Sofia-Belgrade train

Belgrade to Sofia by train...

It's easy enough to travel between Belgrade and Sofia by train, a fascinating adventure across the Balkans on a route once taken by the famous Orient Express.  However, this route has had its ups and downs over the last few years, the result of limited resources and poor management.  There used to be both a day train and overnight train all year round between Belgrade & Sofia, but by 2013 this had dwindled to just a night train.  They then reinstated the day train, briefly restoring two trains a day before discontinuing the night train, then rendering the day train summer-only:  It seems Serbian Railways was broken up into passenger, freight and infrastructure companies, the diesel locomotives necessary to haul the train between Nis & Dimitrovgrad were all allocated to the freight company, and the passenger division then couldn't afford to hire in the necessary locomotive from its own sister company.  So today there's a day direct train running summer-only, with a series of connecting trains making the journey possible in the off-season.  This page explains it all...

COVID-19 update:  Trains on this route has been temporarily suspended.  More COVID-19  info.

small bullet point  Summer service - direct train mid-June to mid-September

small bullet point  Winter service - series of connecting trains, mid-September to mid-June

Summer service, 12 June to 20 September 2020

Advance notice:  This direct train won't run in 2021...

Belgrade ► Sofia

Sofia ► Belgrade

Fares & how to buy tickets...

Travel tips...

What is the journey like?

The Belgrade to Sofia train

The Belgrade-Sofia train, currently summer-only, at Topcider station in Belgrade.  Just two coaches, one Bulgarian, one Serbian, but comfy enough in spite of the graffiti.  Bring your own food & drink and enjoy a scenic run across the Balkans.   Photo courtesy of Matthew Woodward - see more photos & an account of this journey on his blog.

The Belgrade to Sofia train arrived at Topcider

The Belgrade-Sofia train at Topcider.  This is the westbound train, arrived at Topcider in the evening.   Courtesy of Ivan de Jacquelin.

2nd class seats on day train from Belgrade to Sofia   Scenery from the Belgrade to Sofia train

2nd class seats in the Serbian car.  Photos courtesy of Remco van der Kort.


The train snakes through a gorge east of Nis, photo taken from the rear carriage.  Courtesy of Matthew Woodward.

The Sofia to Belgrade train at Sofia

The westbound Sofia to Belgrade train, about to leave Sofia Central.  Extra cars are conveyed between Sofia and the Serbian border, make sure you travel in the cars going through to Belgrade.  Photo courtesy of Peter Binnersley.

Winter service, until mid June & from mid-September...

This service operates whenever the direct train doesn't, from mid-September through the winter until mid-June.  All these trains are 2nd class only unless otherwise stated, with toilets but no catering car.  Bring your own food & drink!

Belgrade ► Sofia

Sofia ► Belgrade

Fares & how to buy tickets...

What are the trains like?

Serbian electric train, Belgrade-Nis   Seating on the Serbian electric train, Belgrade-Nis

Train 1, the modern air-conditioned Serbian electric train between Belgrade & Nis.  1st & 2nd class with accessible toilet.  Photos courtesy of Dr Denis McCullough & Linnie Rawlinson.

Serbian diesel train, Nis-Dimitrovgrad   Seats on the Nis-Dimitrovgrad train

Train 2, the modern air-conditioned Serbian diesel train between Nis & Dimitrovgrad.  This train is 2nd class only, with accessible toilets.  Courtesy of Stephanie Robert.

Scenery from the train between Nis & Dimitrovgrad

Scenery from the train between Nis & Dimitrovgrad.  Courtesy of Steven Bodnar...

Seats on the Dimitrovgrad-Sofia train   The Dimitrovgrad-Sofia train, arrived at Sofia

Train 3, the Bulgarian train between Dimitrovgrad & Sofia.  Just one car goes direct, 2nd class only.  It's comfortable enough, bring your own food & drink.  Photo courtesy of Steven Bodnar.

Travel tips...

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