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:

Section Page
Timetable, tickets, access to train 1
Sleepers 2
Couchettes 3
WC, luggages, lights, air conditioning 4
Life on way 5
Ticket sales at Sirkeci

Unfortunately, there’s no way to buy it through internet. There’s no even way to buy it from a train station other than Sirkeci. But don’t worry. Train is not full, you can buy it just before you get on the train.

No names on tickets, you can buy it before you decide with whom to go. 🙂

Roundtrip is possible, but no discount. Cash and credit card are accepted.

Where’s Sirkeci station?

Do not expect much to learn at ticket office

There were two officiers at Sirkeci with very limited English. One of them didn’t want to answer any question even in Turkish.

Timetable and ticket fares of Istanbul-Sofia train

Train departs from Halkali

Unfortunately, trains cannot reach Istanbul city center yet. The departure station is at 20 km west of Istanbul, in the middle of nowhere, at Halkali Station.

Where’s Halkalı Station?

But do not worry. There’s a shuttle service from Sirkeci Station. Departure at 21:30, from the side gate. You may hear “be here at 21”, but do not pay attention. Shuttle does not depart before 21:30. Do not worry for horrible traffic of Istanbul either. Train waits for the shuttle in any case.

TCDD Sirkeci Halkalı Servisi - Onur

Written by Onur Uysal

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

One comment

  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 …)

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