Istanbul to budapest


Sep 1st, 2015, 02:33 PM
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Istanbul to budapest

We are spending 2 weeks traveling from Istanbul to Budapest by rail and bus. We are planning to buy point to point tickets, would it be better to buy a rail pass?
Also suggestions of what places we must go to between those two locations would be helpful.
travelkid94 is offline  
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Sep 1st, 2015, 03:58 PM
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How many rail trips are you doing and how long - trains are still rather cheap in the Balkans compared to western Europe but the value of a railpass is that it is also fully flexible - just hop on any train anytime except those few that may have mandatory seat reservations in which case you go to the ticket window and make one.

Trains are older here - I would definitely go first class (2nd class could be crowded with refugees fleeing to Hungary which at times has caused the main Budapest train station to be closed with th4e zillions of them with tickets wanting to hop aboard - so I think first class would be a wise investment assuming they have 2nd class tickets.

For railpass info and a lot on trains in the Balkans and Central Europe check; and

For sample fares of walk-up or advance purchase tickets check the national rail sites of the country involved - Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovenia, Romania and all those other ex-Yugoslav republics.
PalenQ is offline  
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Sep 1st, 2015, 10:49 PM
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As duplicated on Tripadvisor! No, just buy regular tickets as they are so cheap.

Only a straight-through long distance journey from Istanbul to western Europe warrants a pass, and then it's neck and neck with regular tickets.

Remember the first leg of the train from Istanbul to Veliko Tranovo/Sofia/Bucharest is still a bus at the moment.

I wasn't enthralled by Sofia, so I'd take the Bucharest route, and Veliko Tarnovo, and Brasov & Sighisoara in Transylvania are all lovely places to stop off.

Istanbul to Veliko/Sofia/Bucharest is 2nd class only, old but OK. The scenery is lovely - take supplies with you and a beer or two!

Once in Bucharest, by all means go first class in Romania, it's so cheap in any case, although you'll find 2nd class on a quality fast train perfectly acceptable and better than 1st class (if it's not 2nd class only) on a secondary slow train.
Man_in_seat_61 is online now  
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Sep 2nd, 2015, 06:48 AM
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You can get a Eurail Select Pass for any four countries in those areas in first class for about $20 a day - how much can you save on just buying tickets - first class would cost more on nearly any train ride more than a hour - check the sites I mentioned for details.
PalenQ is offline  
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Sep 2nd, 2015, 09:18 AM
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Oops those were prices for folks under 26 - for those over it is about $30/day unlimited unfettered rail travel - most trains just hop on - no language problem or waiting at ticket windows.
PalenQ is offline  
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Sep 2nd, 2015, 10:20 AM
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Are there going to be problems with the trains and all the migrants/refugees ?
Bedar is offline  
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Sep 2nd, 2015, 12:20 PM
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Good question Bedar and I think no one can say at this point - go first class and I would think not - trains are running as Man in Seat 61 says and restricted to passport holders only- Europen Union passports that is - buses would be also affected.
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