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train from Sofia to Belgrade

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Sydney, Australia
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train from Sofia to Belgrade

Hello,

Just a couple of questions re: getting to Belgrade from Sofia. I will be traveling on the 27th of June.

First of all, is there a train that does this trip during the day? According to the Raildude website the "connection has been suspended" - does this mean the route is closed?

If so, how much are the tickets and is it necessary to book ahead?

Thanks in advance,

Oxford
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11. Re: train from Sofia to Belgrade

Thank-you very much for your comments, Man_in_Seat_61. It's good to get another perspective.

So it sounds as if buying train tickets on the day is best, instead of worrying about making advance purchases?

I was expecting you to say that the train was much busier!

Maui, Hawaii
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12. Re: train from Sofia to Belgrade

Why would the train be busier? Multiple people have already replied to your post to tell you that buses are better than trains in this area of Europe. Most local people who can afford the bus take it.

Oxford
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13. Re: train from Sofia to Belgrade

We had a great time taking this night train back on 6th August. It's perfectly safe. We departed Sofia 30-minutes late and also arrived into Belgrade 30-minutes late, so lost no further time. Sleep was possible!

Many thanks to everyone who sensibly advised us prior to our departure.

Sydney, Australia
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14. Re: train from Sofia to Belgrade

Yep. I can confirm the train is fine. Usually a bunch of people around.

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15. Re: train from Sofia to Belgrade

So booking when you arrived in Sofia was fine?

Sydney, Australia
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16. Re: train from Sofia to Belgrade

Yep, you book at the main train station. I'd suggest making the booking the day before as the line up can take a while. Gives you some peace of mind.

Toronto, Canada
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17. Re: train from Sofia to Belgrade

I took the overnight train from Sofia to Belgrade in Sept 2013.

Ticket: I purchased my ticket the day before departure from the Rila office located in the small hallway at the south west corner of the Sofia train station. Cost was 40 BGN + 11 BGN for sleeper car. The ladies in the ticket office spoke english pretty well, there were no problems making the purchase.

Train: departed on time (20:30), I believe there were three cars: the engine, a car with normal (upright) seats, and the sleeper car. The sleeper car had maybe 7-8 rooms of 6 beds. Each room has 2 upper, 2 middle, and 2 lower beds. I showed the attendant my ticket before I boarded, and he told me which room and which bed to take (he spoke almost perfect english). The attendant gave 2 sheets to everyone, and there was a pillow and blanket on each bed. The beds were already set up for sleeping when I boarded, so if you are booked in the sleeper car, there is nowhere to sit down. Many people stood in the hallway for the first while after the train departed. There isn't enough height to sit on your bed, you can only really lie down, unless you have the upper beds which do involve climbing up a rickety ladder but probably had the most room.

Passport control: approx 40 minutes after departing Sofia, the Bulgarian passport control came on the train, and collected the passports of everyone who needed an exit stamp. They returned the passports maybe 20 minutes later, with exit stamps, and train crossed into Serbia, where Serbian passport control came on board. They walked the hall of the sleeper car with the stamper, so they put the entrance stamp into passports as they went (ie. they didnt take the passports anywhere). The train was stopped for maybe 15 minutes, there were men with lanterns and hammers that walked around outside the train, searching / tapping on random train parts. The entrance into Serbia didn't take long (we were leaving, not entering, the EU).

Food/drink: the attendant had some beverages for sale, I believe tea, coffee, and sodas. There was no bar/restaurant car on the train. There are many small shops at the Sofia station that sell snacks and drinks so ‎might be better to stock up whatever you want from there.

Other: ‎most passengers laid down approx 1.5 hours after departure (after all the passport control stuff was done). My train seemed to be approx 50% locals and 50% tourists / backpackers. The sleeper room doors lock from the inside, and there is one overhead light for the whole room so maybe bring a small nightlight if you want to read for a bit. The bathrooms are pretty basic, no soap or toilet paper is provided. Smoking was allowed on the train, I don't think anyone smoked in the sleeper rooms, instead they would stand in the hall and lean out the open windows. My train arrived to Belgrade at 5:10, which is right on schedule. I was surprised we made it on time because I'd read many things online that this train is always late. The Belgrade train station has some unusual people that early in the morning, but was fine. Lots of taxis available.

Overall, the experience was fine. I did not see any drunks, thieves, etc. as has been mentioned in other posts.

Any questions, send me a PM.

18. Re: train from Sofia to Belgrade

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