EURAIL FROM ATHENS TO ISTANBUL

By Eurail pass from Athens (Greece) to Istanbul (Turkey) (564 km). Travel information, schedules, cheap and fast train connections.

To travel by Eurail from Athens in Greece to Istanbul in Turkey, the easiest and fastest way is by bus. There is no direct train connection anymore between these two countries.
The bus is not included in Eurail.

There are two main routes. Compare them and decide which one feeds your needs best.

1 Athens (Greece) - Thessaloniki (Greece) - Istanbul (Turkey) 2 Athens (Greece) - Thessaloniki (Greece) - Sofia (Bulgaria) - Istanbul (Turkey)

564 km

railcc Your train tickets and reservations at the best price/fares. Scroll down, read the details and make use of the booking links.

The following links could be interesting for you.

1 Athens (Greece) - Thessaloniki (Greece) - Istanbul (Turkey)
This route consists of more than one step. Some parts might require a reservation. Please read the details below.
1A Eurail: Travelling from Athens to Thessaloniki (Greece)
Intercity trains require a reservation and supplement. The supplement is payable for Interrail travellers only and quite expensive so try to avoid these trains and travel with regional or express trains instead. Eurail passholders have to pay for the reservation only.
The following links could be interesting for you.
TRAIN TYPES: Train types you are likely to travel with.
Inter City (IC) / Proastikos (P)

NIGHT TRAINS: Night trains that might be suitable for this trip.
B335 Belgrade - Thessaloniki / T 601 Alexandroupoli - Athens / B 334 Thessaloniki - Belgrade / T 600 Athens - Alexandroupoli

BUS: Bus connections that might be helpful.
Athens - Istanbul / Thessaloniki - Istanbul / Thessaloniki - Skopje

FERRY: Ferry connections that might be helpful.
Patras - Ancona / Patras - Bari

TRAIN COMPANY
OSE TRAINOSE / BLUE Blue Star Ferries / MINO Minoan Lines / METU Metro Turizm / CRZH Crazy Holidays

CONNECTIONS: popular connections travelled by other users
Istanbul - Athens / Athens - Alexandroupoli / Athens - Igoumenitsa / Athens - Iraklion / Athens - Larissa / Athens - Patras / Athens - Piraeus / Athens - Thessaloniki / Thessaloniki - Athens / Thessaloniki - Larissa / Thessaloniki - Patras

SEARCH FOR TRAIN TIMES HERE: Online timetable information, on which you can find relevant, up-to-date connections.
OSE / rail.cc / Deutsche Bahn / Eurail Planer App

Buy here your Eurail reservation from Athens to Thessaloniki.
Buy the reservation at a railway station. Reservations are usually available at stations in all countries where a particular train runs through. In many countries, especially in central and eastern Europe you can also buy reservations for trains in other countries.
In some countries (for instance in the Netherlands or Spain) you have to pay a service fee at the ticket counter.

1B Eurail: Travelling from Thessaloniki (Greece) to Istanbul (Turkey)
To travel by Eurail from Greece to Turkey, you have to use a bus (not included in Eurail). There is no direct train anymore. A train connection could be via Sofia (Bulgaria), but takes a lot more of time than by bus.
There are several direct (overnight) bus connections available from the bigger Greek cities (Athens, Thessaloniki, ...) to Istanbul (Turkey). Have a look at the links.

To book your ticket online, use the following city names to find connections.
Athens = Atina
Thessaloniki = Selanik
Istanbul = Istanbul Avrupa
Buy here your Eurail reservation from Thessaloniki to Istanbul.
Buy the reservation at a bus station.

2 Athens (Greece) - Thessaloniki (Greece) - Sofia (Bulgaria) - Istanbul (Turkey)
This route consists of more than one step. Some parts might require a reservation. Please read the details below.
2A Eurail: Travelling from Athens to Thessaloniki (Greece)
Intercity trains require a reservation and supplement. The supplement is payable for Interrail travellers only and quite expensive so try to avoid these trains and travel with regional or express trains instead. Eurail passholders have to pay for the reservation only.
The following links could be interesting for you.
TRAIN TYPES: Train types you are likely to travel with.
Inter City (IC) / Proastikos (P)

NIGHT TRAINS: Night trains that might be suitable for this trip.
B335 Belgrade - Thessaloniki / T 601 Alexandroupoli - Athens / B 334 Thessaloniki - Belgrade / T 600 Athens - Alexandroupoli

BUS: Bus connections that might be helpful.
Athens - Istanbul / Thessaloniki - Istanbul / Thessaloniki - Skopje

FERRY: Ferry connections that might be helpful.
Patras - Ancona / Patras - Bari

TRAIN COMPANY
OSE TRAINOSE / BLUE Blue Star Ferries / MINO Minoan Lines / METU Metro Turizm / CRZH Crazy Holidays

CONNECTIONS: popular connections travelled by other users
Istanbul - Athens / Athens - Alexandroupoli / Athens - Igoumenitsa / Athens - Iraklion / Athens - Larissa / Athens - Patras / Athens - Piraeus / Athens - Thessaloniki / Thessaloniki - Athens / Thessaloniki - Larissa / Thessaloniki - Patras

SEARCH FOR TRAIN TIMES HERE: Online timetable information, on which you can find relevant, up-to-date connections.
OSE / rail.cc / Deutsche Bahn / Eurail Planer App

Buy here your Eurail reservation from Athens to Thessaloniki.
Buy the reservation at a railway station. Reservations are usually available at stations in all countries where a particular train runs through. In many countries, especially in central and eastern Europe you can also buy reservations for trains in other countries.
In some countries (for instance in the Netherlands or Spain) you have to pay a service fee at the ticket counter.

2B Eurail: Travelling from Thessaloniki (Greece) to Sofia (Bulgaria)
If you are travelling from Greece to Bulgaria with Eurail, a seat reservation is required.

There are two rail connections between Greece and Bulgaria, however only the line from Thessaloniki to Sofia via the Strimon/Kulata border crossing is open at the moment.
The following links could be interesting for you.
TRAIN TYPES: Train types you are likely to travel with.
Tréno (TR)

NIGHT TRAINS: Night trains that might be suitable for this trip.
D 1460/460 Thessaloniki - Bucharest

TRAIN COMPANY
OSE TRAINOSE / BDZ Български държавни железници

CONNECTIONS: popular connections travelled by other users
Istanbul - Athens / Athens - Sofia / Athens - Plovdiv / Thessaloniki - Sofia / Thessaloniki - Plovdiv / Kalabaka - Sofia / Patras - Sofia

SEARCH FOR TRAIN TIMES HERE: Online timetable information, on which you can find relevant, up-to-date connections.
rail.cc / Deutsche Bahn / Eurail Planer App

Buy here your Eurail reservation from Thessaloniki to Sofia.
Buy the reservation at a railway station. Reservations are usually available at stations in all countries where a particular train runs through. In many countries, especially in central and eastern Europe you can also buy reservations for trains in other countries.
In some countries (for instance in the Netherlands or Spain) you have to pay a service fee at the ticket counter.

2C Eurail: Travelling from Sofia (Bulgaria) to Istanbul (Turkey)
The only rail connection between Bulgaria and Turkey runs via the border crossing Svilengrad/Kapikule to Istanbul.

If you are travelling with Eurail from Bulgaria to Tuekey, you have to take the night train from Sofia or Bucharest to Istanbul. More information about this connection in the blog.

In addition to this night train there are many bus connections available. These buses are quicker if you are travelling from Burgas for example. However, you have to buy an extra ticket for these buses, they are not included in Eurail.
The following links could be interesting for you.
TRAIN TYPES: Train types you are likely to travel with.
International Vlak (международни влак) (IV)

NIGHT TRAINS: Night trains that might be suitable for this trip.
D 493 Sofia - Istanbul / Bosfor Bucharest - Istanbul

TRAIN COMPANY
BDZ Български държавни железници / TCDD Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Devlet Demiryolları

CONNECTIONS: popular connections travelled by other users
Istanbul - Athens / Sofia - Istanbul / Plovdiv - Istanbul / Burgas - Istanbul / Varna - Istanbul / Sofia - Ankara

SEARCH FOR TRAIN TIMES HERE: Online timetable information, on which you can find relevant, up-to-date connections.
rail.cc / Deutsche Bahn / Eurail Planer App

Buy here your Eurail reservation from Sofia to Istanbul.
Buy the reservation at a railway station. Reservations are usually available at stations in all countries where a particular train runs through. In many countries, especially in central and eastern Europe you can also buy reservations for trains in other countries.
In some countries (for instance in the Netherlands or Spain) you have to pay a service fee at the ticket counter.

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PLUS

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Train tickets: if you want to travel this route by train tickets instead of Eurail, have a look here for prices and booking options.

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