Kapitan Andreevo-Kapıkule border crossing

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Kapitan Andreevo-Kapıkule border crossing
<map lat='41.72072119663713' lng='26.33697509765625' zoom='12' view='0' float='right' />
Information
Countries: Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria | Flag of Turkey Turkey
Type: Road
Motorway: E 80

This border checkpoint in the north of Edirne is the most-used spot for cross-border trade between the EU and Turkey, Syria and Iran and tourists going to Turkey by car. This is an absolutely legendary border crossing and the main gate to Turkey. It's also the second largest crossing in the world after Tijuana-San Ysidro.

Expect a high rate of traffic there. If you arrive here with a truck, it should be no problem to walk over the border by foot! At the end of both sides you can try to hitch a truck towards Istanbul or into Bulgaria.

When you cross the border by car expect to be checked 6 times, which costs you a lot of time especially in summer season. Waiting time between 2-8 hours can be seen as normal at this border checkpoint. Therefore, it is better to get out of the car, walk across, and stop another car on the other side.

July and August can be a frustrating time to hitchhike into Bulgaria from this border crossing. Most of the small cars are expatriate Turks returning to Europe from holidays, and their cars are always full. Also trucks cannot move in Bulgaria if the temperature is over 35 degrees. At this time of the year, it is best to try to hitch into Bulgaria early in the morning (start at sunrise).

Sleeping

If you want to overnight at the border, it is better to sleep on the Turkish side. 500 metres from the border, there are large fields where one can pitch a tent and sleep undisturbed. On the Bulgarian side, on the other hand, the area is heavily populated by strange people. You can also try to ask whether you can sleep in the mosque on the Turkish side.

Experiences

Guaka had a terrible experience at the Kapitan Andreevo - Kapıkule border crossing in October 2008 when he was refused entry by a grumpy border guard who was probably looking for baksheesh. It took a lot of convincing to be allowed back to the truck to get back his backpack. The next day there was no problem to get in. It seems personnel is much friendlier in 2010, some people even speaking English.

Platschi traveled along this checkpoint four times, summer 2007 and 2008. Both times he had no problems with border guards or anything else.

uncle_sam01 traveled via this crossing once in July 2015 into Bulgaria. No problem with the crossing itself (it has been renovated fairly recently), but can confirm that hitching into Bulgaria was not easy

Other useful info

There is an ATM on the Turkish side. It only gives out Turkish lira (in Istanbul there are a couple of ATMs that give out euro and US dollars). You can change money on both sides, but the Turkish side seems slightly more reliable, and if you want to change Turkish money into euro you should probably walk back to Halkbank at the Turkish entry side (500 m from the huge building). But if you don't need money immediately, it's probably advisable to exchange it in Istanbul.

There is free wi-fi at the Shell station on the Bulgarian side.

Links