This page explains how to travel by train from Sofia to other key European cities, and how to buy the cheapest tickets.  Click here to buy tickets starting in another city.

I want to travel from Sofia to...

      Istanbul   Belgrade   Bucharest   Zagreb
  Ljubljana   Budapest   Athens   Thessaloniki
  Paris   London   Moscow    

Before you buy your tickets...

I recommend taking a moment to read these important tips for buying European train tickets.  It answers all the usual questions, such as "Do I need to book in advance or can I just turn up & buy at the station?", "How far ahead can I book?", "Can I stop off?", "Are there Senior fares?" and that old favourite, "Should I buy an $800 railpass or just go online & buy a 35 point-to-point ticket?".

Answering your questions about European train travel...

An introduction to European train travel


Senior fares (over 60)


Guide to Eurail passes (overseas visitors)

Important tips for buying European train tickets

Youth fares (under 26)


Guide to InterRail passes (for Europeans)

How to check European train times

Child fares & child age limits


Couchettes & sleepers on night trains

Do I need to book in advance?

Luggage on European trains


Train seat numbering plans

How far ahead can I book?

Luggage storage at stations


Wheelchairs & special needs

Can I stop off on the way?

Taking a bike by train


Real-time service updates

Should I travel 1st or 2nd class?

Taking a car by train


Hotels & accommodation

How long to allow for connections?

Taking dogs & pets by train


Changing stations in Paris by metro or taxi

How early to arrive at the station?

Maps of the European rail network


What to do when things go wrong...

Sofia to Istanbul for 29...
A 6-berth couchette compartment on the Sofia to Istanbul train   The Turkish couchette car on the Sofia to Istanbul train

Sofia to Belgrade for 34...
The Serbian couchette car on the Belgrade to Sofia train   A 6-berth couchette compartment on the Belgrade to Sofia train

Sofia to Bucharest...
Scenery in the Shipka Pass, Bulgaria   The Sofia to Bucharest train

Lush green scenery as the train ascends the Shipka Pass...


The Sofia to Bucharest through coach at Sofia station.

Sofia to Budapest & Vienna...

Option 1, by direct air-conditioned Russian sleeping-car from Sofia to Budapest - the most comfortable & civilised option...

One of Russian Railways new international sleeping-cars   A 2-berth or 4-berth compartment in daytime mode

Option 2, by direct Sofia-Budapest train...

The Serdica:  Hungarian sleeper in foreground.   Hungarian sleeper on the Budapest to Sofia train

The Serdica, Hungarian sleeping-car in the foreground, Bulgarian couchette car behind it.


A single-berth sleeper on the Budapest-Sofia SerdicaPhotos courtesy of Dr Malte Fuhrmann.

Couchette car on Budapest-Sofia train   Couchette compartment on Budapest-Sofia train   Couchette compartment on Budapest-Sofia train

The Bulgarian couchette car on the Budapest to Sofia Serdica, with 6-berth compartments (2 lower bunks, 2 middle, 2 upper).  More info about couchettes. Courtesy of Philipp zur Linden.

Option 3, changing trains in Belgrade - usually the cheapest option...

Sofia to Athens, Thessaloniki & Greece...
6-seat 2nd class compartment   Train corridor   The Thessaloniki to Sofia train

Comfortable 2nd class compartment.




The Thessaloniki to Sofia train.

The Sofia to Thessaloniki train uses modern Greek air-conditioned carriages, although as elsewhere in Greece there's a graffiti problem on the exterior.  Photos courtesy of Damien McGrath.

Sofia to Zagreb, Munich, Paris, London...

Sofia to Moscow...
One of Russian Railways new international sleeping-cars   A 2-berth or 4-berth compartment in daytime mode

The direct sleeping-car from Sofia to Moscow is a brand new Austrian-built one owned by Russian Railways.  Each compartment converts from comfortable sofas to equally comfortable beds and can be used as either 1st class 2-berth with two lower berths or as 2nd class 4-berth with all four berths in use.  There are a shower and toilets at the end of the corridor.  Compartments have electronic key-card locks, and the cars are very smooth-riding.  The sleeper attendant can serve lovely Russian tea for around 0.50 a glass.  Highly recommended!

Find hotels in Sofia & other cities


◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison. checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less! is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...


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