727 - İstanbul Sofya Treni - Onur

Istanbul Sofia train guide for beginners

Train service between Istanbul and Sofia has started. But it’s not easy to reach to clear official information. Only chance is travellers’ shares, where you need to check if the information is up-to-date or not.

We travelled to Sofia for you, and prepare this little guide:

What’s inside?

Timetable, tickets, access to train
WC, luggages, lights, air conditioning
Life on way

Cover Photo: Onur Uysal ©

Written by Onur Uysal

Railway consultant. Owner of RT Media & Consultancy. Founder and editor of Rail Turkey.


  1. Why are there so few passengers on the Sofia/Bucarest-Halkali Istanbul route ? Well, I took the Bucarest Halkali sleeper last month, but only very few people know it exists. The DB or SBB online timetable show all the relations with train changes (3 train changes for the Bucarest Halkali train) but they don’t mention anything about direct carriages (…) – If they would update their website info, or if TCDD would tell them to do, then they would stand a chance to attract more travellers (apart from the rail enthusiasts, the Interrail travellers …)

  2. Hi, I want to take the train from Sofia to Istambul. Do you know where I can buy the tickets in Sofia? Thanks for the help!

    1. With SBB at the station in Switzerland they proposed 1st class single sleeper Bucuresti – Halkali Istanbul for CHF 200; the same purchased at Bucuresti the day of the travel came out half price (and they accept CC payments). In meantime I learnt that the sleeper car has been cut.

  3. My mom and are will be traveling from Istanbul to Bulgaria and then beyond. We have the Eurail Global Pass which says it includes trains into and out of Turkey. We will be traveling to Sofia from Halkalı and would like to purchase a Sleeper compartment. What would be our cost for each ticket (double occupancy one-way)?

  4. That was great train and the quality was high…but we right now are in sofia, unfortunately we bought the return ticket from istanbul and we want to change the date, today we go to station international part and they said we should pay 60 AB to change the date, there is no hint or at least rule for that and the lady could not just explain the situation….

  5. Thanks for this informative site, Onur! I’m on the train now. It’s great.

    You might want to add a couple things:

    1) they took my ticket away and now I’m not sure what time it stops next Plovdiv. Around 8, I think. So stopping times would be great!

    2) Might be worth mentioning that their is no WiFi, as far as I can find.

    Thanks again. 🙂

    1. Hi Steffani. There’s a link to timetable in the post. I prefer a link rather than a image, since timetable may change..

      And thanks for WiFi info.

      I hope you enjoyed your trip..

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