Warning to Visitors

Some of the information below may be out of date as a result of changing timetables and services. Please double check the accuracy of all information before travelling.

The booking forms should be up to date however, so if tickets for a particular service are available, then the service should be operational.

Sofia

Sofia is Bulgaria's largest and capital city, located in the west of the country. As a result of this status, it is the country's focal point for many of the country's universities and businesses.

The city is home to no less than eight railway stations, with the Central Railway Station the most important. This station is situated adjacent to the Central Bus Station which offers bus journeys nationally and internationally.

How to get to Sofia from
Route 1:

The overland journey between Belgrade and Istanbul is made on-board the Balkan Express, a service shared with the Bosphorus Express between Dimitrovgrad and Istanbul.

The service offers both standard and first class seats, but also couchettes. The service is operated by Bulgarian Railways using relatively old, but nonetheless comfortable trains.

Passengers will need to have the appropriate visas for the border crossing between Turkey and Bulgaria.

From March 2012 until late 2013, a rail-replacement bus is in operation between Istanbul and Kapikule as a result of engineering work.

If you are travelling towards Istanbul, the train will terminate at Kapikule and you will be transferred to a bus (accepts rail tickets and passes). The bus will arrive at the same time as the train is scheduled to. Travelling towards Belgrade, the bus departs from outside Istanbul Sirkeci Station at the same time as the train is meant to leave, and travels as far as Kapikule where passengers can board the train as usual.

Seeing as the overnight portion of the journey is made on a coach, buying a seated ticket rather than couchette may be adequate.