Taking the Orient Express routes to and from Athens and Istanbul

The days on which The Orient Express provided a direct train service from central Europe to Athens and Istanbul are a distant memory, but if you're happy to take multiple trains to complete a journey, then it's still feasible to make international journeys to and from both Athens and Istanbul by train.

Trains to Athens

Trains to Istanbul 

By train from Athens 

By train from Istanbul

Making the train journey between central Europe and both Athens and Istanbul isn't as simple as it could be, particularly for those who want to travel from A to B as quickly as possible,
The connections between trains tend to be awkwardly timed, hence it's usually mpossible to avoid having to break the journey with an overnight stay while on route.
Though that scenario can be avoided if you travel by train to Athens/Athina through The Balkans from both Munchen/Munich and Wien/Vienna.

Though if you would like to take the opportunity to spend a night or two in the likes of Beograd, Buccuresti, Ljubljana or Sofia -  taking the trains can make for a fascinating and comparatively cheap journey.

............................................................

What can be bewildering, particularly in the summer when all the journey options become available, is that there are multiple routes to choose from.
When travelling to and from Athens by train, year round there is a daily option of option of either travelling via Sofia in Bulgaria, or on the route via Bari and Patras, which involves taking the ferry across The Adriatic beteeen these two ports.
And if in 2020, you'll be making the journey between June 13th and September 20th, you can also opt to travel on the route via Beograd/Belgrade.

............................................................

For those using Eurail and InterRail passes, all of the trains on these journey guides can be accessed with a pass, but most of them require seats, couchettes berths and sleeping cabin beds to be reserved prior to boarding - all of the night trains fall into this category.

If you want to book these rail pass reservations before setting off on your trip, you can try using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service - though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

The only other means of booking these reservations is at stations - do so when you first arrive in a city from which you'll be making an onward journey.
Or if you will be travelling via Munchen/Munich hbf or Wien/Vienna hbf stop by the Reisezentrum travel desks in those stations - you should be able to book most of the reservations for these trains and you won't be charged a booking fee.

If you'll be buying tickets, any necessary reservations should automatically be included with your booking.
Additional ticket booking links will be added to this guide as online bookings become available - which on these routes is typically 1 - 2 months ahead of the travel date.

............................................................

Athina/Athens <> Istanbul

Something worth keeping in mind if you are planning a multi-destination rail travel itinerary, with a rail pass, or by using separate tickets, is that currently there no trains operating in either direction over the Greek and Turkish border.
The train service which used to operate between Thessaloniki and Istanbul (Halkali) has been suspended.

There is a daily 'train' service between Thessaloniki and Sofia, but acccording to the European Rail Timetable, buses are being substituted for the part of the journey between the border and Thessaloniki, which involves more than three hours of bus travel.

To reach Istanbul from Thessaloniki requires departing on the substitute  bus at 06:55 and arriving, by train in Sofia at 14:23, in time to connect into the nightly Sofia-Istanbul express, as it's scheduled to leave from Sofia at 18:25.

In the opposite direction the Sofia-Istanbul Express is due to arrive in Sofia at 08:42 and the 'train' to Thessaloniki departs from Sofia at 15:30.

If you want to travel between Athina/Athens and Istanbul on this route via Sofia, an overnight train is available, in both directions between Athens/Athina and Thessaloniki, but it doesn't convey sleeping cars.

............................................................
 

TO ATHENS BY TRAIN via Beograd/Belgrade

The overnight train from Ljubljana and Zagreb to Beograd/Belgrade is only available from June 20th to Sep 20th (though there is a daily daytime train).

The overnight train from Beograd/Belgrade to Thessaloniki in Greece, the 'Hellas Express', is only available from June 13th to Sep 20th 

Both of these trains only convey couchettes, meaning that sleeping cabins are not available, the Hellas Express also has second class seats, while the train from Ljubljana and Zagreb to Beograd, should have both first and second class seats available.

Blue Line = travelling on an overnight train between these stations
Red Line = an overnight stay is required in this city.

Munich > Athens: option 1 
June 20th to Sep 20th:

Trains to Munchen/Munich
 

Dep:

Munchen Hbf

12:17

EC

Arr:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

20:43

 

Dep:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

23:37

 

Arr:

Beograd-Centar

06:05

 

Dep:

Beograd-Topcider

18:25

 

Arr:

Thessaloniki

10:33

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

12:15

IC

Arr:

Athina-Larisa

16:24

 











This combination of trains is an option for a Germany to Athens rail journey, which allows travellers to avoid the need to book overnight accommodation in a city - and instead travel through the night on the trains.
So you want to head to Athens/Athina solely by train as quickly and easily as possible, from locations in north-west Europe including Amsterdam, London, Koln/Cologne and Paris, then travelling via Munchen/Munich is the best option.

The train from Munchen to Zagreb makes calls at multiple towns in Austria, including Salzburg at 14:12 and Villach.
It also usually commences its journey in Frankfurt (Main) at 08:22 and also calls at multiple other stations including Stuttgart, Ulm and Augsburg.

The early morning arrival in Beograd also takes the pressure of making the connection into the train on to Thessaloniki.
Though Beograd- Centar station does not have any left-luggage facilities.

Another tick on the box for taking this combination of trains is the opportunity to see the fantastic scenery when heading to Zagreb.

An option is to leave the train from Munchen/Munich on arrival in Ljubljana, as the night train on to Beograd commences its journey there.

............................................................

Munich > Athens: option 2
June 20th to Sep 20th:
 

Dep:

Munchen Hbf

14:17

EC

Arr:

Villach

18:43

 

Dep:

Villach

18:53

 

Arr:

Beograd-Centar

06:05

 

Dep:

Beograd-Topcider

18:25

 

Arr:

Thessaloniki

10:33

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

12:15

 

Arr:

Athina-Larisa

16:24

 










The train on from Villach will have a destination of Ljubljana, but coaches on this train are attached to the night train on to Beograd, when the train arrives in Ljubljana - so if you want to travel in the couchette berths, you can pass through the train to access these on arrival in Ljubljana (you may need to transfer between trains instead).

As for the 10 minute connection in Villach, the train on to Ljubljana (and Beograd) leaves at this time, so that it connects with the train from Germany.
So making the transfer in time shouldn't be a problem - aside from the unlikely event of a very delayed arrival in Villach of the EC train.

The train from Munchen/Munich, which will be heading to Klagenfurt, also usually calls at Koln/Cologne (08:17); Bonn (08:37); Koblenz (09:18); Stuttgart (11:58) and other stations in Germany including Mainz, Mannheim, Ulm and Stuttgart.
It also departs from Salzburg at 16:12.

............................................................

Munich > Athens: option 3
June 13th to Sep 20th

Trains to Munchen/Munich

Dep:

Munchen Hbf

23:20

EN

Arr:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

08:35

 

Dep:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

11:03

 

Arr:

Beograd-Centar

18:07

 

Dep:

Beograd-Topcider

18:25

 

Arr:

Thessaloniki

10:33

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

12:15

IC

Arr:

Athina-Larisa

16:24

 











The night train from Munchen/Munich to Zagreb is the EuroNight 'Lisinki' service.

Because the train on to Thessaloniki departs from a different station in Beograd/Belgrade to that which the train from Zagreb will arrive at, the 17 minutes between arrival and departure in the Serbian capital won't be enough to make the transfer between these stations.
Hence you will need to spend the night in the Serbian capital if you take this combination of trains.

............................................................

Venice > Athens
June 13th to Sep 20th
 

Dep:

Venezia S.Lucia

15:01

 

Arr:

Trieste Centrale

18:02

 

Dep:

Trieste Centrale

19:07

 

Arr:

Ljubljana

21:41

 

Dep:

Ljubljana

08:30

 

Arr:

Beograd-Centar

18:07

 

Dep:

Beograd-Topcider

18:25

 

Arr:

Thessaloniki

10:33

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

12:15

IC

Arr:

Athina-Larisa

16:24

 













This journey option has been primarily included for the benefit of  Eurail and InterRail pass who would like to travel through The Balkans on route from Venice to Athens.
If you won't be using rail passes and aren't averse to a sea crossing, then making the journey via Bari and Patras is an easier option, involving only one overnight journey (on the ferry).
............................................................

Vienna > Athens
June 20th to Sep 20th:

Dep:

Wien Hbf

15:58

EC

Arr:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

22:41

 

Dep:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

23:37

 

Arr:

Beograd-Centar

06:05

 

Dep:

Beograd-Topcider

18:25

 

Arr:

Thessaloniki

10:33

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

12:15

IC

Arr:

Athina-Larisa

16:24

 











When heading to Athens/Athina by train, this is an exceptionally straightforward routing.

As over an hour will be available to make the connection in Zagreb, you shouldn't have to be rushing to make the connection, as there'll be some contingency time to allow for a train delay - the train from Wien/Vienna will very rarely arrive in Zagreb more than an hour late.

Then in Beograd/Belgrade, you can spend the day exploring the city by train - an option worth considering is booking a day-room in a city centre hotel, you can then freshen up and will have somewhere to leave your bags.

............................................................

Vienna and Budapest > Athens

Note that this routing is currently NOT available as an end-to-end journey by train.

There is USUALLY a daytime train service from Wien/Vienna to Beograd/Belgrade which calls in Budapest, but due to works on the line in Serbia, this train is currently only operating between Budapest and Novi Sad.
An option is to take a bus, not covered by train tickets or rail passes, on to Beograd from Novi Sad, in Novi Sad the bus station is adjacent to the train station.

There also used to be an overnight train from Wien/Vienna to Beograd via Budapest, which had connections that avoided the need to spend the night in Beograd when travelling on this route , but it was removed from the timetable when the railway between Novi Sad and Beograd was 'temporarily closed' more than a year ago.

IF the railway between Novi Sad and Beograd re-opens again before the summer timetable commences, both the day and night trains from Wien to Beograd via Budapest, may re-appear on the 2020 schedules.
 

Dep:

Wien Hbf

08:42

 

Dep:

OR Budapest-Keleti

11:57

IC

Arr:

Beograd-Centar

20:42

 

Dep:

Beograd-Topcider

18:25

 

Arr:

Thessaloniki

10:33

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

12:15

IC

Arr:

Athina-Larisa

16:24

 









............................................................

Zurich > Athens
June 13th to Sep 20th

Trains to Zurich
 

Dep:

Zurich HB

20:40

EN

Arr:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

10:49

 

Dep:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

11:03

 

Arr:

Beograd-Centar

18:07

 

Dep:

Beograd-Topcider

18:25

 

Arr:

Thessaloniki

10:33

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

12:15

IC

Arr:

Athina-Larisa

16:24

 











The connection in Zagreb seems to be tightly timed, but it in actuality a daytime train heading on to Beograd is attached to the Zurich to Zagreb overnight train, at a station call in Austria, during the very early hours of the morning.
The two trains are combined as one for the part of the journey as far as Zagreb.

So before, or on arrival in Zagreb, travellers continuing the journey on to Beograd, simply have to move through the train to the coaches that will be continuing beyond Zagreb.
You won't be making a connection between different trains on arrival in Zagreb.

The train from Zurich to Zagreb is the 'Alpine Pearls' service.

--------------------------------------------------

TO ATHENS BY TRAIN via Bucharest and Sofia

(Vienna and) Budapest  > Athens: option one

Until June 4th and then from Oct 7th

 

Dep:

Wien Hbf

19:42

EN

Dep:

OR Budapest-Keleti

23:10

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

16:35

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

11:00

 

Arr:

Ruse

13:45

 

Dep:

Ruse

14:15

 

Arr:

Sofia

20:05

 

Dep:

Sofia

15:30

 

Arr:

Thessaloniki

22:22

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

23:50

 

Arr

Athina-Larisa

05:20

 













............................................................

Budapest  > Athens: option two
Until June 4th and then from Oct 7th

 

Dep:

Budapest-Keleti

07:10

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

23:55

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

11:00

 

Arr:

Ruse

13:45

 

Dep:

Ruse

14:15

 

Arr:

Sofia

20:05

 

Dep:

Sofia

15:30

 

Arr:

Thessaloniki

22:22

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

23:50

 

Arr

Athina-Larisa

05:20

 












............................................................

Note that between June 5th and Oct 5th, the 'Romania Express' operates direct from Buccuresti/Bucharest to Sofia, thus avoiding the need to change trains at the border town of Ruse.

The 'Romania Express', is according to the European Rail Timetable, a 2nd class only service, but rail pass users will need to pay reservation fee, prior to boarding, at Buccuresti Nord station.

(Vienna and) Budapest  > Athens: option three
June 5th - Oct 5th

 

Dep:

Wien Hbf

19:42

EN

Dep:

OR Budapest-Keleti

23:10

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

16:35

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

11:00

 

Arr:

Sofia

20:05

 

Dep:

Sofia

15:30

 

Arr:

Thessaloniki

22:22

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

23:50

 

Arr

Athina-Larisa

05:20

 











............................................................

Budapest  > Athens: option four
June 5th - Oct 5th

 

Dep:

Budapest-Keleti

07:10

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

23:55

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

11:00

 

Arr:

Sofia

20:05

 

Dep:

Sofia

15:30

 

Arr:

Thessaloniki

22:22

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

23:50

 

Arr

Athina-Larisa

05:20

 










Buses are currently replacing trains between the Greek border and Thessalonki, so the train on from Sofia is terminating at Kulala.
The journey from there to Thessalonki on the bus takes around 2hr 45mins.

The train from Thessaloniki to Athens/Athina travels overnight, but it doesn't convey sleeping cars or couchettes, as its a similar train to those that are used for the daytime services.
So if you'd rather not travel overnight in a seat, you can opt to spend the night in Thessaloniki, there will usually be a particularly fast train departing for Athens/Athina at 06:27, or there are regular IC trains leaving at 09:15 and 12:15.

............................................................

TO ATHENS BY TRAIN via Bucharest 

Budapest and Vienna > Athens:

This routing, which avoids the need to spend the night in Sofia,  is only available when departing from Budapest or Vienna/Wien on Wednesday evenings from June 3rd to September 30th.

The direct train from Buccuresti/Bucharest to Thessaloniki only departs from the Romanian capital on Fridays between June 5th and Oct 2nd.

 

Dep:

Wien Hbf

19:42

EN

Dep:

OR Budapest-Keleti

23:10

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

16:35

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

11:00

 

Arr:

Thessaloniki

05:42

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

06:27

IC

Arr:

Athina-Larisa

10:24

 










The train from Wien/Vienna and Budpest to Buccuresti is the EuroNight 'Dacia' service.

The train from Buccresti/Bucharest to Thessaloniki only conveys second class seats and  couchettes, meaning that sleeping cabins are not available

............................................................

Budapest and Vienna > Athens: Option Two

This routing is only available when departing from Budapest on Thursday mornings from June 4th to Oct 1st.

 

Dep:

Budapest-Keleti

07:10

IC

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

23:55

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

11:00

 

Arr:

Thessaloniki

05:42

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

06:27

IC

Arr:

Athina-Larisa

10:24

 





 



The train on from Buccuresti/Bucharest to Thessaloniki only departs on Fridays.

--------------------------------------------------
 

To Athens by train and ferry via Bari and Patras:

The alternative 'rail route that's available year round to/from Athens/Athina involves taking the ferry between Bari in Italy and Patras in Greece.

Though when travelling to Athens/Athina, taking this route is generally less compilcated if a Bari departure on Sundays can be avoided.
It's a good idea to allow a minimum of three hours between the arrival by train in Bari and the departure of the ferry to Patras, but on Sundays the ferry typically departs at 13:30, which doesn't allow sufficent time to make the ferry when travelling to Bari by train from the likes of Bologna, Milano, Roma or Venezia/Venice.

So to avoid having to overnight in Bari, it's best to target the ferry departures at 19:30, which are typically, but not always, available on Monday to Saturdays.

The first trains of the day from Milano and from Roma and from Venezia should allow time in Bari to make the 19:30 ferry departures.

Though the railway between Patras and Athina/Athens has been closed for several years now, due to a seemingly never-ending reconstruction project.
Trains are only available from Kiato to Athina, so substitute bus services operate between Patras station and Kiato.

There are hourly trains from Kiato to Athens, the bus should arrive in Kiato around 15 mins before the train departs.

Eurail and InterRail passes allow for travel as a 'deck-passenger' on the ferries, if you have a 2nd class pass you can take a seat in one of the on-board lounges, but users of first class passes can access reclining seats - though when using a rail pass, you will have to pay port taxes.


--------------------------------------------------

TO ISTANBUL BY TRAIN

From June 12th to Sept 20th you can choose between travelling via Beograd/Belgrade OR via Buccuresti/Bucharest.

............................................................

Travelling to and Arriving in Istanbul:

The Sofia-Istanbul express conveys couchettes with 6 berths or 4 berths in a compartment (a place in a 6-berth compartment is cheaper), plus sleeping cabins with one bed or two beds - the price difference between travelling in couchette or a sleeping cabin is the equivalent of around €20.

In contrast, the only accommodation available on The Bosphorus Express is a place in a 4-berth couchette.

............................................................

From June 5th to October 5th the Sofia-Istanbul Express is combined in Bulgaria with The Bosphorus Express' which travels through the night from Buccuresti/Bucharest to Istanbul - (outside of those dates the Sofia-Istanbul Expess travels by itself and arrives in Turkey an hour earlier at 05:20).

On arrival at the Turkish/Bulgarian border station, Kapikule, at around 00:30, all passengers have to disembark from the train in order to pass through customs control.

This train from Bulgaria and Romania no longer arrives at Sirkeci station in central Istanbul, as that station has been closed to long-distance trains since the opening of the Marmaray Tunnel - and its resulting transformation of local rail services in the city.

Instead the train from Sofia (and Buccuresti) travels no further than Halkali station, which is located to the west of Istanbul.
Local trains connect Halkali to central Istanbul every 15 minutes with a journey time of around 20 mins and those 'Marmary line' trains make multiple stops in Istanbul city centre.

In addition to a new undergound Sirkeci station, located on the west bank of The Bosphorus River, those local trains on from Halkali also call at stations on the east bank of The Bosphorous at Uskardar and at Ayrilik.
They also call at Yenikapi station, which offers interchange with Metro Line 1 and Metro Line 2


Blue Line = travelling on an overnight train between these stations
Red Line = an overnight stay is required in this city.
​​​
............................................................

Via Beograd

Note that the daytime 'Balkan Express' from Beograd to Sofia always arrives in Sofia AFTER the nightly Sofia-Istanbul Express will have departed - so travelling on this Balkan route to Istanbul by train always requires an overnight stay in Sofia.

Munich > Istanbul by train: option 1
June 12th to Sep 20th:

Trains to Munchen/Munich
 

Dep:

Munchen Hbf

23:20

EN

Arr:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

08:35

 

Dep:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

11:03

 

Arr:

Beograd-Centar

18:07

 

Dep:

Beograd-Topcider

09:15

 

Arr:

Sofia

20:37

 

Dep:

Sofia

18:25

 

Arr:

Halkali (connect for Istanbul)

06:20

 











The night train from Munchen/Munich to Zagreb is the EuroNight 'Lisinki' service.

--------------------------------------------------

Munich > Istanbul by train: option 2

The overnight train from Zagreb to Beograd/Belgrade is only available from June 20th to Sep 20th:

Trains to Munchen/Munich
 

Dep:

Munchen Hbf

12:17

EC

Arr:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

20:43

 

Dep:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

23:37

 

Arr:

Beograd-Centar

06:05

 

Dep:

Beograd-Topcider

09:15

 

Arr:

Sofia

20:37

 

Dep:

Sofia

18:25

 

Arr:

Halkali (connect for Istanbul)

06:20

 











The train from Munchen to Zagreb makes calls at multiple towns in Austria, including Salzburg at 14:12 and Villach.
It also usually commences its journey in Frankfurt (Main) at 08:22 and also calls at multiple other stations in Germany including Stuttgart, Ulm and Augsburg.

Take the the early afternoon train from Munchen/Munich and not only will get to experience one of Europe's most beautiful train journeys, you'll also cut the number of overnight stays you'll need to book from two to one.

But what isn't a tick in the box for this routing is the potential need to transfer between stations in Beograd, against the clock!

If the train from Zagreb is on time, you'll have three hours in which to head into Beograd city centre by bus, find somewhere to have breakfast and then take the tram route 3L1 to the stop named ‘Z. st. Topcider’ – the tram should be heading to Knezevac or Topcider.
Something to be aware of is that Beograd-Topcider station is not a main station and has few facilities, it's also located in a park, so pick up any food/drink you'll need for the onward journey, before heading for the train.

If the train from Zagreb is running late, you can save time by leaving the train at Novi Beograd station, the call before Beograd-Centar - though Novi Beograd is a station with few facilities, what it has which Beograd Centar station doesn't, is a tram link to the city centre.
The quickest public transport transfer will be to take tram line 7 (direction Ustanicka) or tram line 9 (direction Banjika) to the 'Svaski Trg' stop and then connect there for the tram line 3L1

............................................................

Vienna > Istanbul by train via Beograd

The overnight train from Zagreb to Beograd/Belgrade is only available from June 20th to Sep 20th:

The above advice re: making the connection in Beograd also applies to this journey option.

Trains to Wien/Vienna
 

Dep:

Wien Hbf

15:58

EC

Arr:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

22:41

 

Dep:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

23:37

 

Arr:

Beograd-Centar

06:05

 

Dep:

Beograd-Topcider

09:15

 

Arr:

Sofia

20:37

 

Dep:

Sofia

18:25

 

Arr:

Halkali (connect for Istanbul)

06:20

 











This journey is more complicated than travelling via Buccuresti/Bucharest, it's been included primarily for the benefit of rail pass users who would like to take the time out between trains to explore the other cities on this route.

............................................................

Vienna and Budapest to Istanbul by train (this route is currently not available)

 

Dep:

Wien Hbf

08:42

EC

Dep:

Budapest-Keleti

11:57

 

Arr:

Beograd-Centar

20:42

 

Dep:

Beograd-Topcider

09:15

 

Arr:

Sofia

20:37

 

Dep:

Sofia

18:25

 

Arr:

Halkali (connect for Istanbul)

06:20

 










There is USUALLY a daytime train service from Wien/Vienna to Beograd/Belgrade which calls in Budapest, but due to works on the line in Serbia, this train is currently only operating between Budapest and Novi Sad.
An option is to take a bus, not covered by train tickets or rail passes, on to Beograd from Novi Sad, in Novi Sad the bus station is adjacent to the train station.

There also used to be an overnight train from Wien/Vienna to Beograd via Budapest, which had connections that avoided the need to spend the night in Beograd when travelling on this route , but it was removed from the timetable when the railway between Novi Sad and Beograd was 'temporarily closed' more than a year ago.

IF the railway between Novi Sad and Beograd re-opens again before the summer timetable commences, both the day and night trains from Wien to Beograd via Budapest, may re-appear on the 2020 schedules.

............................................................

Zurich to Istanbul by train
June 12th to Sep 20th:

 

Dep:

Zurich HB

20:40

EN

Arr:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

10:49

 

Dep:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

11:03

 

Arr:

Beograd-Centar

18:07

 

Dep:

Beograd-Topcider

09:15

 

Arr:

Sofia

20:37

 

Dep:

Sofia

18:25

 

Arr:

Halkali (connect for Istanbul)

06:20

 











Note that the train journey from Zurich to Istanbul takes four nights in total, with two overnight trains, plus overnight stays are required in both Beograd/Belgrade and Sofia.

The connection in Zagreb seems to be tightly timed, but in actuality the daytime train heading on to Beograd, is attached to the Zurich to Zagreb overnight train, at a station call in Austria, during the very early hours of the morning.
The two trains are combined as one for the part of the journey as far as Zagreb.

So before, or on arrival in Zagreb, travellers continuing the journey on to Beograd, simply have to move through the train to the coaches that will be continuing beyond Zagreb.
You won't be making a connection between different trains on arrival in Zagreb.

The train from Zurich to Zagreb is the 'Alpine Pearls' service.


............................................................

Via Buccuresti AND SOFIA

As will be seen below the 'Bosphor Express only provides a direct service from Buccuresti/Bucharest to Istanbul between June 5th and Oct 5th.

Until June 4th and after Oct 6th, the only option is to divert off this more direct route and to spend the night in Sofia (if you want to add Sofia to an itinerary when travelling between June 5th and Oct 5th, the train from Buccresti is drect to Sofia between those dates).

Vienna and Budapest to Istanbul by train

 

Dep:

Wien Hbf

19:42

EN

Dep:

OR Budapest-Keleti

23:10

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

16:35

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

11:00

 

Arr:

Ruse

13:45

 

Dep:

Ruse

14:15

 

Arr:

Sofia

20:05

 

Dep:

Sofia

18:25

 

Arr

Halkali (connect for Istanbul)

05:20

 











............................................................

Budapest to Istanbul by train

 

Dep:

Budapest-Keleti

07:10

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

23:55

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

11:00

 

Arr:

Ruse

13:45

 

Dep:

Ruse

14:15

 

Arr:

Sofia

20:05

 

Dep:

Sofia

18:25

 

Arr:

Halkali (connect for Istanbul)

05:20

 











So those two route options above make it possible to travel from central Europe to Istanbul by train year round.

............................................................

Via Buccuresti

In the summer of 2020 it won't be possible to travel by train from central Europe to Istanbul without making an overnight stop on route, but this route via Buccuresti/Bucharest has the advantage of only requiring two trains to be taken.

Vienna and Budapest to Istanbul by train
from June 5th to Oct 5th

Trains to Wien/Vienna
 

Dep:

Wien Hbf

19:42

EN

Dep:

OR Budapest-Keleti

23:10

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

16:35

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

11:00

 

Arr:

Halkali (connect for Istanbul)

06:20

 








The train from Wien/Vienna and Budpest to Buccuresti is the EuroNight 'Dacia' service.

............................................................

Budapest to Istanbul by train option 2
from June 5th to Oct 5th

 

Dep:

Budapest-Keleti

07:10

IC

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

23:55

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

11:00

 

Arr:

Halkali (connect for Istanbul)

06:20

 







As can be seen, if taking a train to Budapest is a feasible option, heading for Istanbul from the Hungarian capital between June 5th and October 5th is one of the easiest options on these Orient Express routes, with only two train journeys required to complete the trip.

------------------------------------------------

FROM ATHENS BY TRAIN via Beograd

The overnight train from Beograd/Belgrade to Zagreb and Ljubljana is only available from June 21st to Sep 14th (there is  a daily daytime train.

The overnight train from Thessaloniki in Greece to Beograd/Belgrade, the 'Hellas Express', is only available from June 12th to Sep 19th.

Both of these trains only convey couchettes, meaning that sleeping cabins are not available, the Hellas Express also has second class seats, while the train to Ljubljana and Zagreb from Beograd, should have both first and second class seats available.

Blue Line = travelling on an overnight train between these stations
Red Line = an overnight stay is required in this city.

............................................................

When taking these 'Option 1' journeys on these routes from Athens/Athina via Beograd, completing those schedules is dependent on making a 1hr 50mins connection between stations in Beograd, IF the train from Thessaloniki arrives on time. 
You will be connecting into the only train of the day from Beograd to Zagreb, so making the transfer is vital, but it cannot be absolutely guaranteed.

Hence ShowMeTheJourney's preference would be to follow the 'Option 2' schedules, which involve spending a day in Beograd and travelling on from Serbia on the overnight train.
You can still avoid having to book any overnight accommodation when making the journey - and you will take the pressure off making the necessary connection in Beograd.

Also worth knowing is that Beograd-Topcider is not a main station, it was a local station built to serve a park in Beograd, but having been closed for a number of years it has been re-opened, due to the on-going delay to finishing the construction work at the new Beograd-Centar station.

Beograd-Topcider station is served by the '3L1' tram route, but it doesn't operate direct to Beograd-Centar station, or to Novi Beograd station - where the train to Zagreb will call, after it departs from Beograd-Centar.
According to the public transport map for Beograd, an option will be take the 3LI tram to a stop named ‘Palata Pravde’ - from where connections will be available into bus line/route 36 to Beograd-Centar - but completing this routing against the clock is definitely a scenario best avoided!
That route 36 is circular, so the quickest option will be take it in the anti-clockwise direction.

If you follow the Option 2 schedules, you can take the 3L1 tram into the city centre and then later in the day, take the route 36 bus to Beograd-Centar station, around 45-60 mins before the night train will be due to depart.
Though there are no left-luggage facilities at Beogard-Topcider station (or at Beograd-Centar station).

............................................................

Athens > Munich - Option 1
June 12th to Sep 19th

 

Dep:

Athina-Larisa

12:22

IC

Arr:

Thessaloniki

16:45

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

18:51

 

Arr:

Beograd-Topcider

08:13

 

Dep:

Beograd-Centar

10:02

 

Arr:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

18:12

 

Dep:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

21:23

EN

Arr:

Munchen Hbf

06:10

 











The night train from Munchen/Munich to Zagreb is the EuroNight 'Lisinki' service.

Onward connections from Munchen/Munich

............................................................

Athens > Munich - Option 2
June 21st to Sep 14th
 

Dep:

Athina-Larisa

12:22

IC

Arr:

Thessaloniki

16:45

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

18:51

 

Arr:

Beograd-Topcider

08:13

 

Dep:

Beograd-Centar

20:58

 

Arr:

Villach Hbf

09:08

 

Dep:

Villach Hbf

09:16

EC

Arr:

Munchen Ost

13:31

 

Arr:

OR Munchen Hbf

13:41

 












Onward connections from Munchen/Munich

............................................................

Athens > Venice - Option 1
June 12th to Sep 19th

 

Dep:

Athina-Larisa

12:22

IC

Arr:

Thessaloniki

16:45

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

18:51

 

Arr:

Beograd-Topcider

08:13

 

Dep:

Beograd-Centar

10:02

 

Arr:

Ljubljana

21:10

 

Dep:

Ljubljana

06:00

EN

Arr:

Trieste Centrale

08:33

 

Dep:

Trieste Centrale

09:16

 

Arr:

Venezia S.Lucia

11:21

 

 











............................................................

Athens > Venice - Option 2
June 21st to Sep 14th
 

Dep:

Athina-Larisa

12:22

IC

Arr:

Thessaloniki

16:45

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

18:51

 

Arr:

Beograd-Topcider

08:13

 

Dep:

Beograd-Centar

20:58

 

Arr:

Ljubljana

07:26

 

Dep:

Ljubljana

16:10

 

Arr:

Villa Opicina

18:01

 

Dep:

Villa Opicina

18:23

 

Arr:

Trieste Centrale

18:53

 

Dep:

Trieste Centrale

19:15

 

Arr:

Venezia S.Lucia

21:24

 















............................................................

Athens > Vienna - Option 1
June 12th to Sept 19th
 

Dep:

Athina-Larisa

12:22

IC

Arr:

Thessaloniki

16:45

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

18:51

 

Arr:

Beograd-Topcider

08:13

 

Dep:

Beograd-Centar

10:02

 

Arr:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

18:12

 

Dep:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

07:00

EC

Arr:

Wien Hbf

14:02

 










Onward connections from Wien/Vienna

............................................................

Athens > Vienna - Option 2
June 21st to Sep 14th
 

Dep:

Athina-Larisa

12:22

IC

Arr:

Thessaloniki

16:45

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

18:51

 

Arr:

Beograd-Topcider

08:13

 

Dep:

Beograd-Centar

20:58

 

Arr:

Villach Hbf

09:08

 

Dep:

Villach Hbf

09:14

RJ

Arr:

Wien Hbf

13:35

 










If you miss the tightly timed connection in Villach there will be another train on to Wien/Vienna departing two hours later.

Onward connections from Wien/Vienna

............................................................

Athens > Vienna (and Budapest) - Option 3 (service is currently suspended)

Note that this routing is currently NOT available as an end-to-end journey by train.

There is USUALLY a daytime train service from Beograd/Belgrade to Wien/Vienna which calls in Budapest, but due to works on the line in Serbia, this train is currently only operating between the Serbian town of Novi Sad and Budapest
An option is to take a bus, not covered by train tickets or rail passes, from Beograd to Novi Sad, the bus station in Novi Sad, is adjacent to the train station.

There used to be an overnight train to Wien/Vienna from Beograd via Budapest, which avoided the need to spend the night in Beograd when travelling this route, but it was removed from the timetable when the railway between Beograd and Novi Sad was 'temporarily closed' more than a year ago.

IF the railway between Beograd and Novi Sad re-opens again before the summer timetable commences, both the day and night trains from Wien to Beograd via Budapest, may re-appear on the schedules.
 

Dep:

Athina-Larisa

12:22

IC

Arr:

Thessaloniki

16:45

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

18:51

 

Arr:

Beograd-Topcider

08:13

 

Dep:

Beograd-Centar

07:13

 

Arr:

Budapest-Keleti

16:05

 

Arr:

OR Wien Hbf

19:21

 









............................................................

Athens > Zurich Option 1
June 12th to Sep 19th
 

Dep:

Athina-Larisa

12:22

IC

Arr:

Thessaloniki

16:45

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

18:51

 

Arr:

Beograd-Topcider

08:13

 

Dep:

Beograd-Centar

10:02

 

Arr:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

18:12

 

Dep:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

18:38

EN

Arr:

Zurich HB

09:20

 











Note that this journey option involves both making a transfer between stations in Beograd AND a tightly timed connection in Zagreb.
An option is to de-risk that Zagreb connection by speding the night there, or in Ljubljana, and then travelling on to Zurich by the day or night trains from those cities.

The train from Zagreb to Zurich is the 'Alpine Pearls' service.

............................................................

Athens > Zurich Option 2
June 21st to Sep 14th
 

Dep:

Athina-Larisa

12:22

IC

Arr:

Thessaloniki

16:45

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

18:51

 

Arr:

Beograd-Topcider

08:13

 

Dep:

Beograd-Centar

20:58

 

Arr:

Villach Hbf

09:08

 

Dep:

Villach Hbf

09:16

EC

Arr:

Salzburg Hbf

11:48

 

Dep:

Salzburg Hbf

11:56

RJ

Arr:

Zurich HB

17:20

 













There are trains every two hours on the Villach > Salzburg and Salzburg > Zurich routes, so it isn't vital to making the journey if you miss either the tightly timed connection in Villach OR the connection in Salzburg.
However, in the very unlikely event of missing both of these connections, it won't then be possible to reach Zurich by the end of the day.

Onward connections from Zurich

--------------------------------------------------

FROM ATHENS BY TRAIN via Sofia AND Buccuresti/Bucharest

This route via both Sofia and Buccuresti is the year-round option for a journey solely by train from Athens/Athina to central Europe.

Until June 4th and from October 6th:

 

Dep:

Athina-Larisa

23:50

 

Arr:

Thessaloniki

05:20

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

06:55

 

Arr:

Sofia

14:23

 

Dep:

Sofia

07:10

 

Arr:

Ruse

13:15

 

Dep:

Ruse

14:15

 

Arr:

Buccueresti-Nord

17:00

 

Dep:

Buccueresti-Nord

17:45

EN

Arr:

Budapest-Keleti

08:50

 

Dep:

Budapest-Keleti

09:40

RJ

Arr:

Wien Hbf

12:30

 














............................................................

June 5th to October 5th:
 

Dep:

Athina-Larisa

23:50

 

Arr:

Thessaloniki

05:20

 

Dep:

Thessaloniki

06:55

 

Arr:

Sofia

14:23

 

Dep:

Sofia

07:10

 

Arr:

Buccueresti-Nord

17:00

 

Dep:

Buccueresti-Nord

17:45

EN

Arr:

Budapest-Keleti

08:50

 

Dep:

Budapest-Keleti

09:40

RJ

Arr:

Wien Hbf

12:30

 













The train from Athens/Athina to  Thessaloniki travels overnight, but it doesn't convey sleeping cars or couchettes, as it's a similar train to those that are used for the daytime services.

So if you'd rather not travel overnight in a seat, you can opt to spend the night in Thessaloniki and take an express IC train from Athina/Athens to Thessaloniki on the previous day.

According to the European Rail Timetable, buses are being substituted for the part of the journey between Thessaloniki and the Bulgarian border, which involves around 2hr 45 mins of bus travel.

Note that between June 5th and Oct 5th, the 'Romania Express' operates direct from Buccuresti/Bucharest to Sofia, thus avoiding the need to change trains at the border town of Ruse.
The 'Romania Express', is according to the European Rail Timetable, a 2nd class only service, but rail pass users will need to pay reservation fee, prior to boarding, at Buccuresti Nord station.

The 45 minute connection between trains at Buccuresti-Nord station cannot be absolutely guaranteed, so an option is to de-risk the journey and overnight in the Romanian capital.
The daytime train to Budapest departs at an alarmingly early time of 05:25, but at 13:20 you can take the overnight 'Dacia' sleeper train which is direct to Wien/Vienna (and arrives in Budapest at 04:50.

............................................................

FROM ATHENS BY TRAIN via Buccuresti/Bucharest

This routing is only available when departing from Athens/Athina on Sunday evenings between June 7th and Oct 4th.

Dep:

Athina-Larisa

18:22

IC

Arr:

Thessalonki

22:45

 

Dep:

Thessalonki

23:20

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

17:00

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

17:45

 

Arr:

Budapest-Keleti

08:50

 

Dep:

Budapest-Keleti

09:40

RJ

Arr:

Wien Hbf

12:21

 











Note the 45 min connection between trains at Buccuresti-Nord station, as there is no absolutely guarantee of making this connection in the event of the train from Athina/Athens being delayed, an option is to de-risk the journey by spending the night in Bucharest/Buccuresti.

Then on the next day, there will be a day train on to Budapest, with a connection to Vienna/Wien, though it departs Buccuresti-Nord station at the alarmingly early time of 05:25.
Or there is an alternative overnight train direct to Vienna/Wien, which will be leaving Buccuresti Nord station at 13:20.

Onward connections from Wien/Vienna.

--------------------------------------------------

FROM ISTANBUL BY TRAIN

The day train from Sofia to Beograd/Belgrade, 'the Balkan Epress', which is the only train from Bulgaria to Serbia, is a summer only service and in 2020 it will only be departing daily from June 12th to Sept 20th.

So fom June 12th to Sept 20th  there will be a choice available of travelling via Beograd/Belgrade OR via Buccuresti/Bucharest.

............................................................

Travelling Fom Istanbul:

The Sofia-Istanbul express conveys couchettes with 6 berths and 4 berth in a compartment, a place in a 6-berth compartment is cheaper, plus sleeping cabins with one bed or two beds - the price difference between travelling in couchette or a sleeping cabin is the equivalent of around €20.
The only accommodation available on 'The Bosphorus Express' to Buccuresti/Bucharest is a place in a 4-berth couchette.

............................................................

The overnight train heading west into Europe from Istanbul no longer departs from Sirkeci station in central Istanbul,  as that station has been closed to long-distance trains since the opening of the Marmaray Tunnel and its associated transformation of local rail services in Istanbul.

Instead the overnight train to Sofia, (which also conveys coaches heading to Bucharest from June 6th - October 6th) now departs from Halkali station, which is located to the west of Istanbul.
Local trains connect central Istanbul to Halkali every 15 minutes with a journey time of around 20 mins, though it's a good idea to head off from central Istanbul around an hour before the overnight train will be departing.

Those local 'Marmary line' trains make multiple stops in Istanbul city centre.
In addition to a new undergound Sirkeci station, located on the west bank of The Bosphorus River, these local trains to Halkali also call at stations on the east bank of The Bosphorous at Uskardar and at Ayrilik.
They also call at Yenikapi station, which offers interchange with Metro Line 1 and Metro Line 2.


On arrival at the Turkish/Bulgarian border station, Kapikule, at around 01:30, all passengers have to disembark from the train in order to pass through customs control.

Blue Line = travelling on an overnight train between these stations
Red Line = an overnight stay is required in this city.

............................................................

VIA BEOGRAD/BELGRADE:

Istanbul > Munich - Option 1

The overnight train from Beograd/Belgrade to Ljubljana is only available from June 21st to Sep 14th.

Dep:

Halkali

21:40

 

Arr:

Sofia

08:42

 

Dep:

Sofia

09:15

 

Arr:

Beograd-Topcider

18:29

 

Dep:

Beograd-Centar

20:58

 

Arr:

Ljubljana

07:26

 

Dep:

Ljubljana

09:22

EC

Arr:

Munchen Hbf

15:41

 











The train to Munchen/Munich also calls at Salzburg.

Onward connections from Munchen/Munich

............................................................

Istanbul > Zurich - Option 1

The overnight train from Beograd/Belgrade to Ljubljana is only available from June 21st to Sep 14th.
 

Dep:

Halkali

21:40

 

Arr:

Sofia

08:42

 

Dep:

Sofia

09:15

 

Arr:

Beograd-Topcider

18:29

 

Dep:

Beograd-Centar

20:58

 

Arr:

Villach Hbf

09:08

 

Dep:

Villach Hbf

09:16

EC

Arr:

Salzburg Hbf

11:48

 

Dep:

Salzburg Hbf

11:56

RJ

Arr:

Zurich HB

17:20

 













The train from Zagreb to Zurich is the 'Alpine Pearls' service.

As can be seen above it's theoretically possible to travel from Istanbul to both Munich and Zurich by train, without having to spend a night in a city during the course of the journey.

However, when taking this 'Option 1' routing from Istanbul via Beograd, completing this schedule is dependent on making two connections - neither of which will be guaranteed!
Note that the train from Turkey is scheduled to arrive in Sofia only 37minutes before the train on to Beograd will be departing.

Then on arrival in Beograd/Beograd the 1hr 50min connection involves making a transfer between stations.
IF the train from Sofia arrives on time, you will be connecting into the only train of the day from Beograd to Zagreb, so making the transfer in time is vital.

Also worth knowing is that Beograd-Topcider is not a main station, it was a local station built to serve a park in Beograd, but having been closed for a number of years it has been re-opened, due to the on-going delay to finishing the construction work at the new Beograd-Centar station.

Beograd-Topcider station is served by the '3L1' tram route, but it doesn't operate direct to Beograd-Centar station, or to Novi Beograd station - where the train to Zagreb will call, after it departs from Beograd-Centar.
According to the public transport map for Beograd, an option will be take the 3LI tram to a stop named ‘Palata Pravde’ - from where connections will be available into bus line/route 36 to Beograd-Centar - but completing this routing against the clock is definitely a scenario best avoided.

Onward connections from Zurich

............................................................

Istanbul > Munich - Option 2
June 12th to Sept 20th
 

Dep:

Halkali

21:40

 

Arr:

Sofia

08:42

 

Dep:

Sofia

09:15

 

Arr:

Beograd-Topcider

18:29

 

Dep:

Beograd-Centar

10:02

 

Arr:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

18:12

 

Dep:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

21:23

EN

Arr:

Munchen Hbf

06:10

 











The night train from Munchen/Munich to Zagreb is the EuroNight 'Lisinki' service.

Onward connections from Munchen/Munich

............................................................

Istanbul > Zurich - Option 2
June 12th to Sept 20th
 

Dep:

Halkali

21:40

 

Arr:

Sofia

08:42

 

Dep:

Sofia

09:15

 

Arr:

Beograd-Topcider

18:29

 

Dep:

Beograd-Centar

10:02

 

Arr:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

18:12

 

Dep:

Zagreb Glavni-kolodvor

18:38

EN

Arr:

Zurich HB

09:20

 











The train from Zagreb to Zurich is the 'Alpine Pearls' service.

In common with all of these journey options when travelling west from Istanbul by train via Sofia and Beograd, if you don't want to book overnight accommodation in Sofia, you will be relying on making a 37 min connection between trains in Sofia.

Though this Option 2 routing has the benefit of removing the prospect of also having to make an against the clock connection in Beograd.

Onward connections from Zurich

............................................................

Istanbul > Vienna/Wien via Beograd

The overnight train from Beograd/Belgrade to Ljubljana is only available from June 21st to Sep 14th.
 

Dep:

Halkali

21:40

 

Arr:

Sofia

08:42

 

Dep:

Sofia

09:15

 

Arr:

Beograd-Topcider

18:29

 

Dep:

Beograd-Centar

20:58

 

Arr:

Ljubljana

07:26

 

Dep:

Ljubljana

15:45

EC

Arr:

Wien Hbf

22:02

 











This is the only viable routing for making the train journey from Istanbul to Wien/Vienna when travelling via Beograd/Belgrade without having to spend the night in a city.
However, note that this end-to-end journey is not only dependent on making those tightly timed connections in Sofia and Beograd, it also involves spending more than six hours between trains in Ljubljana.

Though the station is the Slovenian capital is conveniently located for the city centre, so if you want to take time out between trains to explore beautiful Ljubljana, then this is the route to follow.

Onward connections from Wien/Vienna

--------------------------------------------------

ISTANBUL TO BUDAPEST AND WIEN/VIENNA via Sofia AND BUCHAREST

This routing is available on the dates on which the direct Bosphor Express service from Istanbul to Buccuresti/Bucharest doesn't operate.
So you can travel this route until June 5th and after October 6th.

If you want to opt to add Sofia to an itinerary when travelling between June 6th and October 6th, you can opt to travel this route, but you won't have to make the connection in the border town of Ruse, as there will be a direct train from Sofia to Buccuresti.
 

Dep:

Halkali (Istanbul)

22:40

 

Arr:

Sofia

08:42

 

Dep:

Sofia

07:10

 

Arr:

Ruse

13:15

 

Dep:

Ruse

14:15

 

Arr:

Buccueresti-Nord

17:00

 

Dep:

Buccueresti-Nord

17:45

EN

Arr:

Budapest-Keleti

08:50

 

Dep:

Budapest-Keleti

09:40

RJ

Arr:

Wien Hbf

12:30

 












The 45 minute connection between trains at Buccuresti-Nord station cannot be absolutely guaranteed, so an option is to de-risk the journey and overnight in the Romanian capital.
The daytime train to Budapest departs at an alarmingly early time of 05:25, but at 13:20 you can take the overnight 'Dacia' sleeper train which is direct to Wien/Vienna (and arrives in Budapest at 04:50.

............................................................

ISTANBUL TO BUDAPEST AND WIEN/VIENNA via BUCHAREST

In contrast to the 'Istanbul-Sofia Express, the Bosphorus Express is a summer only service, in 2020 it is scheduled to be operating betweeen June 6th and October 6th.

On departure from Halkali station in western Istanbul, 'The Bosphorus Express' overnight train from Istanbul to Buccuresti/Bucharest is attached to the coaches of 'The Istanbul-Sofia' Express - it proceeds as one train until it arrives over the Bulgarian border

On arrival at the Turkish/Bulgarian border station, Kapikule, at around 01:30, all passengers have to disembark from the train in order to pass through customs control.

............................................................

Option 1:

Dep:

Halkai

21:40

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

17:00

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

17:45

 

Arr:

Budapest-Keleti

08:50

 

Dep:

Budapest-Keleti

09:40

RJ

Arr:

Wien Hbf

12:21

 








This Option 1 routing is a means of travelling from Istanbul to Budapest and Vienna/Wien by train without having to book any overnight accommodation during the journey.

But as can be seen it's also dependent on making a 45 min connection between trains in Buccuresti-Nord station and this won't be guaranteed.

So the other options for an Istanbul to Budapest and Vienna train journey, show how to remove the risk of not making that connection between trains, by choosing to spend the night in Buccuresti/Bucharest.

Onward connections from Wien/Vienna

............................................................

Option 2:
 

Dep:

Halkali

21:40

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

17:00

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

13:20

EN

Arr:

Wien Hbf

08:21

 






As can be seen it's possible to travel from Istanbul to Wien/Vienna by only taking two trains, though it's a three night journey involving two sleeper trains and an overnight stay in Buccuresti/Bucharest.
The train from Buccuresti also calls in Budapest, but it is due to arrive at Keleti station at 04:50am!

Onward connections from Wien/Vienna

............................................................

Option 3:
 

Dep:

Halkai

21:40

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

17:00

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

05:25

 

Arr:

Budapest-Keleti

17:50

 

Dep:

Budapest-Keleti

18:40

RJ

Arr:

Wien Hbf

21:18

 








Due to how the timetable is configured, the faster option for a train journey from Istanbul to Budapest and Wien/Vienna, is to set an alarm call for an early morning departure and to take the day train from Buccuresti to Budapest.

So when travelling from Istanbul to Budapest by train as quickly as possible, you'll be slightly sleep deprived, that option 1 routing means arriving in the Hungarian capital before 05:00, but the option 2 routing also involves having to wake up in Buccuresti before 05:00!

Note that if you want to travel to Wien/Vienna on this combination of trains, on arrival in Budapest you will have a 50 min connection into the final train of the day on from Budapest to Wien/Vienna, so making that transfer cannot be absolutely guaranteed.

Onward connections from Wien/Vienna

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