The Train to Sicily: Ferry From Messina to Sicily

Take the Train to Sicily. It’s (Literally) Boatloads of Fun

Ferry Train to Sicily

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.

Ferrytrain to Sicily © Michael Cannon

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).

First Class Night Accommodations ©Archivio Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane

• A couchette is an affordable second-class option with six bunked beds and a public washroom.

Night train couchettes

• The T3 compartments contain three beds, a private washbasin, fresh linens and towels. A T4 is the same, but with a fourth bed.

Night train T4 bed compartment

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.

About the Author


Jackie is a freelance writer from Los Angeles currently living in Brooklyn. She worked as a travel consultant at Rail Europe for two years before switching over to Marketing & Community Manager (focusing on social media) in June 2014. In her free time Jackie travels whenever possible & maintains a personal travel blog at


  1. Kelly

    thaks for this information. Kelly from Brazil

    | Reply
  2. Mary

    I’m traveling through southern Italy up to Crotone. Can I catch a train in Crotone that hooks up to the ferry/train to Sicily – Taormina being my ultimate destination?

    Thanks – Mary from Colorado

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  3. Ron

    I have made this trip many times and find it a great way to get to and from Sicily. There used to be a trip during the day down the coast but it was stopped a few years ago but was one very beautiful trip… When transfering onto or off the ferry…do NOT … I repeat… Do not get off the train until IN the ship because the cars are broken up into different sets and your car may not be where you left it… My wife got off and got lost and she had to take a different train to Catania from Messina to meet me 5 hrs later than I arrived…

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  4. Ann

    Hello I am thinking of taking a train from Istanbul to Sophia and then trying to get to Duress From there a ferry to Bari in Italy and then finding my way by train to Sicily. Can anyone help? Thanks Ann..

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  5. gary

    I am hoping to take the train/ferry from Naples on Oct 2 to Palermo Sicily. This the 1st ever in Italy , so can anyone help me out. Also need to be back in Naples on the 16th of Oct to catch my flight back to Canada.

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  6. alistair young

    i want to take a train from pisciotta to messina sicily i know it takes about 5 hours im wondering how do i book this from the u.k. and find out times and cost i will be travelling in september so hopefully it will be quieter

    | Reply
    • Cami Marievera

      Will you be in Pisciotta already? If you are that’s easy! They actually have alot of specials right now from 22 euro each way! Treinitalia! I live in the NL but I travel often in Italy, love it! Going from Rome to Palermo in August 12 hour trip!

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  7. Roberto DeMaria

    I’ve taken this train from Catania Sicily to Bologna. It is truly an amazing trip. We were fortunate to get a sleeper car. It’s a very smooth ride.

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