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Istanbul by train

Istanbul by train

Inside Sirkeci Train Station
Inside Sirkeci Train Station
Haydarpasa Station
Haydarpasa Station
International trains from across Europe arrive at the station in Sirkeci, close to Sultanahmet. Asian trains arrive at Haydarpasa station. To get between the two, catch a ferry across the Bosphorus (see Get around). Marmaray, the Rail Tube Tunnel and Commuter Rail Mass Transit System is being built, and is projected to be one of the most challenging infrastructure projects in Turkey. International trains to and from Sirkeci:
  • Daily overnight train Balkan Express from Belgrade (Serbia) via Sofia (Bulgaria).
  • Daily overnight Bosphorus Express from Bucharest (Romania) (departure at 12.16PM from Bucharest, arrival at 8.30AM in Istanbul, but expect about 2 hours delay) Cost: 170 RON (about 40 euro) for a second class sleeper, plus an additional fee if you wish a sleeping compartment (77 euro for a single-bed cabin or 10 to 33 euro for twin/up to six beds/cabin). No restaurant.
  • TransBalkan Express from Budapest (Hungary) also has one of its cars attached to Bosphorus Exp. in Bucharest, thus providing a direct service from Budapest to Istanbul.
  • Twice a day there are trains to Thessaloniki (Greece) - the slow morning train that takes almost a whole day and the fast night train that is quicker but more expensive. (Due to budget cuts by the Greek government, the services to/from Greece has been suspended indefinitely since 13th February 2011.)
  • International trains to and from Haydarpasa:
  • Weekly trains to Aleppo (Syria) - taken out of service in 2008; it is unknown whether and when this service will resume.
  • Weekly train to Teheran (Iran) (from Haydarpasa station) every Wednesday 10.55PM, costing 105 Turkish lira. It is also a good way to drive in the Eastern part of Turkey. You change trains on Friday at Lake Van which requires a four hour ferry ride to get across. Both the Turkish and Iranian trains are comfortable and clean. Waggon restaurants are rather cheap. Arrival in Tehran on Saturday at 6.45PM (but expect up to 10 hours delay…).
  • Schedule and price list of railway trips can be gathered from TCDD (Turkish Republic State Railways) . When arriving at the Turkish border from Europe, you may need to buy a visa before getting your passport stamp. This counter accepts only Euros or USD, not Turkish Lira. You need to go to the visa counter first to purchase your visa, then to passport control to get it stamped.

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    Istanbul Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.

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