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Taking the Orient Express routes to and from Athens and Istanbul

How to travel between both Athens and Istanbul and central Europe by train.

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How to travel between Greece or Turkey and central Europe by train:

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 reach a destination, then it's still feasible to make international journeys to and from both Greece and Turkey by train.

The international trains from and to Greece, which usually operate in the summer only between Thessaloniki and Beograd, Sofia and Bucuresti remain suspended.
It seems unlikely that they will be available at all in 2022; they're still listed as unavailable on the Greek national rail website.

Better news is that the Sofia ↔ Istanbul train has resumed as has the the summer only direct service between Bucuresti and Istanbul.

Most international trains to and from Serbia are also suspended or amended, due to works to upgrade the railway lines.
Services which are currently not available and will be likely suspended for the remainder of 2022, include the trains on these routes:

  • Zargeb ↔ Beograd
  • Beograd ↔ Sofia (only operating between Beograd and Nis; and between Sofia and Dimitirovgrad; with two bus journeys via Pirot required for the section of the journey between Nis and Dimitirovgrad)
  • Beograd ↔ Thessaloniki

In usual circumstances taking 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 impossible 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 via Beograd/Belgrade 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, Bucuresti, Ljubljana or Sofia, then 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 are available, is that there are multiple routes to choose from.
For example, when travelling to and from Athens by train, year round there is a daily option of option of either travelling via Sofia in Bulgaria (currently suspended as a consequence of the pandemic); or on the route via Bari and Patras, which involves taking the ferry across The Adriatic between these two ports.
Or if, you'll be making the journey between June 13th and September 20th, there is also usually a third option, which is to travel through The Balkans via Beograd/Belgrade (also currently suspended as a consequence of the pandemic).

Using Eurail / InterRail Passes

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 <> 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 (for connections from/to Athens) and Istanbul (Halkali) had been suspended pre-pandemic.

There is a daily 'train' service between Thessaloniki and Sofia, but according 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 road 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 (currently suspended), as it's scheduled to leave from Sofia at 18:25.

In the opposite direction the (currently suspended) 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 Thessaloniki and Sofia, there is an overnight train available in both directions between Athens/Athina and Thessaloniki, but it doesn't convey sleeping cars.

To Athina via Beograd

It seems likely that this route won't be available in 2022, tickets haven't bee released for sale for the Zagreb to Beograd and the Beograd to Thessaloniki train services and they are not showing up in journey planners.

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).
This train has yet to be confirmed for 2022.

The overnight train from Beograd/Belgrade to Thessaloniki in Greece, the 'Hellas Express', is usually only available from June 13th to Sep 20th; it was suspended due to the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
This train has yet to be confirmed for 2022.

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.

Munich > Athens: option 1
June 20th to Sep 20th: to be confirmed for 2022

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 if 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: to be confirmed for 2022

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 ordinary daytime 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 between Ljubljana and Beograd, 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 to be confirmed for 2022

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.

Vienna > Athens
June 20th to Sep 20th: to be confirmed for 2022

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 transfer 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 the Serbian border.

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 summer 2022 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: to be confirmed for 2022

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 Athina via Bucuresti & Sofia

(Vienna and) Budapest > Athens: option one
Until June 4th and then from Oct 7th
(This routing is currently unavailable)

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
(This routing is currently unavailable)

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 Bucuresti/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 Bucuresti Nord station.

(Vienna and) Budapest > Athens: option three
June 5th - Oct 5th: TBC for 2022

Dep:

Wien Hbf

19:42

EN

Dep:

OR Budapest-Keleti

22:45

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

16:35

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

10:55

 

Arr:

Sofia

20:10

 

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: TBC for 2022.

Dep:

Budapest-Keleti

15:10

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

08:06

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

10:55

 

Arr:

Sofia

20:10/span>

 

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 Thessaloniki, so the train on from Sofia to Greece, used on all the above options, is terminating at Kulala.
The journey from there to Thessaloniki 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 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, 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 Athina via Bucuresti

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 Bucuresti/Bucharest to Thessaloniki only departs from the Romanian capital on Fridays between June 5th and Oct 2nd; timings have yet to be confirmed in 2022 and this train was not available in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

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 Budapest to Bucuresti is the EuroNight 'Dacia' service.

The train from Bucuresti/Bucharest to Thessaloniki only conveys second class seats and couchettes, meaning that sleeping cabins are not available.
The coaches heading to Thessaloniki are attached to the train going to Istanbul.

Budapest to Athens: Option Two

This routing is only available when departing from Budapest on Thursday afternoons from June 4th to Oct 1st; timings are to be confirmed for 2022, but this route was not available in 2020 and 2021.

Dep:

Budapest-Keleti

15:10

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

08:06

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

10:55

 

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 but it remains suspended.

To Athina via Bari & 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 complicated 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 sufficient 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.

However, 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 from Patras 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.
When using Eurail and InterRail passes the sleeping cabins must be reserved in advance and fairly expensive fess are charged for doing so.

To Istanbul

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 Express 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 underground 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

Via Beograd

It seems likely that this route won't be available in 2022, tickets haven't been released for sale for the Zagreb to Beograd and the Beograd to Sofia train services and they are not showing up in journey planners.

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: to be confirmed for 2022

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 still to be confirmed for 2022:

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**](/train-travel-info/journeys/from-salzburg-to-zagreb-by-train/) 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 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: ** but this route was not available in 2020 and 2021 and timings have still yet to be confirmed for 2022**.

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 from Wien/Vienna to Istanbul is more complicated than travelling via Bucuresti/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, it may re-appear on the 2022 schedules.

Zurich to Istanbul by train
June 12th to Sep 20th: (still to be confirmed for 2022 and this route was not available in 2020 and 2021).

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, you 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 Bucuresti (and Sofia)

As will be seen below the 'Bosphor Express only provides a direct service from Bucuresti/Bucharest to Istanbul between June 3rd and Oct 2nd; having been removed from the 2021 schedules, the train is resuming this summer.

So until June 3rd and after Oct 2nd, 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 3rd and Oct 2nd, the train from Bucuresti is direct to Sofia between those dates).

Vienna and Budapest to Istanbul by train
The year round option1 The Sofia - Istanbul express is to resume on Apr 25th.

Dep:

Wien Hbf

19:42

EN

Dep:

OR Budapest-Keleti

23:10

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

16:00

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

10:55

 

Arr:

Ruse

13:45

 

Dep:

Ruse

14:15

 

Arr:

Sofia

20:05

 

Dep:

Sofia

18:25

 

Arr

Halkali (connect for Istanbul)

05:34

 











Budapest to Istanbul by train
The year round option 2
The Sofia to Istanbul Express will be resuming on April 25th

Dep:

Budapest-Keleti

15:10

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

08:06

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

10:55

 

Arr:

Ruse

13:45

 

Dep:

Ruse

14:15

 

Arr:

Sofia

20:05

 

Dep:

Sofia

18:25

 

Arr:

Halkali (connect for Istanbul)

05:34

 











Via Bucuresti only

In the summer of 2022 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 Bucuresti/Bucharest has the advantage of only requiring two trains to be taken.

Vienna and Budapest to Istanbul by train
from June 3rd to Oct 2nd

Trains to Wien/Vienna

Dep:

Wien Hbf

19:42

EN

Dep:

OR Budapest-Keleti

23:10

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

16:50

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

10:55

 

Arr:

Halkali (connect for Istanbul)

05:34

 








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

Budapest to Istanbul by train option 2
from June 3rd to Oct 2nd

Dep:

Budapest-Keleti

15:10

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

08:06

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

10:55

 

Arr:

Halkali (connect for Istanbul)

05:34

 







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 Athina via Beograd

It seems likely that this route won't be available in 2022, tickets haven't been released for sale for the Thessaloniki to Beograd and the Beograd to Zagreb train services and they are not showing up in journey planners.

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).
Still to be confirmed for 2022

The overnight train from Thessaloniki in Greece to Beograd/Belgrade, the 'Hellas Express' is a summer only service, but it was suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic and its resumption has still yet to be confirmed for 2022.

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.

When taking the Option 1 journeys, described below, on these routes from Athens/Athina via Beograd, completing the Option 1 schedules is always 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 then 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: to be confirmed for 2022

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 Zagreb to Munchen/Munich to is the EuroNight 'Lisinki' service.

Onward connections from Munchen/Munich

Athens > Munich - Option 2
June 21st to Sep 14th: to be confirmed for 2022

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 > Vienna - Option 1
June 12th to Sept 19th: to be confirmed for 2022

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: to be confirmed for 2022

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, it may yet 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: to be confirmed for 2022

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 spending 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: to be confirmed for 2022

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 Athina via Sofia & Bucuresti

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

Until June 4th and from October 6th:
This journey is currently not available

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 Greek part of the journey between Thessaloniki and the Bulgarian border, which involves around 2hr 45 mins of bus travel.

The 45 minute connection between trains at Bucuresti-Nord station on both of these routings cannot be absolutely guaranteed, so an option is to de-risk the journey and overnight in the Romanian capital.
An alternative daytime train to Budapest departs Bucuresti 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).

Note that between June 5th and Oct 5th, the 'Romania Express' operates direct from Bucuresti/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 Bucuresti Nord station.

From Athina via Bucuresti

This routing is only available when departing from Athens/Athina on Sunday evenings between June 7th and Oct 4th. timings have yet to be confirmed for 2022 and this train was suspended in 2020 and 2021.

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

 











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

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 Bucuresti Nord station at 13:20.

Onward connections from Wien/Vienna.

From Istanbul

What are set out below are the typical connections which were available pre-pandemic and all of these options will hopefully be available in the future.

In Summer 2022, until Oct 1st, the summer only 'Bosphor Express from Halkali (the station which has easy connections from Istanbul) has resumed its service direct to Bucuresti / Bucharest.
This train has onward connections in Bucuresti to Budapest and Wien/Vienna.

The year round overnight train, the 'Sofia Express' has also resumed on its route from Halkali to Sofia.
When the Bosphor Express is not available, because it doesn't operate after October 1st, it's possible to travel on from Sofia to Budapest and Wien/Vienna on a route via Bucuresti / Bucharest.

However, the only train from Bulgaria to Serbia is usuaklly the 'Balkan Express' daytime train from Sofia to Beograd/Belgrade, it is normally a summer only service, but in 2022 the Balkan Express will not be available due to works on the railway line.
As a consequence trains are only available from Sofia to Dragoman, from where a bus connection will continue over the border to Nis, a train will be available from Nis to Beograd.

However, the day and night trains from Beograd on to Zagreb and beyond; were cancelled at the start of the pandemic and have yet to resume, so the only current viable option for a train journey from Istanbul to central Europe, is to travel through Bucresti and Budapest.

Departing from 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 3rd - October 1st) 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.

via Beograd

It seems likely that this route won't be available in 2022, tickets haven't been released for sale for the Sofia to Beograd and the Beograd to Zagreb train services and they are not showing up in journey planners.

Istanbul > Munich - Option 1
to be confirmed for 2022

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.
still to be confirmed for 2022

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

 













Onward connections from Zurich

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 these 'Option 1' routings from Istanbul via Beograd, completing this schedule is dependent on making two comparatively tightly timed 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.

Istanbul > Munich - Option 2
June 12th to Sept 20th
to be confirmed for 2022

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**](/travel-on/train/104-euronight-lisinski/).

Onward connections from Munchen/Munich

Istanbul > Zurich - Option 2
June 12th to Sept 20th
to be confirmed for 2022

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

 











Onward connections from Zurich

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 these Option 2 routings have the benefit of removing the prospect of also having to make an against the clock connection in Beograd.

Istanbul > Vienna/Wien via Beograd

The overnight train from Beograd/Belgrade to Ljubljana is only available from June 21st to Sep 14th.
still to be confirmed for 2022.

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

 











Onward connections from Wien/Vienna

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.

via Sofia and Bucuresti

This routing is available on the dates on which the direct Bosphor Express service from Istanbul to Bucuresti/Bucharest doesn't operate.
So you can travel this route until June 3rd and after October 2nd

If you want to opt to add Sofia to an itinerary when travelling between June 3rd and October 2nd, 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 Bucuresti.

Dep:

Halkali (Istanbul)

22:40

 

Arr:

Sofia

09:35

 

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

 












That 45 minute connection between trains at Bucuresti-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).

via Bucuresti

In contrast to the 'Istanbul-Sofia Express, the Bosphor Express is a summer only service, in 2022 it is scheduled to be operating between June 3rd and October2nd.

On departure from Halkali station in western Istanbul, 'The Bosphorus Express' overnight train from Istanbul to Bucuresti/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:

Halkali

21:40

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

17:05

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

22:05

 

Arr:

Budapest-Keleti

12:50

 

Dep:

Budapest-Keleti

13:40

RJ

Arr:

Wien Hbf

16:21

 








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.

The other options, described below, for an Istanbul to Budapest and Vienna train journey, show how to travel by choosing to spend the night in Bucuresti/Bucharest.

Option 2:

Dep:

Halkali

21:40

 

Arr:

Buccuresti-Nord

17:05

 

Dep:

Buccuresti-Nord

13:45

EN

Arr:

Wien Hbf

08:21

 






Onward connections from Wien/Vienna

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 Bucuresti/Bucharest.

That 13:45 departure train from Bucuresti also calls in Budapest, but it is due to arrive at Keleti station at 05:20am!

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Author

Simon Harper

I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.

ShowMeTheJourney

This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.

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This second version of ShowMeTheJourney is exciting and new, so we are genuinely thrilled that you are here and reading this, but we also need your help.

We’re striving not to let anything get in the way of providing the most useful service possible, hence a facility has been set up with DonorBox which can be used to support the running costs and make improvements.

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