Bosphor Express (Istanbul Bucharest train)

Route map, train timetable, main stations and ticket options of international train running between Halkalı and Bucharest:

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Bosphor Express (Bucharest Istanbul train) travel info
  • What kind of a train I’m going to travel with? TCDD electric loco + CFR passenger coaches
  • What options I have? Couchette (4 persons) + sleeper (2-2 persons)
  • Any food service in the train? No food service
  • How far is it from Halkalı to Bucharest? 940 km
  • How long it takes from Halkalı to Bucharest? 17-19 hours
  • How can I buy the ticket? Only at stations where international ticket desk exists
  • When can I buy the ticket? 60 days prior to departure
Route map of Bosphor Express (Bucharest Istanbul train)

* Based on route data provided by EcoTransITWorld. Shows route roughly. The Pehlivankoy-Kapikule stretch seen on territory of Greece had changed. The new rail connection is going through Turkish territory, going towards north from Pehlivankoy via Edirne to Kapikule.

  • Train passes through Kapikule/Svilengrad and Ruse/Giurgiu border crossings.
  • Bucharest wagons carried by Sofia Express between Halkali and Dimitrovgrad. Then wagons are carried by another train between Dimitrovgrad and Bucharest.
  • Check Balkan Flexipass if you are going to travel in Balkan countries by rail.

Cover photo: Onur Uysal


  1. Ay want to gou from halkali to Istanbul dou you heaw eni bus or train to Istanbul.? Im from România. End ai wil arive AT halkali from București. But ai want to gou to Istanbul

    Liked by 1 person

    • Are un bus special din cai ferate ce pleaca după șoșire trenului, in fața de gara de Halkalı spre gara Sirkeçi și centrul Istanbulului. In altă direcția autobusul pleaca de la gara Sirkeçi (cred la oră nouă dar nu sunt sigur. Are un gișe in gara Sirkeçi)


  2. Thanks for posting, tagger Romanian and Hungarian sites seem to contradict the Turkish ones, I was thinking of setting from Bucharest to istanbul with an overnight stop in veliko tarnovo. Can I do both legs direct or will I need to change? If I read you post correctly the locomotive will change but the passengers will remain on the carriage right through, is that right? Do they still require to disembark at the border crossing?


    • Hi Stuart. Bucharest-Istanbul train is a direct train, no need to make interchange. Yes, locos will change a couple of times.. Unfortunately, you need to disembark at BG/TR border, in Turkish side, at Kapikule. Take it as a old-fashion ceremony where you may find chance to meet new friends. 🙂


  3. By virtue of my passport I am allowed visa-free entry to Romania. However, I can’t travel to Bulgaria. If I take the Bosfor Express from Turkey to Bucharest, would I need some kind of transit visa for Bulgaria or would I be allowed to pass as I am allowed into Romania. I can fly to Bucharest from Istanbul, but then where’s the fun in that? Some clarification will be appreciated in this regards. Thnx


    • So, it’s by air then. Dont have time to get a manual Bulgarian visa that too only for transit. They dont have e-Visa facility. Wish I could have travel by the train to Bucharest and then further to Vienna. But then whereas I can enter Austria on my passport, I cant do the same for Hungary, and would likely need a visa. Unfortunate.


  4. Your Timetable for Bosphor Exp and the route map shown are not in Sync. The Routemap shows it goes thru Shumen LLYmeh but the time table shows it goes thru Veliko Tarnevo. Kindly correct it.


    • Thank you. Unfortunately, the routemap is the only digital mapping of the route. Timetable shows the up-to-date route. We hope to update the route as soon as any of the operators on this route shares the digital route map.


    • Dear Mr Uysal,
      Your website is so fantastic- particularly where you give the detail station-wise timetable for
      trains. Keep up the good work and please update the details as and when required. So many travellers will learn to depend on your information.
      I’ve written to Mark Smith of to highlight your website as a source of detail information on Turkey Travel. Wish to meet you someday in Turkey. Best wishes
      Gautam Hazrachoudhury
      Kolkata, India

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “”Couchette: 51.2 €/person
    Sleeper: 70.2 €/person (Single room surcharge: 62.6 €)
    Sleeper (3 beds): 59.2 €/person“”

    I m confuse on couchette and sleeper.

    Can u explain more
    On the sleeper
    70.20€ per person
    Add 62.60€ ?

    If i m travel with my friend
    Are we gonna pay
    70.20+70.20 and add 62.60 again ?

    I m 1 st time travel to bucharest from halkali..


  6. From Oct 2018 to May 2019, I heard you can get a ticket to Ruse and then change over to TCDD operated couchette from Ruse to Istanbul. Is this correct


  7. Hello! We want to go to Istanbul from Bucharest in September. We learned that there is no Online ticket sale… We live in Russia and do not have the opportunity to buy tickets in advance at the box office. So we are worried that a couple of days before the trip will not be able to buy tickets. Or is it a vain excitement and tickets are bought without problems just before the trip?


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