Sofia to Istanbul

Holiday Highlights

  • Sightseeing in Sofia
  • Sightseeing in Istanbul
  • Dinner Cruise on the Bosphorus
  • Take the metro between continents
  • 8 days from £1,760pp

Series 4, Episode 1, Great Continental Rail Journeys. The ever popular BBC2 programme Great Continental Rail Journeys begins its fourth series with a railway journey from Sofia to Istanbul. We have created a tour that allows you to explore these two beautiful cities and surrounding areas by regional train, but we include a flight between Sofia and Istanbul as this rail route is suspended due to engineering work.

Alternatively why not consider taking the train for the entire journey to Istanbul. Take the Eurostar to Paris and board the Orient Express for a 5-night journey to the Turkish city via Budapest and Bucharest. The iconic train will allow passengers the chance to experience the Edwardian splendour which Michael Portillo refers to as he replicates the journeys from George Bradshaw's 1913 handbook on Continental rail travel. Ffestiniog Travel can arrange this option so please contact us for further information.


Day 1 – Flight to Sofia

Morning flight from Heathrow to Sofia. Spend the afternoon exploring this great city. Maybe a visit to Cathedral Saint Alexandar Nevski? 3 night stop in Sofia.

Day 2 – Explore Sofia or visit Plovdiv by Train

Take the train for a day trip from Sofia to Plovdiv. Visit the Roman Amphitheatre or just explore the old town.

Day 3 – By Rail to the Museum of the Rose

Take the train in a different direction to Kazanlak for the Museum of the Rose.

Day 4 – Flight to Istanbul

Rail services to Turkey are suspended due to major engineering work, the simplest solution is to take to the air. Fly from Sofia to Istanbul and spend the rest of the day at leisure before a dinner cruise on the Bosphorus. 2 nights in Istanbul.

Day 5 – Explore Istanbul

Use an Istanbulkart, similar to an Oyster card, to explore Istanbul. Take the Marmaray metro line to Asia!

Day 6 – By Rail towards Bulgaria

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons it is possible to take a regional train back towards Bulgaria as far as Edirne, a former capital of the Ottoman Empire.

Day 7 – Return to Istanbul

Return to Istanbul by morning train, on Friday, Saturday or Sunday only.

Day 8 – Return Home

An afternoon flight takes you back to London Heathrow.

Price Includes

  • Flights as detailed
  • Dinner Cruise on the Bosphorus
  • 7 nights’ accommodation in good quality hotels on B&B basis
  • First class Balkans rail pass valid for rail travel as detailed
  • Private airport transfers

Price per person

From £1,760 per person sharing

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


24/7 Support


Ffestiniog Travel provides 'out of hours' support for all independent travellers in the event of an emergency.

Why Choose Ffestiniog Travel?

  • UK's first rail tour operator to run an overseas escorted rail holiday in 1974
  • Created for people who love rail holidays and exploring the world’s heritage railways
  • Dedicated rail holiday specialist - great destinations, sightseeing and unparalled railway content
  • Train ticket supplier for worldwide rail operators - we can plan and arrange your rail journey to anywhere
  • Knowledge of the world’s rail routes makes us leading specialists in escorted and Tailor Made rail holidays
  • Over 60% of our existing rail tour travellers return to holiday with us year after year
  • Committed to supporting rail travel and heritage railways around the world
  • Our profits support the continued preservation of the famous Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways
  • Small, dedicated rail holiday travel team offering an award winning personal service

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