This page explains how to travel comfortably by train from Bucharest to other key European cities, and how to buy the cheapest tickets.  Click here to for journeys starting in another city.  Train information updated for 2018.

I want to go from Bucharest to...

 

Brasov, Sighisoara, Constanta & other destinations within Romania

 

Sofia

 

Belgrade

 

Istanbul

 

Veliko Tarnovo

 

Budapest

 

Bratislava

 

Prague

 

Warsaw

 

Vienna

 

Berlin

 

Krakow

 

Chişinău (Moldova)

 

Cologne

 

Frankfurt

 

Munich

 

Amsterdam

  London   Paris   Brussels   Switzerland, Italy & Spain

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?", "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?".  And most important, click here to understand how far ahead you can buy train tickets.

European train travel FAQ...

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...


Buying train tickets for journeys within Romania...

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Bucharest to Budapest...

Option 1, by time-effective sleeper train...

En suite toilet & shower on EuroNight sleeper train Ister to Bucharest   Single-berth sleeper on the EuroNight sleeper train 'Ister' to Bucharest   EuroNight sleeper train 'Ister' from Budapest to Bucharest

Deluxe sleeper...  En suite toilet & shower in deluxe sleeper.

A sleeper set up as a  single-berth with middle & top berths folded away.

 

The modern air-conditioned Romanian sleeping-car.  The letters above the windows say Voiture-Lits - Sleeping-car - Vagon de Dormit...  Photos courtesy Andy Brabin.

Couchette car on the Ister EuroNight train from Budapest to Bucharest   6-berth couchettes   Romanian couchette car from Vienna to Bucharest

The vagon cuseta (couchette car) on the Ister, at Budapest.

 

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

Couchette car on the Ister EuroNight train from Budapest to Bucharest  

Enjoy breakfast in the bar-bistro eastbound, or an evening beer westbound.  The bar-bistro is attached between Simeria & Bucharest.  Bar-bistro photos courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

Option 2, by daytime train...

The 'Transylvania' train to Brasov about to leave Budapest   Hungarian restaurant car on the train to Brasov

An InterCity train to Romania (left) about to leave Budapest Keleti...

 

There's now no restaurant car so bring your own picnic and wine along...

2nd class Romanian InterCity coach   Romanian InterCity seating coach

Air-conditioned 2nd class used on the Traianus between Budapest & Brasov...

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Bucharest to Vienna...

The modern Romanian sleeping-car on the Dacia Express...  Photo courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

En suite toilet & shower on EuroNight sleeper train Ister to Bucharest   Single-berth sleeper on the EuroNight sleeper train 'Ister' to Bucharest   Romanian couchette car from Vienna to Bucharest  

Deluxe sleeper en suite...

 

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper.

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Beer in the bistro.

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

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

 

The Sofia to Bucharest through coach at Sofia station.

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Bucharest to Istanbul...
The Istanbul to Sofia Express   4-berth couchettes in seats mode

Couchette car:  Between June & September there is a direct air-conditioned Turkish couchette car between Istanbul Halkali and Bucharest with 4-berth compartments, as shown above.  The seats convert to flat bunks with rug, sheet and pillow.

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Bucharest to Belgrade...

IMPORTANT UPDATE AUGUST 2017: The incompetent Romanian & Serbian Railway managers have had a disagreement, and from 1 August 2017 the Timisoara-Vrsac trains are terminating one station short of Vrsac, meaning there are currently no trains at all across the Serbian/Romanian border, completely destroying this international route.  Until or unless this incompetence is resolved, you are advised to travel from Bucharest to Budapest then Budapest to Belgrade.  I'll keep the original advice below in case the situation is resoilved:

  • There is no longer a direct train between Bucharest & Belgrade, but it's easy to travel between these cities in comfort by train.  It's difficult to find online as www.bahn.de/en doesn't recognise the local route via Vrsac, so listen up!

  • Daily except Sundays, two local trains link Timisoara in western Romania with Belgrade's lesser-known Dunav station.  The journey involves one easy change at the border at Vrsac.

  • Timisoara Nord depart 07:48, arrive Vrsac 08:52, change at Vrsac, Vrsac depart 09:40 arriving Belgrade Dunav 11:23. 

  • Timisoara Nord depart 16:36 arrive Vrsac 17:35, change at Vrsac, Vrsac depart 18:25, Belgrade Dunav arrive 20:08.

  • To connect with these trains, either take a day train or the overnight sleeper train from Bucharest to Timisoara Nord, you can book this section at www.cfrcalatori.ro.

  • Buy tickets from Timisoara to Belgrade at the station in Timisoara, fare 42 RON (about €9), no reservation needed for this bit, and no online or advance booking possible.

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Bucharest to Chişinău & Moldova
  • A comfortable and inexpensive sleeper train called the Prietenia leaves Bucharest Gara de Nord at 19:15, calling at Ungheni (the Moldovan frontier) from 05:02 to 06:49 and arriving at Chişinău at 09:27.

    It has 2-berth 1st class (spalny vagon) and 4-berth 2nd class (kupé) sleepers of the Russian style.  There is a bar car selling snacks and drinks, but no restaurant, so take your own provisions along.  This train runs every day, although it has had periods of running less than daily in recent years.

    In the return direction it leaves Chişinău on at 16:56, arriving Bucharest Gara de Nord at 06:07.

  • The fare is around 110 Romanian Lei (€25) one-way in 2nd class 4-berth sleeper or 225 Lei (€50) one-way in 2-berth sleeper. 

  • The Bucharest-Chişinău train can now be booked online at the Moldovan Railways site tracer.railway.md:10000/?lang=ro.

    It's only in Romanian or Moldovan, but straightforward to understand with a little help from Google Chrome's automatic translation (Tip:  Use the translation feature to understand it, then put it back into the original language before clicking to proceed).  It can book the train in either direction, it accepts foreign traveller passport numbers, and it has now been confirmed by several travellers that it works fine with international Visa & MasterCard credit cards.  Further feedback always appreciated.

  • Alternatively, tickets can be arranged at local prices with just a small fee (around €10) through local Romanian agency www.triptkts.ro/contact-eng with ticket collection in Bucharest or delivery to a Bucharest hotel.  They will ask for the fare up front so they can buy the tickets for you, but this is normal practice and nothing to worry about.  Feedback would be appreciated.

The Bucharest to Moldova train arrived at Chisinau/Kishinev    

The Prietenia from Bucharest to Moldova...

 

2-berth sleeper...

 

Destination board...

Courtesy of Malcolm B

 

Photos courtesy of Peter Brogdale

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Bucharest to Bratislava, Prague, Berlin, Krakow, Warsaw...
  • Step 1, travel from Bucharest to Budapest by day train or overnight sleeper as shown above.

  • Step 2, then take a train from Budapest to Bratislava, Prague, Berlin Krakow, Warsaw as shown on the International trains from Budapest page.

    There are day trains and in some cases sleepers - so you could spend a day in Budapest between the sleeper from Bucharest and another sleeper train from Budapest to Berlin, Krakow or Warsaw.

  • I'd allow at least an hour, preferably 90 minutes or more, between trains in Budapest in case of any delay.

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Bucharest to Paris & London...
  • See the London to Romania page for detailed times, routes, fares & how to buy tickets.  Simply look for the inward train times and disregard the Paris-London part of the journey.

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Bucharest to Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Brussels & Amsterdam...

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Hotels in Bucharest & other cities

    

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It has been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel at a cheaper rate.

►► My recommended booking site:  www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings in one place here. 

You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a great feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

  • www.tripadvisor.com is the place to find independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels.

Backpacker hostels...

  • www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in most cities at rock-bottom prices.

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Travel insurance & health card

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

In the UK, try Columbus Direct or use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get a spare credit card, designed for travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!

 


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