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Europe Trains Guide Forum  |  General discussion  |  Train fares and tariffs  |  Budapest to Sofia via Romania - Buying tickets during trip
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Author Topic: Budapest to Sofia via Romania - Buying tickets during trip  (Read 31099 times)
leir
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« on: May 04, 2016, 11:02:45 am »

Hello all,

I found a train between Budapest and Sofia via Craiova: Int 481.

Is there a possibility to buy a ticket in Craiova for a way Craiova -> Sofia? The train stops here for 25 minutes (or in Timisoara Nord for another 30 minutes)?

Somewhere I read that tickets for international trains in Romania must be issued at least 2 hours before train departure. Is it true?

If is, is there some way how to buy a ticket in advance from abroad (without huge extra pays)?

Thanks for all responses
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tUt
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2016, 07:32:36 pm »

I found a train between Budapest and Sofia via Craiova: Int 481.
It's not really an entire train, but just couple (2-3) so-called through carriages which get reattached from one train to another couple times along the way. For example reattachment is the reason why it shows 25 min. stop in Craiova - Budapest-Sofia carriages get "unhooked" from Budapest-Bucharest train

Is there a possibility to buy a ticket in Craiova for a way Craiova -> Sofia? The train stops here for 25 minutes (or in Timisoara Nord for another 30 minutes)?
Somewhere I read that tickets for international trains in Romania must be issued at least 2 hours before train departure. Is it true?
No, usual time limit is something like 5-10 min. before departure (depending on station), but 2 hours it's a fantasy. Maybe on some minor stations where ticket desk working hours are only couple hours during the day you can encounter a situation when before certain departure ticket desk will be simply closed, but it's a different issue which shouldn't really concern you (Craiova is a major station and ticket desk will be surely open around 7pm)

If is, is there some way how to buy a ticket in advance from abroad (without huge extra pays)?
No, Romanian Railways (CFR) still doesn't offer a possibility to purchase international tickets online via cfr website, but in case of Craiova-Sofia that big of a problem, since route is not very popular, thus hardly there will be a situation when all the tickets are sold out.
Ticket fare is also the same no matter when you buy (as far as you do it in Romania/Bulgaria) - about 20 euro for the ticket + couchette (from 9,40 euro) or during the summer sleeper (from 16,50 euro) reservation
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leir
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2016, 12:08:22 pm »

Thank you for information!

So it is possible without problems to get out from the train in Craiova or Timisoara Nord, buy the next ticket (together with couchette or sleeper reservation) and get in the same train before it departures?

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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2016, 01:50:40 pm »

So it is possible without problems to get out from the train in Craiova or Timisoara Nord, buy the next ticket (together with couchette or sleeper reservation) and get in the same train before it departures?
Yes, but are you sure you need this type of ticket combination? If you are coming from Hungary or north-west Romania perhaps there is more reasonable ticket option (e.g. sparnight all the way to Sofia or Balkan flexi pass).
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leir
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2016, 04:30:42 pm »

I'm going from Czech Republic via Hungary to Sofia, and further to Varna and then back (after 4 nights in Varna). I would like to go one way via Vidin and second way via Beograd (but in direct trains or coaches if possible).

As I found, there is direct RZD sleeper between CZ (Ostrava, Breclav) to Varna via Beograd for a reasonable price. This sleeper must be booked at least 6 days before departure. I want to spend one night in Budapest. So now I'm solving:
 - possibility to book this sleeper in advance without going to Russia or Bulgaria or paying huge extra fees.
 - the whole leg via Vidin.

What I found, is, that i'm able to buy spare ticket to Budapest from CZ, than, using elvira, online spare ticket to Romania. For Bulgaria, domestic train prices are comfortable for me. The main problem of this route is therefore buying international tickets inside Romania without advance, as there is no option to book them online directly, and for the fortuna and other types of cheap tickets there is a problem that they must be collected at least 3 days before departure inside Romania. Is there some cheaper option than standard NRT tariff between Sofia and Bulgaria via Vidin?

Using my calculations, Balkan Pass is not an option, especially if using RZD sleeper, where it not applies. Even if I not use the RZD coach, but standard coaches of given railways, the Balkan Pass (for 10 days) is, according what I found, not the cheapest option, because it not applies in Hungary.

Thanks for answer, I rethought it again and maybe I didn't find all necessary information.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2016, 04:46:45 pm by leir » Logged
tUt
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2016, 05:13:33 pm »

As I found, there is direct RZD sleeper between CZ (Ostrava, Breclav) to Varna via Beograd for a reasonable price.
Well, with RZD Ostrava-Varna will be at least 128 euro

- possibility to book this sleeper in advance without going to Russia or Bulgaria or paying huge extra fees.
Did you try regular CD ticket counter? Since it's "global price" ticket should be relatively easy to purchase, no need to calculate anything, CD definitely have the whole fare table. There might be snag with BG-CZ, but with CZ-BG everything should be fine. Then you just reverse the sequence - travel to Bulgaria using RZD carriage, while get back via Vidin-Romania using sparnight Sofia-Budapest (bought on the way there either in Hungary or Sofia). If I were you I would even ask CD counter for HU-BG for RZD carriage, this way you can make a stop in Budapest already on the way there + pay a little less (Budapest-Varna with RZD is 85 euro)

What I found, is, that i'm able to buy spare ticket to Budapest from CZ, than, using elvira, online spare ticket to Romania.
True, you can get online via MAV website fortuna ticket Budapest-Craiova for only 19 euro, however MAV also offers discounted sparnights Budapest-Sofia (seats 29 euro, couchette 39 euro & 54 euro sleeper), which is definitely a better deal than fortuna Bud.-Craiova + full fare Craiova-Sofia. The only nuance is that sparnights Budapest-Sofia can't be purchase online via MAV website, but you can probably try buying such ticket for instance from Wasteels while staying in CZ or maybe you have some friends who can visit MAV counter and purchase sparnight Bud.-Sofia for you


Using my calculations, Balkan Pass is not an option, especially if using RZD sleeper, where it not applies. Even if I not use the RZD coach, but standard coaches of given railways, the Balkan Pass (for 10 days) is, according what I found, not the cheapest option, because it not applies in Hungary.
Do you really need 10 travel days? HU/RO border-Sofia-Varna it's 2 travel days (in case you don't stop in Sofia) or 3 days (in case you stop in Sofia), same for Varna-Sofia-SRB/HU border, so you can manage with 5 or max. 7 travel days
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leir
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2016, 06:13:33 pm »

Oooh, thank you for many many informations you have and share!

Reversing the loop is the last option for me, if any other solution will not be acceptable.

The CD can definitely reserve RZD ticket for me from CZ (and as you mentioned, it costs ca. 130 EUR from Breclav), but while using Balkan Pass it is obviously the bad solution.

So, is it
 - possible in a Budapest train station to buy a sparnight ticket Budapest-Sofia (via Vidin) eg. 12 hours before train departure? The Wasteels in Prague is not an solution, because according to czech train web forum it ceases its operations in CZ . Maybe Wasteels in Hungary, I will try it. If not, maybe I should ask someone from hostel in Budapest to do this (in Romania, two years ago, it works).
 - or better solution: use a Balkan Pass for just a 5 days, as you mentioned? I thought that this pass validity expires given count of days from the first day of use (and I must be in Varna for given 4 nights), is this wrong? If is, where is the best point to buy this pass? In Romania, or using Wasteels in Hungary?

Thank you again for sharing your information!
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tUt
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2016, 08:57:47 pm »

- possible in a Budapest train station to buy a sparnight ticket Budapest-Sofia (via Vidin) eg. 12 hours before train departure?
No, even for two different reasons: a) sparnight tickets from Budapest to Sofia (unlike other spar spar ticket from Budapest) can be sold at least 3 days before departure & b) since there is limited number of tickets per each departure, almost definitely cheap sparnights will be sold out earlier
The Wasteels in Prague is not an solution, because according to czech train web forum it ceases its operations in CZ . Maybe Wasteels in Hungary, I will try it.
Yep, meant Hungarian Wasteels, at least it make sense to try emailing them about it. Czech Wasteels, even if it was working, wouldn't help with HU-BG sparnight


  - or better solution: use a Balkan Pass for just a 5 days, as you mentioned? I thought that this pass validity expires given count of days from the first day of use (and I must be in Varna for given 4 nights), is this wrong?
No, no, it is not continuous, but X number of travel days during one month validity period. And even 7pm rule works

If is, where is the best point to buy this pass? In Romania, or using Wasteels in Hungary?
Hungarian Wasteels won't be able to sell it, you can purchase real Balkan flexi pass only in participating countries (i.e. Romania, Bulgaria, etc.). If you are going with Budapest-Craivoa-Sofia route, then most logical place to purchase it probably would be Timisoara. With such plan you can purchase discounted ticket Budapest-Timisoara via MAV website (15 euro) for the 'Traianus' train dep. 7:10 (those couple Sofia carriages are traveling with this train), then, when you already in Budapest, at the ticket counter purchase couchette/sleeper reservation all the way to Sofia, while during the stop in Timisoara buy your Balkan pass and come back to the train with which you came.
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2016, 03:55:59 pm »

Hello,
for closing this thread, I report what I do:
- SparNight tickets from Budapest to Sofia can be bought from Wasteels at Budapest Keleti from abroad, pay must be to the Wasteels account (which may mean some extra fee). They do not sell Balkan Flexipass (as mentioned earlier).
- It is currently not possible to buy ticket & reservation to the RZD coach from Varna to CZ from abroad (maybe it is possible from Hungary) according to some bugs in MÁV-START reservation system, which handles reservation for half of this coach for this direction (the other direction is managed by RZD). These bugs may be fixed within some days. Second half of this coach is handled by BDZ by hand, which means that reservations are possible max. 6 days before departure. I did not choose this variant.
- For train reservations (including night trains) from Beograd there is possibility to use local Wasteels, which is now reachable just by e-mail, because their booth on Beograd main station is closed (but Mr. Popovic is able to give tickets in the train station). It is possible to pay with a card.
- In CZ, if you buy a ticket using e-shop and you set wrong id card or passport number, the ticket is not valid and not returned. You just spend a buck for nothing.
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« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2016, 08:10:13 pm »

Quote
True, you can get online via MAV website fortuna ticket Budapest-Craiova for only 19 euro, however MAV also offers discounted sparnights Budapest-Sofia (seats 29 euro, couchette 39 euro & 54 euro sleeper)
WTF the MAV have discount Tickets for that Train?!
I searched online and the chepast way (Vienna -> Athen) was an City Star: https://www.mavcsoport.hu/mav-start/nemzetkozi-utazas/ervenyes-dijszabasok
for 206€ (1Class is Required for Single Sleeping Car).
Quote
In CZ, if you buy a ticket using e-shop and you set wrong id card or passport number, the ticket is not valid and not returned. You just spend a buck for nothing.
haha on my trip to CZ and SK I add any numbers any nobody carred anything about. The most important thing is the Name.
I never travel in Europe with an Passport so...
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tUt
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« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2016, 09:36:51 pm »

the MAV have discount Tickets for that Train?!
Why not? It seems to be MAV's politics to have either discounted offer or some discount from the regular international tariff for pretty much any direct connection from Hungary.

I searched online and the chepast way (Vienna -> Athen) was an City Star: https://www.mavcsoport.hu/mav-start/nemzetkozi-utazas/ervenyes-dijszabasok
for 206€ (1Class is Required for Single Sleeping Car).
Well, cheapest option kind of depends on additional nuances (e.g. whether you want to make stopover on the way, for how long you'll be staying at the destination point, whether you can purchase your tickets in advance, etc.)
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« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2016, 09:44:46 pm »

The say there are no offers: http://elvira.mav-start.hu/gyik.htm#jegyajanlataink
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« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2016, 09:47:02 pm »

The say there are no offers: http://elvira.mav-start.hu/gyik.htm#jegyajanlataink
That's the list of offers which are sold online via MAV website. Certain offers can be bought only at the MAV ticket counter ;)

For Bud.-Sofia details see https://mavcsoport.hu/mav-start/nemzetkozi-utazas/bulgaria-szofia (only in Hungarian unfortunately)
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« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2016, 12:35:03 am »

You mean:
Quote
SparNight menetjegyek egy útra:
ülőkocsi, 2. osztály    29 €
fekvőhelyes kocsi, 6 ágyas fülkében    39 €
hálókocsi, 3 ágyas fülkében (Tourist)*    54 €
The sell only 3 Bed Sleeping Car not 2 Bed or Single Bed.
So where do you ever see Double or Single Sleeping Bed SparNight?
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« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2016, 12:41:59 am »

The sell only 3 Bed Sleeping Car not 2 Bed or Single Bed.
So where do you ever see Double or Single Sleeping Bed SparNight?
During the off-season only seating carriage & couchette is available, but for the summer (2016.VI.13/14-ig és IX.6/7-től) they had sleeper as well.
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