One of Sofia's trams criss-crossing the city (photo © Tupungato /

Route 47: Through Balkan byways to Greece

Zagreb to Thessaloniki by Train

Route introduction

Cast back half a century and, in the late 1960s, you could board the Direct Orient Express when it stopped in Zagreb in the wee small hours of the morning and be in Sofia by early evening. Today’s travellers don’t have it quite so easy, but this route repays time and effort on a journey that takes in three capitals (Zagreb, Belgrade and Sofia) and concludes with a ride through the fine hill country of south-west Bulgaria to reach northern Greece.

MAP Double click on the map (or double tap on mobile) to zoom in. You can connect onto other routes in places shown in red. Change to a layer showing a more familiar road map view by clicking on the menu at the top right of the map. Get back to the original view by clicking on the house icon shown in the top left menu on the map.

Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide

Whether you are making a long grand tour or just planning a couple of weekend breaks, Europe by Rail is the perfect guide. The book describes over 50 key routes in detail. Together, they span mainland Europe and – brand new for this 16th edition – now also the British Isles. Find out more about the guidebook below.

The new, fully updated 17th edition of the definitive guide to exploring Europe by rail was published on 12 April 2022. With tips on ticketing, fares and accommodation, Europe by Rail has become the definitive guide to exploring Europe by train. Read here the book's word of welcome.
Europe by Rail contains all that's necessary to plan your rail journey through Europe: 50 route descriptions, a country gazetteer, rail connections, information on Eurail and Interrail passes and more.
The 17th edition of Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide was published on 12 April 2022. You can get hold of a copy in any good bookshop. Here, we list a few additional places where you can buy the book.