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train from Istanbul to Thessaloniki (or vice versa)

train from Istanbul to Thessaloniki (or vice versa)

Old Jun 14th, 2015, 03:38 PM
  #1  
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train from Istanbul to Thessaloniki (or vice versa)

Has anyone taken the train from Istanbul to Thessaloniki (or the other way around)? If so, how long did it take and was the ride worth the time (vs flying from Athens -Istanbul for example) in terms of scenery? thanks
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Old Jun 14th, 2015, 04:00 PM
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My info says there are no direct trains between the two and the only route takes 24 hours - via Plovdid and Sofia, Bulgaria with two transfers - one at 2 am or so. Not viable. Check buses as they may do a direct route. anyways having driven that route no it is not especially scenic IMO. check these sources to confirm that: www.bahn.de/en - the German Railways web site for all European trains and www.seat61.com.
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Old Jun 14th, 2015, 04:11 PM
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There is no train connecting Thessaloniki with Istanbul, as far as i know.
Connections to Bulgaria - Skopje and Serbia have been recently re established, but not to Turkey.

This is the official site of the Greek Railways : Trainose

http://www.trainose.gr/en
clausar is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2015, 05:46 PM
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my bad, I thought I understood from the guidebook that such a train existed, but it is certainly not worth all the changes and transfers...so I will phrase my question another way...
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Old Jun 14th, 2015, 07:50 PM
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We flew from Athens to Thessaloniki on Aegean Air in 2007.

Stayed at the Makedonia Palace Hotel. Beautiful pool.

Loved the Archaeological Museum. The gold jewellery on display rivals anything you would see at Cartier or ilias lalaounis.

Thin
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Old Jun 14th, 2015, 08:39 PM
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For traveling in Greece, use guidebooks for finding out what interesting things are there. For actual routing and booking, use the online resources. You see museum hours and prices listed in guidebooks? They are unlikely to reflect the current reality. Same for the transportation routes.
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Old Jun 15th, 2015, 01:24 AM
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There are 2 daily train connections between the Greek/Turkish border at Kastanies (close to Istanbul) and Alexandroupoli - Thessaloniki - Athens.
In order to reach Kastanies, take any Istanbul - Edirne bus (about every 30 min, 3 hrs ride), go on by taxi from Edirne bus station to the Turkish customs and with another taxi from the Greek custom office to Kastanies. There are also buses from Kastanies towards Alex - Kavala - Thessaloniki.

If it must not be the train, take just the direct Istanbul - Thessaloniki bus (metro turizm).
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Old Jun 15th, 2015, 01:54 AM
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The trip from Thessaloniki to Alexandroupolis ( near the Turkish border) alone takes 7 hours and is not scenic at all... ( which was OP's question).
Taking taxis to/from the border and another train to Istanbul doesn't sound like a fun thing to do.

The Athens - Istanbul flight would make more sense and would allow you to dedicate more time to places you really want to see.

If you would like to visit Thessaloniki, both Aegean Airlines and Turkish Airlines fly from there to Istanbul.
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Old Jun 15th, 2015, 06:34 AM
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thanks all for the good feedback. this then leads to the question - with two weeks in Greece is Thessalonki worth taking say 4 nights away from Athens/Delphi/the islands?
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Old Jun 15th, 2015, 07:42 AM
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IMO though Thessles is neat I would not take 4 days away from those other areas. But you could say fly or bus to Thessaloniki and then work towards Athens - Meteora perched monasteries - Delphi - Corinth - Athens - can easily be done by train or bus.
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Old Jun 15th, 2015, 09:26 AM
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Thessaloniki is a nice city with byzantine monuments and a great archaeological museum.
It is the second largest city of Greece, and one of my favourite ones. There are byzantine monuments, a super long sea promenade, ideal for strolling and sitting at one of the numerous cafes. it is famous in Greece for it's local cuisine, that has many influences from the greeks who came from Asia minor and Istanbul.
It is also a good base for day trips to the archaeological site of Vergina or cities like Edessa with its waterfalls or Kastoria, a beautiful city located on the Lake of Orestias.

Here are images of Kastoria: http://tinyurl.com/nlrxr9j
Edessa : http://tinyurl.com/oe8b6s3
and vergina : http://tinyurl.com/nu2fbjq
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Old Jun 15th, 2015, 10:17 AM
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Thessaloniki is indeed a unique place as I recall - well worth a few days - too bad it is the odd thing out in terms of location for most folks and what they do do in Greece.
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Old Jun 15th, 2015, 01:08 PM
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I would say abandon the idea of crossing into Turkey the overland route...

So, forget Thessaloniki then. Spend a week to 10 days doing Athens>Mycenae>Olympia>Delphi>Meteora>Athens (or whatever), then island hop across the Aegean for a few days. Arrive Turkish west coast, visit some nice ancient ruins there, fly up to İstanbul for the last few days.

As you can see, I'm a bit of a history fan. What are your travel interests?
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Old Jun 15th, 2015, 01:41 PM
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I did the reverse Croesus - I was in Istanbul, took a bus to Kudasi - not very long really - then boat over to a Greek island just off shore then took boats, including overnight boats to some islands and ended up in Athens - a 4 day trip of a unique nature it could be.
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Old Jun 15th, 2015, 05:57 PM
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Thanks so much everyone - it sounds like it will mostly be a matter of logistics as there is so much that looks and sounds wonderful.

practical but embarrassing question: being a lady of a certain age do the aforementioned buses have bathrooms in them as American ones would?

Love the pictures Clausar, and Croesus, we love history in all its forms and natural beauty - hiking but nothing too adventurous - in our past travels, although we've loved the museums and restaurants in the big cities (i.e. Lisbon, Paris), what we loved the best was wandering the back roads and enjoying smaller villages and the countryside.

So taking everyone's advice into account what I'm playing with is start in Athens, visit Delphi and then up to Thesaloniki, then fly to one or more islands, and then take a ferry over to Istanbul for the final 4 nights or so. Does this sound reasonable? other suggestions? thanks
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 08:41 AM
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Reasonable: may be for you
Feasible: most probably not
May be you have a look at http://www.gtp.gr/RoutesForm.asp
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 04:36 PM
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That's sounds like a nice itinerary to me.
Start in Athens , visit Delphi, then carry on to perhaps the Pelion mountain, a beautiful and unique area full of quaint villages and orchards , continue to Meteora and from there to Vergina, before you reach Thessaloniki.

If you would like to visit some islands , I recommend reversing the trip and start from Thessaloniki, ending your trip in Athens from where you can reach all islands with ease.
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