Southern Italy & Sicily

Holiday Highlights

  • Ruins of Pompeii and Vesuvius
  • Sila Steam Train
  • Journey by rail and train ferry to Sicily
  • Taormina and Mt Etna
  • Circumetnea Railway
  • Time to explore Pompeii, Cosenza, Siricusa and Palermo
  • 13 days from £2,965pp
BOOK NOWTailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Tuesday 9 May to Sunday 21 May 2023

A long-awaited return to Southern Italy and Sicily. Forested mountains, unspoilt countryside and sparkling beaches abound. We combine pretty narrow gauge lines, great coastal train rides and stunning sightseeing. Highlights include the Roman ruins of Pompeii, some of the finest medieval churches in the world and the mighty volcanoes of Vesuvius and Etna. From Cosenza we ride the steam train through the Sila Mountains, climbing fearsome gradients where the scenery is as stunning as anywhere in the world.


Day 1 – Fly London to Naples

Flight from London to Naples and transfer to Pompeii for 3 nights. We are located close to the famous ruins with Vesuvius towering in the background.

Day 2 – At Leisure

A day at leisure. You might like to ride the Circumvesuviana Narrow Gauge Railway around Vesuvius and to both Naples and Sorrento. The famous Naples Railway Museum at San Giorgio a Cremano is well worth a visit, advance booking is required, or you may wish to spend a relaxing day in nearby Sorrento.

Day 3 – The Ruins of Pompeii & Vesuvius

Morning at leisure to visit the astonishing ruins of Pompeii, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Marvel at the well preserved remains of villas, temples and the forum. Afternoon guided tour to the crater of Vesuvius where you will find stunning views of the Bay of Naples and the surrounding area.

Day 4 – Train to Cosenza

Another morning at leisure before an afternoon departure by train for Cosenza. We take the coastal line south to Paola before heading inland to Cosenza for a 3-night stay. Cosenza remains a cultural hub in Southern Italy, with several museums, theatres and monuments. Located atop a steep hill, the old town and castle are well worth a visit.

Day 5 – Sila Steam Train

Transfer to Moccone to board the Sila Steam Train for the journey through Sila National Park to San Nicola Silvana and return. Travel the 950mm Calabrian narrow gauge line in heritage carriages and marvel at the spectacular scenery as you travel to the summit of the line at 1,406m. Arrive back in Cosenza in time for lunch and an afternoon at leisure.

Day 6 – Travel the Line to Catanzaro

A second day on the Calabrian 950mm gauge lines. We take the train from Cosenza to Rogliano where we will board our private bus for the transfer to Soveria Mannelli. We continue by train to Catanzaro Lido, with part of the line from Catanzaro Citta operating as a rack railway. We return to Cosenza on the main line travelling via Lamezia Terme and Paola.

Day 7 – Sailing to Sicily

Travel by train to Taormina via the ferry crossing to Messina, one of the last few passenger carrying train ferries in Europe. The highly scenic coastal line to Giadini Naxos follows. We stay for 2 nights in Taormina.

Day 8 – Taormina and Mt Etna

Sicily is among the most beautiful and fascinating regions in Italy that will surprise you with its archaeological sites, picturesque cities and breathtaking views. We begin with a morning-guided excursion up to the lava fields on the side of Mount Etna, Europe’s largest and most active volcano. There will be the option to take a cable car ride to the highest allowed point and after lunch enjoy a guided sightseeing visit to historic Taormina including the stunning Greek Theatre. As well as the preserved theatre, the site offers visitors uninterrupted views of Mount Etna and the Ionian coastline – especially on a clear day.

Day 9 – Circumetnea Railway

Transfer to Riposto station where we join the 950mm gauge Circumetnea Railway and travel around the base of Etna to Catania. Breached many times by lava flows, this winding narrow gauge line has spectacular views of snow capped Etna. Continue to Siricusa by road for a 2-night stay.

Day 10 – At Leisure in Siricusa

A free day in historic Siricusa, one of the highlights of any visit to Sicily. Its Greek, Roman and Baroque heritages have combined to make this ancient city a modern wonder to behold. Explore medieval Ortigia Island or the Greek Theatre, two of Siricusa’s many attractions.

Day 11 – Across Sicily by Train

An all-day excursion from Siricusa to Palermo, the island’s capital, using local trains. A slow but fascinating ramble across central Sicily via Catania and Caltanissetta. Road transport will be available for those who prefer. We stay for 2 nights in Palermo.

Day 12 – At Leisure in Palermo

A free day in Palermo for sightseeing. Don’t miss the Quattro Canti, Piazza Pretoria, the wonderful Palatine Chapel or the cathedral at nearby Monreale. This is probably the finest medieval church in the world.

Day 13 – Return to London

Transfer to Palermo airport for an afternoon flight to London.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Hotel Forum, Pompeii

Royal Hotel, Cosenza

Villa Diodoro, Taormina

Grand Hotel Ortigia, Siricusa

Centrale Palace Hotel, Palermo

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Flights in Economy Class by scheduled airline
  • All rail travel as stated in standard class
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Excursions as detailed in itinerary
  • All transfers
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £2,965
Single room supplement: £680
Deposit for this holiday: £200

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


Why Choose Ffestiniog Travel?

  • UK's first rail tour operator to run an overseas escorted rail holiday in 1974
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