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Old Nov 7, 11, 9:46 am   #1
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Thessaloniki to Istanbul by bus

This isn't technically a train question, but we know international train travel is not currently possible from Greece.
I am in Thessaloniki and so far have only been able to find one bus between the two cities. It is run by Alpar, departs (daily?) at 21:00 and arrives in Istanbul at 06:00 for 35 Euros. I figure there are other companies but English was not spoken at the two places I inquired. A search of the net yields the company Crazy Holidays, but their website lists no timetable or prices.
So does anyone in the FT community have more info on how to best travel between Thessaloniki and Istanbul?

Last edited by The Juiceman; Nov 7, 11 at 1:13 pm.
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Old Nov 7, 11, 7:58 pm   #2
 
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The most up-to-date info I could find

You could also break the trip in Alexandropolis, taking a train there and taking a bus from there to Istanbul.
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Old Nov 10, 11, 6:50 am   #3
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Originally Posted by Palal View Post
The most up-to-date info I could find

You could also break the trip in Alexandropolis, taking a train there and taking a bus from there to Istanbul.

I was only able to find two bus options: the Alpar bus running nightly at 21:00 and the Metro/Crazy Holidays running at 10:00 and 22:00 daily (the KTEL office referred me to them). The latter was 40 Euros and booked solid yesterday and the previous night so I came by the former last night. It was 35 Euros and decent enough. They offered coffee and a brownie en route and friendly service. It left promptly at 21:00 and took about 9 and a half hours. The border crossings were smooth . As an American I had to buy a visa for 15 Euros or $20 to enter Turkey (knew that in advance). I opted for the Euro option.
The place where the ride terminates is a city in and of itself, literally hundreds and hundreds of buses. I had never seen anything like it. After collecting our luggage we were put on complimentary smaller mini buses which took us to our final destinations. I was heading to Sultanahmet, the old town. The mini buses are not allowed to enter this area so they dropped us off at the fringe and it was not too bad of a walk to my hostel.
Now to explore Istanbul.
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Old Nov 12, 11, 8:43 am   #4
 
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Too bad you had to do it by bus. I have taken the former train on that route, which had decent equipment including sleepers, ran through some scenic countryside during the daylight portion and connected central places in both cities. In Istanbul, the terminal is on the edge of Sultanahmet.
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Old Nov 13, 11, 4:31 pm   #5
 
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I've taken the other half of the train once (the train from IST splits into two at the border, then half goes to Greece, the other to Bulgaria). It was a very nice overnight train. Of the 6-8 cars, 3 (1 Turkish, 2 Bulgarian) ended up going to Sofia. The Bulgarian cars did not go any further, while the Turkish car got another two or three added on for a trip to Belgrade and then on to Vienna. I'm sure the train composition changed along the way again somewhere.
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Old Nov 18, 11, 3:35 am   #6
 
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Originally Posted by Palal View Post
I've taken the other half of the train once (the train from IST splits into two at the border, then half goes to Greece, the other to Bulgaria). It was a very nice overnight train. Of the 6-8 cars, 3 (1 Turkish, 2 Bulgarian) ended up going to Sofia. The Bulgarian cars did not go any further, while the Turkish car got another two or three added on for a trip to Belgrade and then on to Vienna. I'm sure the train composition changed along the way again somewhere.
Actually the train that splits off of the Sofia is the one to Bucharest. Its currently running daily.
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