Train tickets to Italy are so inexpensive that it makes sense to travel there on the train. Not only will you have more spending money at your disposal, but you can also enjoy the fabulous scenery along the way. It is hard to take much notice of snow capped mountains and glorious vineyards when you are busy concentrating on trying not to fly off the road on hairpin bends. Travelling by train is far more relaxing and it gives you ample opportunity to take in the views. So what are the most scenic train routes through Italy?
1. The Bernina Express
This is one of the most famous train rides in Italy, and definitely not one you should miss. The Bernina Express is a far cry from the modern high-speed trains you may be more familiar with, but what it lacks in speed it more than makes up for in fabulous views. The route will take you from Tirano all the way across the Alps to Switzerland, passing through narrow gorges, mountain passes, tunnels and bridges. In fact the Bernina Express route is so spectacular that it has been given UNESCO World Heritage status. The train even has a glass roof so you can enjoy a panoramic view of the fabulous mountain scenery.
2. Verona to Brennero
The route between Verona and Brennero passes through the spectacular Brenner Pass in the Dolomite Mountains. The train line follows the Elsack River glacial valley, with towering mountains capped with snow on either side. If you are travelling from Verona, make sure you take a seat on the LHS side of the train for the best views, but either way you won’t be disappointed.
3. Messina to Catania, Sicily
Some of the best train journeys are not even that long, but when the scenery is this good, you will wish you could stay on the train all day. The journey from Messina to Catania only takes an hour and a half, but the route along the rocky Sicilian coastline is exquisitely beautiful. Sit back in your seat and see how many fishing boats you can spot in the azure blue waters of the Ionian Sea before you arrive in Catania.
4. Centovalli Railway
The Centovalli Railway route between Domodossola in Italy and Locarno just over the border in Switzerland is exceptionally scenic. The train passes through the ‘hundred valleys’, a wonderfully beautiful part of northern Italy that features lush chestnut forests, ripe vineyards, waterfalls, and ancient villages from a bygone age. And if you buy Eurail train tickets to Italy, they will be valid on this route.
5. Salerno to Palermo via Messina
It is possible to catch an overnight train from Rome to Sicily on this route, but doing so means you will miss seeing some truly fantastic scenery. The train line to Palermo hugs the Mediterranean coastline on the mainland, but once you reach Sicily you are treated to some even more amazing views. Be aware, however, that if you are travelling south, you should make sure you sit on the RHS side of the train or you will miss out on the best views.
Italy is easy to reach via train from the UK. Simply catch the Eurostar service to Paris and then all you need to do is pick up an onwards connection to Italy. Train tickets to Italy are very reasonably priced and if you buy a Eurail pass you can enjoy many more days of extra train trips around Italy and beyond.
Ana Aleksejeva travels a lot as part of her job as a travel writer, but one of her favourite train routes of all time has to be the Bernina Express. Ana often buys train tickets to Italy purely to take this journey.
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