Be it jaw-dropping scenery, a rich historical significance, the tradition and atmosphere of the train itself – or a combination of all three – here’s our round-up of the world’s best.
Travel bucket list idea:
Taormina, Sicily, Italy|
It’s old, bumpy and slow, but the Ferrovia Circumetnea, (which translates as round-Etna railway), is still one of the great train rides of Europe.
Southern Italy’s first railway (1867) runs in a circle around the slopes of Mt Etna, from near Taormina to Catania. The old narrow-gauge trains are charming and the scenery is spectacular.
Make a day of it, and stop at one or two of the interesting villages along the way: Paternó, Adrano, Randazzo or Bronte.
Getting there & doing it
If you are in Taormina, start from the FCE terminus at Riposto-Giarre, just to the south of the city.
The whole trip to Catania takes a little over three hours. You might have to change at Randazzo, the most interesting stop along the way.
You can go as far as you like and double back for Taormina, or else go all the way to Catania, and take an FS train back to Taormina.
In addition to regular services, FCE run special summer tourist excursions on vintage trains, with lunch and visits to sights included. Check the website for details. www.circumetnea.it
When to do it
The FCE trains run all year round, seven days a week, with regular trains throughout the day (fewer on Sundays). First trains leave around 5am, last trains around 8pm.
Round-ups that include this experience