Category:Route to Istanbul
Route to Istanbul
Many hitchhikers from Europe try to catch a ride with a truck-driver from Turkey on their way to Istanbul. They have to take breaks every three hours though, but they always stop at their common regular places, so you can ask upon arrival other drivers that are just about to departure.
The Turkey border crossing could be a problem in rare cases. Make sure you always keep your bag with you at border crossings. Specific information about the border crossing at Edirne can be found here!
- See also long distance hitchhiking.
There are several options. Since there is a decent motorway going through Serbia will probably be faster but at night you will mostly find Romanians in German cars (recognizable by the red part on the right of the number plate, with a date). guaka was really tired and took a ride to Oradea, and found a ride to Sibiu at the border, which was already on the trucker route to Istanbul.
If you are departing from Nis and want to arrive in Istanbul, be aware that this route is 750 km long, with only 400 km motorway. If you are coming from Belgrade and you don't want to stay over in Nis you can hitch straight to Sofia from the last toll-stop just before arriving in Nis (stand after the toll-stop with your sign up).
The border between Serbia and Bulgaria does not have a lot of traffic. There are many trucks though but they are taking a separate border. You can walk into Bulgaria and stand where all traffic converges again.
<map lat='42.69858589169842' lng='23.37066650390625' zoom='10' view='0' float='right'/> If you get a ride to Sofia, you are likely to be dropped at the city-border at the West side with almost all traffic going to other directions then East (mostly towards Bucharest). You need to be at the other side of Sofia, you can:
- make a stop on a petrol-station before you enter Sofia
- hitch towards the west side (where the A1 starts), by using the road south. Cars and trucks going over the road north mainly go to Romania.
- take public transport to the other side of the city (Bus #5 until it enters the motorway at the junction (going south on the E79). Ask the driver to get out and walk down the ramp on the E80.)
From Sofia to Istanbul is not a straight road (yet). You take the A1 towards Plovdiv and from there most cars turn south (right) at Chirpan towards Svilengrad (Bulgaria) and Edirne (Turkey) at the Turkish/ Bulgarian border.
Just before the exit at Chirpan there is a 'hidden spot' where only Turkish truck-drivers come for a final meal and refreshment. This is their last stop before hitting the border. Eat with them, or wait outside. When Robino was there, he was requested to wait outside for the drivers. Ask the drivers personally for a ride to the border, from there you are better off taking a ride with a normal car as the trucks stop normally after the border for another break. Some 10 kilometers before the road to Svilengrad there is also a normal petrol-station.
See for more info: Sofia.
Have a look at the Bucharest article for the spot towards Ruse. On the Bulgarian side, stand right after passport control with a sign "TR". Within an hour or so you should be able to get a truck all the way to the Turkish border. There is no need to stop in Bulgaria if you don't want to.
But if you prefer to travel slowly through Bulgaria, the route goes through Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo and Stara Zagora. From here, you have several options towards Svilengrad, eather via Dimitrovgrad and Haskovo or the countryside (Galabovo, Simeonovgrad). Just before you enter Harmanli, there's a TIR parking & restaurant with many Turkish trucks. Go get a çay there and ask the truck drivers.
There are two possible routes up towards Istanbul, one via Isparta or via Burdur. The roads meet later again on their way to Uşak. Take care, until both cities the landscape is quite rural with only small settlements along the way. Normally, it's possible to get rides from Antalya directly towards Isparta. You can now choose if going via Uşak, but it's better (and shorter) to go towards Kütahya. Now it's an easy game, hitchhiking via Kütahya and Bilecik towards the motorway O-4, and from the motorway westwards towards Gebze and Istanbul. Along the whole route it's possible to stand along the streets anywhere you want, but take care especially in the mountains, where roads are extremely windy and dangerous. At least in summer it's possible to hitch the ~700km in 1 day.
Hundreds of trucks go daily from the port town of Igoumenitsa, in the north-west of Greece (coming with ferry from Italy), Istanbul and other Turkish destinations. 99% of these trucks will be driven by Turks and sometimes Iranians too, and the remaining 1% can be of any European nationality.
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