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Old Oct 21, 11, 12:03 pm   #1
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Getting from Sighisoara or Budapest to Thessalonika

I will be traveling this weekend from Poland to Sighisoara, Romania. After a day or two there I want to go to Thessalonika. Does anyone know what the options are for getting there via rail or bus? Is international rail travel to Greece even possible these days? I can also go via Budapest, if that improves the routing. As always, any help from the FT family is appreciated.
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Old Oct 21, 11, 1:27 pm   #2
 
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Of course, my first advice is to look at Seat61.com, and in particular http://www.seat61.com/Greece.htm#By train all the way

You can also refer to the online timetable at bahn.de to identify specific train connections (although note that due to the European timetable change on 11th December, bahn.de probably won't yet have complete information on services after that date).

Unfortunately, there are no longer any international train services across the Greek border. However, you should be able to take a train from Sighisoara to Bucharest, and another train to Sofia. From there, you'd need to take a bus to Thessaloniki.
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Old Oct 21, 11, 1:38 pm   #3
 
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In normal times, you would take one of the frequent Sigheshoara to Bucharest trains, then connect to either the daily direct train to Thesaloniki or the daily connection through Sofia. However, these are not normal times in Greece, and who knows when if ever normal times will return. Given the strikes, buses or even air may be chancy.
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Old Oct 22, 11, 5:13 am   #4
 
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From what I heard international trains to/from Greece have been "temporarily suspended" rather than discontinued... but who knows.

Fingers crossed!

(I only took a train to Greece once... but it was such a great adventure, and I always said I'd do it again one day)
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Old Oct 24, 11, 3:45 am   #5
 
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It is not currently possible to travel to Greece by train from any country, your best best is to go as far as Bucharest by train and then take a bus...it is actually possible to take the train as far south as Sofia, but bus connections from there to Thessaloniki seem infrequent, whereas from in Bucharest you have connections pretty much every day (taking about 10-12 hours to reach Thessaloniki).

Be sure to stop in either Brasov or Sibiu on the way south from Sighisoara, both are well worth a visit...also, if you fancy a beer with a fellow FTer here in Bucharest, I'd be happy to show you a pub or two
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Old Oct 26, 11, 8:16 am   #6
 
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Originally Posted by lecter View Post
It is not currently possible to travel to Greece by train from any country, your best best is to go as far as Bucharest by train and then take a bus...it is actually possible to take the train as far south as Sofia, but bus connections from there to Thessaloniki seem infrequent, whereas from in Bucharest you have connections pretty much every day (taking about 10-12 hours to reach Thessaloniki).

Be sure to stop in either Brasov or Sibiu on the way south from Sighisoara, both are well worth a visit...also, if you fancy a beer with a fellow FTer here in Bucharest, I'd be happy to show you a pub or two
Brasov is right on the main line, and I agree is a great place to stop. Sibiu requires a side trip down branch lines, but is doable if the schedules work and requires a bit of backtracking. Both are great cities.
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Old Nov 5, 11, 5:19 am   #7
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I ended up going back to BUD for a few days then taking a train to Belgrade and another to Sofia before catching a bus to Thessaloniki. What a long, miserable journey. Wish I had skipped the return to BUD. There were several buses per day from Sofia run by many different companies. Eurolines had two per day at 20 Euro each. Trip is around 4 1/2-5 hours, depending on how long it takes at the Greek border.
I have been in and out of Schengen countries several times in the past four months. My ninety days are nearly up and I am pretty sure the authorities calculated my time. They had my passport for around 20 minutes.
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Old Nov 5, 11, 8:17 am   #8
 
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Did you take the night train from Belgrade to Sofia? That was maybe the worst train I've ever taken.
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Old Nov 6, 11, 3:06 am   #9
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Did you take the night train from Belgrade to Sofia? That was maybe the worst train I've ever taken.
Yes, unfortunately. And I have to agree. Apparently a popular cigarette smuggling route. Never again. Was quite an experience though.
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Old Nov 6, 11, 9:15 am   #10
 
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The train car I was in had not been cleaned since Tito was alive.
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