Fastest journey20hr 29m
The overnight train from Milan to Sicily runs every night and is an excellent option for reaching Palermo. The train also conveys sleeping cars and couchettes from Milan direct to other towns in Sicily: Cefalù, Catania, Taormina and Syracuse.
The night train from Milan to Palermo first runs south to the coast at Genoa. It then broadly follows the west coast for the entire length of Italy down to Villa San Giovanni where the train is shipped onto a ferry for the short sea crossing to Sicily. The entire journey to Palermo takes 20 hrs 30 mins.
If you don’t like the idea of a long overnight journey, it is also possible to travel by day from Milan to Palermo, usually with just one change of train along the way. Take a morning high-speed train from Milan to either Naples or Salerno, transferring at one of these stations to an onward Intercity train to Sicily.
Whichever route you choose for your train journey from Milan to Sicily, bookings normally open about two months prior to travel. That's the time to book for the cheapest tickets.
Milan to Palermo (night train)
The night train to Sicily departs from Milano Centrale around eight in the evening. You have a choice of either couchette or sleeping car accommodation on this Intercity Notte service. The latter is more comfortable and thus the better choice for the long journey to Palermo.
This train stops during the evening at a number of places along the Ligurian and Tuscan coast to pick up passengers. These stops include Genoa, Pisa and Livorno. The train then runs non-stop for some hours to allow passengers to sleep. By the following morning, you’ll be running down the coast of Calabria as the train heads for the ferry to Sicily. The train slips on board the ferry and within an hour you are in Sicily. The train then tracks west along Sicily's north coast to reach Palermo Centrale.
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Image credits: © Goran Bogicevic