I am trying to find a good night train option to get into and out of Bulgaria from Istanbul and Bucharest. I found a Istanbul to Sofia night train but it had a couple of transfers including a "car ferry" in the middle of the night. Does anyone else know of a better way? It does not have to be Sofia...another town in Bulgaria would be fine. To summarize, I am looking for a Istanbul to ?? Bulgaria night train. Then a ?? Bulgaria to Bucharest, Romania night train. Target time is April/May. Thanks!!
If you really, really want to ride a night train I can't help. But Turkish Air and or Wizzair will make the connections for under $200. The real difference is time. 12 hours vs 2 hours. Also see http://www.ricksteves.com/graffiti/helpline/index.cfm/rurl/topic/97485/planning-trip--fly-in-instanbul-fly-out-prague--what-in-between.html
if you haven't been to plovdiv in bulgaria, suggest you go there and spend overnight. great place with a lot of stuff to see. it's only a short ride to sofia, you can take a train from istanbul to plovdiv. i had taken a day time train from sofia to bucharest, leaves early in the morning arrives around 5 or 6. its a pretty comfy ride not many passengers. overall trains are not expensive in this region, but it does take time from a to b. so if cost is an issue, you may want to break up the trip to see a few smaller places along the way, the big cities are not that more interesting than the smaller towns.
This is how I would do it. Get a good map and a guide of Bulgaria. Then on Deutsche Bahn put Istanbul to Bucuresti and if I have to change train somewhere I could stay there. Or go directly to Plovdiv and then to Bucuresti. You can tailor your own way. Deutsche Bahn has train schedules of all Europe.
I concur, Plovdiv is one of my favorite places. http://budapestflat.shutterfly.com/bu3 Bulgaria is a very under rated tourist destination.
Charles, See my reply under Transportation. The map you need is Rail Map Europe by Thomas Cook (Co.). Amazon has it. You will better see the route from Istanbul to Buchuresti.
Thanks for the tips.
glad to help a neighbor.