Questions from travelers

We’d like to help you for your questions about train travel.

Please keep in mind that we are not a call center working for TCDD Tasimacilik or any other operator, and we cannot help you for ticketing or reservation problems.

You can write your question at the bottom of this page, in “questions/comments” box.

655 replies »

  1. Good Morning, is Ankara-Teheran train service finally reopened? What about frequency? Thanks, Francisco

    • Hello,
      My family and I are going to travel to Istanbul with train from Sofia on 3rd of September.
      We know that there is an option for transfer from Halkali to Sirkeci but when I asked for this here in Bulgaria (the employee of the railway) they didn’t confirmed this possibility. Could please tell my how we can reach Sirkeci? Also we know that this transfer is included in the price of the ticket from Bucurest (which again pass through Bulgaria).

      Also, another trouble I faced – in Bulgaria they refused to sell me two-way tickets and I’m really concern that there will be no places on the train for Sofia on 7th of September. Could you please tell me is there any chance to book or buy tickets online?

      I really will appreciate your help!

    • Hi Ivelina. There’s no more bus connection between Halkali and Sirkeci anymore. But there’s better: Marmaray, the suburban train. Fast, easy. Departing from same station at Halkali. Unfortunately there’s no chance to book online. I believe you’ll find tickets easily for return when you arrive at Istanbul.

  2. Good evening.

    I have an interrail Global pass.
    How do I make reservations?
    I don’t need the ticket, since I have the pass, but does it work normally? Is it enough to show the QR-code when boarding a train?

    • For long distance trains and HSTs, reservation is a must. Many trains are full, thus you need to make reservation in advance. I’m not sure about reservation via website. If not possible, visiting station is the only choice left. For regional trains nothing needed. Just get on train.

  3. Hello Onur,
    we are planning a rail trip to Türkiye this September/October (travelling to Edirne with Optima Express). After that, probably something like Istanbul – Konya – Karaman – Adana – Elâzığ – Tatvan – Van – (Bus) – Kars – Ankara. May I ask you about your assessment of the current security situation in the eastern provinces? Swiss department of foreign affairs has issued travel warnings for Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Diyarbakir, Bingöl, Mardin, Batman, Bitlis, Siirt, Sirnak, Hakkari, Van, Agri and Igdir provinces. Is this something to be worried about? (Probably not if travelling by train/bus and not leaving larger settlements?)
    Best regards from Switzerland and thanks for this great webpage!

    • Well, hard to give security advices, feeling great responsibility. Trains are safe, nothing happened since long time. You’ll go nearby some of mentioned cities while traveling from Tatvan to Van and Van to Kars by bus. I wouldn’t worry. Most people are very friendly and helpful in eastern regions though English is not so common. Being with crowd may be a safe way.

  4. Hi Onur
    Sorry to trouble you again in relation to my planned trip from Halkali to Bucharest on 18 August 2022. I am looking to make a seat reservation and use my eurail pass for the ticket. An agent in the UK says that they can book a reservation on this train for me but that there is no availability at all on 18 August 2022 – no seats, no couchettes, no sleeper berths – so they have asked me to choose another date. It seems surprising that the train is totally booked; who could I call to check on this? A station? I don’t want to change plans unless I have to as traveling on another day would be quite difficult for me. Thank you so much once again.

    • Hi Julia, I was surprised and also suspected because there are only couchettes on Boshpor, so agent’s feedback might be based on a “closed-to-sales” service. I called the international desk (you can do the same, using desk’s phone number of Sirkeci Station, see Rail Turkey page for Sirkeci, hope English is spoken there) and the staff said there are plenty of space, even full compartment is available for 18th of August. I’d suggest, for cross check-, any other date via that UK agent, to understand if he/she can really access to service. It’s really stupid that buying a ticket needs so much effort. Hope you can get on that train. Let me know how this ends.

    • They probably have looked if there are couchette-6… which are the most common in western Europe but don’t exist in Turkish trains anymore since a decade. She should look for couchette-4.

      I never reserve for this train, you never have a problem getting on it. I wouldn’t bother all the trouble and just get on it the day itself.

  5. Thank you both Onur and İskender, that is very helpful. İskender, can you recall approximately how much it costs to book a couchette? and / or to make a seat reservation only (if I use a eurail pass). Many thanks, Julia

    • You’re welcome 🙂

      I think it is somthing like €30 per person, or less. Certainly not more.

    • Thanks İskender .. is that the price for the couchette reservation only or for the ticket and couchette reservation?

  6. hello
    It is possible to buy a ticket in advance at the Istanbul station for the Sofia -Istanbul route on the Sofia express night train departing from Sofia?
    Thank you
    Eva Aranzabe

    • You can check prices at Istanbul Ankara HST page of Rail Turkey for full way. For departure from stations on way, better to check directly at TCDDT online system.

  7. Hi Onur, now I have (with your help) understood how to get my tickets departing from Istanbul Halkali to Bucharest at 21:40 on 18 August, I have to work out how to get up to Istanbul Halkali from Marmaris. The earliest I can leave is early morning on 17 August. I haven’t been able to find a way to go by train for a lot of the way so am assuming I will have to go by bus the whole way (but tell me if you know a way to do a lot of the trip by train within my constraints!). I can get a bus that stops at Istanbul Anadolu (Dudullu), Istanbul-Avrupa (Alibeyköy) and Istanbul-Avrupa (Ensenler). Which station do you suggest I should get off at in Istanbul? Thank you once again, Julia

    • Hi Julia. It needs timing cross check and needs many interchange, but Marmaris-Selcuk by bus, Selcuk-Izmir by suburban or regional train (online available), Izmir-Balikesir by train (Izmir Mavi or Ege), Balikesir-Bandirma and then Bandirma-Yenikapi ferry is an alternative. Yes a bit tiring and risky. You must check if interchange timings are ok For bus, Alibeykoy has tram connection to Sirkeci (but you need to walk 1 km, last part under construction, but you’ll watch Golden Horn on way). Esenler has metro connection to Yenikapi. From Sirkeci/Yenikapi, Marmaray can take you directly to Halkali station.

    • Thanks again, Onur, you have saved me heaps of research. Much appreciated!!

  8. Hi Onur,
    thanks for your honest reply to my security question about the eastern provinces. I think we’ll go for it. — As there is no railway from Tatvan or Van to Kars, what would be the easiest way to travel between these cities? Probably by bus? Which website would you recommend for booking bus journeys in Turkey, generally? How reliable are journeys by bus in eastern Turkey?
    Thanks in advance and best regards!

    • Bus is the only way. You can buy via obilet.com. Buses are the main travel modal in Turkey, thus average quality is higher than expected. I did not travel by bus in Eastern region, but have not heard any problem for years.

    • Hi Onur,
      I have visited obilet.com before, and it also lists several connections by different bus companies in this region, for example between Tatvan and Agri. But somehow none of these can be booked (I tried different dates). There is *always* the message “Otobüs firmasından kaynaklanan sebeplerden dolayı sefer gösterilememiştir.” Hmmm… (?)

  9. I’ve just a little question about the booking process (I want to book Dogu Express): There is the need to enter a mobile phone number. However, it’s only possible to entere a Turkish number. How do you book if you do not have a Turkish number? Or, can I just enter a phantasy-number or will there be confidential data sent to this number?

    • Hi. Info about ticket will be sent. I wouldn’t use a real number, since he/she can try refund etc. Maybe TCDDT’s WhatsApp number? Note that mobile nums in Turkey start with one of 505-507, 551-555, 530-539, 541-549.

    • Hey, thanks a lot for that information. I might just take a number like 2222222, whatever works, and hope that the recipient won’t change anything!

  10. Hi Onur. I am trying to get train tickets for the Dogu Express and also for the Kurtalan Express. Can you please recommend travel agencies in Istanbul to email and to book tickets for us? Thank you for your help.

  11. We are travelling across Europe and wish to take the Sofia to Istanbul overnight train on Wednesday 21st September. It looks though this is not possible to book on line and we must buy at the station. We will not be at Sofia station until the 21st- what if the train if full or there are no sleeping compartments? is there anywhere else we can buy in advance?
    Thank you
    Brigid

    • Hello, can I travel in coushet-2 from Sofia to Istanbul with a small dog ( 8 kilo in plastic box) from Sofia (or Plovdiv) to Istanbul?

  12. We are trying to take a train from Edirne to Istanbul with bicycles. Is it possible to take them on the train?

  13. Another question about the online ticket: If I buy an online ticket, I need to get the right ticket at the train station beforehand. Is it correct that I can get this ticket at any train station, i.e. it must not be at the train station where my trip starts?
    I ask because I bought a Dogu Express berth ticket but only until Demirdag. There I would like to change to a normal pullman seat in the seat car (I prefer the comfort of a seat during daytime), i.e. I won’t have time to get my ticket there at the train station.

    • PS: Or I just see that my online-‘ticket’ has already a QR-code on it. Does that mean that I don’t need to get a real ticket beforehand at the train station but I already have the ‘real’ ticket?

  14. Thanks again for that! And as mentioned earlier, if you have a paypal-account or something similar, I would be very pleased to pay you a coffee or something for this very valuable information you provide on this website and on the forum!

  15. Hello, I am trying to take the overnight train from istanbul to sofia either this sunday July 31, but I might not be able to make it to the station to get a ticket before then. Do tickets usually sell-out before the day of departure? Thanks.

    • Thank you for the reply Onur. I’m sorry I am a little confused. Do you mean that tickets are on sale 60 days in advance or they sell out 60 days in advance? I am just worried If i will be able to buy a ticket on the same day that I want to leave or the train will be full.

    • They are on sale 60 days in advance and train has been rarely full. I guess you can find tickets easily anytime.

  16. Hi!

    Is there a luggage storage at Halkali?
    I’ll arrive by plane and would need to travel to Sofia same day and I don’t have the ticket yet!
    So my plan was to use bus to Halkali, leave luggage there and then go to Sirkeci to buy it ticket for the same day.
    Is it realistic?

    Thanks!

    • No luggage room at Sirkeci as far as I know. I’ll check possibility to buy ticket at Halkali. If not, I’d suggest to go directly to Sirkeci from airport by bus, buy the ticket and take Marmaray for Halkali. Faster and easier than 1st plan.

    • Thanks, Onur! BTW, Google doesn’t show direct bus to Sirkeci, that’s why I thought H-3 to Halkali where I could leave heavy luggage would be easier.
      Why international train station doesn’t have luggage storage!? Ah, just complaining…

    • Ah, Google has right. Sirkeci-Yenikapi bus is canceled. Sorry. Well, then go to Halkali by bus. Check if there’s anything new about luggage. With or without luggage, use Marmaray to go to Sirkeci and come back. I guess you’ll need about 3-4 hrs for all.

  17. Hi Onur,
    is it possible for foot passengers (just for fun…) to take the railway ferry from Van to Tatvan? I’m aware that the standard mode of transportation would be by bus. 🙂

    By the way: obilet.com seems to work again, looks like that was a temporary glitch.

    Best regards, Ralph.

    • ferry used to have that option for Transasia. I guess it’s still so. And train staff will know it. I’ll try to learn it as well.

  18. Hello Onur,
    how is it possible to buy tickets online (starting from Kars), if a turkish mobile number is required?

    • @ Annali

      Onur has made it as clear as he can, in his position!

  19. Hi Onur. Thank you for your help. If possible, can you please confirm whether bookings are confirmed by email? My mobile is not compatible with a Turkish number. Mine starts with 082…..

    • You will get a ticket in PDF format sent to your email address. If you can’t find it check junk folder. Anyway on the purchase screen you will get a PNR which is fine to use with ID to get on the train

  20. Hi Onur, 30 days (or 15 days, respectively) before departure of a certain train, at which time exactly (for example 0:00 Turkish time) do seats go online in EYBIS?
    Thanks & best regards, Ralph.

    • Unfortunately it’s not a fully automated process. So it depends. Genetally soon after midnight, but sometimes even in day time, not following 15/30 days rule.

  21. Hi Onur, I know this was discussed before, but just want to make sure. We need to buy tickets for Istanbul/Konya. Is it 15 days in advance? And for the Toros and Kurtalan Express 30 days in advance? Thank you again for your help and patience in answering all my questions. It is much appreciated.

  22. Hi Onur, I will be catching the sleeper train from Istanbul Halkali to Bucharest on 17 August. Is it correct that although the train departs from Halkali, I am not able to buy a ticket at Halkali and need to buy my ticket from an International train station such as Sirkeci? Thank you.

    • Though Halkali is not listed in stations with international ticket desk, one reader reported that it can be bought by now at Halkali.

  23. Hi,
    Do you have information about the Bucharest-Istanbul and Istanbul-Sofia car. On the CFR website it says that the train is full till Sunday. Is it correct?

    • For westward direction, you better check via Internatioanal ticket desks in Turkey. See contact info at Sirkeci or Halkali station pages.

  24. Hi
    You offer a good service. Can you tell me if I can travel with a motorbike on train from Kars to Edirne. If not Kars to Istanbul?
    Thanks
    Richard Jackson

    • Kars-Ankara: Most probably. Ankara-Istanbul: Less probably. Istanbul-Edirne: No. In general, you can carry it when train has luggage car and there’s suitable space.

  25. Hi Onur,
    right now it seems there are no tickets at alle from Kayseri to Ankara, not even from Kars. Any idea why?
    Many thanks!
    Martin

  26. Hello!
    What’s your pet policy on Istanbul – Sofia train? pet-rabbit? We will have a health insurance.

    • I meant – we will have pet health certificate/pet passport. No issues to bring our pet rabbit on a train?

    • Hi Tara. First of all, it’s not our policy, it’s TCDDT’s. Rail Turkey is a train travel portal. It’s stated that no pets allowed at sleepers and Sofia train has only sleepers. I’d suggest you to talk with ticket desk at station to check if they can offer a solution.

  27. Hi Onur
    Can you tell me if the Pamukkale Express has an on board cafeteria service? We are travelling the full 7hr 53 minute distance Eskisehir to Denizli. Or do we need to prepare in advance and board the train loaded with a bag of food goodies for the trip?
    Thanks!

  28. HI Onur,
    Last night my group had four reservations on the Halkali to Bucharest night train. We made a mistake and arrived at Halkali station in plenty of time for the old departure time of 21:40 which was as listed in my eurrail app, but we were too late for the current departure time of 20:45. Recognising that this was my mistake and that the train journey I missed is now in the past, is there any way that I can reschedule the tickets for a future date or apply for a partial refund? I don’t expect there is anything I can do but as the tickets cost around euros 200 for four tickets, I am asking just in case. Thanks for your help.
    Julia

    • Hi Julia. This change is because Turkey stops using summer-time. So tariff in Europe side stays same, but Turkey adapts it according to this change. I guess, you can apply to the ticket office that you bought telling this problem and ask for date change (better than refund). I’m not sure if you can get anything, but I’d suggest you to try. If you bought from TCDDT, use cozum@tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr. I hope you can get an answer.

  29. Hi Onur. I have another question. Which is the better side to sit, facing the front of the train, on the Toros Express if we don’t want too much sun all afternoon? Thank you again for all your help. It is very much appreciated.

    • Hi again Onur. I am sorry, but did not get the first email on my question about the seating on the Toros. Very sorry to be a nuisance, you are very patient, but can you please answer again? Thank you again for your help.

    • Now I relaized that your first question came under the article about Talgo.. I’ll delete that one Here’s my answer: No perfect solution for sun, I believe. When going towards Konya, the direction is first west, then north, then west. So for avoiding morning sun, you better choose left. But then you’ll face sun until noon. If you are travelling on the opposite direction towards Adana, left is a safe site. For scenery, I’m quite sure you’ll not regret chosing any side. Let me know if you do.

  30. Hi Onur
    You maybe missed this question from me a few days ago? I’ve not seen a reply yet – hope you can help. Thanks!

    Here it is again …

    Hi Onur Can you tell me if the Pamukkale Express has an on board cafeteria service? We are travelling the full 7hr 53 minute distance Eskisehir to Denizli. Or do we need to prepare in advance and board the train loaded with a bag of food goodies for the trip? Thanks!

    • I thougt this was which I answered. Sorry. There’s no dining car in day time running trains. TCDDT authorises some sellers who walk along the train and sell water, snack and beverages. I would prepare a bag of food.

  31. Hello Onur, does the Toros Express, Konya to Adana, have a dining car? Some websites say yes, some say no. Thanks again.

  32. I am hoping to travel from Istanbul to Bucharest in late November. Will there be couchette service available? What is the best route?

  33. Hi we would like to know if we can take 2 bikes on the Bosfor overnight from Istanbul to Bucharest? Thanks

  34. 👋 hi
    I want to travel from erzurum to istanbul .is it possible I freight my car on the same train?
    And if yes how can I calculate the costs.
    Or what other way you suggest.
    Thanks in advance

  35. Hi. Thank you so much for all the information on this site. It is otherwise hard to find out. We are a group of 6 travelling Plovdiv to Istanbul on 20 September and want to return on 25 September. We cannot buy the return tickets from Bulgaria. I understand from your site that we cannot buy them online and need to buy at either train station in Istanbul. My question is do you know what hours the international ticket desks work as we will be arriving very early in the morning and it would be good to buy the return tickets on arrival. Thanks again. Much appreciated.

    • Thank you for your kind words. The desk is open during day time until train departs. So until late evening. Not know opening time in the morning. If it’s closed at Halkali on arrival, I’d suggest you to buy tickets at Sirkeci during daytime. Sirkeci is at the heart of İstanbul, in old city. I’m sure you’ll pass nearby during your visit.

  36. Hi Onur
    I want to buy tickets for Eskisehir to Istanbul to travel on17 September. Booking is still not open for any date beyond 14 September – they stopped selling tickets beyond that date about a week ago. Do you have any idea when I might be able to buy for 17 September, which is not so far away now? I am getting nervous!

  37. Hi again Onur. Another question from me. We are taking the YHT from Sogutlucesme to Konya tomorrow and from Konya we take the Toros Express to Adana. Does the Toros depart from the same station where we arrive by YHT from Istanbul? We do not have to go to another station for the Toros? Thank you again for all your help.

    • Hi Annali. There are 2 HST stations in Konya. One is Konya Selcuklu (recently build modern one) and second is Konya (old one with yellow walls). The trains from Istanbul to Konya (or Karaman) first calls at Konya Selcuklu and then Konya, which is last stop for trains not continue to Karaman. This second is the old station, where also Toros departs. Enjoy.

  38. 1st:

    Many thanks for this great ressource you have established here. It has lots of usefull information that I would have expected on TCDD website but could not find it there. You should get funded by them for helping making english speaking travellers TCDD customers. Best wishes and greetings from Germany.

    2nd:

    I do not really get along with the TCDD-e-ticket website (apparently offline at the moment anyway), so I have some questions:

    a) The fares seem extremly low, is it really the full price or is it just the reservation fee for the seat but without the ticket itself? For example Ankara to Malatya only 106 TRY equalling 5,76 EUR only.

    b) Booking online requieres a Turkish mobile phone number. Is there a way to do it whithout? I have none, neither mobile nor landline.

    c) Are there traval agencies abroad, e. g. in the EU, that sell long-distance train tickets and reservations?

    d) In your blogs you mention that trains are often full. Is there a risk to not get seats anymore if I try to book at the station only the day before departure, especially on the Firat Express from Malatya to Adana (an a few days later in return)?

    Many thanks in advance.

  39. Hi. Is it possible to book train ticket from Istanbul to Sofia online? If yes, which website?

  40. Hi! I would like to get some info about travelling between Budapest and Istanbul, or Sofia and Istambul. Is it possible to get the tickets online? If possible, where?

    Thanks for your attention!

    • Unfortunately no online ticket available. Note that Budapest-Istanbul train runs only during summer and service will soon end.

  41. Hello, I’m planning to travel with my girlfriend from Sofia to Istanbul by overnight train. Actually I have two questions that I hope you will be able to answer to: 1) since online ticket reservation is not possible, is there a chance to find some room on the train (I’d like to get the two bed compartment) if I buy the ticket on the day of departure?; 2) once I arrive in Istanbul, do I need liras to buy tickets to get to the city centre or will i be able to pay by card? Thank you in advance!

    • Hi. You’ll probably find empty compartment, but who knows? You can pay your tickets with credit card. Enjoy.

  42. Hello,
    Can I buy Istanbulkart at the Halkali station? If not, where and what kind of tickets I have to buy for Marmaray ?
    Thank you very much in advance for your answer!
    Kind regards,
    Mina

  43. Hello,
    I’m looking at travelling to Turkey in December from Sofia. And returning in January, Some websites say the train only runs April to October!
    Could you confirm, is the service operating year round?
    Thank you

  44. Hello. I have booked tickets from Sivas station. Now I read that Sivas station is closed for main line trains. Do I understand well, that there is a bus service to Bostankaya? What time should I arrive to Sivas station? I have tickets for 4 Eylul Mavi train which should depart from Sivas at 6:00 AM and from Bostankaya at 6:25 – so when the bus leaves Sivas station? At 6:00 or earlier? The same for Dogu Express which should depart at 5:12 from Sivas.
    Thank you very much, Adam.

  45. when trying to purchase a ticket it asks for your Turkish mobile – we don’t have one and it doesn’t let you purchase a ticket – you can enter your email but requests you to also enter a mobile – how do you get around this please so we can make a purchase?

    • Inappropriate to recommend stg, but note that your ticket info will be sent as sms to that number, also to your mail.

  46. Hello
    I have a Golden Retriever : I will travel from Istanbul to Tirana Albania .
    How do I travel with my Dog?

    • HI Brent. I have the same question! Did you find out?

      Kind regards,
      Venera

You?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s