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Turkey is the European gateway to Asia, and probably one of the most exciting and romantic countries in the world, even for the most ho-hum traveler.

Turkey is the European gateway to Asia, and probably one of the most exciting and romantic countries in the world, even for the most ho-hum traveler.

Istanbul was once the end-station of the Orient-Express, taking travelers from London and Paris to the Bosphorus Strait, one of the world’s most strategic waterways. Today, there are services from Beograd, Thessaloniki, Bucharest, or Sofia. Allow a good twenty hours for these trips (sixteen for Thessaloniki). The Istanbul station (also known as Haydarpasa) still exudes the grandeur of its early days, but don’t expect anything resembling luxury services.

Trains are not an ideal way to experience Turkey (bus is preferred), as train travel is slow, and limited. However, there are a couple of routes where trains are a very viable, safe option : Ankara to Istanbul, and lines on the European side. Moreover, the anticipated completion of the Istanbul to Ankara hi-speed line will dramatically reduce journey time between these two cities (just three hours).

Always travel first class in Turkey. At a local station, you can book a single or a double compartment in a sleeping car on night trains ; both offer good comfort on major routes.

For travelers with more than their share of moxie, Turkey tempts delightful discoveries. Journey east by train, and explore the Middle East. And although train travel to Iraq has been suspended, there’s still a weekly service to Tehran and Damascus with the Trans-Asian Express. Just allow a good (ahem ?) sixty-six hours to reach the Iranian capital.

Rail Europe doesn’t offer train tickets for Turkey. We do recommend you purchase a Balkan Pass, which also provides flexible travel in Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Romania. And now, Turkey is automatically included if you purchase a Eurail Global Pass. And it’s also an option if you purchase a Eurail Select Pass. Don’t forget to make your reservations locally.

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Reviews & ratings

  • Value for money
    Locating Train was difficult |
    "I had some trouble finding the track at Gare de Lyon in Paris. Also I had trouble finding my coach at the Lyon Airport train going to Paris. "

  • Efficient and on time service |
    "Excellent service. On time and comfortable "

  • Convenience
    A trip over Alpes |
    "I've been travelling to Geneve to meet my daughter. the train was very comfortable and the staff very kind. I bought a good sandwich with salami and butter, a black tea with cinnamon. Very new flavour for me. The viw around the lake from Geneve to Montreux was great. "

  • Value for money
    Very good option  |
    "It was a very good journey. The train was comfortable, the attendants were friendly. Service on board was perfect including the breakfast, which was delicious. "

  • Value for money
    Resumo de minha viagem |
    "Confortável, chegamos ao destino descansados. Valor um pouco alto, mas deixamos para adquirir as passagens na última hora, por isso o alto preço. Conveniente, pois é mais rápido e confortável do que viajar por via aérea. "

  • Value for money
    Exceptional Trip |
    "Exceptional trip from St Pancras to Paris with the help of VIP transfer service from St. Pancras hotel. Highly recommended. "

  • Value for money
    Good |
    "Very fast journey. Comfortable. "

  • Value for money
    Better than flying |
    "Coming from Australia I assumed flights would be far better than trains but having the stations right in the centre of the city made it much more convenient and easier to manage without a phone. The train was smooth and quick. "

  • Convenience
    Trouble free,excellent journey |
    "Excellent service.We booked and printed tickets on line which scanned easily on day of journey. All baggage x rayd so great security before entering platform. Allocated seating upon booking. Train on time. Value for money 5 stars. (auto star system not working. )22 euros per person each way. "

  • Convenience
    To MAdrid |
    "my trip was great but I was wonder that the crew was not speaking English and she couldn't understand me once I order. "

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