Historic railway listed among Europe's top rail routes

Renowned travel guide Lonely Planet has named Istanbul's Sirkeci-Kazlıçeşme railway line as one of Europe's must-see rail routes.

The railway line was recently renovated in line with a project initiated by the Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry.

The travel guide's list of "Europe's 6 must-visit rail routes" highlighted the line's revival for history buffs. Sirkeci Station once served as the final stop for the legendary Orient Express, but long-distance services ceased in 2013. The new light rail system brings trains back to the historic station, raising the possibility of future connections to Sofia and Bucharest.

"Nostalgic travelers should use this line to one of the oldest stations in Europe. In fact, this line is perhaps an excuse to take a train to eat seafood at Kumkapı, one of the new stops," the guide stated.

The 8.3-kilometer line offers a unique blend of history and modern transportation. It starts from Sirkeci Station, one of Europe's oldest stations, and terminates at Kazlıçeşme. Passengers can enjoy a nostalgic journey along the Istanbul coastline and reconnect with the city's rich railway heritage.

More than 800,000 passengers have used the station since its opening in February 2024, with an average of 10,000 passengers daily.

The station, built in 1888, served as the gateway of the Ottoman Empire to Europe for over 140 years.

The revamped line boasts a 7.3-kilometer pedestrian and bicycle path, alongside ample squares, recreational areas, and green spaces. The project also restored historically significant stations, including Yedikule, Kocamustafapasa, Yenikapı and Kumkapı.

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