Travel itself is therapy for many people. But for some people, where and how they travel is also important. Here Sofia Express promises an excellent journey for those who cannot decide where and how to go. An adventurous journey for those who want to experience this unique experience on the Sofia Express starts from Halkali Station in Istanbul and ends in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, in about half a day. Here is everything you need to know about the Sofia Express, which promises a unique journey from Istanbul, the ancient city of the East, to Sofia, one of the most important cultural centers of the West.

Turkey has interesting routes to travel on the railway network. However, Sofia Express is the only railway 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…

The Sofia Express departs from Halkala railway station at 20:45 pm and arrives in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, around 09:35 am the next day.

The Sofia-Istanbul train departs at 18:30 pm and arrives in Istanbul around 05:35. So the Sofia Express is basically a “night journey”. This situation has many advantages for travelers.

The first one is that it allows even day trips. Most of the route passes at night. Thus, tourists arriving in Sofia have enough time to explore the city.

Second is the opportunity for “adventure” that comes from the nature of night travel! British traveler Tom Hall describes the approximately 570 km journey from Istanbul to Sofia in these words:This train travels from one of the most wonderful cities in the world to Turkish territory in Europe, reaches Bulgaria through the fortress border gates, and arrives in underrated and very budget Sofia through mountain passes.R.”

Offering a unique travel experience to its passengers, Sofia Express is included in Lonely Planet’s “Best Trips of 2023” list, considered one of the most important authorities in travel publishing.

The 30 attractions in the company’s annual rankings are ranked in 5 different categories: travel, food, learning, leisure and communication. Sofia Express is featured as one of the top 6 trips to take in the travel category in 2023. Accordingly, Sofia Express is recommended for those who are looking for an unforgettable travel experience and not just an “arrival”.

Getting to Sofia from Istanbul on the Sofia Express is very easy and you will have a unique journey along the way.

As we mentioned earlier, the train that leaves Halkala at around 20:45 pm crosses a railway network of about 570 kilometers and arrives in Sofia around 09:35 am. So Sofia Express passengers are on the road for about half a day …

It may seem to someone that half a day on the road is long and unnecessary. However, it should be noted that such travel by train is much more affordable than ground and air transport. Moreover, even if this is a night trip, on the Sofia Express you can observe the change of geography and culture…

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

Fortunately, Sofia Express has the opportunity to provide its passengers with sufficient comfort. The train has two different types of carriages, with berths and with berths. Of course, for a more comfortable journey, it is advantageous to travel in sleeping cars.

The sleeping cars have separate cabins for two people. However, if you choose to embark on this unique journey alone, you can make your cabin completely private by paying the price difference. Floating cars consist of cabins for 4 and 6 people. However, you may not find the comfort you are looking for in 6-person cabins.

Ticket prices for the Sofia Express range from 31.12 euros to 66.68 euros.

Sofia Express

The ticket price per person in a 4-berth cabin is 31.12 euros in a compartment. The fare in a double sleeping car is 36.12 euros. If you want to travel alone in the same car, you will have to donate money – 66.68 euros.

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

Sofia Express

In order to purchase a ticket for this unique journey, you need to apply for TCDD international fees. These toll booths are located at Istanbul, Ankara, Kayseri, Eskisehir, Izmir and Denizli, Elazig, Mush, Malatya, Tatvan, Van, Adana, Konya, Mersin, Gaziantep, Afyon, Pullu, Cerkezköy, Edirne and Kapikule.

One of the disadvantages of Sofia Express is passport control at the Kapikule exit.

Sofia Express

When the train stops at Kapıkul, passengers must exit the train and proceed to passport control. However, passport control can take so long that it becomes annoying in some cases. These points also pay a fee for traveling abroad. After passport procedures and calls from the customs police, you can continue your journey from where you left off.

The lack of a restaurant car on the train is another drawback of the express train. For this reason, it’s a good idea to take something to eat with you before you travel. If you wish, you can try your luck and have a bite to eat at one of the 10 stops where the train will take a break before arriving in Sofia. But in this case, you need to consider the possibility of missing the train or places to eat, and be careful …

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