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A Route Full of History and Adventure from Turkey to Europe: Istanbul – Sofia Express

A Route Full of History and Adventure from Turkey to Europe: Istanbul – Sofia Express

Traveling is therapy in itself for many people. But for some people, where and how they travel is also important. Here, Sofia Express promises a great travel experience for those who cannot decide where and how to travel. The adventure-filled journeys of those who want to experience this unique experience with the Sofia Express start from Halkalı Station in Istanbul and end in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, after about half a day. Here is everything you need to know about the Sofia Express, which promises a unique travel experience from Istanbul, the ancient city of the East, to Sofia, one of the most important cultural centers of the West.

Turkey has interesting travel routes on the railway network. However, Sofia Express is the only train line from our country to Europe.

For this reason, the only alternative that can be used by those who want to travel from our country to Europe by train…

Sofia Express departs from Halkalı Train Station at 20.45 in the evening and reaches Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, at around 09.35 the next morning.

The train, which makes the Sofia-Istanbul journey, departs at 18.30 in the evening and reaches Istanbul at around 05.35. So the Sofia Express is mostly a “night journey.” This situation has multiple advantages for travelers.

The first of these is that it allows even day trips. Most of the journey is completed at night. In this way, tourists arriving in Sofia have a long time to explore the city.

The second is the “adventure” opportunity that stems from the nature of night journeys! British traveler Tom Hall describes the approximately 570-kilometer journey from Istanbul to Sofia with these words: “ This train travels from one of the world’s most wonderful cities to the lands of Turkey in Europe, passes through the fortress-like border gates and reaches Bulgaria, and passes through the mountain passes to the right. arrives in Sofia, which does not see its value and is very budget friendly .”

Offering a unique travel experience to its passengers, Sofia Express is listed as one of the “best trips in 2023” by Lonely Planet, which is considered one of the most important authorities in travel publishing.

The 30 attractions on the company’s annual top-of-the-line list are ranked in 5 different categories: travel, eating, learning, relaxation, and connection. Sofia Express is shown as one of the 6 best trips that can be made in the “journey” category in 2023. Accordingly, Sofia Express is recommended for those looking for an unforgettable travel experience rather than just “arriving”.

It is very easy to reach Sofia from Istanbul with the Sofia Express and experience a unique journey along the way.

As we mentioned before, the train, which departs from Halkalı at around 20.45 in the evening, crosses a railway network of approximately 570 kilometers and reaches Sofia at around 09.35 in the morning. So the passengers of Sofia Express are on the roads for about half a day…

Some people may think that half a day on the road is long and unnecessary. However, it should be noted that this train journey is much more affordable than land and air transportation. Moreover, even if it is a night journey, it is possible to watch the changing geographies and cultures along the way with the Sofia Express…

Comfort is one of the most important aspects to consider on long train journeys.

Fortunately, Sofia Express has the opportunity to provide enough comfort to its passengers. There are two different wagon options on the train, with bunks and sleepers. Of course, for a more comfortable travel experience, it is beneficial to travel in sleeping cars.

There are private cabins for two people in the sleeping cars. However, if you have decided to go on this unique journey alone, it is possible to make the cabin completely personal by paying the price difference. Couchette wagons consist of cabins for 4 and 6 people. However, you may not find the comfort you are looking for in 6-person cabins.

Sofia Express ticket prices range from 31.12 euros to 66.68 euros

sofia express

The ticket price per person for a 4-person cabin is 31.12 euros in a couchette car. The cost of traveling in a two-person sleeping car is 36.12 euros. If you want to travel alone in the same car, the money you have to sacrifice is 66.68 euros.

It is not possible to buy tickets for Sofia Express online.

sofia express

In order to buy a ticket for this unique journey, you need to apply to TCDD’s international tolls. These toll booths are located in Istanbul, Ankara, Kayseri, Eskişehir, Izmir and Denizli, Elazig, Muş, Malatya, Tatvan, Van, Adana, Konya, Mersin, Gaziantep, Afyon, Pullu, Çerkezköy, Edirne and Kapıkule stations.

One of the downsides of Sofia Express is the passport control at the Kapıkule exit.

sofia express

When the train stops in Kapıkule, passengers have to get off the train and go to the passport control point. However, passport control can take so long that it becomes annoying in some cases. The overseas departure fee is also paid at these points. After the passport procedures and the calls made by the customs police, you can continue your journey from where you left off.

The lack of a dining car on the train is another disadvantage of the express. For this reason, it is useful to take something to eat with you before you start your trip. If you wish, you can try your luck to have a snack at one of the 10 stops where the train will take a break until it reaches Sofia. But in this case, you need to consider the possibility of missing the train or the places to eat are closed and be careful…

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