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Taormina, Sicily

Golden Eagle Danube Express Sicilian Odyssey

12-day tailor-made rail journey from £9,490 pp incl. flights


Short description

Explore Italy from top to toe on this 12-day luxury rail tour

In Brief

  • 2 Nights Venice
  • 1 Night Lake Garda
  • 1 Night San Marino
  • 1 Night Bari
  • 1 Night Pompeii
  • 1 Night Palermo
  • 1 Night Agrigento
  • 1 Night Syracuse
  • 2 Nights Taormina


Recommended for:
Food & wine | History & culture | Rail journey

Italy is overflowing with natural and cultural treasures in its historic cities, verdant islands and crumbling ruins. The architecture is vast and varied, the art is internationally celebrated, the scenery is second to none and the food and wine is among the best in the world. On this 12-day luxury rail journey aboard the award-winning Golden Eagle Danube Express, you’ll explore the very best of this intoxicating country, from the waterways of Venice to Pompeii’s ash-laden streets and Bologna’s culinary delights. Then, once you’ve traversed the mainland’s highlights you’ll board one of the few rail ferries in the world to explore Sicily’s hilltop towns, idyllic coastlines and Greek and Roman archaeology. 

Day by day itinerary

Day 1

Your holiday begins amid the canals of Venice with a two-night stay at the iconic Hotel Danieli. Located only a short stroll from St Mark’s square, the Doge’s Palace and Bridge of Sighs, it’s a luxurious and convenient base for exploring the city known as La Serenissima, Bride of the Sea. Once you’ve settled in, a welcome reception dinner will be held at the hotel, giving you the chance to meet fellow guests and learn more about the journey ahead. 

Stay: Hotel Danieli

Meals: D

Day 2

A morning walking tour is a wonderful way to see the highlights of this romantic city. Alternatively, you might prefer to spend the day exploring at your own pace, perhaps taking a gondola ride along the Grand Canal and its labyrinthine subsidiaries, or a stroll through the Rialto Market bustle. In the evening you’re invited to a private piano recital at the Palazzetto Bru Zane.

Stay: Hotel Danieli

Meals: B L D

Day 3
Cremona & Verona

This morning we transfer from the hotel, by boat, directly to Santa Lucia station on the Grand Canal where our train the Golden Eagle Danube Express will be ready to receive us.

We will begin our journey threading our way out onto the 3-mile causeway over the Venice Lagoon and along the Po River to Cremona. This charmingly quaint and understated city carries itself with impressive architecture and is almost completely off the major tourism radar.

After browsing the impressive 13th century piazza we’ll take a private tour of the fabled Stradivari Museum to allow us to explore the city’s intertwined relationship with violins and other stringed instruments. A gourmet lunch will then be served on board the train as we continue onto Verona. Famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, we will enjoy a concise yet informative walking tour of the city’s famous sites.

This evening, dinner will be served just out of the city at the stunning setting of Sirmione on Lake Garda.

Stay: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 4
Bologna, Rimini and San Marino

After breakfast, you’ll arrive in the food capital of Italy, Bologna. A morning tour highlights the character and history of this renowned culinary destination while taking in the city’s many famous arches and historic university. A toast at the top of the Torre di Prendiparte will you up for the afternoon as you travel onwards to Rimini. In the afternoon, you’re invited to explore again, this time at your own pace; perhaps, visit the Ferrari factory in the nearby Maranello or discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site San Marino Historic Centre and Mount Titano. Dinner in San Marino will feature the famous Torta Tre Monto or ‘Cake of the Three Towers’. 

Meals: B L D

Day 5

This morning, enjoy stunning coastal views from our carriages as we travel along the eastern Italian seaboard to our next stop in the Apulia region at Bari. You will enjoy a guided tour of Bari’s Florentine style old-town and its domineering fortress and castle that has stood guarding the port since the 12th century. You also have the chance to visit a local olive oil mill complete with a tasting just a few minutes from the station.

Tonight as we sit down for dinner we’ll travel across central Italy west through the Matese hills.

Stay: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 6
Herculanem and Pompeii

The crumbling ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii await on day six. These two towns, which were destroyed by lava flow in the momentous eruption of 79AD, have been painstakingly preserved over the centuries. After a behind-the-scenes tour you’ll soaking up the atmosphere of these Roman ghost towns, sample some local wine and taste slowly ripening Piennolo tomatoes at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. In the afternoon your rail journey continues as you leave Campania for Reggio di Calbria, passing the mountains, forests, rivers and creeks of the Parco Nazionale del Cliento and Vallo di Diano e Alburni. 

Stay: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 7
Palermo and Corleone

Board one of the very few rail ferries in the world as you cross the narrow channel to Sicily. The first stop after the crossing is the island’s flamboyant capital, Palermo. Following a gentle walking tour of the city you’re invited for an aperitif and intimate concert at the stu Teatro Massimo, the largest theatre in Italy and the third largest in Europe. In the afternoon you might choose to explore Palermo further or join a tour of Corleone where you can learn about the notorious Mafia families made famous by Martin Scorsese’s motion picture, The Godfather.

Stay: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 8
Agrigento and Ragusa

Wake up in Agrigento, home to Italy’s most impressive Greek ruins. While the city itself lacks characters, we will focus on the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Valle Dei Templi with a privately lead tour around the remains of the ancient city.

This afternoon we will continue onto Ragusa. This quaint small town has plenty of character with its many grey stone houses and churches littering the hillside making for wonderful picture post-card scenery. A cooking demonstration at a nearby hotel will allow us to get hands on with local delicacies before a brief walking tour of the historical old-town.

Tonight the train will continue on to Syracuse.

Stay: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 9
Syracuse & Cattagirone

The former Byzantine empire was both founded and raised at our first destination of the day in Syracuse. We’ll escape the hustle and bustle of the city itself and take the view from the water with a tour around the Island of Ortigia before heading back to the train for lunch.

We will then continue to the attractive hilltop town of Caltagirone. Celebrated for producing beautiful pottery since the 10th century, we will visit a local ceramic workshop before an intriguing visit to the Villa Romana del Casale, one of the best preserved Roman Villas in the world, to discover more about the Roman civilisation that once ruled the island.

This evening, we will enjoy a special dinner deep in the countryside at the renowned restaurant, Al Fogher.

Stay: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 10
Catania and Taormina

Following a leisurely breakfast on board, admiring the pleasing passing Sicilian landscapes, you will have the option of free time to explore the various characterful squares and churches of Catania, before taking a hands-on Sicilian pastry cooking class at the Società Storica Catanese (Catania Historical Society).

Later this afternoon, the train will continue onto our final stop of Taormina with two nights at the NH Collection Taormina.

Stay: NH Collection Taormina

Meals: B L D

Day 11

With views overlooking the gulf of Naxos and Mount Etna, the city of Taormina makes for a truly memorable setting for the end of our voyage. A privately guided tour of the Mount Etna museum with a local volcanologist will start our day before taking time on the slopes of the geological wonder itself at a Sicilian palmento. Here you’ll sample local wines and take lunch amongst the vineyards.

This afternoon we’ll have time to relax amongst the gorgeous medieval churches and the stunning Greek theatre.

Tonight, we toast the success of the tour at our farewell dinner, complete – of course – with champagne.

Stay: NH Collection Taormina

Meals: B L D

Day 12

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your for your flight back to the UK.

Meals: B



Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Deluxe

12-day tailor-made rail journey from £9,490 incl. flights


Heritage Class

from £9,490 pp. incl. flights

Deluxe Class

from £14,995 pp. incl. flights

Superior Deluxe Class

from £18,000 pp. incl. flights


  • Complimentary UK airport departure lounge access
  • Flights from UK to Venice and returning from Catania or vice versa
  • Return airport transfers
  • 1 night accommodation at the world famous Hotel Danielli in Venice
  • 2 nights accommodation at the NH Collection Taormina in Sicily
  • 8 nights accommodation on the Golden Eagle Danube Express in the cabin of your choice

Southbound Venice - Taormina    

06 September – 16 Sep 2019

Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

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