Fastest journey9hr 10m
The journey by train from Naples to Palermo in Sicily is extremely easy, but it’s not fast. Italian high-speed rail dwindles south of Naples. The trip from Naples to Palermo takes just over 9 hours on the direct day train and even longer by direct night train. You’ll be rewarded by some fabulous coastal scenery, so it's worth it to travel during the day by Intercity train if you have the time. These trains are usually much cheaper than the overnight service.
Sit on the right side of the train for the best views on this journey. The train skirts Vesuvius on the route out of Naples. Heading south, the railway plays cat and mouse with the wild Cilento coast, here and there diving down to the sea before returning inland. Once into Calabria, the line mostly stays along the coast. At Villa San Giovanni the entire train rolls onto a ship for the short crossing to Sicily. You'll reach dry land at Messina, from where it is a wonderful 3-hour journey along the north coast of Sicily to Palermo.
Bookings for the journey from Naples to Palermo normally open three months prior to travel, which is when you'll find the cheapest tickets.
Naples to Palermo
All trains from Naples to Sicily depart from Naples Centrale station. You’ll arrive in Palermo at the city’s main station. Trenitalia Intercity trains run twice daily from Naples to Palermo. The train makes four intermediate stops on the mainland while travelling south from Naples to the ferry terminal for Sicily. Once in Sicily, the train stops six times on the journey along the north coast from Messina to Palermo.
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Image credits: Teatro Massimo, Palermo © Goran Bogicevic