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Travel Transportation Airs, Trains, Buses, and Boats, what should I do ? What´s a Eurail Pass? How to rent a car abroad ? Is it safe to take the bus?

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Old 07-22-2008, 04:31 PM   #1
 
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Default Bucharest - Istanbul - Athens - Italy

I have a few questions about transport between some cities. Has anyone taken the bus from Bucharest to Istanbul? I've heard some different stories about it but overall it sounds better then the train and faster as well but is that true? Also between Istanbul and Athens is the bus or train better? I've heard some horror stories about the train but other times I've heard it is a great service and I haven't heard anything about the bus other then it's a long ride. My last question is about using my railpass to get from Greece to Italy. On rail Europe it says I can only get free ferries from Patras and Igoumenitsa but on the ferry website it sounds like I can go for free from Corfu as well which would be a better departure point I would think. Also is Ancona or Bari a better place to land when the next place I want to go is Rome?
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:23 PM   #2
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So far the only trip I've taken that you mentioned is the Rome-Bari train. That was a pretty easy one, the bus runs right from the port to the train station and the people working there are so used to backpackers they can help you catch the right bus.
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:54 PM   #3
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Corfu to Bari is only operated during peak season if my memory serves. Bari to Rome is a peace of cake (I did it as a night train in the opposite direction). You can walk to the train station (I did it three times because I got there so early)

Btw, Bari has a really nice old town but apparently it isn't the safest place to be. Which could have fooled me, I felt fine. You can see it and the coast line there below, the town was a nice place to spend a day (although as a sunday outside of peak season it was pretty dead)






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Old 07-22-2008, 08:09 PM   #4
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Bucharest to Istanbul sounds killer, bus or train. This sounds like a 24 to 36 hour train ride. Here's a little preview of a southern european train shot by yours truly. I did Budapest to Belgrade and Belgrade to Athens, both 24 hours. The train itself is not so bad. You're a guy so you don't have to worry about sketchy dudes hitting on you (I hope!). Didn't have anything stolen, but this could happen on any train, no matter the location so of course don't do anything against common sense. Have you considered stopping somewhere for a few days in Bulgaria? Thats a long time to be on a bus or train. I've done a good number of overnights in my time and I'm always in pure misery at the end ready to get off the train/bus or kill myself.




For the Istanbul - Athens leg buy a ticket from Istanbul to the first border town in Greece, then use your railpass for the rest of the way. The bus ticket is like 80 euro, rly expensive so train is prob the best way to go. You've got more legroom than the bus. I was considering going to Istanbul from Athens and if I can remember correctly its a 24 hour train ride. Bus was less but I can't remember by how much.
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:41 AM   #5
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I went from Bari (maybe Brindisi, now I can't remember) to Corfu last year and the only way to do it was to stop in Igoumenitsa before Corfu. So unless you'll be in Corfu anyway, Igoumenitsa is more direct. It was $10 on top of my rail pass and then the ferry from Corfu to Igoumenitsa was a little more. Not too bad though. I'd heard horror stories about the ferry but it wasn't bad at all!
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Old 07-26-2008, 02:22 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizz View Post
Bucharest to Istanbul sounds killer, bus or train. This sounds like a 24 to 36 hour train ride. Here's a little preview of a southern european train shot by yours truly. I did Budapest to Belgrade and Belgrade to Athens, both 24 hours. The train itself is not so bad. You're a guy so you don't have to worry about sketchy dudes hitting on you (I hope!). Didn't have anything stolen, but this could happen on any train, no matter the location so of course don't do anything against common sense. Have you considered stopping somewhere for a few days in Bulgaria? Thats a long time to be on a bus or train. I've done a good number of overnights in my time and I'm always in pure misery at the end ready to get off the train/bus or kill myself.


For the Istanbul - Athens leg buy a ticket from Istanbul to the first border town in Greece, then use your railpass for the rest of the way. The bus ticket is like 80 euro, rly expensive so train is prob the best way to go. You've got more legroom than the bus. I was considering going to Istanbul from Athens and if I can remember correctly its a 24 hour train ride. Bus was less but I can't remember by how much.

It's really that far between Bucharest and Istanbul? In my guide book it said it was closer to 8 hours by bus then 24. Thats a good tip for getting my ticket to the closest place in Greece though, I had not thought that.
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:20 PM   #7
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I checked it in the DB timetable and Bucharest to Istanbul is 20 hours by train. So def try the bus. 8 hours on a bus still makes me shudder but you gotta get from point A to B somehow. What guidebook do you have and how much is the bus ticket supposed to cost? Let me know how it goes. Write it here or PM me. I might be doing a similar route early next year.

If you haven't settled on a hostel in Bucharest, try Butterfly Villa. I really liked them a lot.
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Old 07-27-2008, 03:50 PM   #8
 
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I'm useing Europe on a Shoestring by Lonley Planet. I think it said the bus from Bucharest to Istanbul was 8 hours and 37 euros. I geuss I will find out once I get there though. Luckily 8 hours on a bus doesn't worry me, I live in Saskatchewan, I have to drive 8 hours to even get to a city worth going to.
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