The Best Rail Routes Across Italy For Adventurous Souls
Sweeping views of the countryside, scenic alps, and the beautiful blue coastline are just some of the things you have to look forward to on a rail trip through Italy. While the destination is always your final goal, enjoying the journey is just as important. And that isn’t hard to do with Italy as your backdrop.
Whether you’re wanting to visit Milan’s most iconic landmarks or the ancient ruins in Rome, we’re here to help you plan your rail holidays to Italy.
Here are a few of the best routes to take via train through Italy.
Sicily and the Amalfi Coast
This train route will lead you through Italy to the Amalfi coast. This journey is perfect for those who want to spend a great deal of time by the ocean, and enjoy sweeping coastal views.
If you’re coming from London, we recommend stopping in Nice, France for a night or two to explore the beautiful region.
From Nice, you’ll hop on a train and cross the border into Italy. The route will lead you along the coastline, providing magnificent views until you get to Genoa. From there, you’ll make your way inland to Milan.
From Milan, you’ll take a fast Frecciarossa train to Salerno via Rome. In Salerno, stop for two nights or take a taxi to Vietri Sul Mare. It’s a small fishing village that’s well worth experiencing. Visit the many ancient ruins, or spend the day enjoying sea views and walking the quaint streets.
Then take a train from Salerno, along the western coastline down to the Straits of Messina. The train then runs onto a boat that carries you across the Straits and to Catania. This is a great place to spend a few nights while you explore the area.
With a few days to explore the area, be sure to climb Mount Etna volcano and visit the famed fish market, as well as the stunning Catania cathedral.
After a few days in Catania, hop on a regional train that will take you through the heart of the island to Palermo. Spend a few days exploring the port city’s museums, palaces, and street markets. Or catch an awe-inspiring opera performance at the neoclassical Teatro Massimo.
You’ll then take a train from Palermo to Turin. Once again crossing the Straits and making your way through Milan. This journey should only take the morning so you’ll have the rest of the day to stroll the city streets. Take in the baroque style buildings and frequent the old cafes while absorbing the unique atmosphere.
Spend a night in Turin before heading back to London in the morning.
Venice, Rome and Florence
This train ride is ideal for those who are short on time but would like to experience many of Italy’s main attractions.
If you’re travelling from London, your first stop on this Italy train route will be Nuremberg, Germany. You’ll be arriving in the evening, but Nuremberg has an energetic nightlife, so your day’s adventure doesn’t have to end there. Spend the evening exploring beer houses or walking the streets, taking in the vibrant atmosphere.
In the morning, you’ll catch a train to Venice, passing through Munich along the way. Between Munich and Venice, you’ll travel across the Brenner Pass high in the Alps. Be sure to have your digital camera ready, as spectacular views await you during this portion of the journey.
You’ll arrive in Venice in the early evening. Book into your hotel before heading out to indulge in a delicious Venetian meal. You’ll spend the next two nights in Venice so you have some time to explore this romantic city. Take a gondola ride, view the whimsical Bridge of Sighs, and stroll through the historic Piazza San Marco.
After two nights in Venice, wake up early and take a 4-hour train ride to Rome. Spend the next two days in Rome exploring the many landmarks. The Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and 18th-century Trevi Fountain are just a few of the places you should be visiting.
After two days in Rome, take a one and a half-hour train ride to Florence. Spend yet another two days exploring this city. Admire Renaissance art, ponder intricate sculptures and visit cathedrals built centuries ago.
After having spent two nights in Florence, take a train to Turin and spend the rest of the day enjoying historic sights before taking the train back to London in the morning.
Italian Lakes and the Amalfi Coast
If you want to witness Italy’s very best great bodies of water, this train route is for you.
Those travelling from London will need to take the Eurostar to Paris (Gare du Nord line), and then transfer to a line that will take you to Dijon (Gare de Lyon). Spend the evening at a local restaurant before heading to your hotel.
In the morning, take a train to Lausanne. The train will travel through the Jura Mountains which will provide you with magnificent views. Enjoy a leisurely lunch in Lausanne, before heading to Stresa, a resort town on Lake Maggiore.
Spend two full days in Stresa where you’ll soak up the sun, visit old museums and take boat trips on the lake to the fascinating Borromean islands. After three nights in Stresa, you’ll take a train to Milan, and then transfer to a rail line travelling to Naples and the Amalfi Coast.
You’ll then take a taxi to Positano where you’ll be spending the next four nights. This cliff-side village has a tranquil pebbled beachfront perfect for those wanting to soak up the sun. It also has a myriad of wonderful hiking trails for those searching for a little adventure.
After a few days in Positano, you’ll take a train to Naples, and a subsequent train to Bologna. You’ll then travel across the Brenner Pass to Innsbruck in Austria. After spending a layover night in Innsbruck, take a train to Zurich while you pass sweeping green pastures and other enjoyable views.
From Zurich take a train to Paris, where you’ll cross over to the Eurostar and head back to London.
Final Thoughts on Rail Routes Across Italy
No matter how long you decide to travel through this ancient yet highly cultured country, you’re bound to have the adventure of a lifetime. Seeing the intricate architecture and waterways of Venice, or the quaint city streets of Verona is an absolute delight.
There’s something magical about a train journey through Italy. You’re guaranteed memories that will last a lifetime. Ones you can look back on fondly in years to come. Be sure to book one of the wonderful train routes we’ve suggested so you don’t miss out on all the very best sights.