tried.

Another one to try is to call DB (English line: +49 30 311682904) and ask if they can book anything and send it to you. Although I must say I don't have high hopes that they can book. A few years ago I also tried to book reservations in advance for Romanian domestic trains but it was just not possible. It could only be done in Romania.

Romanian railways do have online sales now but you can't book reservations only. Interestingly, they mention their contact details.

e-mail domestic sales:

e-mail international sales:

phone (same for both): +40731990129

You could ask if you can book reservations via mail or phone and maybe pick them up at a station.

Seats Bucharest - Veliko Tarnovo are not going to be a problem I think, certainly not if you book a few days in advance, e.g. in Sighișoara.

Veliko Tarnovo - Halkali may also be possible to book in Romania. You'll be taking the direct sleeper coach that starts in Bucharest.

Thanks @rvdborgt for your replies! 🙏

I’m still trying to find ways to reserve in advance (unsuccessfully 😩😉), but at least I am reserved (might get), as far as Sighisoara!

Great idea about reserving the returns when we get to Europe/Romania/Bulgaria. We’re going to try getting buses from Sofia through to Sarajevo (possiby via Belgrade…), then up to Ljubljana (possibly via Split or Zagreb).

Do you have any knowledge/top tips that might be helpful for this journey? I can’t seem to find which stations I can get through Serbia by train, which would be our preference (unless it’s a LOT longer than the bus)… eg. Niš doesn’t easily register as a station on the Eurail app, although I believe it is a valid route option…

Much appreciation,


(should I have made this a new thread?) 🫢