I want to go from Venice to Istanbul

and stop off along the way. I can probably do two weeks, with three days in the starting and finishing destinations each. What is the service like along this route, and do you have any recommendations for the middle part? I like history and culture, and intend to go in September/October. Ta

1 year, 2 months ago
Pete Lovett
6 1

2 answers (answer)


Hi Pete,

Thanks for posting. I think the simplest way to do this would be:

Venice > Vienna (overnight sleeper, 11hrs)

Vienna > Budapest (Railjet high speed day train, 3hrs)

Budapest > Bucharest (overnight sleeper, 16hrs)

Bucharest > Istanbul (rail, replacement bus service)

This route will take you through Eastern Europe's capital cities so there is no shortage of things to see and do. As you can see a good 2-3 days will be given over to travel (possibly more if you do the last leg by rail), so you can allot your remaining days based on which of these destinations takes your fancy.

The last part of the journey is the trickiest as there are long-term engineering works taking place, as the new Bosphorus underground rail tunnel linking Turkey with Europe and Asia is built. The usual train service from Bucherest in Romania to Istanbul Sirkeci station departs at the usual time of 1230pm but instead terminates at the Turkish border at Kapikule at 145am. From there a replacement bus departs at 255am to take train passengers onwards to Istanbul Sirkeci station, arriving at 750am, the same time the train was scheduled to. Other routes into Turkey by rail include at least 2-3 changes but unfortunately engineering work is not expected to finish until at least the end of October 2013.

You can book the first 3 legs of this journey through Loco2 by clicking on the pre-populated search links above and entering your dates - you can book up to 3 months in advance so you'll need to think about booking this trip June/July time. The service is generally very reliable for these trains. For the last leg, you can buy this night train ticket at the station in Bucharest. It rarely sells out even on the day of travel, although to be sure, you could purchase it when you arrive into Bucharest for travel a day or two ahead. If you do decide to go by train, your ticket will be valid on the rail replacement bus service.

In terms of things to do, my personal bias is already evident in the route I have recommended :) Venice is truly magical, a step back in time if you will, Vienna perfect for its rich architectural and musical legacy. Budapest is (rightly) famous for its thermal baths and massive Baroque castle, and Bucharest its eclectic mix of modern with tradition. If you can, make time to head to Brasov (3hrs by train), gateway to Transylvania and home of Dracula.

Happy railing, let us know how you get on!


1 year, 2 months ago
286 2 6

Thank you very much. A friend if mine recently got back from Transylvania and said it was amazing, so I might pop in there for a bit too.

1 year, 1 month ago
Pete Lovett
6 1

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