BUCHAREST - ISTANBUL - night train (BOSFOR)
Pete @ 15-07-2008 18:02
BUCHAREST (Bucuresti) - ISTANBUL | night train (BOSFOR) | D 461 | name: BOSFOR
Information for Interrail, Eurail travellers and persons with normal train ticket travelling by night train from Bucharest (Romania) to Istanbul (Turkey).
The direct night train from Bucharest to Istanbul is currently replaced by a bus on the part from the Bulgarian-Turkish border until Istanbul.
Direct night train:
Bucharest - Istanbul: https://rail.cc/en/night-train/bucharest-istanbul-d-461-465/134
Istanbul - Bucharest: https://rail.cc/en/night-train/istanbul-bucharest-d-81032/226
Bucharest - Istanbul: https://rail.cc/en/train/bucharest-to-istanbul
Istanbul - Bucharest: https://rail.cc/en/train/istanbul-to-bucharest
Bucuresti Nord Gr. A Dep: 1213
Istanbul Sirkeci Arr: 0750
Sleeper - SINGLE | 1-bed-compartment
Rail pass fare: EUR 75
Standard fare: EUR 135
Sleeper - DOUBLE | 2-bed-compartment
Rail pass fare: EUR 35
Standard fare: EUR 75
Sleeper - TRIPLE T3 | 3-bed-compartment
Rail pass fare: EUR 24
Standard fare: EUR 63
Couchette | 6-bed-compartment
Rail pass fare: EUR 9
Standard fare: EUR 50
The cheapest way will be to buy the reservation for your bed directly in Bucharest or Istanbul !
Update: Nov 2016
Petipatapon @ 24-08-2010 22:54
It seems that the train between Bucharest and Istanbul works or not. On the obb website, it doesnt appear, but I can find it on the dutch bahn website.. Departure 12h30 in Bucharest, arrival 7h50 in Istanbul. Does anyone can confirm this information?
Pete @ 25-08-2010 05:42
The train is definitely running like mentioned above. I checked it twice - online and as well in the Thomas Cook European timetables.
Natasha86 @ 10-08-2011 22:33
Is there any way of booking this route online, prior to getting to Bucharest?
Pete @ 11-08-2011 11:22
No, it is not possible to book this route online in advance.
What you can try is to get the reservation before in an other country you are travelling. Hungary, Austria, Germany, ...
Or simply buy it at the day you arrive in Bucharest - then stay some days there. Should be fine as well.
Natasha86 @ 11-08-2011 18:13
I've been planning this trip for a while now, not been able to find anywhere to book in advance, so you've pretty much confirmed my suspicions.
I fly into Bucharest from the UK, so will book at Gara Nord before my round trip in Transylvania, then Istanbul bound I will be!
facundoolano @ 08-04-2012 12:28
The pass fares listed here are valid for Eurail passes or just Interrail?
Pete @ 08-04-2012 14:49
Just follow the link given above (UPDATE): https://rail.cc/en/night-train/bucharest-istanbul-d-461/465/134
There all fares are listed.
facundoolano @ 29-04-2012 07:33
I probably wasn't clear enough on my question, so I fill in the details for others. The Eurail pass is currently not valid in Turkey, therefore to take the Bosfor is necessary to buy a ticket fot the turkish leg of the trip besides the reservation. This was between Kapikule and Istanbul and costed around 15 euros. The train is not currently working in this part of the trip, so they move you to a bus in Kapikule after the border control.
nltrainer @ 29-04-2012 13:11
forget the train for now-simply book yourself into a TURKish bus all the way from BUc-much cheaper and faster, as the sleeper is aboutunusable anyway for this short remainign sector.
Cakeyface @ 24-05-2012 10:46
How do I get from Bucharest to Istanbul by night train? How do I buy the tickets? Will I have to buy them in Bucharest or can I buy them in another train station in Europe? I'll be in Paris, Venice, Vienna and Budapest. I'm just a bit worried that the tickets will be sold out if I get try to get them in Bucharest (I'm arriving there at about 11am and intend to leave a few hours later for Istanbul). Or is it possible to buy the tickets in London somewhere?
Flo @ 24-05-2012 11:11
you for this train you will need a ticket plus a reservation (for couchette or sleeper). You should be able to buy them at most major train stations along your route. I would recommend to buy the ticket in Bucharest or Budapest as it will be cheaper there than in Western Europe, if you want to be 100% sure to get a place buy your reservation separately earlier. However, I dont think the train will be fully booked so you should be save buying both in Budapest for instance. Anyway, have you thought about getting a 5in10 IR pass for your trip - could be worth it?
Cakeyface @ 24-05-2012 11:34
I am getting a 5in10 pass. The interrail website sells them with an optional (£😎 insurance if your pass is lost or stolen. Do you think it's worth getting this considering I will be getting other travel insurance anyway? (From a different company).
I've heard that trains aren't running into turkey because of some network upgrade. So does that mean we'd be put on a coach the rest of the way? Would the ticket cover this cost?
Flo @ 24-05-2012 11:40
if you want to support our work here and all the information you get from this website, please purchase your IR pass from our partner - official prices, free delivery to the UK plus all the information from experiences IR travellers. Thank you. 🙂
Personally I dont think you need the extra insurance, I have travelled 10+ times with IR passes and never lost or got stolen my pass. Check what is covered with your standard travel insurance and save the money for some extra beers or so. 🙂
While travelling, put your IR pass, passport and some cash in a pouch which you can wear under your clothes, especially while travelling this is the safest thing to do.
You are right, currently (and on till 2013) there are construction works in Turkey, from the border station of Kapikule till Istanbul there is a bus replacement service which of course is covered by your ticket. However, this means getting up late at night for the last bit to Istanbul. 😐 Unfortunately there is no alternative travel route.
nltrainer @ 24-05-2012 12:06
How do I get from Bucharest to Istanbul by night train? ?
READ closely above; this train does NOT run all the way and IMHO it makes no sense to be put waiting for hours on a bus in the mid of night when you can also take a through bus right in Bucuresti. and be there much faster.
This traineven when it still ran hardly ever sold out-even when it had just 2 or 3 wagons left. The crooks, tricks and scams were more to worry about as these eternal ''fullness'' that young people seem to fear so much.
charliegrosso @ 12-06-2012 01:22
I am looking to travel from Istanbul to Bucharest. I am wondering what is the best way to go. I already paid for a eurail pass and do you advise that I take the bus to the boarder then train it the rest of the way? or is it better if I just take a sleeper bus all the way?
If I do the bus+train combo, do I need to arrange for it all separately, as in, I go to the bus station for a ticket to the boarder and then a train ticket from the boarder to Bucharest (does it route to you Sofia? or does it go straight up to Bucharest) or if the arrangement of the train ticket in Istanbul will automatically take care of the bus portion?
Thank so much for your info.
Pete @ 12-06-2012 06:17
The connection Istanbul to Bucharest is a bit complicate this summer, like you already read above.
But now worries, you can do it by train.
Note, there are two parts of this direct train replaced by bus services, which are included in train tickets (as long as they are valid for this route).
Replacement on Istanbul to Kapikule (the border to Bulgaria) and again on Dimitrovrgrad to Stara Zagora (about 1 hour by bus).
As you travel by Eurail, you can not travel for free in Turkey. I personally prefer traveling by train as it is much more relaxing (even in older Easter European cars) than sitting in a bus full of humans.
But in you case, traveling by bus might be the cheaper/easier solution - but again: more adventure is the train! 🙂
Have a sunny trip, Peter 🙂
Flo @ 12-06-2012 09:59
I would go by bus to Burgas, then continue by train to Bucuresti.
Stedine @ 14-06-2013 13:16
I want to go from Buchuresti to Istanbul in the summer, but I'm not sure how. So how does it work with the bus, i did'nt understand it well... I will take a normal ticket...
Pete @ 14-06-2013 13:20
Buy a normal train ticket Bucharest to Istanbul. There are still construction works in Turkey. So if the train can't get its full way to Istanbul, this part is replaced by a bus. The bus is included in your train ticket. You will arrive in Istanbul!
The bus simply replaces the train on parts where the train can not use the tracks.
CesarAli @ 15-06-2014 09:36
I did the trip last year and theres a 30 mins bus replacement in Bulgaria and then the train takes you to Istanbul 20 mins from centrum where a bus will get you to Centrum 🙂 .
PascalGeneva @ 07-07-2014 12:29
Currently we are staying in Bucharest, propably heading to Istanbul in a couple of days.
Are there any new informations about the journey?
The lady at the ticket booth in Bucharest informed us, that several changes by bus (as you said before)
are inbetween. Do you know how much time we would have to spent in the busses? Train - bus - train - bus? Did it all work?
There's no sleeping train on the track, so propably worth to reservate?
Does the time of the complete journey from Bucharest to Istanbul stays more or less the same?
Thank you very much for your help!
kalinka @ 07-07-2014 13:46
please read Bucharest-Istanbulon the Romania-page. There you will find more information (you will have to take different busses from Gorna Orjahovica to Istanbul, but you probably will arrive Istanbul the same time as the train used to d🧐.
BenPoets @ 04-05-2015 08:46
DB says it takes plus 40 hours tot get from Bucharest to Istanbul.
Wat is the status on the traject with buses?
We plan to take the train on may 17 to Istanbul from Bucharest.
Does it realis takes plus 40 hours as the DB planner says?
Flo @ 04-05-2015 08:53
The DB planner is faulty and does not display this connection properly.
Train 465 runs through to Dimitrovgrad Sever where it will be attached to train 491 from Sofia to Istanbul, the journey takes 24 less - only 19 hours.
Anyway, the latest info I have still suggests bus replacement service in Turkey, from Halkali all the way to Istanbul: https://rail.cc/en/bucharest-istanbul-train/f7537
If you want to go by train, please also inquire locally at Bucharest station for current timings!
BenPoets @ 04-05-2015 09:33
CesarAli @ 06-05-2015 15:45
Give and take.
Sometimes the police at the Turkish - Bulgarian border aren't at the border and has to be woken up and then he arrives late and sleepy to check the passports 🙂 . But its not that bad, fresh morning air or midnight spiritual silence 🙂
Apparently the train is working through from Kapikul to Bucharest but I honestly dont know if they are finished working in Bulgaria. There could be other bus trips even short ones of 20 mins.
Gabo13 @ 08-06-2015 12:30
Hi, my name is Gabo.
We are right now travelling and in 4 days we have to go form Bucharest to Istanbul.
I asked the rumenia railway organisation by mail and they told me that there would be no nighttrain form bucharest to istanbul, because of closed routes in Bulgaria...
bahn.de shows now a 43 hour track... is there really no other chance to get to Istanbul?
or did he maybe missunderstood my mail (I asked for a reservation in the night train)..?
We would be so happy if you could help us!! 🙂
Thanks a lot!
Flo @ 08-06-2015 12:38
Not much has changed since the previous posts in this topic.
The online schedule planners, such as the one of DB (http://plan.rail.cc) are not reliable for this connection.
There are construction works in Turkey, resulting in bus replacement from Kapikule all the way to Istanbul; from Bucharest to Kapikule the train should run as normal but without sleeping/couchette cars. The best thing to do is to ask again for an update locally at Bucharest station.
We are always curious about current updates from the trains to/from Istanbul so it would be great if you could share your experiences afterwards.
Gabo13 @ 08-06-2015 12:59
Thank you for this fast answer! 🙂
Feeling calmer now. 🙂
We will post again once we found out more at the train station in Bucharest.
Flo @ 08-06-2015 13:07
OK great, thank you. 🙂
As an alternative you could also think about going by bus; there are direct buses from Sofia, Plovdiv and Burgas (there may also be a connection from Bucharest, I dont know).
BenPoets @ 08-06-2015 13:51
Bosfor was still not in service on 17 may 2015. 😢
Forget the DB timetable. It is possible to travel from Bucharest to Istanbul in 19 hours. 🤣
We had to take the train to Sofia in Bucharest, dep. 12.50. Buy your reservations at station Bucharest, counter 1.
Only reservations possible to Gorna Orjaho. No sleeping car. 😢
You have to change trains in Gorna Orjaho (17 min)
We had a delay of 45 minutes, because the train had to wait for the Bulgarian loc. in Ruse.
Told all the railway guards on the train we had to catch the train to Turkey in Gorna (with the help of a Nice Romanian guy).
The train in Gorna waited. The day before it dit not, so make sure the train guards knows.
Easy change on the same platform.
The train drove to Kapikule, Turkisch border.
Around 03.30 from Kapikule with bus. Istanbul Sirkeci at 07.50! Right on time! No stops. 😎
All passengers had different information. Some thought the train should end at Dimitrovgrad, others heard Cerkezköy.
Flo @ 08-06-2015 15:00
Very valuable information, thank you! 🙂
Flo @ 09-06-2015 09:35
So, I checked again and the journey should currently look like this:
Bucharest 1250 - 1823 Gorna Oryahovitsa
Gorna Oryahovitsa 1840 - 0140 Kapikule
Kapikule 0256 - 0750 Istanbul by bus
CesarAli @ 10-06-2015 17:16
What about the other way around?
Looks like the 20 minute is not enough. That is hard to do.
Flo @ 10-06-2015 17:39
Timings in the opposite direction should be the same: https://rail.cc/en/train/istanbul-to-bucharest
Change in Kapikule and Gorna.
There is not much time to change so apparently it is a good idea to tell the conductor that you need the connection as mentioned above.
CesarAli @ 14-06-2015 05:31
The site says busses til Halkali? Tourista sent me a mail with busses till the border?
And no compartments right only seats all the way?
Flo @ 14-06-2015 10:06
This was an old note which I now have deleted. 🙂
Yup, should be seats only all the way.
Tourista sent me a mail with busses till the border?
adsinibiza @ 17-06-2015 20:46
I completed this journey successfully - just - yesterday.
First thing to say is that the international tickets people in Bucharest gave me the wrong times and information apart from the first part of the journey leaves at 12.50 for Bucharest Nord.Everything else was incorrect.
The second section is to change at Gorna Oryahovitsa and get the 18.40 train to Dimitrovgrad. My train from Bucharest was delayed at the border so I had 4 minutes to change - I was lucky and made it. Initially the guard on that train told me to change at Dimitrovgrad and take a bus to Kapikule however when we were a couple of stops away from Dimitrovgrad he came to see me and told me not to change - I could not understand what he was saying and to be honest I did not have a clue what was going on but I took him at face value as he was being nice to me and pointing out things to take photos of and so on. The train was badly delayed and I was convinced I'd never see Istanbul but about three in the morning we rolled into Kapikule and there was the bus to Instanbul where I eventually arrived at 6 am just in time to see sunrise over the Bosphorous!
So to sum up don't believe what your told at Bucharest - everything was wrong including the times.
If my experience is anything to go by you might only have a few minutes to change at Gorna - not a problem if you have an interrail pass but a major problem if you don't - so buy tickets in Bucharest if you can.
If the guard/conductor on the Gorna to Dimitrovgrad says 'no change' believe him - particularly if he looks a bit like Barney Rubble from the Flintstones - he is genuinely a good guy who went out if his way to help me.
Because my train was delayed I had no time to get Bulgarian money or top up my supplies of water and food at Gorna - take plenty from Bucharest
Facilities are basic on both trains - take loo roll and hand cleaner. (Interestingly we had an unscheduled 20 minute stop in Romania whilst the driver relieved himself)
The coach from Kapikule is quite comfortable but has no WC - use the facilities at Kapikule
The coach does not take as long as advertised - it takes about 2 hours less so just about everywhere will be closed and locked up when you arrive in Istanbul - the coach driver was not helpful he just wanted us off so he could go.
There are cash machines on the opposite side of the tramlines from the information office at the station and we found an early opening cafe by heading uphill by the tramlines and turning left where the tramlines turn right.
Hope that helps - and good luck if you try it. The line from Gorna goes through some stunning scenery and is an experience in itself
Flo @ 17-06-2015 21:20
Welcome to railcc and thank you very much for your detailed first-hand report! 🙂
It is really a shame what this once great route has become...one can only hope that the construction work on the Turkish side continues and will be finished some day. At where the train will end in Istanbul terminate...no one really knows probably...
So...do you plan on continue back by train to Sofia then? This would be another adventure of its own and I'd be very curious to hear from your experiences on that train too.
Back in 2013 I was lucky and could travel from Sofia to Istanbul and back to Bucharest all the way to the old Sirkeci terminus. 🙂
Pete @ 17-06-2015 21:40
Very helpful! Thank you very much for your post! 🙂
And happy traveling, Pete 🙂
adsinibiza @ 18-06-2015 07:38
Hi - thanks for your responses. Flo - yes I will be heading to Sofia later today. The bus for Kapikule leaves at ten this evening from the front of the station. I asked yesterday and there is no need to book. You just turn up apparently. I will let you know how I get on. Meanwhile the grand bazaar and other attractions await...
Flo @ 18-06-2015 14:50
OK, great! 🙂
adsinibiza @ 20-06-2015 06:32
So the bus was there outside the station just before ten and we set of for Sofia. Same coach, same driver, same couple of others. Hadn't gone more than an hour before they decided to stop for half an hour - and we stopped again for 20 minutes a little later. Arrived at Kapikule around 2 am where the operative words were hurry up an wait. After eventually having our passports and luggage checked the train left around 4 am. You need to be careful as they separate the train at Dimitrivgrad. One part goes to Gorna Orajoho and the other Plovdiv. If you are going to Sofia you want the Plovdiv carriage.
However before we left Kapikule a gang of tobacco smugglers tried to involve us in the activities - we played dumb and kept saying 'no understand' even though it was pretty obvious what they wanted us to do and what was going on - eventually they left us alone. It was however pretty obvious that the station staff and train crew knew exactky what was going on and had been bought off.
This section of track is being worked on but we arrived in Plovdiv roughly on time arriving at 8.45 - but only due to the wating time of about an hour built into the timetable at Dimitrivgrad otherwise we would have been late. The train crew were great and took us to the platform for the Sofia train which leaves at 11.20 and is due in Sofia at 14.35. We decided to walk into town - there is just enough time - however we also decided to reserve our seats for our onwards journey from Sofia whilst we had the chance - one member of the ticket sales staff at Plovdiv speaks English and it went smoothly.
The train to Sofia was roughly on time leaving Plovdiv and arriving in Sofia despite the ongoing track work. This meant I had enough time to catch the 15.15 to Thessaloniki.
So to summarise - despite the track work you can get to Sophia and we were on time. Ignore the tobacco smugglers and they will leave you alone. Neither the Kapikule to Plovdiv train or the Plovdiv to Sophia train have many facilities so take water and food. Other facilities are very basic so take tissue/loo roll and hand cleaner and don't be afraid to ask station staff during the wait at Dimitrivgrad to use the WC - I did and they unlocked it for me. As Plovdiv station is much quieter than Sofia reserve seats/buy tickets for your onward journeys from Sofia there. There are also cash machines a cafe and servicable toilets (which cost .5O lev to use) at Plovdiv. If you are going on to Thessaloniki that afternoon buy food and water in Istanbul or Plovdiv as you have limited time in Sofia and Sofia station is a mess of construction work at present.
So yes Istanbul to Sofia is quite do-able and is actually quite a nice journey through some lovely countryside in places. The train crew were also very helpful.
A word of caution if you are travelling on to Thessaloniki - the train is notoriously unreliable time wise - we were soon running an hour late which ended up as two and a half hours due to a long delay at the Bulgarian/Greek border - it took ages for the Greeks to send over a locomotives to come and get us! Eventually we persuaded the police to let us use the station facilities as the on board ones were really not good and the shop/cafe at the back of the station as there is no food or drink available on the train. We did get to Thessaloniki eventually around 2 hours late at 12.30
I hope this helps
Flo @ 20-06-2015 06:46
Thank you very much for this detailed information! 🙂
You've probably been to the international ticket window at Plovdiv? Located about in the middle of the counters in the ticket hall?
Have the reservations for the Sofia - Thessaloniki train been checked by the train staff?
adsinibiza @ 20-06-2015 15:32
Hi Flo - Yes I did go to the centre counter at Plovdiv. As far as the reservation was concerned the guard/conductor checked the reservation and accepted it - it was a second class reservation and he wasn't fussed where I sat - which was actually in what was allegedly the first class carriage!
Gabo13 @ 23-06-2015 07:28
Thank you adsinibiza for the detailed description!
We took the trip from Bucharest to Istanbul and also from Istanbul to Sofia and can totally confirm what you said. Also the tobacco gang. 😉 staff at the train station also gave us wrong times and information about where to change. However, the people in the train are very helpful and the changes are easy. So once you're in the first train/bus everything should work out smooth and relaxed.
There is also the possibilty to go from Bucharest to Istanbul by bus. 12 hours, 50€ per person. There were some guys who tried to sell this ticket to us right after our arrival in Bucharest (at the train station). However, we're glad we didn't take the bus. First of all, the bus arrives in Istanbul at 4am. And as I said, the trip by train is not as scary and bad as it may sound. 🙂 (you just wont get much sleep I guess 😉 )
Flo @ 23-06-2015 07:35
Good to hear that your trip went fine too. 🙂
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