Take the Train to Sicily. It’s (Literally) Boatloads of Fun
Sicily brings to mind a few things: Olive oil, oranges, and ol’ fashioned mobsters (if you believe in that sort of thing.) It’s also a gorgeous place to visit, with miles of magnificent coastline and some of Italy’s best food. Think it’s difficult to get here from the boot? While not a quick jaunt, you will enjoy a unique journey that’s not found almost anywhere else in Europe.
You’ll take a train. Onto a ferry. Across the water and back onto the tracks. Intrigued?
If starting in Rome, it’s approximately 13 hours on an overnight train to Palermo, and about 10 hours from Naples. Every train en-route to Sicily first arrives at the Villa San Giovanni Port in Reggio Calabria. The train is then rolled onto a large barge and travels across the Strait of Messina. The trip across the water only lasts 40 minutes.
During the summer season, don’t forget to reserve a seat or a sleeper (highly recommended), as this is a very popular route for adventuresome travelers and locals alike.
The ferry train is covered by the Eurail Italy Pass and reservations with the pass cost $13.
For night trains, the reservation price ranges from $53 to $62. Single tickets cost anywhere from $103 to $140.
Night trains vary according by the route. Because the journey is so long, might as well sleep for some of it. (And you can’t see much in the dark anyway.) Compartments include Singles, Doubles, and Couchettes. Some offer T3, T4 and Deluxe sleeping compartments. Here are some extra details:
• Deluxe sleeping compartments include a private restroom for the ultimate in comfort.
• A Single is a first-class compartment that contains one bed, a private washbasin, linens, towels and its own lock. A Double is the same, but with two beds (usually bunked).
• A couchette is an affordable second-class option with six bunked beds and a public washroom.
• The T3 compartments contain three beds, a private washbasin, fresh linens and towels. A T4 is the same, but with a fourth bed.
Italy’s charms extend past Venice, Florence, Rome, Tuscany, Umbria, the Dolomites (we really could keep going.) Summer is short, though, and island life beckons with its slower pace, relaxed meals and treasured towns for centuries. With less crowds and a sultry Mediterranean breeze, Sicily is calling.
Don’t miss the boat.