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questions on west bound travel from turkey

Hello everyone thank you for reading this.
I am traveling in a mixed group of 4 Americans to Istanbul September 2021.
1. What is a trusted source to purchase train tickets around turkey.
2. Can we travel through Bulgaria and Greece via train on our way to N. Macedonia? Should we fly instead?
3. Please provide any current information in general about hotels in istanbul vs. hostels

thank you

Posted by
6912 posts

rome2rio.com will give you an overview of what transport options exist between places. It takes some drilling down to get to the actual vendor/provider

Posted by
4273 posts

Seat61.com is the reliable guide for rail travel around Europe.

Posted by
17765 posts

You may find there is no rail connection between Greece and Bulgaria when the time comes. Greece itself has a very thin rail network. You can probably manage it by bus, but in multiple stages, and it will take a long time, quite likely multiple days of 8- to 12-hour rides.

Skyscanner.com is a good source of information for intra-European flights.

Very few people have traveled recently, so I don't think you're going to uncover much current information here. A look at booking.com (which sometimes lists hostels as well as hotels) may give you an indication of what lodgings are currently open. That situation might improve or deteriorate by next September.

Posted by
1568 posts

Look into buses in Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece and Macedonia. Generally people do not use trains in this region. You do not need to book anything in advance in these regions. If you are going from Istanbul to Macdeonia, the normal route is via Sofia - there is a fast highway from Istanbul to south of Sofia, then regional roads. Going through Greece is also possible you'd probably have to transfer in Thessaloniki. You can also fly as well, its kind of a strange question, only you can determine what to do. That said Skopje - which I assuming you are heading to - is a dump, not sure why you would want to rush across European Turkey, a pretty interesting part of Greece and/or Bulgaria to get to Macedonia.

Posted by
3 posts

this is all incredible information. Because of Covid Americans right now are only allowed in certain countries which is why i need to know what public transport is available, or is flying the better/faster option. And im in the process of doing research on a part of the world that is 100% foreign to me. Any recommendations of cities to see or NOT see is welcomed

Posted by
17765 posts

How many days do you have to make your way from Istanbul to whatever is your next mandatory stop, and what is that destination?

Posted by
3478 posts

Ashley, keep in mind that what is open to Americans right now, can be quite different by September. Either more run of the mill countries open, or the countries you are interested closed.
the challenge about any of this is that transport links are limited, and so even flight planning may not represent a more open skies by then. At least if you can find some route, it puts you in a better position than last week.

Posted by
19 posts

The train line from Sofia to Istanbul is not running as of this time.